Closed Cities Soviet Baby Boomers

Soviet Baby Boomers – Closed Cities, CHMO and Soviet Regionalism

The very important issue addressed in Don Raleigh’s book is the relations between Moscow and provincial cities, especially between Moscow and such “closed” cities as Saratov, during late socialism.

Culture of the so-called closed cities was a universal modern phenomenon for major industrial nations, provoked by two military international conflicts – World War I and World War II. Industrial nations tried to protect their military and scientific secrets during the war. As early as 1915 the Great Britain kept in secret a creation of the two townships of Eastriggs and Gretna, where factory Gretna employed 30,000 workers manufacturing cordite for ammunition. The names of these cities did not officially exist because of the secrecy surrounding the operation. During World War II the United States created the first secret “closed” cities for manufacturing atomic weapons – Hanford (Richland), Washington, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.[1] The Soviet Union followed the American model.

The United States always played a special role as a model for Soviet modernization. Both Lenin and Stalin used and imitated various forms of industrial experimentation in the US to show a reality of the Soviet modernization.[2] The most famous example of the Soviet imitation of American industrial experience was building of so-called model industrial cities such as Magnitogorsk, when the Soviet administration used a model of Gary, Indiana.[3] During the Cold War, the Soviets followed a pattern of the secret industrial city created by Americans.[4] Both contemporaries and scholars noted that the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union led to an introduction of a special system of secrecy in the centers of scientific and military production, which became the important components of the military industrial complex in both countries. Location of these centers was kept in secret, they became known as secret closed cities and they were integrated in both military industrial complex and academic-national security complex of both nations.[5]

The first phase of closing of Soviet industrial cities was connected to the beginning of the Cold War during the last years of Stalin’s rule. At the same time this process was following the logic of the major developments in manufacturing the weapons of mass destruction that originated in Soviet labor camps scientific facilities, known as “shabashki.” This phase of closing began in 1945-47, when the first Soviet scientific and industrial centers were built for manufacturing of the main components for atomic bomb and also for chemical and bacteriological weapons. Started as the highest State secret, closed cities were established by Minatom (Ministry of Atomic Energy) and Minoborona (Ministry of Defense) under the leadership of Lavrentii Beria and the KGB. Between 1946 and 1951, Soviet government initiated also various programs of designing of the different means for delivery (and deployment) of weapons of mass destruction. Soviet scientists and engineers became busy with developing of the new models for airplanes, rockets and submarines, which could efficiently and quickly deliver various bombs during the military operations.[6]

Historically, the first Soviet secret cities were the sites for nuclear weapons research and manufacturing, enrichment of plutonium and production of nuclear bombs, and after 1951, of thermonuclear warheads. Such cities included Arzamas-16 (established in 1946, now Sarov), Sverdlovsk-44 (established in 1946, now Uralsk), Cheliabinsk-46/65 (established in 1947, now Ozersk), and Sverdlovsk-47 (established in 1947, now Lesnoy).[7] These secret cities disappeared from the Soviet official maps. Even Soviet citizens were not allowed access to these cities without proper authorization by the KGB. During the same period of time, using again the American model of scientific cities for military research, Stalin tried to create so-called “Science Towns” (Naukogrady) and “Academic Cities” (Akademgorodki) devoted to applied and basic scientific research. All of them received a status of the Soviet “secret” cities. All foreigners (even scientists from the “friendly” countries of “people’s democracy”) were forbidden to enter these “secret” academic communities of Soviet scientists. Majority of these “Academic cities” were established after Stalin’s death (e.g., Novosibirsk Akademgorodok was built in 1957), but the essential ideas and logistics of such Academic cities were developed during the late Stalin’s years.[8]

Another old traditional category of the closing a space in the Soviet Union was called a “secret zone.” During Stalin’s time different secret objects and adjacent territories were closed for visiting by Soviet citizens without a special KGB permission. Various labor camps and military bases (including even so-called garnizonnyi gorodok [garrison] for regular “non-secret” divisions of the Soviet Army) belonged to this category as well. They did not exist on the official Soviet maps. Each of these objects (labor camp or military base/garrison) had a special assigned “post box number” without any geographical name. This military practice of keeping secrecy has survived even after Stalin death, and it was used for a cover of various secret objects usually located in the closed cities, or “secret zones.” Through the entire Soviet period, many secret military factories, rocket design offices, sometimes even Academgorodki had no geographical names, only the “post box numbers.” These “secret sites” and “secret cities” were known only by a postal code, identified with a name and a number. Originally, the number following the city was the distance in kilometers the facility was located from the city. In practice, the numbers were in some instances arbitrarily assigned, and changed from time to time, to obscure the actual location of the installation. Thus, the All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) was initially known as Arzamas-60, a postal code designation to show that it was 60 km from the city of Arzamas. But the “60” was considered too sensitive, and the number was changed to “16.” In 1947 the entire city of Sarov (Arzamas-16) disappeared from all official Russian maps and statistical documents. The facility has also been known Moscow-300, the town of Kremlev, and Arzamas-75. Zlatoust-20 is probably the same as Zlatoust-36, and Kurchatov-21, Moscow-21, Moscow-400 and Semipalatinsk-121 are almost certainly the same as Semipalatinsk-16.[9] During the 1940s Soviet government created also the so-called secret auxiliary zones (sekretnye vspomogatel’nye zony dobychi syr’ia) for extracting the strategically important natural resources for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Usually these zones were connected to uranium mines. Sometimes zones with lignite coal mines were also considered as the closed zones, because of popular notions that lignite coal was an indicator of a close location of uranium and other natural radioactive materials. Such “secret zone” existed near Ukrainian towns Vatutino (Cherkasy region), Aleksandria (Kirovograd region) and Zhioltye Vody (Dnipropetrovsk region).[10]

After World War II the Soviet Union included also some border areas and border cities (the most famous case was a creation of the entire “closed” Kaliningrad Region as a “border zone”) in the “secret zones” category. During the late 1940s and the early 1950s a special system of secrecy was introduced in the cities with the largest military and navy bases in Crimea (a city of Sevastopol, the base of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet) and on Far East (a city of Vladivostok, the base of the Soviet Pacific Fleet). Later on this system of secrecy was spread also on the large industrial cities which became locations of special military production, like a city of Perm, the largest center for Soviet tank production. By 1953, under Stalin, almost forty Soviet industrial cities and towns received a status of secret cities.[11]

The second phase in developing the Soviet system of closed cities began with liberalization and de-Stalinization of the Soviet political regime under Nikita Khrushchev. After 1956, during the Khrushchev’s rule, the Soviet leaders “opened” for the first time the Soviet Union to foreign visitors (including the guests from capitalist countries). The World Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957 was the first attempt for the Soviet officials to organize a public reception of the mass influx of foreigners into the USSR. In 1958 a special youth (Komsomol) travel international agency Sputnik was created to deal with foreign tourists who were invited to visit the USSR. Meanwhile, the Soviet officials encountered a very serious problem: What to do with locations of the secret, strategically important industrial plants and factories, which were part of the Soviet military industrial complex, and which now could be visited by foreigners? The solution was simple: during the 1950s many industrial cities in the USSR were officially closed to foreign visitors to protect secrets and provide security of all strategically important (so-called “regime” – rezhimnyi in Russian) industrial plants. The city of Dnipropetrovsk, traditionally famous as being the center of the Soviet metallurgical industry, became a location of the special military automobile factory in 1945. As early as 1951 this automobile factory (since 1966 known as Yuzhnyi mashino-stroitel’nyi zavod or in abbreviated Russian, simply Yuzhmash) was transformed in a special secret plant for manufacturing of the rocket engines and other equipment for the new Soviet military missiles. Thus, Dnipropetrovsk, the third largest Ukrainian city after Kyiv and Kharkiv with a population of 1,040,000, became an important urban center of military industrial production in eastern Ukraine.  Paradoxically, this city was a popular destination for various metallurgical and machine-building experts from the socialist countries, who had the contacts with local engineers and scientists, especially during the 1950s. As a result of developing of the new rocket-building industry in Dnipropetrovsk and its transformation in a special “regime city,” the KGB decided to close this city to all foreign visitors (including the guests from socialist countries) in 1959.[12]

In general, the “closed” cities (such as Sevastopol, Dnipropetrovsk, Perm, Saratov, Chernobyl, Severodvinsk and many others) received not only some privileges in the socialist system of goods distribution, but also a more severe ideological and cultural control from the political center, which eventually created serious tensions among the local residents who blamed this center for all troubles they experienced. Under Khrushchev and his successor Leonid Brezhnev, more Soviet cities were transformed into the special “regime towns” known later in post-Soviet Russia (since 1993) under the name of zakrytye administrativno-territorial’nye obrazovaniia (ZATO). Almost sixty large and small Soviet cities and towns became officially closed to foreigners (including the citizens of socialist countries) by the end of the 1970s (eleven of them existed in Ukraine, two in Estonia, more than forty – in Russia). Despite the official politics of détente (a relaxation of international tensions between the Soviet bloc and western countries) during the 1970s and the 1980s, the Soviet government still kept the development of its military industrial complex in secret, protecting the cities with military production from foreign guests. Problems of espionage, “deviational” behavior and “ideological pollution” bothered the local ideologists and the police. To some extent, the closed cities played a role of testing ground for various ideological campaigns of the Cold War, which later were used in open Soviet cities as well. For the Soviet politicians the “closed” cities became the “model” Soviet cities, and any of these politicians’ involvement in administration of the closed secret cities was an important justification of their ideological reliability in their successful political career. [13]

The closed cities created their own political lobby (predstavitel’stvo) in the Soviet government. Each “regime” secret city had its representatives in various offices of the central Soviet administration in Moscow. Beginning with the late Stalin era, after the World War II, a growing Soviet nomenklatura was structured, to some extent, according to the role of its elements in the organization of Soviet military industrial complex, which concentrated in the major Soviet closed cities. Even after Stalin, Soviet nomenclatura still reproduced a system of the secret closed society, which had already existed in the Soviet ZATO. The major figures in both Khrushchev and Brezhnev governments were related directly or indirectly to the various scientific and industrial programs of military production in the closed cities.[14] Leonid Brezhnev, who began his political career in Dnipropetrovsk, promoted the political career of his old friends from the closed city. Both contemporaries and scholars who study the “Brezhnev period” call this phenomenon of the rise of a group of politicians from Dnipropetrovsk the “Dnipropetrovsk Mafia” or rule of the “Dnipropetrovsk Family.”[15] Since a rise of Brezhnev to power, ruling elite of Dnipropetrovsk influenced not only regional, but also republican and All-Union politics. Brezhnev’s friends and close colleagues from his post-war years of rule in the region of Dnipropetrovsk went to Moscow and became prominent political figures in the Soviet nomenklatura hierarchy during the 1960s and 1970s. Two main industries of the Soviet military complex – the metallurgical and missile-building industries – had important factories in the region of Dnipropetrovsk. Therefore, the industry of Dnipropetrovsk provided the Brezhnev ruling team with new members from 1964 until 1982. The Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk became the location of the USSR Ministry of Black Metallurgy and of the largest Soviet missile-building factory, which offices were staffed with Brezhnev’s friends. Even after the “downfall of the Brezhnev clan” in Moscow in 1983, when Yurii Andropov began his struggle “with corruption and nepotism” among Soviet nomenclature, members of this clan still played a prominent role in the political life of the Soviet Ukraine. In 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev sent a special committee to check the political situation in Ukraine. This committee represented the department of Ukrainian party organizations at the organizational sector of the CPSU Central Committee. The report of the committee proved that 53% of Ukrainian executive officials came from Dnipropetrovsk.[16]

The third phase in a history of the Soviet closed cities began under a rule of Mikhail Gorbachev. During perestroika the Soviet leaders “opened” the “closed” cities. But unexpectedly, the local residents experienced more problems after “opening” their society than before. The collapse of imperial structures and economic connections destroyed a traditional and stable society of the closed society. Now a former closed Soviet society experienced the new post-Soviet developments, which led to the new, not ideological, but mainly economic, restrictions. These new restrictions were connected to the new national restructuring and state building in former Soviet republics. All this created various problems, which were reminiscent of the Soviet closeness, restricting economic and political actions of post-Soviet citizens. Now as many years before a population of post-Soviet space asked the same questions again: What is openness and what is closeness of modern society? How the processes of opening and closing a society are influenced by economic possibilities, cultural practices and ideological discourses? Recently, the system of external secrecy was almost eliminated, and locations of the former Soviet closed cities in Russia were mapped. However, the population in these cities is still afraid of being persecuted by FSB (former KGB) and other State security authorities for any indications of public activity or dissidence. Such authorities are still more than powerful in former closed cities. Soviet-time mechanisms to threaten people are still alive in minds of the people who live in these cities. Their fear and isolation from the world society are the reasons why such cities can be easily managed.[17]

After the collapse of communism, the political elites from the former Soviet secret cities still influence post-Soviet politics in former Soviet republics, such as Ukraine. By the middle of 1990s, the role of politicians from the closed city of Dnipropetrovsk in the political life of Ukraine increased. They used the same connections and pattern of political behavior of their predecessors in Brezhnev’s times. In the 1980s, representatives of “Dnipropetrovsk Mafia” made only 53% of ruling Ukrainian elite, by 1996, 80% of all major political leaders of the Ukraine came from Dnipropetrovsk. One Ukrainian president, Leonid Kuchma, two Ukrainian Prime Ministers, Pavlo Lazorenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, represented Dnipropetrovsk Mafia.[18] Even now, in 2012, when so-called Donetsk Mafia replaced Dnipropetrovsk Mafia in the Ukrainian politics and established its control over the political elite in Kyiv, politicians from a former rocket city still play an important role in the struggle for power in post-Soviet Ukraine. Many of Dnipropetrovsk politicians, like Serhiy Tihipko, collaborated or joined Donetsk Mafia. In this way, representatives of the former Soviet closed city still dominate post-Soviet politics.[19]

According to contemporaries, the major result of the closing of the Soviet industrial cities was a growing “envy of Moscow” among residents of the former secret cities and towns and rise of regionalism, which contributed eventually to the regional opposition to political center and produced political base for nationalist politics in non-Russian republics, like Ukraine and Estonia. It is true that quite an opposite movement also took place in the closed cities – sympathy for Moscow, identification of some groups among local population with political and cultural center of the entire Soviet Union. But overall, “envy for Moscow” prevailed among both elite and ordinary residents of the closed cities.

Since the Stalin era, the tensions between provincials and Muscovites created a unique and mass psychological phenomenon of mature socialism in the USSR known as “envy of Moscow.” This phenomenon was a purely Stalin’s legacy, a result of creation of Moscow as a show case of the socialist achievements for the entire Soviet Union. Ten years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in May 2001, Nikolai N. Bolkhovitinov, a famous Russian expert in a history of Russia-US relations noted, “According to Stalin, Moscow became a show case of mature socialism, demonstrating to the entire world the achievements and advantages of the Soviet system of closed socialism. All the best of socialism, including its culture, scholarship and science, was concentrated in Moscow. It was simultaneously a show case and epitome of the Soviet closed society.”[20] In September of 1999, Sergei N. Burin, a younger colleague of Bolkhovitinov, noted: “Envy has always been a fundamental element in constructing the Soviet personality since Stalin’s times. Beginning with Yuri Olesha, all Soviet writers noted this. Provincials, who lived in their own closed societies, envied Muscovites because Moscow was a real open city for them, and it had the better living conditions, etc. Muscovites envied provincials, if they made successful careers and traveled abroad. In my opinion, envy killed the Soviet Union, when the local intellectual elites from national republics transformed their envy of Moscow into their new national politics.”[21]

This envy of Moscow produced a new anti-Moscow folklore that initially began among military personnel of the military garrisons in the secret closed cities, and later on spread all over the Soviet Union. As early as the 1950s, provincials began calling Muscovites chmo (acronym from combination of the Russian words chelovek Moskvy i Moskovskoi oblasti – a resident of Moscow and Moscow region). According to the retired Soviet military officers, in the 1950s a sudden influx of the physically weak and effeminate, but smart, young conscripts from Moscow region into the Soviet Army, patrolling the secret nuclear closed cities around Moscow, resulted in their senior officers complaints about unpreparedness of these young soldiers from Moscow for the requirements of military service. Eventually, Soviet military officers from the garrisons in the closed cities used acronym chmo in their documents to mark the names of the conscripts from Moscow and Moscow region. In the 1960s and the 70s this acronym left the closed society of military garrisons from the secret cities, penetrated first the “wide Soviet army circles,” then reached the Soviet civilian population, and became a popular word used to characterize any weak and effeminate male character. As a result, people forgot about the origin of this term, which was directly related to the military personnel of the Soviet closed society.[22] Traditionally, provincial population in the USSR distanced themselves from Muscovites, using various bad words, including chmo. Through the entire Soviet history, provincial intellectual elites tried to join Muscovite elite. If they failed to do so, they eventually also began developing certain anti-Moscow feelings. So-called “envy of Moscow” became a significant element in formation of the regional opposition among local elites to Moscow, especially in non-Russian republics of the Soviet Union. And both national and even Russian-speaking elites from the former closed cities took an active part in their political opposition to Moscow from the late 1980s through the 1990s. In this way, a growing regionalism with a leadership formed basically in the closed Soviet society became a major element of national movements in non-Russian republics of the former USSR.[23]


[1] Nadezhda Kutepova and Olga Tsepilova, “A Short History of ZATO,” in Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Edited by Michael Edelstein, Maria Tysiachniouk, Lyudmila V.  Smirnova (Amsterdam and Oxford: Elsevier JAI, 2007), 148-149, compare with other articles in this collection; Carl Abbott, “Building the Atomic Cities: Richland, Los Alamos, and the American Planning Language,” in Bruce Hevly and John M. Findlay, eds., The Atomic West (Seattle:  University of Washington Press, 1998): 90 ‑ 115. Compare with Ted van Arsdol, Hanford, the Big Secret (Pasco, WA: Columbia Basin News, 1958).

[2] Alan M. Ball, Imagining America: Influence and Images in Twentieth-Century Russia (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Litlefield, 2003), see especially 23-117.

[3] Stephen. Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 42, 47, 52, 362-363.

[4] See a comparison of the American and Soviet secret cities by Kate Brown, “Griddled Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana Are Nearly the Same Place,” The American Historical Review, February 2001, Vol. 106, No.1, 17-48. Her new book, Plutopia, about American and Soviet “closed” cities will be published by Oxford University Press next year.

[5] Christopher Simpson, “Introduction,” Universities and Empire: Money and Politics in the Social Sciences during the Cold War, Edited and Introduced by Christopher Simpson (New York: the New Press, 1998), xvi, xx. Compare also with Michael R. Edelstein, “Sustainability and the need to deal with the contaminated legacy: a comparison of Russia and the U.S.,“ in Cultures of Contamination.

[6] See the first reference to the problem of the Soviet closed cities in western scholarship in Victor Zaslavsky, “Ethnic Group Divided: Social Stratification and Nationality Policy in the Soviet Union,” in The Soviet Union: Party and Society, edited by Peter Joseph Potichnyj (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 224ff. Compare with Nadezhda Kutepova and Olga Tsepilova, “A Short History of ZATO.” Compare with another article by Nadezhda Kutepova, a Russian sociologist from the closed city of Ozersk in English translation in

[7] See for example a web site: I used also information from my interview with Igor T., retired KGB officer, Dniepropetrovsk, May 15, 1991.

[8] Dnepropetrovskii raketno-kosmicheskii tsentr: Kratkii ocherk stanovlenia i razvitia. DAZ-YuMZ-KBYu: Khronika dat i sobytii (Dniepropetrovsk, 1994); Dnipropetrovs’k: vikhy istorii, Ed. by A. G. Bolebrukh et al. (Dnipropetrovs’k, 2001), 209-211, 229. See also: Yurii Lukanov, Tretii presydent: Politychnyi portret Leonida Kuchmy (Kyiv, 1996), 13; Zemni shliakhy i zoriani orbity. Shtrykhy do portreta Leonida Kuchmy, Ed. by V. P. Gorbulin et al. (Kyiv, 1998), 6, 24-31. On the Soviet concept of the “closed” cities, such as Perm, Kuibyshev and others, especially Akademgorodki, during late socialism see Paul R. Josephson, New Atlantis Revisited: Akademgorodok, the Siberian City of Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); on Dniepropetrovsk region see Vladimir A. Kozlov, Neizvestnyi SSSR. Protivostoianie naroda i vlasti 1953-1985 gg. (Moscow: OLMA-PRESS, 2006), 408-416, on Saratov see Russia’s Sputnik Generation: Soviet Baby Boomers Talk about Their Lives, Translated and edited by Donald J. Raleigh (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006), 7, 13-14, 37-38, 66ff.


[9] See in Compare with my interview with Ivan Mikhailovich K., a retired colonel of the Soviet Army, June 3, 1990, Kyiv, and interview with Valentin V. Piskarev, a retired colonel of the Soviet Army, March 12, 1991, Moscow.

[10] Interview with Mykola P., a retired KGB officer, Cherkassy, Ukraine, July 7, 2007, and interview with Igor T., retired KGB officer, Dniepropetrovsk, May 15, 1991.

[11] See about this in Karl D. Qualls, From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II, (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2009), and my review of this book in Journal of Contemporary History, 2011 (April), Vol. 46, 461-464. See especially my interview with Igor T., retired KGB officer, Dniepropetrovsk, May 15, 1991.

[12] See about this story in my recent book: Sergei I. Zhuk, Rock and Roll in the Rocket City, 18-32. This city was opened again only in 1987, during perestroika. About tourism in the closed cities see ibid., 280-302.

[13] See Nadezhda Kutepova and Olga Tsepilova, “A Short History of ZATO,” and my Rock and Roll in the Rocket City, 23-26.

[14] Compare my interview with Igor T., retired KGB officer, Dniepropetrovsk, May 15, 1991, with Karl D. Qualls, From Ruins to Reconstruction, 84, 171. About nomenklatura and the closed society see Mikhail Voslenskii, Nomenklatura (Moscow: Zakharov, 2005 [1st ed.: 1990]), 110-175, Rezhimnye liudi v SSSR, edited by T. Kondratieva, A. Sokolova (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2009), and Nikolai Mitrokhin, “Apparat TSK KPSS v 1953-1985 godakh kak primer ‘zakrytogo’ obshchestva,” idem, “’Strange People’ in the Politburo”, 869-896.

[15] Ukrains’kyi Nezalezhnyi Tsentr Politychnykh Doslidzhen’. “Dnipropetrovs’ka sim’ia”: Informatsia stanom na 25 lystopada 1996 roku, Ed. by V. Pikhovshek et al. (Kyiv, 1996); Bohdan Nahaylo, The Ukrainian Resurgence (Toronto, 1999), 36, 69; Andrew Wilson, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (New Haven, 2000), 162.; Leonid M. Mlechin, Brezhnev, 387ff.

[16] Dnipropetrovsk vs. Security Service, Ed. by Vyacheslav Pikhovshek et al. (Kyiv, 1996), 8. During the Brezhnev era, the closed city of Dniepropetrovsk provided Moscow with influential members of Soviet nomenklatura. Thus, Nikolai Tikhonov, a former head of Dnipropetrovsk Sovnarkhoz during the 1930s, ruled the Soviet Union from 1980 to 1985 as the head of the USSR Council of Ministers. He was also one of the deputies of the Soviet Prime Minister between 1966 and 1976, and the First Deputy of the Prime Minister from 1976 to 1980. Nikolai Shcholokov, who began his career in the secret city, was the All-Union Soviet Minister of Public Order during 1966-1968 and from 1968 to 1982 he was the USSR Minister of Interior. Georgii Tsynev, who also came from Dniepropetrovsk, worked as one of the deputies of the head of the KGB from 1970 to 1982. During 1971-1976, he was also a member of the Central Revision Committee of CPSU. Tsynev was the First Deputy of the head of the KGB from 1982 to 1989. Victor Chebrikov, who graduated from Dniepropetrovsk Metallurgical Institute in 1950, was one of the leaders of the city party organization in Dniepropetrovsk from 1961 to 1971. In 1971 he became the head of the personnel department of the USSR KGB and the First Deputy of the Head of this organization. From 1982 to 1989 Chebrikov was the head of the KGB.

[17] See

[18] See in: “Dnipropetrovs’ka sim’ia”, 15.

[19] See about this in my Rock and Roll in the Rocket City, and N. Penchuk, Serhiy Pantiuk, Yevhen Zolotariov, Andriy Yusov and Vitaliy Zahaynyi eds., Donetska Mafiya. Perezavantazhenniya (Kyiv: Serhiy Pantiuk and Pora, 2007).

[20]  My interview with Nikolai N. Bolkhovitinov, May 21, 2001, Moscow.

[21] My interview with Sergei N. Burin, September 5, 1999, Moscow. Burin referred to a famous short novel by the Soviet Russian writer, published in 1927. See its English translation: Yuri Olesha, Envy, Translated by Marian Schwartz (New York, 2004).

[22] Interview with Ivan Mikhailovich K., a retired colonel of the Soviet Army, June 3, 1990, Kyiv, and interview with Valentin V. Piskarev, a retired colonel of the Soviet Army, March 12, 1991, Moscow. These officers explained the origin of the word chmo. Compare with my interview with Vladimir G. Donets.

[23] See a good detailed analysis of the recent scholarship about center and periphery in Soviet and post-Soviet history in Stephen Lovell, Shadow of War: Russia and the USSR, 1941 to the Present (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 176-204, and 338-342, compare with his analysis of “National questions” in ibid., 205-247, and 342-347. See about this in my book: Sergei I. Zhuk, Rock and Roll in the Rocket City, 210-211, especially 278-279.

By Sergei Zhuk

A former Soviet expert in US history, especially in the social and cultural history of colonial British America, Dr. Sergei Zhuk, moved in 1997 to the United States, defended his new (now American) Ph.D. dissertation about imperial Russian history at Johns Hopkins University in 2002. Now Sergei Zhuk is Associate Professor of Russian and East European History at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. His research interests are knowledge production, cultural consumption, religion, popular culture and identity in a history of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union.

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