I am wondering about Jone’s conclusions about the difference between Soviet people’s reaction to de-Stalinization in 1956 and 1961. She tells us that the evidence in 1961 suggests far less resistance than in 1956. Her first hypothesis is that the 1961 approach was not the “shock therapy” of the Secret Speech. Second, she asserts that the 1961 speeches “provided a coherent narrative of Stalinism, which dispensed with the moral ambiguity of the Secret Speech and couched key facts about Stalin within clear interpretive guidelines for its listeners” (57). Her final reasoning is that these moderate, factual accounts of 1961 silenced those who may still have qualms – it made them seem too harsh.
I think she should consider the counter-reaction of the party in her evaluation of reactions to de-Stalinization because that reveals fluidity of the power between the people and the State. With both de-Stalinizations we witness transferable balances of power.
Sensing a loss of control with the intense, iconoclastic, independent thought after the 1956 de-Stalinization, the party had to reign in that chaos with a strong hand of authority:
“This protest was quelled using a number of methods, including forceful propaganda, such as meetings where protesters were forced to listen to gruesome tales of the Terror, and the curtailment of ‘votes’ on renaming if protest looked likely to derail the vote, as happened at the city’s Pedagogical Institute” (58).
Stalin’s despotism had injected a spectre of authoritarianism that seemingly was unremovable from the Soviet project.