Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q:What is Seventeen Moments in Soviet History?
A:Our web site is designed to introduce students and the general public to the richness and contradictions of Soviet history. It has chosen 17 years and provided a cross-section of Soviet life at that time. It covers politics, society, culture and economics, and seeks to enable its users to experience a given time through the words, sounds and sights that a common Soviet citizen would have encountered. We hope with this web site to help students and readers understand the more complicated truth about Soviet history, that at all time, the Soviet Union offered experiences of great good and great evil. Soviet citizens were forced to understand them as a whole. The object of this web site is to give users a sense of what this total experience was like, using the original words of the participants. We have selected from Soviet history seventeen moments - following the title of a beloved spy series of the seventies - almost at random but not entirely.
Q:What software do I need to use the site?
A:Seventeen Moments can be used with Windows, Macintosh or Linux-based computer systems. Most browsers will be able to display the materials on the site. The most reliable browsers will be Internet Explorer or Firefox; and regardless of the browser you use, we recommend that you update it to the latest version to take advantage of all the features of the site.
Q:What are the main sections of the website?
There are over 200 subjects on this website that explore the politics, economics, culture and society of the USSR. Each subject features a brief introductory essay written by a scholar. Users can also explore primary source texts, images, music and videos that are connected to the subject. You may navigate the subjects by year or by theme. Subjects are always listed in the left column on the website, and above the column users can choose their navigational scheme.
Subject essays serve as brief, general introductions to the website's over 200 subjects. Essays appear as soon as you have chosen a year or theme and click on one of the subjects listed in the left column. You may click on the print icon to print out the essay or on "Add to Syllabus" to create an HTML syllabus that links to this page for students
There are over 1400 images in www.soviethistory.org from published and archival sources. The link to images is located right under the subject heading in the left column. Many images are presented with a short description and some translated text, and we have included the date and source of the image whenever possible. Click on the image icon for a larger view. An arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the enlarged image will allow you to scroll through all images for a given subject.
Photo essays are groups of images that tell a compelling story when viewed together, and they are available for some, but not all, subjects. If there is a photo essay, you will see a link under the subject heading in the left column. All photo essays are presented with short descriptions and sources, and may include some translated text. Click on the link to view the photo essay, and progress through the images by clicking on the arrow to the bottom right.
This feature is under development. It provides Google maps of sites of particular importance to understanding a given subject. Users cannot place map links on the site themselves. If you would like a map for a particular location to be on the site, use the "Contact Us? link at the bottom of the page to make a request.
There are over 270 video clips featured on the web site. Most of them were taken from the former Soviet newsreel archive in Krasnogorsk. Others are taken from Soviet feature, documentary and propaganda films. They provide an immediate blast to the Soviet past, and they are available for most of the subjects. If there is a subject video, you will see a Video link under the subject heading in the left column. Clicking on the video link will reveal one or more videos, which are presented with a title, year, description and source. Subtitles play along with the videos.
Songs with translated lyrics are available for some subjects, and if there is subject music, you will see a Music link under the subject heading in the left column. Most songs play along with translated lyrics.
Over 600 primary source texts provide a rich background and detailed examples for the website's subjects. You will see a Text link to the right of the Subject Essay. Sources for these texts include newspapers, journals, legislation, memoirs, novels, poetry, and archival materials.
The Related Text link is located in the right column, under the Text link. Related texts are also primary sources that are relevant to the subject, but speak indirectly to the subject by providing background and context.
Q:What are the special features of the website?
For each of the 17 years, a Music Box link displays just under the year in the left column. Music Box contains 1100 Soviet songs, with every genre from rock and folk to pop, propaganda and classical. Once you have chosen a year and subject, Music Box will provide a broad selection of music from that era. You may click on the Music Box link and choose a particular song, or allow Music Box to play the songs at random. Music Box provides a great way for users to acquaint themselves with the rich musical traditions of the Soviet Union. If you wish to find a particular song, you can use the custom search function to search by title, performer, composer, lyricist or any other contributor to the song making process.
This pop-up feature defines historical terms and abbreviations and is located at the top of the left column. Terms are listed alphabetically by their Russian and English names and abbreviations, or any combination of those four.
This pop-up feature provides dates, photos and basic biographical information for over 600 people in Soviet history and is located at the top of the left column. Names are listed in alphabetical order by first name and by last name. Where possible, the names of authors of texts who are listed in the Personages pop-up are linked to the texts for students who wish to know more about the author of the text and their institutional biases.
The Bibliography provides a list of all published and archival material and of all external Web sites referenced in http://www.soviethistory.org. The Bibliography link is located at the top of the left column.
We encourage users to discuss topics (such as Soviet politics, history, and culture) in Forum. This is also a place where users can suggest published, archival and digital resources about the Soviet Union.
Q:Why can't I view the images or the photoessays?
A:To view images and photoessays, you will need to install Java software on your computer. To get this software, go to the Java website. You should also update your browser to its latest version.
Q:Why can't I view the videos or listen to the music and audio files?
A:To view videos and listen to the sound files, you will need to install Adobe Flash software on your computer. To get this software, go to the Adobe website
Q:How do I use the Search and Custom Search features?
A:The Search Box is located at the top of the left column. It allows you to search for terms and names mentioned throughout the website, and provides results by website category (Subject, Text, Media, Music Box, Glossary, Personages, and Bibliography), and ranks the results according to relevance. Users who wish to limit the scope of their search can use the Custom Search link located at the top of the left column. This allows you to limit your query by website category (Subject, Text, Media, Music Box, Glossary, Personages, and Bibliography). Custom search results are ranked according to relevance. Custom Search also provides a Wikipedia search box.
The search engine uses Boolean logic, the primary search terms for which are AND, OR and NOT. Other functions include use of an asterisk (*) to truncate search terms. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word to be affected. Words match if they begin with the word preceding the * operator. A phrase that is enclosed within double quote characters ("") will only find text that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
Q:What is the "Display current navigation item" function?
A:This function appears at the top of the left-hand navigation column when a user is exploring a particular topic or article. The feature allows you to see the current chosen navigation item if you are reading an article and you navigate through other years using the left navigation column. If you have forgotten where the article displayed in the middle column was originally found and want to know where you were, click on "current" and the navigation will return to the original location. For instance, if you are reading a 1961 article on Iurii Gagarin, and check back to 1936 to investigate Pilots and Explorers, clicking on Current Navigation will return the left navigation bar to 1961 - First Cosmonaut.
Q:What is My Syllabus?
A:This feature is designed for faculty members who wish to use our site for their course syllabus. Check the Teacher FAQ for more information.