The website "Learning from History" is a publication platform
for educational projects (realized in schools
and in out-of-school, youth education)
dedicated to the history of Poland and its neighbors in the 20th century and human rights
Stalinism: Establishment of political regime and human rights
Location / Region: Moscow
Institution: KARTA Center
Patron / Project supervision: KARTA Center
Project authors: KARTA Center
Age group: High school
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KARTA Center,, tel. 0048 22 844 10 55

Introductory remarks

Learning module has been reflected for implementation during social studies lessons (lessons in Russian schools that include basics of economy, political sciences, philosophy and law) after aforesaid historical topic was studied. Therefore there is an opportunity to provide students with one more view or tool of analysis of historical and political processes often being omitted at history classes – human rights and their abusement. Such a connection may be given according to Michael Mann’s concept of classification of political regimes linking human rights and citizenship. 

Michael Mann divides pre-industrial European countries for two regimes (absolute monarchy and constitunal regime) and industrial European countries for 5 regimes (reformism, iberalism, fascism, authoritarian socialism, authoritarian monarchy). Compare: Mann M. Ruling Class Strategies and Citizenship // Sociology, Vol. 21. No. 3. Р. 339–354 (1987).

The author of the learning module had in mind some of the suggestions of combining history and human rights education created by KARTA, such as giving students comparisons of institutions, acts of law and everyday life initiatives related to human rights trying to encourage their analysis of the presence.

The facilitator should say in the introduction and while the reflection of the topic that human dignity and the right to have rights is not something that has existed for a very long time. It is not even something guaranteed forever. Thus Stalinism was not democratic regime instead of one of the most democratic Constitution in the world for those times. How could it be? Is the law always guarantees respect for human rights? Can we learn anything from that period? For next three lessons we will try to give our own answers.  

Three questions should accompany all the learning module parts and be in final reflection:

1. Who benefits and why?

2. Who suffers and why?

3. How did this situation become possible?

The facilitator should understand the lack of studies for these topics to be connected while a lot of materials and visual aids can help during preparation and realization of the learning module. Moreover before the lesson the facilitator should be informed about students’ knowledge background concerning human rights in general.

The learning module could not be shortened or extended because of fixed schedule and lesson plans in the high school so the work should go active and be done properly from both sides (facilitator and students).

The interpretation of political processes in history of the USSR in general and still the most debatable Stalin’s regime in particular has been revised for several times in Soviet society and still being revised in post-Soviet society of Russia. During this learning module teenagers who have never lived in Soviet Union are being encouraged to make their own opinion and attitude towards this period of political history.

Besides human rights topic was due to obvious reasons never mentioned enough during the educational process in Soviet schools and universities and is still not widespread. 

Methods always depend on aim and target group. The aforesaid aims and target groups intend methods to be diversified and changing to help students stay active and interested for the whole module.

Group work gives an opportunity to share opinions for more complicated questions; pair work makes possible to overview a variety of visuals aids for a short time; individual work at home means every student has an ability and enough time for a deeper knowledge of a personal history.

The facilitator should stick to the time and therefore make tasks and time provided for solution clear for students.

Learning module can be finished with the excursion to the Perm-36, museum of political repressions.

Learning module can be downloaded on the right side of the Website as a „Document”.

Photo: 1939, Poland. People with propaganda posters. One of them is a poster with Józef Stalin, the second one is a poster of W. Koriecki with the "free" peasant kissing with the soldier of the Red Army. Archive of the KARTA Center [Signature: oryginalna 0-19455].

Didactic text
The educational process is often being simplified to didactics and training itself instead of development of personality and his/her ability to self-thinking and critical analysis especially in social disciplines. So the author tries to add tasks that would help to work with various sources of information (historical and archive documents, statistical data, personal diares and ...
Analyzing propaganda
Human rights