Struggle for a “new” morality at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in the 1920s

Aspects of Russian society history

The goal of this study is to examine the struggle for a new morality in the Soviet society of the 1920s from the perspective of the life of students and professors at the Kalinin Polytechnic Institute. The tasks were solved using an individualizing method of interpretation of historical sources, allowing to concentrate on the individual and subjective, and the method of case studies, allowing to conduct a sample study of the problem on individual examples and reproduce the living atmosphere of the event. As a result of the conducted research, we came to the conclusion that in the first decade after the revolution, the universities were the scene of conflicts stemming from the difficulties in accepting the new morality and from breakdown of traditional structures. Despite all the attention of the authorities to these problems, in practice they were most commonly solved by organizing campaigns or demonstrative punishments. Various incidents were typically presented as attempts of attacks of the class enemy, denounced as “hooliganism”, “decadence” or “philistinism”. Such suppression instead of searching for objective reasons and adequate solutions only increased the tense atmosphere within the walls of institutes. The results of the study can be integrated into a number of courses on national history, history of education, sociology of education, used in the development of educational policy of the state to solve problems related to cultural and historical reasons for the development and evaluation of deviant behavior.