In the 50s - the first half of the 60s. The Soviet Union has achieved great success in many industries. The national science was moving with great strides. In 1954, the first nuclear power plant in Obninsk was launched in the USSR. The system of the Academy of Sciences was developed. In 1957, a decision was made to create a large scientific center - the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The construction of a science campus (“Academgorodok”) began in the Novosibirsk region, which after a few years became the largest research center. At the same time, the process of creating branch academies was underway: medical, agricultural, pedagogical, architecture and construction.
Major successes were achieved by Soviet science in the field of atomic nucleus physics and semiconductor physics. In 1957, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the synchrophasotron, began operating in the country. At the same time, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research launched its research. Scientific development was accompanied by a process of personnel growth and in quantitative terms. According to official data, in 1950 in the USSR there were 162.5 thousand scientific workers, and in 1960 - 354.2 thousand.
This revolution in the minds of people occurred after the launch of the first Soviet satellite on 4 October 1957. A few years later, on April 12, 1961, Yu. A. Gagarin, on the Vostok spacecraft, made the first ever flight around the globe. Human space exploration began.
A significant proportion of the difficulties experienced by the peoples of the USSR in the 1950s and beyond were associated with the need to mobilize enormous human and material resources in order to complete scientific research and technical projects for the production of nuclear weapons in the shortest time possible. A large number of outstanding scientists were forced to deal with defense problems. Impressive results in this direction were achieved already at the beginning of the 50s. Thus, in 1954, an air-to-air missile was launched into the armament of fighter aviation of the Air Force, which was aimed at the target using a radar beam. In 1959, an air-to-air missile was put into service with the strategic aviation of the Air Force, which could be launched from a heavy bomber 200 km to the target and carry a nuclear warhead. In the same year, a group of scientists under the leadership of S. P. Korolev developed the mine version of the R-9 ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear charge.
The development of national culture in the "Khrushchev Decade" was largely influenced by political reforms. In the first half of the 50s. particular relevance acquired works of I. Ehrenburg, V. Dudintsev and several other authors.
The Twentieth Party Congress, which initially raised many hopes of the Soviet intelligentsia, did not mean a revision of the question of the place and role of the creative person in socialist society. The “thaw” in the cultural life of the country was sanctioned by the authorities and existed within certain limits.
Not being able to accept the remaining control over art, on May 13, 1956, the head of the Union of Writers of the USSR A. Fadeev committed suicide with a pistol shot at his country house in Peredelkino. In a suicide letter addressed to the Central Committee of the CPSU, a well-known writer noted that the art to which he devoted his whole life was "ruined by the self-confidently ignorant leadership of the party, and now it can no longer be corrected." Fadeev emphasized that to the current leaders he feeds "complete distrust," because one can expect "even worse than them from the satrap of Stalin. He was at least educated, and these are ignorant."
The party leadership, however, has taken a number of steps aimed at repealing individual decisions taken in the second half of the 1940s. and related to national culture. Thus, on May 28, 1958, the Central Committee of the CPSU approved the decree "On the correction of mistakes in the evaluation of the operas" Great Friendship "," Bogdan Khmelnitsky "and" From the Heart ". The document noted that the talented composers D. Shostakovich, S. Prokofiev, A. Khachaturian, V. Shebalin, G. Popov, N. Myaskovsky and others were oglu-nally named representatives of the "anti-people formalist movement." Evaluation of the editorial articles of the newspaper Pravda, which at one time aimed at criticizing these composers, was admittedly wrong.
Simultaneously with the correction of the mistakes of the past years, a real campaign of persecution by the famous writer B. L. Pasternak unfolded at that time. In 1955 he finished the great novel "Doctor Zhivago". A year later, the novel was handed over for publication in the magazines Novy Mir, Znamya, in the literary miscellany Literary Moscow, and also in Goslitizdat. However, the publication of the work was postponed under blag-like excuses. In 1956, the Pasternak novel appeared in Italy and was soon published there. This was followed by its publication in Holland and several other countries. In 1958, the author of the novel "Doctor Ji-wago" was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
The situation in which Pasternak found himself was, in his words, "tragically difficult." He was forced to give up the Nobel Prize. On October 31, 1958, Pasternak sent a letter to Khrushchev in which he spoke of his connection with Russia, emphasizing the impossibility of being outside the country for himself. On November 2, the writer's note was published in Pravda. A TASS statement was also posted there. It stated that "if B. L. Pasternak wished to completely leave the Soviet Union, whose social system and people he slandered in his anti-Soviet essay Doctor Zhivago, then the official bodies would not fix him with any obstacles. He will be given the opportunity to travel outside the Soviet Union and personally experience all the “delights of capitalist paradise”. ” By this time, the novel was published abroad already in 18 languages. Pasternak chose to stay in the country and not leave it, even for a short time. A year and a half later, in May 1960, he died of lung cancer. The Pasternak affair thus showed the limits of de-Stalinization. The intelligentsia was required to adapt to the existing order and serve them. Those who could not “reorganize” were eventually forced to leave the country. This fate did not pass by the side of the future Nobel laureate of the poet I. Brodsky, who began writing poetry in 1958, but soon fell into disfavor for his independent views on art and emigrated.
Despite the rigid framework in which the authors were allowed to create, in the early 60s. in the country was not published several bright works, which caused an ambiguous assessment even then. Among them is the story by A. I. Solzhenitsyn "One Day of Ivan Denisovich". The work was conceived by the author in the winter of 1950/1951, while he was at the general works in Ekibastuz Special Camp. The decision to publish a story telling about the life of prisoners was taken at a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU in October 1962 under personal pressure from Khrushchev. At the end of the same year, it was published in Novy Mir, and then in the Soviet Writer Publishing House and in the Roman Gazette. Ten years later, all these publications will be destroyed in libraries by secret instructions. Readers of the work of Solzhenitsyn divided into 2 opposing camps. Some expressed his "heartfelt thanks" to him for the truthful narration, while others expressed bewilderment about the publication. According to the latter, "Solzhenitsyn's story is an ordinary, mediocre work, something like a literary curiosity." However, even the polarity of the existing assessments of the artistic merit of Ivan Denisovich could not diminish the significance of the very fact of the appearance of this work.
In the late 50s. in the Soviet Union, the beginnings of a phenomenon emerged, which in a few years would turn into a dissidence. In 1960, the poet A. Ginzburg became the founder of the first "samizdat-ry" magazine called "Syntax", in which he began to print previously forbidden works of B. Okudzhava, V. Shalamov, B. Akhmadullina, V. Nekrasov. For agitation aimed at undermining the Soviet system, Ginzburg was sentenced to imprisonment.
Thus, the “cultural revolution” of Khrushchev had several facets: from the publication of the works of former prisoners and the appointment in 1960 as Minister of Culture, which seemed very liberal E. A. Furtseva to the pogroms of the very first secretary of the Central Committee. The meeting of party and government leaders with literary and art figures on March 8, 1963 was exemplary in this regard. During the discussion of the issues of artistic mastery, Khrushchev allowed himself rude and unprofessional remarks, many of which were simply insulting to creative workers. So, describing the self-portrait of the artist B. Zhutovsky, the party leader and the head of the government directly stated that his work is an "abomination", "creepiness", "dirty daub", which is "disgusting to look at." The works of sculptor E. Neizvestny were called Khrushchev "nauseous cooking." The authors of the film “Zastava Ilyicha” (M. Khutsiev, G. Shpalikov) were accused of depicting “not fighters and not world converters”, but “idlers”, “semi-decomposed types”, “parasites”, “geeks” and "scum". With his ill-conceived statements, Khrushchev only pushed away a large part of society and deprived himself of the credit of trust that he had received at the XX Party Congress.
In the field of education in the second half of the 50s. The Soviet Union has achieved significant success. In December 1958, a law was adopted to strengthen the school’s connection with life, concerning the further development of the public education system. Instead of seven years of study in the country, compulsory eight-year education was introduced. By 1963, this initiative was implemented everywhere. At the same time, the school received a "polytechnic" profile, which suggested a combination of education and labor activity, so that students had an idea of one or several professions. It is generally believed that the latter circumstance did not give positive results. Schools were not equipped with any modern equipment for teaching young people to working professions, and enterprises, in turn, could not carry out the “pedagogical burden” that had unexpectedly fell on them. The proposed system of education only worsened the general education of schoolchildren, without giving them professional skills.
The absurdity of the measures taken soon became apparent. In this regard, in August 1964, the period of vocational training after the 8th grade was reduced from three to two years. Thus, the school was not 11 years old, but 10 years old. In 1966, the Supreme Council adopted an addendum to the law of 1958, emphasizing that the school can provide vocational training to students only where there are necessary conditions for this.
The number of persons who have received secondary, general and special education, grew in the USSR with each year. This was facilitated by a network of day and evening vocational schools in cities and rural areas, where for 1-3 years, along with the specialty, young people acquired basic school education. If on the eve of the war the number of school graduates annually was about 468 thousand people, then in 1951-1955. it exceeded 1 million people, and in 1956-1960. - 1.7 million people.