Author Archives: Mark B. Smith

About Mark B. Smith

Lecturer in modern history at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Property of Communists: The Urban Housing Program from Stalin to Khrushchev (Northern Illinois, 2010). His new project investigates the development of all aspects of a "welfare state" in late imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. It positions original research on the Russian example in the context of wider explanations concerning the emergence of new social rights and social policies in twentieth-century Europe.

Social Rights in the Soviet Dictatorship: The Constitutional Right to Welfare from Stalin to Brezhnev

The Soviet constitutions of 1936 and 1977 defined a wide range of social rights. Yet the Soviet Union was a dictatorship, and even in the 1970s internal and external critics alike denied the existence of any form of rights there. Smith seeks to explain how and why constitutional rights to welfare became an important element in Soviet public culture from 1936, but in the reality of citizens’ everyday lives only from 1953. He draws precise distinctions between the meaning of social rights in the dictatorships of the Stalinist and post-Stalinist eras.