those are the two I need you write peer review about:
“I chose question #3. In your opinion, which of the new freedoms enjoyed by Russians was the most important? Why? Why do you think one woman in the video called this period a “really confusing and difficult time for our country”?
Having freedom of expression was the most important change because it altered the whole culture in Russia: building new relationships, businesses, and atmosphere. It opened up a lot of new opportunities and revived all different forms of art and expression. Freedom of expression can give people new confidence and outlook on life. As Lyuba described in the video, it was something that could be clearly seen by people dancing in the streets. Citizens were also more expressive with their looks, as they talked about the clothing and mohawks in the clip. People were selling their art and performing music everywhere, which would not have been possible before Gorbachev. People being able to freely express their thoughts and opinions also made quite a large difference in society as the woman explained arguing with her family about Lenin being good or bad. This was a major societal change, which also created tension and confusion.
Continuing on the discussion of Lenin, people came around to their beliefs at different rates. Some generations never changed their beliefs, so it caused many issues within families and communities because people had new and differing views. This was one difficulty that many faced during this era. I believe another reason the woman may have found it to be a “really confusing and difficult time for our country” is because of the changing economy. In the video, the woman speaks about how difficult it was to buy food from stores because of the food rations. This is not only confusing but dangerous; it limits people to their basic needs. Food is base level on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; it must be met before anything else can truly be accomplished. This adds constant struggle to the citizens’ lives. They are confused because of how much and how quickly things are changing, but it is made substantially worse because this shortage of food puts them and their families in danger, disorienting everyone, even more, clearly making it a difficult time. The changing economy and society were difficult in many ways. The first man that spoke in this video, Andrei, explained his back and forth situation with the communist party(him attempting to join to further his career, them rejecting him, then the party wanting him, and finally him rejecting them). The constant shifts that were happening in this time made it difficult to know what was really happening as the government was changing. It was confusing for all parties, not knowing how things were going to be changing and who would triumph. “
“1) I noticed a lot of the questions stayed quite political. At about the 5:00 mark a woman mentioned that things political have been covered by politicians over and over again, and that the discussion should move away from politics. However, much of the teleconference involved talk about militarization, roles in Afghanistan and Vietnam, issues of women’s rights and abortion, and the presence of missiles within Europe. I was surprised by a complete lack of mundane questions asking about life in each others country.
This lead me to feel a small sense of antagonism between the US and the USSR going both ways. Some of the questions seemed filled with accusations. Around the 37:00 mark a counter accusation is made on the US invading other countries just as the USSR had and to provide reasons as well. Also at the 6:00 there was antagonism towards the USSR on their freedom of speech, and at 16:00 where the freedom to protest was questioned. They were not learning about each other as much as they were accusing each other.
At the end of the teleconference it was clear, and this definitely the most memorable moment for me, that most of the antagonism was based of accusations, assumptions, false information, and most importantly a difference in culture. At 45:00 Vladimir brought up that both the US folks and USSR folks asked questions in a way that reflected the question, “why do you not act as we do?” There was not at this point an understanding of different culture. There must come an understanding that we are not the same, we are different, and each of our experiences and culture are just as valid as another’s.
This finally comes full circle to the last question of, do the Soviets seem content and happy in their lives? The answer that I saw was yes. Near the 19:00 mark someone mentioned that compared to the US they had the same things as us. They had the freedoms that the US had. Also at 8:00 a man mentioned “Why do you feel as we have no free speech?” That question of “what are we missing that you perceive us missing?” comes from a very Western way of thinking. Western ideas are the “correct” ideas in our eyes and we do not see other ways of life as valid normally. The Soviet men and women were content, they realized they had problems but so did the US. At 24:00 a woman asked if anyone had even been to the Soviet Union, because as they viewed themselves they were as happy as Americans and their way of life was not some alien thing.
Honestly when it comes to questions that would be asked today if a similar teleconference was held I would say it would almost be similar. While our access to more information might be much greater with the introduction to the internet that does not mean there is also still a plethora of misinformation through social media and news outlets. Questions I feel still would steer towards the political direction, and less towards a more personal and understanding direction. Lots of questions might be more “why this and that” than “how is this and that.” I also think there would still be a cultural barrier to understanding present as the Western mindset being ideal is still present today so trying to understand other cultures from the US still might prove difficult.”
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