The Value of a Ruble: A Social History of Money in Postwar Soviet Russia, 1945-1964


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation is a social history of the Soviet money economy after the Second World War. According to Marxist ideology, money would become obsolete with the transition to a communist society. However, as this dissertation shows, it became increasingly integral to the Soviet system during postwar reconstruction under Stalin and as the Soviet Union marched toward communism under Khrushchev. Though an examination of social security benefits, retail prices, real wages, taxes, fundraising, and family budgets, it charts the emergence of “the workers’ ruble,” a currency that was supposedly devoid of the exploitative economic relations Marx viewed as inherent to money, protecting the most vulnerable citizens, stretching further for ordinary workers, and delivering socialist prosperity.