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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

20 - Science, technology and modernity

from Part II - Russia and the Soviet Union: Themes and Trends


Science and technology occupy a central place in the history of all modern states, but their role is particularly significant in twentieth-century Russia. The Soviet Union made a massive effort to overtake the West in the development of technology. Science and technology were integral to the Soviet claim to offer a vision of modernity that was superior to that of Western capitalism. Although there was a significant group of conservative scientists and scholars in Russia, and a small number who supported the revolutionary parties, most scientists were liberal and reformist in their political outlook. Relations with the government remained tense after the Revolution of 1905. In 1918 the Bolsheviks established the Socialist Academy to encourage the development of Marxist social science. Radar development was resumed during the Second World War, and rocket development at the end of the war. Encouraged by success in nuclear weapons development and space flight, the post-Stalin leaders placed great hopes in science and technology.
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