A time of great hardship, the Second World War became a consequential episode in the history of Soviet childhood policies. The growing social problem of juvenile homelessness and delinquency alerted the government to the need for a comprehensive child protection programme. Nevertheless, by prioritizing public order over welfare, the Stalinist state created conditions that only exacerbated the situation, transforming an existing problem into a nation-wide crisis.
In this comprehensive account based on exhaustive archival research, Olga Kucherenko investigates the plight of more than a million street children and the state's role in the reinforcement of their ranks. By looking at wartime dislocation, Soviet child welfare policies, juvenile justice and the shadow world both within and without the Gulag, Soviet Street Children and the Second World War challenges several of the most pervasive myths about the Soviet Union at war. It is, therefore, as much an investigation of children on the margins of Soviet society as it is a study of the impact of war and state policies on society itself.
Olga Kucherenko is the author of Little Soldiers: How Soviet Children Went to War, 1941-45 (2011). She is currently working on a new project, investigating Anglo-Soviet relations in the 1940s.
Acknowledgments List of Illustrations Terms and Transliteration Abbreviations and Archive References Glossary Introduction Part I - Bezotsovshchina 1. Rolling Stones 2. The Crime Wave 3. The Great Migration 4. Efforts to Help 5. Coda Part II - Step-Motherland 6. Empty Promises 7. Forced Displacement 8. Making Labourers into Criminals 9. Law and Order Soviet Style 10. Coda Part III - In Beria's Care 11. State House 12. Maloletka 13. Challenges to Authority 14. Educating Through Labour 15. Coda Conclusion Appendix Select Bibliography Index