Russia: Restoring the Patronymic

Moscow is facing up to family problems. Russia's rulers have never quite been able to decide what role the family should play in their master plan for the ideal state. Marx defined the family as "antiquated" and predicted that it would vanish along with capitalism; the Bolshevik coup in 1917 thus brought casual mating and divorce, and a brief fling at free love. The man who stopped it was that formidable patriarch Joseph Stalin, who proclaimed that the family was "the basic cell of society" and put himself on the side of old-fashioned peasant virtue. But even Stalin was not...

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