Date of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





Committee Chair

Brian LaPierre

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Alison Abra

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Heather Stur

Committee Member 3 Department



The Communist Party of the Soviet Union's 1961 Third Party Program and its "Moral Code of the Builder of Communism" dictated that Soviet society would be transformed into a Communist utopia over the course of twenty years. As part of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's larger reform program, the "Moral Code" detailed the ideal characteristics of future Communists while also outlining their relationships with each other, the collective, and the state. Recently, scholars such as Deborah Field and Susan E. Reid have begun to address the tensions between public and private life that characterized this period. Both find that the state actively sought to intervene in the lives of Soviet citizens. Additionally, Miriam Dobson and Brian LaPierre have stressed the presence of illiberal currents in the Khrushchev era, finding that this period featured greater repression and state control, as opposed to the traditional interpretation of the era as a time of liberal reform and greater freedom of expression. Utilizing the drafts of the Party program, suggestions submitted to the Party, contemporary articles and editorials, and the relevant secondary literature, this thesis argues that the ambiguity surrounding the "Moral Code of the Builder of Communism" created an opportunity for public participation and debate, which Soviet men and women used to forward their own gender ideals, even those which ran counter to the liberal ideas of the Thaw era and called for greater intervention in the family and the workplace.