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Book Talk | Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction in the Postwar Soviet Union

Date & Time

Jan. 26, 2023
8:30am – 9:30am ET


Online Only


On August 15, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin revived the title “Mother Heroine.” It is well known that originally the Soviet government introduced the title as a part of the 1944 Family Law, its pronatalist policy after World War II. Less known is the fact that Nikita Khrushchev, Party Secretary of depopulated Ukraine, wrote the policy to address the skewed postwar sex ratio by encouraging out-of-wedlock births. In this book talk, Mie Nakachi will present her book Replacing the Dead and examine the hidden process that created a law undermining the well-being of women and children, while fundamentally affecting Soviet family and gender relations for generations. She will argue that women’s quiet mass resort to illegal abortion eventually mobilized Soviet doctors to recognize women’s right to abortion and push through legalization in 1955. Michele Rivkin-Fish will join the conversation as a discussant.

Hosted By

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

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