Filed Under Lesson Plan

"Soviet Regime Nurtured Me”

쏘베트 주권이 나를 양성 시기엇다 [Ssobet'ŭ chugwŏni narŭl yangsŏng shigiŏtta]

Ch’ŏn Si-ŏk, “Soviet Regime Nurtured Me [Ssobet’ŭ chugwŏni narŭl yangsŏng shigiŏtta.].” Sŏnbong (Vladivostok) Sept. 1, 1937. (Korean: 천시억. “쏘베트 주권이 나를 양성 시기엇다.” 선봉 (블라디보스톡) 1937년 9월 1일.)

A 25-year old author expresses their gratitude to the state for providing, mostly in assistance fee, when they and their family were going through some hardship. Despite the difficulties, the author portrays their journey of receiving education while working. It is ultimately a success story as the author ends the article by emphasizing they make 1000 rubles and live comfortably by working as a truck driver.

The piece comes from a newspaper, translated as Avantgarde, which has been in print since the early 1920s in Korean. It has many borrowed words from Russian. This particular newspaper was published in celebration of the International Day of Youth. International news especially about Japan, China, the US, and Spain. Pictures and photos/drawings - Gender? Labor? Production? Politics - fascism?

Significance


The support the Soviet regime provided - this could be a good springboard for a discussion about the nationality policies of the Soviet Union. The importance of education. What languages are used for education? The labor the youth are exposed to from an early age. The trajectory of their education and career. The context is important as it is the month that the Soviet Koreans would be deported roughly in about two weeks.

Issues of Notice

Author’s claim that their Russian was poor when they moved to Khabarovsk to attend a college of education. The treatment they received as an ethnically Korean minority and the opportunities they received were good. The definition of success and the role the Soviet Union played in it. The role of the youth in the Soviet Union.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the Soviet state view the role of the youth? Can we detect any concerns of the state regarding its ethnic minorities in the face of external threat (Japan, Germany, the US) despite its promotion of nationality policies?

  2. How does the author describe their life and success?

  3. Despite the fact that it is written in Korean, does the article reveal anything about the author’s “Koreanness” or Korean agenda apart from the Soviet ones?

Images

September 1, 1937 frontpage Front page of the *Sŏnbong* newspaper

Location

Metadata

Yee Rem Kim , “"Soviet Regime Nurtured Me”,” UCLA Korean History and Culture Digital Museum, accessed June 13, 2024, https://koreanhistory.humspace.ucla.edu/items/show/47.