Goodbye, homo sovieticus: Considerations about the Svetlana Alexievich’s Documentary Novel Secondhand time




reportage, Soviet man, homo sovieticus, sovietism, totalitarianism, suffering


This article concerns the problem of the phenomenon of the Soviet man – a product of the Soviet era, who is a complex, ambiguous and tragic figure. Svetlana Alexievich devotes the fifth book in the series Voices from Utopia to the Soviet man. On one hand, people brought up by the “red” civilization (as Alexievich defines them) were shaped by participation in revolution, wars and violence, which makes them ready to inflict it. On the other hand, they are fanatically attached to communist ideals, even when they have failed them. They find it difficult to find themselves in the new reality. They are also incapable of using freedom, democracy and prosperity properly. The image of homo sovieticus in Alexievich’s documentary novel is depressing and sad – it is difficult to understand someone who has survived the camps, torture, loss of relatives and the collapse of the empire, who patiently endures suffering inanticipation of happiness that he has never known, and who misses the USSR with its imperfections and enslavement.


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How to Cite

Stępniak, A. (2023). Goodbye, homo sovieticus: Considerations about the Svetlana Alexievich’s Documentary Novel Secondhand time. Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Litteraria Rossica, (16), 155–167.