Night Historical Context

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Tolstaya began writing when she was about thirty-two years old, in the mid-1980s, a turbulent period of Russian history. One primary reason for the country's unsettled mood was that, after more than sixty years of continued official oppression, change was in the air. The Soviet Union's new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, initiated a novel policy of openness referred to as glasnost. The Soviet Union was in the middle of severe economic crisis, and some were even questioning the government's legitimacy. Gorbachev believed that immediate social reforms, including increased government openness, were the only way to save the country.

Before the initiation of Gorbachev's policies, the Soviet government subjected dissidents and protesters to political trials, accusing them of anti-Soviet agitation and treason. They were often sentenced to internal exile, prisons, or psychiatric hospitals, or even forced to leave their homeland. Prisoners faced harsh physical environments, severe work...

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This section contains 437 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Night Study Guide
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Night from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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