Continuous work without a weekend; this is how the then-Soviet Union experienced it for 11 years. Comrade Stalin believed that Sunday posed a threat to industrial progress.
For Soviet proletarians, until the fall of 1929, Sunday was a day off. It was a reward for six working days. You could be with your family, go to church, or clean up after all. But in the sight of the Soviet government, Comrade Stalin, Sunday posed a threat to industrial progress. The machines were idle, productivity dropped to zero, and people got used to bourgeois comfort. This was contrary to the ideals of the revolution, and a continuous working week introduce. Why, then, an experiment so successful in theory failed in practice?
September 29, 1929, was the last Sunday, which was a day off. On the following Sunday, such a collective pause did not happen. By the ordinances of the government of the Soviet Union, 80% of the workers send to the machine. Only 20% remained at home. For all working people, the practice of a continuous work process or a seven-day working week began. Rest days now scatter throughout the week. The schedule was proposed by the Soviet economist and politician Yuri Larin. Machines should never be idle.
The interruption means revolutionizing the concept of work, increasing productivity, and making religious worship too troublesome. Everything looked great in theory, but in practice, the project failed on almost every count. Some changes have been made to it. In 1931, the cycle extended to six days. In the end, after 11 years of trial and error, the project was scrapped in June 1940. The labor revolution did not work out.
What was the “continuous”?
Unlike a typical seven-day week, a continuous week began as a five-day cycle. Each of these days marks a specific color and symbol on the calendar. The population was divided into groups, each of which had its day to rest. Days of the week, so familiar and familiar, gradually lost all meaning. Instead of a name, each of the five new days was marked with a symbolic, politically relevant subject.
These were: a sheaf of wheat, a red star, a hammer and sickle, a book, and a hat. The calendars of those times show days marked with colored circles. These circles indicated when to work when to rest. It was the most extensive shift schedule in human history.
Fair popular discontent
From the very beginning, things didn’t go the way they wanted. The working class was dissatisfied with the innovation. Proletarians wrote letters to newspapers, to various party organizations that such a schedule nullifies the whole meaning of the day off. People were indignant: “What should we do at home if our wives are at the factory, children at school, friends and relatives at work? It is not a day off if you need to spend the whole day alone at home. “The workers not only could not rest usually, but it was also impossible even to get together with their families.
All this destroyed any economic bonuses of such a system. A dissatisfied person cannot work fully with total dedication. The social sphere and culture also began to suffer—inability to gather the whole family, a complication of religious worship. Holidays have entirely disappeared from the life of workers. Instead, the illusion of intense work was born. There are reports of family problems caused by a continuous week. In those years, it became common to mark your friends and acquaintances in address books with a specific color depending on when they had a day off.
Sociologist and author of The Seven-Day Circle: The History and Significance of the Week, Eviatar Zerubawel, argues that calendar reform may be related to traditional Marxist aversion to the family. Making the family units of society less integrated and cohesive may even have been a conscious part of the plan. In the absence of technology, says Zerubawel, temporal symmetry is the glue that holds society together. There was no general leisure here. Without him, it was easier for the Soviet state to divide and rule
It is more likely that the nonstop was trying to attack another area of the life of Soviet workers. If the Soviet government were concerned only with economic losses, it would have been enough to introduce seven days. With the experimental-oriented schedule, there were more days off per year than before. Maybe the target of this attack was Sunday, as a traditional day for going to church?
In the end, the workers’ complaints take into account. Another reform carries out to make it simpler for families to communicate and spend time together. In March 1930, the government issued a decree establishing general days off for members of the same family.
Still, the fight against opium for the people?
The theory argued that a continuous week would make religious worship nearly impossible. Without Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, Muslims, Jews, and Christians could not attend services. It was considered the winning result of the Soviet government’s two-year campaign against religion.
Therefore, innovations that could break the influence of religion on the minds of people greet with enthusiasm. At first sight, it may seem ridiculous that creating such inconveniences can eradicate faith in God in people. But the party functionaries thought it was possible. Moreover, no one had ever tried anything like this before, so no one knew how it worked. The idea failed, like everything else. No restrictions could affect people’s faith. Although many stopped going to church on Sundays, it was not possible to completely eradicate religion.
Among other things, outside the big cities, entire population groups leave outside the scope of the calendar reform. The continuous week hardly touched them. In rural areas, collective farmers were engaged in planting and harvesting, caring for livestock, and this in no way lends itself to the influence of the days of the week. Far from the country’s bureaucratic urban centers, rural life continued in much the same way as before. True, many collective and state farms have made it a rule to cancel both new secular public holidays and traditional days of worship. Officials complained that conventional habits still influenced the peasants.
The legacy of a continuous week
It isn’t easy to pinpoint the full impact of a continuous week on society. After all, this was only part of a vast cultural and political upheaval brought about by Soviet industrialization. The reform widened the gap between the city and the countryside. After all, life in the villages proceeded in a completely different rhythm and obeyed other laws. Around this time, internal passports introduce to control rural migration. The peasants tried to escape from the terrible conditions and move to the city.
Eleven years of life in the Soviet Union passed under the sign of chaos. The calendars of the period were confusing and strange. Public transport worked on a five-day cycle, many businesses six days, the stubborn rural population traditionally seven days a week. In the end, the reform ultimately failed. Labor productivity fell to historic lows. Continuous use led to rapid wear of working machines. As far back as 1931, it became apparent that so-called shared responsibilities often meant that no one took responsibility for their work tasks. It is clear how detrimental this is to work in general.
June 26, 1940, Wednesday, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet announced the restoration of the seven-day cycle. Sunday has become a day off again. The attitude to the work process, the working ideology, so to speak, remained unchanged. For ordinary workers, dismissal from work, absenteeism, or being late for more than 20 minutes was punishable by criminal liability. The punishment could be an authentic prison term.