Essay on Utopia Gone Wrong

Submitted By Marthe16
Words: 2443
Pages: 10

Utopia Gone Wrong “Hard to be a god,” by Arkadi and Boris Strugatski, exemplifies the Stalinist era during the Soviet Union in the 1950’s. In this book, the authors used fictitious characters to illustrate the social inequalities of the 1950’s Russia. The title of the novel refers to the main character, Rumata, and his perception of the society he was observing. It was hard to be a model of a perfect idea, and he saw how the majority of the population in Arkanar struggled and how others did not have to work as hard.
Class systems arose as a conflict, which is ironic coming from a communist society. There was a class system apparent in the Soviet Union. The social structure consisted of the political government elite, white collar workers, blue collar workers, peasants and other agricultural workers. Party membership made up the ruling group who received political power, financial benefits and special privileges. And the other groups were composed mainly of workers, and their pay was determined by their social position, and usually those who were considered white collar had more prestigious jobs such as teachers or engineers, etc... This social class showed indications of instability, because children of the political elites or white-collar class were granted more benefits and better chance to receive education, while the lower class weren’t offered those same benefits or opportunities. Rumata observed the common people and also those that worked with the Bureaucrat. Those who worked with the Bureaucrat were more favored and weren’t given the position of hard labor such as farming. They did not have the burden of barely getting by to obtain the basic needs for adequate survival. In the novel, those who worked with the Bureaucrat spent a lot of time drinking alcohol. This shows that they had a plethora of time to spend and relax. They did not experience the stress and the hardship all the other common people struggled with on a daily basis. This social structure in Arkanar creates a conflict. In the novel, Don Tameo complained about how the nobility demanded the peasants, artists, and plebs to be forbidden to show their faces in public places and in the street. The peasants are experiencing discrimination. Some acts include forcing the peasants to use the courtyards and back entrances and obtain a special permit from the government to be able to deliver wine or meat. There is a wide gap between the bureaucratic members and the peasants, and it affects society in a way that creates injustice. Rumata also experiences some injustice by surprise. He is arrested by Don Reba’s men and brought to be questioned. Don Reba explains that he has been examining him and can’t understand his reason to be in Arkanar. Rumata acquires the best fighting skills, but hasn’t yet killed one person. People of the state are solely focused on killing people for anything.
A certain group of people served the government as scapegoats. If issues arose that did not agree with the government’s plan, Kulaks would become a scapegoat. The term “Kulak” referred to the peasant farmers and was intended to be a derogatory term. Soviet propaganda showed the Kulaks as being greedy and standing in the way of the “utopian” collectivization that would remove their land, livestock and produce. In the novel, the ones to blame for the afflictions in Arkanar were all the educated. Once Rumata arrived at Arkanar, he noticed that everyone was fleeing from the planet because they were being accused or persecuted. Don Reba is the prime minister of Arkanar and the person who initiated this hatred against the educated. From the novel, Don Reba represents Stalin. The educated included the scientist, the artists, and poets, etc… Rumata states that if a state prosecutes all the people, society will start to rot. Without the help of sciences, the state cannot develop, and it will be behind its neighboring countries. Without art and culture, the state will lose its identity.