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Party Membership

Because the Bolsheviks initially defined themselves by their illegal underground activities, there was little fear that the party would attract unsuitable opportunists members. For most people, the dangers and difficulties of membership in the civil war period did not provide much incentive to join, although as early as 1919 the open-door policy was threatening the Party with an influx of careerists.  Recruitment constantly alternated with 'shifting out', and Party membership fluctuated. It was, however, in the 20s, a predominantly male party )only 7.5 per cent of its members were women in 1922, most of them politically inexperienced and without formal education).

Red Guards

Armed Bolsheviks detachments before the revolution, encouraged and funded by the Bolsheviks during the Provisional government.

The 'New Morality'

The ambiguous connotations of this phrase reveal much both of people's optimism and their fears about the way in which thier private sexual lives suddenly became so public after the revolution. It was used optimistically by those who welcomed the benefits of the humane marriage laws and divorce legislation, and the legalizing of abortion.  It was used derisively by many people in the Party for whom it meant free love and frivolous promiscuity. It is significant that in "Vasilisa Malygina," the fact that Vasilisa's marriage to Vladimir was a common-law, one was considered unimportant.

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