The article explores processes of group integration and disintegration among Soviet veterans of World War II during the first postwar decade. Approaches that focus on generation, legal privilege, formal organization, social mobility, or ideological outlook miss the considerable sociocultural complexity of this group. Between the end of mass demobilization in 1948 and the foundation of the Soviet Committee of War Veterans in 1956, former soldiers were integrated neither as a generation nor as a status group with formal privileges and their own organization (as would be the case in later years). What held them together was instead a shared sense of entitlement based on wartime sacrifice. During the first postwar decade, therefore, Soviet veterans are best understood as an "entitlement group." Only in the 1960s and 1970s was this entitlement group transformed into a status group that became one of the major pillars of the late Soviet order.
|Publication status||Published - 2006|