Primary Sources

Divorce in the Soviet Union


One of Mikhail Gorbachev's most famous reform movements was 'glasnost' (openness), which allowed partial freedom of the press to address social problems and corruption within the Soviet Union. Among the issues raised during the 'glasnost' era of the Soviet Union were social problems, including previously forbidden subjects such as the high rate of divorce. An example of this is the following poster, with its plaintive cry from the child in the foreground: "And what about me?" The father in the background seems to have some sort of illness, possibly as a result of alcoholism or one of the many other difficulties associated with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The mother seems to have a large bruise on her face, suggesting spousal abuse. While these parents have an unhappy marriage, the poster reminds the viewer the greater damage is done to their child from their divorce. With this focus on the individual, human cost of divorce, rather than a social crisis as an attack on the state or the Communist Party, the Soviet government can publicly address genuine social problems in a more direct way.


"And how about me?", Soviet Union, courtesy of the Wende Museum, 1988.

How to Cite this Source

"Divorce in the Soviet Union," Making the History of 1989, Item #18, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:27 pm).