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When Ayn Rand majored in history at a state university in the USSR, did she speak to anyone about her opposition to Communism?

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  1. According to Wikipedia and the Ayn Rand Lexicon, Ayn Rand in 1921 enrolled in Petrograd State University and majored in history.
  2. In 1924 she graduated from Leningrad State University (during her tenure there the university’s name was changed from “Petrograd” to “Leningrad”).
  3. I believe I have read that even in those university years, 1921 to 1924 (Ayn Rand would have been about 16 to 19 years old), Ayn Rand already was firmly opposed to Communist philosophy, even though she had not yet worked out her own alternative philosophy.
  4. So, this leads me to wonder how she handled herself in those university years.
  5. Did she remain silent about her disgust and hatred of Communist philosophy?
  6. Did she discuss her disgust and hatred of Communist philosophy in private with any professors or fellow students?
  7. In the classroom, was she bold and outspoken about her views of Communism?
  8. Once Ayn Rand became a writer and philosopher in the USA, did she ever speak or write about all this?
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  1. It is hard for me to imagine Ayn Rand, the creator of Howard Roark, ever remaining silent in the face of massive lies, delusions, and injustices that she recognized as such.
  2. But is that what she did, during her years majoring in history at a Soviet state university?
  3. But, if that is what she did, HOW did she do it?
  4. If that's what she did, how did she not just EXPLODE, so to speak? How could she bear it?
  5. But the first question is, did she ever communicate her views on Communism with anyone at her university? Is this known?
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It's not likely known by anyone. But how can you possibly think she would or should have spoken out?

If you understand her morality, then you know she would not act in any sacrificial way; and that certainly would have been sacrificial.

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Posted (edited)
  1. In the period of August 1921 to October 1924, I am not sure that saying critical things about Communist philosophy would, for a college student in USSR, necessarily lead to the student being expelled, imprisoned, or executed.
  2. Maybe in some cases these extremes did happen to dissident students, but I really don't know. That's why I'm researching this. I'd like to know.
  3. But it seems likely that it was risky, to some extent, for a college student in that time period to let themselves become known as a critic of Communist philosophy.
  4. Lenin died in January of 1924, and though the more brutal Stalin immediately succeeded him, it took Stalin some time before he got a firm grip on every institution in the USSR.
  5. Ayn Rand's novels "We the Living" and "Anthem" are known to be inspired by her experiences as a young adult in the USSR. The heroes and heroines of those fiction stories do resist the totalitarian regimes they live under.  
Edited by The Laws of Biology
Fixed typo.
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Posted (edited)
  1. My wild guess:
  2. Ayn Rand probably did resist the Soviet regime, by criticizing Communist philosophy to fellow students or some professors, while she was college student majoring in history at a state university in the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1924.
  3. But after she moved to the USA, she never spoke of this particular resistance, since speaking of it could have endangered her anti-Communist friends and allies who were still back in the USSR.  
  4. I make this wild guess since I cannot imagine Howard Roark, or the creator of Howard Roark, doing nothing and remaining silent, while going to university in the USSR, in the face of such philosophical falsehoods, frauds, and delusions.
Edited by The Laws of Biology
Added clarification
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@The Laws of Biology, some information about Rand's years in Russia can be found in Anne Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made (2010). Here's an excerpt:

"There had been a number of purges at the university since Rand arrived there in 1921. In the fall of 1922, for example, her eminent professor N. O. Lossky, along with his wife, his mother-in-law Mme. Stoiunina, and 220 other famous Russian academic philosophers and intellectuals were arrested for so-called anti-Soviet activity and deported on what came to be known as the “Philosophy Ship.” (On Mme. Stoiunina’s arrest, Rand’s alma mater the Stoiunin school closed its doors forever.) A year later, while she was in her third and final year, the university announced the largest purge yet of “socially undesirable elements” among the students. She was one of four thousand students expelled, a third of the student body, some of whom—“young boys and girls I knew” she later said—were sent off to die in Siberian prison camps. She was officially charged with “not fulfilling academic requirements,” but this was merely code for belonging to a prerevolutionary middle-class family and not being an ardent-enough Communist. (In her first year, she, like Kira, made “all kinds of anti-Soviet remarks” before realizing that she was endangering her family and herself.) The purge and its chilling, academically stifling aftereffects are unforgettably portrayed in We the Living. Rand, however, unlike her heroine Kira, got an unexpected reprieve. When a group of visiting Western scientists heard about the student purge and complained to their Communist hosts, she and other third-year students were reinstated and allowed to graduate." (ch. 2)

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I remember something about university students being allowed per diem , coupons or script for food purchasing and that one reason to remain a student for her was to be able to help the family obtain food. I am pretty sure her own house was subdivided and the family was forced to live with strangers, in what was pre revolution their own dwelling. I can't recall  if these ancedotes are real and wholly without sources, but pretty sure.

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Between that book and what I remember:

1. She refrained from enough criticism to stay safe, especially given the importance of her dad as a popular pharmacist.

2. Long before she graduated, I believe her family was able to live alone.

There's no point iin pursuing this discussion further.

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