Stalin's control over Russia meant that freedom was the one thing that people lost. The people of Russia had to read what the state allowed, see what the state allowed and listen to what the state allowed. The state’s control of the media was total. Those who attempted to listen, read etc. anything else were severely punished. Everybody knew of the labour camps and that was enough of a deterrent. Stalin developed what became known as a "personality cult". Artists painted pictures glorifying Stalin and he dominated many pictures. It was not unusual for Stalin to be in a white suit so that he stood out from the crowd. He gained the nickname "Uncle Joe" which was an attempt to develop an image of a kind, homely man who was the ‘father’ of all Russians. This was all called "Social Realism". Those who wrote poems and novels had to do the same - write about Stalin in a manner which gloried him. Some artists and authors were so depressed by all this that they committed suicide rather than do what the state ordered them to do. Many others tried to leave the country.
Education was strictly controlled by the state. In 1932, a rigid programme of discipline and education was introduced. Exams, banned under Lenin, were reintroduced. The way subjects were taught was laid down by the government - especially History where Stalin’s part in the 1917 Revolution and his relationship with Lenin was overplayed. Books were strictly censored by the state and Stalin ordered the writing of a new book called "A short history of the USSR" which had to be used in schools.
Outside of school, children were expected to join youth organisations such as the Octobrists for 8 to 10 year olds and the Pioneers for the 10 to 16 year olds. From 19 to 23 you were expected to join the Komsomol. Children were taught how to be a good socialist/communist and an emphasis was put on outdoor activities and clean living.
There was a marked increase in the attacks on the churches of the USSR throughout...