Alexander Solzhenitsyn was one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. Early in his life, the Russian novelist was a passionate believer in Soviet communism. After spending time as a prisoner in the Soviet gulags, however, he became disillusioned and used his literary talent to expose the Soviet Union’s corruption. Later, while in exile in the United States, he also rejected what he saw as the moral failings of democracy. He eventually returned to Russia and died in Moscow. Listen to learn more about the life of this controversial writer and the impact his work had on perceptions of the Soviet system.
Story Length: 7:24
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The Communist Revolution in the Soviet Union led to a totalitarian dictatorship that killed or imprisoned tens of millions of people. It was a period of cruelty that has not been forgotten in Russia today. However, some former Communist rulers are still in current-day Russia’s government, which means there’s a complicated relationship with the Soviet past and bringing back some Soviet-era practices. Listen to this story to understand how Russia’s Communist past still plays a role in present-day politics.
By the end of World War II, the city of Berlin, like Germany as a whole, was divided. The eastern part of the city was dominated by a USSR-led communist regime, and the western part had a democratic government influenced by America and Great Britain. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was raised physically dividing the city into East and West Berlin. Travel between the two sides was prohibited. Since the reunification of Germany and the demolition of the wall in 1989, city planners have been trying to rebuild the city, tearing down the old buildings of communist East Berlin and replacing them with new structures. But the new buildings have sparked controversy over what should be preserved and what should be torn down. Listen to this story to hear different perspectives about how the city should move toward a unified future.
When a Russian paramilitary group, called the Cossacks, first emerged more than 500 years ago, it fought for two goals: expand Russia’s borders and protect its Orthodox Christian values. The Cossacks became recognized around the world for their fierce fighting skills and by their traditional dress, which included black sheepskin hats, long open coats and riding boots. Over the centuries, the Cossacks’ commitment to Russian imperialism and conservative ideology remained constant. The 1991 Soviet collapse resuscitated the Cossacks’ chance to serve as the country’s vigilantes once again. In this audio story, you’ll hear how an attack on a female punk band during the 2014 Sochi Olympics showed the world that the Cossacks aren’t just a page in the history books.
Many World War II historians agree that the 1942-43 Battle of Stalingrad was the decisive battle of World War II in Europe. Fought between German and Soviet forces, the battle may well have turned the tide of the war in favor of the allies and against Nazi Germany. This story recalls some of the ways in which the Soviet victory at Stalingrad was so remarkable and also the enormous cost of victory. Listen to this story to hear from people looking back on the battle, its impact, and its connection to the present day.
The Lexile Audio Measure is an indicator of the complexity of an audio passage. It is based on a scientifically developed scale with a maximum score of 2000L.How to Use Lexile Audio Measures
Find stories at the right level of complexity for your students, so that they will be challenged without being frustrated. The measures are categorized into low, medium, or high in order to aid teachers in story selection when they do not know students’ Lexile listening levels.
|Listening Level||Lexile Audio Measures|
These recommended ranges are for instructional use of Listenwise audio content in combination with supports such as the interactive transcript, etc.
|Grade||Lexile Audio Measures (Recommended Ranges)|
|1||215L - 610L|
|2||490L - 855L|
|3||725L - 1060L|
|4||945L - 1250L|
|5||1045L - 1350L|
|6||1125L - 1430L|
|7||1190L - 1500L|
|8||1250L - 1555L|
|9||1300L - 1610L|
|10||1345L - 1655L|
|11/12||1385L - 1695L|