Leon Trotsky, the Cultural Debates, and the Political Struggle in 1923
This article examines interconnections between politics and culture in the early Soviet era, using Leon Trotsky’s activities in the campaign for a new everyday life (novyi byt) in 1923 as a case-study. Traditionally, scholars pay attention primarily to Trotsky’s writings on literature and art. In contrast, this article shows the important role of Trotsky’s brochure ‘Problems of Everyday Life’ in the development of a new field of political communication that became the space for criticism of different political and cultural aspects of Soviet power and Bolshevik rule. Using archival and press sources, it shows how the campaign was spread both from below and above, and what were the reasons for its failure to become an alternative cultural revolution.
This is a review of two recent books on Leon Trotsky, one of the most prominent Russian revolutionary leaders and an ardent critic of Stalin. The review analyses the main arguments of both books as well as their contribution to the study of Trotsky's personality and political legacy.
In article on the basis of the study of complex dissertation research related to issues of NEP, proposed a set of quantitative and qualitative criteria for the compilation of «research map», which allow to identify the place and role of historiography of the NEP in domestic and world historical community. Also in the article on the example of dissertations 1990-2000s main tendencies in the development of the historiography of the new economic policy.
In an article written on the basis of a scientific paper describes the current status of nepovezane with respect to a dispute between the "objectivist" and "subjectivity" on its essence and prospects. The author identifies key trends in the study of the new economic policy in the 2000's.: a reassessment of Soviet historiography, folding regional research schools, updating the history of everyday life of the 1920s, mass moods and behavior. It is the reference to the history of everyday life contributes to the process of formation of uniform fields of historiography bourgeoisie issues.
This book critically examines the Left Opposition in the Bolshevik party. This group, which is widely known as the “Trotskyist Opposition”, began to form in 1923–1924, when the Party experienced a severe political conflict that took the form of a public confrontation between two political trends related to issues of intra-party practice and economic policies. These problems of party and government leadership led to the friction and then split the party in 1926–1928. Already by 1923 the majority of members of both the Central Committee and the Opposition had become the ideological and organizational cores of their respective groups, which then combined into stable or situational coalitions. In examining these processes, the author addresses key issues of the Soviet political history of the 1920s.
The book draws on significant new archival research and offers an anthropological approach to understanding the political culture of the Early Soviet era. Moving beyond conventional explanations of the struggle for power in the USSR, the author focuses not only on the Leon Trotsky and his primary foes from the Party (Stalin, Zinoviev and others), but also reconstructing the opposition as the complex phenomena, which exposes how broad political communication functioned in the limited space of the Soviet politics.
The author reconsiders the main reasons and phases of the intra-party struggle, political views and individual roles of the oppositionists, in order to explain why the Opposition failed. Focusing not only on the traditional subjects of political history, such as leaders, power apparatus and program texts, the author reveals the rank-and-file’s role, as well as the instrumentations, meanings and tactics of their “grass-root” politics. The author’s approach allows readers to look beyond the dichotomies of open and closed, the upper and lower classes, formal and informal, and so on, drawing our attention not only to the relations between democracy and conflicts but also to rumors and secrecy, clientelism, and emotions.
Such analysis is possible because the political opposition of 1923–1924 was heterogeneous in composition, and informal in organizing support for reform in the party. In a practical sense, there were two oppositions — the leaders’ opposition and the masses' opposition — and, correspondingly, oppositions within the party among the elites and among the rank and file. Members of this coalition were united situationally as a result of their critical attitude toward party policy and more resolute support for "democratization" of the inner-party regime. As a result, the opposition was largely an abstract concept; its image was a shaky and sometimes elusive phantom. Being independent of its founders, its numerous actors constantly reconstructed the political spectacle of which they were a part.
The history of the Opposition makes it possible to take a fresh look at the features of policy in the first decade of Soviet power. Through such analysis, this work argues that policy cannot be reduced to the actions of the power elites or the impersonal mechanism of the party-state.
Domestic historical science has accumulated a certain "critical mass" of research on various aspects of the new economic policy and the development of Soviet society in the twenties. Such a situation requires not only summarizing the historiographical outcome, but also appeals to fundamental issues of post-revolutionary development of Russia as the place and role of NEP in the chain of Soviet reformism, its real efficiency, the current reform potential, etc. the Development of the NEP appears as a kind of a narrowing "funnel" of alternatives, missed opportunities to change the system of government. "Sacramental" question: when was lost the last chance to preserve and strengthen the beginning of the NEP, it is possible to put idle, if you keep in mind the ability of the authorities and society to resolve the contradictions in the initial conditions of the NEP restrictions.