[Review of] Robert Service. Trotsky: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 2009); David North. In Defense of Leon Trotsky (Oak Park, MI: Mehring Books, 2010)
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.
A major contribution to the growing literature on Soviet nationality policy. David Brandenberger frames his study with a large and important question: the generation of a Russian/Soviet national identity during the Stalinist years. He tells the important story of the production of a more nationalist world view and how it was received, moving from elites to the masses. Focusing on history and historians, Brandenberger links historiography with nation-making and state building. This work should be widely read, not least because it clearly and eloquently illuminates the painful process of forging national identity. (Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Chicago) Brandenberger alters our understanding of how Soviet culture was created and how it held Soviet society together. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the foundation of documents on which it rests. Clearly the result of years of gathering, these documents show us Stalinism as received, as a set of social practices and discourses in constant revision and misuse. National Bolshevism illuminates broader debates about the functioning of Soviet society, the origins of national consciousness, and the formation of the subject with the modern state, and will be a widely read contribution to the field. (James von Geldern, Macalester College)
The article examines the main trends in the study of the Stalinist period and the phenomenon of Stalinism in connection with the mass opening of the archives.
The main theoretical approaches to the phenomenon of Stalinism within the Weberian tradition in historical sociology are discussed. Particular attention is devoted to Michael Mann's discussion of the "regimes of continuous revolution" and Johann Arnason's analysis of the Soviet model of modernity.
This paper is devoted to the explanation of selected bureaus’ behavior patterns in the soviet type of totalitarian dictatorships with the command economic model. It is a proven fact that the plan figures in the soviet economy were fabricated as a consequence of intrigues and secret negotiations between different interested parties. Generally, bureaus, as rational agents that minimize risk and maximize slack, should have been interested in reducing the plan figures, nevertheless, they strived to increase them. As examples, mass repression under dictatorships and overexpenditure of an administrative leverage at elections in non-democratic and quasi-democratic countries can be observed. In the article we develop a simple model of coordination between principal (dictator) and his agents (bureaus), which explain the mentioned paradoxical situation.
The Iron Curtain as Semi-Permeable Membrane: The Origins and Demise of the Stalinist Superiority Complex
In article on the basis of a case study examines the everyday life of the Stalinist system. Postwar political campaign was broadcast on the world of Soviet man. The study of conflict within the school community, helps to understand the strength of practices that used an ordinary Soviet people beyond the boundaries of the world of big politics. Professional conflict between the teacher of history and Director of the school suddenly acquired political resonance. The quarrel went outside educational institutions, and became the subject of discussion of various political and administrative authorities. The teacher of history and continued the fight in new institution.