Л. Д. Троцкий: pro et contra, антология
There are two factors influencing on representation of revolutionary events of 1917 in the popular TV-series in the post-Soviet Russia. First, it is the negative revaluation of revolution which took place in public discussions of the 1990th when both the dominating elite, and opposition expressed equally negative relation to this event. Subsequently this position was then developed in historical policy of Vladimir Putin who, though having proclaimed the doctrine of the “total continuity” (connecting pre-revolutionary, Soviet, and democratic values), has been never hiding suspicious attitude toward the October revolution. For mass culture this meant permission to include “dark sides” of the history of revolution in popular narratives, that was impossible during the Soviet period (for example, the facts of cooperation of Bolsheviks with criminals). Secondly, the “popular cultural memory” about revolution created by means of Soviet feature films had paradoxically the contradictory character as well as
initiated a number of reinterpretations of this event in post-Soviet cinema of the 1990-2010th. Soviet films represent revolution as, first of all, a civil war made for the sake of the future, for the sake of a new society and implementation of the revolutionary ideals. “Memory of revolution” in this case was consciously constructed with emphasis on its “validating” function which was necessary for legitimization of the current political situation in the Soviet state. Such films were made generally during the 1930th – 1950th. In the period of the “Thaw” some films proposed different approaches to revolution, and many of them were not permitted to screen until the 1980th. The different film versions of revolution became available for a wide audience beginning from the middle of the 1980th, when the year 1917 was represented as a changeable, illusive and ambiguous “place of memory”. In the article the character and content of TV-representations of revolution created during the post-Soviet period in the context of wider “policy of identity” are analyzed.
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.
The article is devoted to the formation of «scientific» expertise in historical knowledge in the USSR as an integral part of the shaping Bolshevik ideology. History, abolished in 1920-ies as an academic discipline, served to prove the logical victory of the socialist revolution in Russia, which opposed Marx’s vision. At first the two prominent par- ty leaders – Trotsky and Pokrovsky – fought for the role of the chief expert. Pokrovsky’s victory was not the result of his scientific achievements, but of the mass campaign to discredit Trotsky. The next step was made against Pokrovsky and closely connected with Stalin's decision to open historical faculties and teach history at schools. And though Stalin, unlike Trotsky and Pokrovsky, did not openly claim the role of the chief expert in historical knowledge, he created the multilevel scientific expertise, fully controlled by him.
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.