The Making of the Soviet System
Essays in the Social History of Interwar Russia New edition
By (author) Moshe Lewin
Making of the Soviet System by Moshe Lewin
Book DescriptionIn this classic book, Moshe Lewin traces the transformation of Russian society and government that was to lead, in the 1930s, to Stalinism. His emphasis is on the changes stemming from war, revolution, civil war and industrialization, and he analyses such topics as rural society and religion in the 20th century; the background of Soviet collectivization; Soviet prewar policies of agricultural procurement; the kolkhoz and the muzhik; Leninism and bolshevism; industrial relations during the five-year plans of 1928-1941; and the social background to Stalinism. Lewin examines the political, ideological and cultural developments that accompanied or, in some cases, resulted from these changes and, through a comprehensive approach to understanding the problem and origins of Stalinism, makes a significant contribution to the study of Russia's social history before the Revolution as well as in the Soviet period.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781565841253
(234mm x 156mm x 28mm)
Imprint: The New Press
Publisher: The New Press
Publish Date: 30-Jan-1994
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Moshe Lewin
Soviet Century, Paperback (October 2016)
On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, a classic history of the Soviet era, from 1917 to its fall
Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, Hardback (December 1998)
A most important and pioneering book the only full-scale study of the Russian revolution and the peasant from 1917 through the first wave of mass collectivization in 1930. Stephen F. Cohen"
Stalinism and Nazism, Paperback (April 1997)» View all books by Moshe Lewin
Several distinguished historians present the first comprehensive comparison of Nazism and Stalinism.
US Kirkus Review » Lewin, an expert's expert (now at the U. of Pennsylvania), is best known for Lenin's Last Struggle, about the fading leader's efforts to forestall Stalin's rise in the party bureaucracy; but his major work is Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, on the collectivization of Russian agriculture. Stalinism and the peasants are the two main subjects of these essays - which, while mostly in a scholarly mode, are full of Lewin's customary insight. He bases his analysis of rural issues on the argument that the turmoil of 1917-1921, and the "agrarian revolution" of that period, pushed the peasants into archaic patterns of rural life unseen for 50 years. Tsarist reforms had encouraged commercial agriculture in parts of the empire, and had taken aim on the integrated peasant villages, trying to separate-out some homesteads to encourage individual initiative and innovation. With the Russian Revolution the integrated villages were reinforced and all traces of market-oriented production were wiped out (or nearly so). As a result, the old pattern of production for immediate family consumption was reinstated stronger than ever, and it was this step toward traditional forms that set the stage for the upheaval of Stalinist collectivization. That cataclysm was precipitated by a crisis in state grain acquisitions: to cover the social disruption it caused, Stalin found a scapegoat - the famous kulaks, a category which Lewin shows to have been meaningless in class terms, the kulaks being indistinguishable from slightly better-off peasants. Lewin's main argument, running through the twelve essays, is that the Bolsheviks took over a country which in short order became in many ways more backward than the Russia of the tsars. Leninist ideology did not fit these circumstances, and the ideological drift that resulted in Stalinism was largely the result of ad hoc measures to deal with a half-understood reality. (Lewin is thus among those who see a discontinuity between pre-1917 Leninism and Stalinism.) By the period of collectivization, the real struggle, according to Lewin, was between a personalized, autocratic ruling style and a more bureaucratic system. This explains Stalin's repeated purges of the bureaucracy - though the bureaucratic mode won out in the end under Khruschchev. Lewin covers topics as seemingly diverse as magic in rural communities and labor relations under the Five Year Plan, but it all takes shape under the weight of history and tradition. Anyone with a general awareness of Soviet history and a desire to go further will find these essays accessible and well worth a look. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Moshe Lewin
Moshe Lewin was born in Poland and served in the Russian army during World War II. One of the most respected scholars in his field, he has been a Fellow in Russian Studies at Columbia, Princeton, and the Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. He is the author of many books, including "The Gorbachev Phenomenon "and "The Making of the Soviet System" (reissued by The New Press). He is currently professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.
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