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Description - The Making of the Soviet System by Moshe Lewin

In 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 Details

ISBN: 9781565841253
ISBN-10: 1565841255
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 28mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: The New Press
Publisher: The New Press
Publish Date: 30-Jan-1994
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - The Making of the Soviet System by Moshe Lewin

Book Reviews - The Making of the Soviet System by Moshe Lewin

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.

Books By Moshe Lewin

Soviet Century by Moshe Lewin
Paperback, October 2016
Russian Peasants and Soviet Power by Moshe Lewin
Hardback, December 1998
Stalinism and Nazism by Moshe Lewin
Hardback, April 1997
Russia/USSR/Russia by Moshe Lewin
Hardback, January 1995