Priestland, David

Stalinism and the Politics of Mobilization: Ideas, Power, and Terror in Inter-war Russia

Priestland, David - Stalinism and the Politics of Mobilization: Ideas, Power, and Terror in Inter-war Russia, e-kirja


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ISBN: 9780191529658

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The relationship between ideas and politics in inter-war Russia has long been controversial, and historians have been sharply divided over the influence of Marxism on Stalinist politics. This study presents a reassessment of Bolshevik ideology, and of the ways in which it interacted with other political forces during the period. By analysing the political discourse of the Bolshevik leadership, it shows how differing interpretations of Marxism-Leninism informed contrasting political and economic strategies. In particular, it traces the emergence of a strategy of mobilization, which was closely associated with leftist trends within Bolshevism. In exploring these ideas and strategies, the study sheds new light on inter-war Bolshevik politics, and in particular on the origins of Stalin's Great Terror of 1936-8.

Stalinism and the Politics of Mobilization offers a new interpretation of Bolshevik ideology, examines its relationship with Soviet politics between 1917 and 1939, and sheds new light on the origins of the political violence of the late 1930s. While it challenges older views that the Stalinist system and the Terror were the product of a coherent Marxist-Leninist blueprint, imposed by a group of committed ideologues, it argues that ideas mattered in Bolshevik politics and that there are strong continuities between the politics of the revolutionary period and those of the 1930s. By exploring divisions within the party over several issues, including class, the relations between elites and masses, and economic policy, David Priestland shows how a number of ideological trends emerged within Bolshevik politics, and how they were related to political and economic interests and strategies. He also argues that central to the launching of the Terror was the leadership's commitment to a strategy of mobilization, and to a view of politics that ultimately derived from the left Bolshevism of the revolutionary period.

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Oxford University Press
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