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About Russia, Its Revolutions, Its Development and Its Present


Michal Reiman

The author analyzes modern Russian history from a new perspective. Due to the ideological heritage of the XIXth and XXth centuries, the social settings of the sociopolitical history of the USSR (1917–1945) have not been fully identified. Detailed examination of ideological and political concepts shows that the revolution of 1917 became not a middle class, proletarian movement, but rather a plebeian one. The misjudgment by the new power enabled growth but caused tremendous losses of human lives and material damages. Socialization of economy and strict centralization led to a new social structure and established terror as an instrument for social reorganization. WWII revealed the necessity of a correction of these developments, but the events of the Cold War circumvented any further considerations.

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Although a scattering of memoirs and other literature emerged during the period between the wars, it was in the 1950s that the pace of international research into the history of the Soviet Union visibly hastened� Its course was serpentine, with a scope of investigation that reached well beyond the dictatorial, later totalitarian, turn taken by the political powers when Russia’s traditional government and so- cial system collapsed in 1917� State and social structures, the economy, personal relationships, science and culture – the elements which a country’s national life is constructed of – were placed upon fresh foundations in Soviet Russia and the USSR� International relationships, as well, were drawn a new� Accordingly, those who would research these events must take deeper notice of political history and the decisions of the governing powers than they otherwise might� Indeed, the progress of the research has itself suggested the course of Sovi- et political history� In recent decades, Soviet history in general, and the coun- try’s political history in particular, have seen a clash of ideological and political concepts� Key in this was the watertight censorship of the Soviet regime, which condemned Soviet historians to parrot officially approved historical schemas� Another factor was the Cold War atmosphere that insinuated itself into research and influenced the ideology and politics of social science content both in the East and, in a different guise, in Western Europe and the United States� Today, the archives have been unsealed and censorship controls relaxed in Rus- sia and the USSR successor...

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