The Soviet Political Mind: Studies in Stalinism and Post-Stalin Change

The Soviet Political Mind: Studies in Stalinism and Post-Stalin Change

The Soviet Political Mind: Studies in Stalinism and Post-Stalin Change

The Soviet Political Mind: Studies in Stalinism and Post-Stalin Change

Excerpt

These ten essays, which examine various aspects of government and politics in Russia, have a common purpose: the exploration of the mental world of Soviet politics--the patterns of thought, ways of perceiving the world, psychological attitudes, ideological premises, and working theories that in their entirety constitute the Soviet "political mind."

Some of the studies analyze the Soviet political mind as expressed in internal politics, some deal with the mind of Soviet foreign policy, and some range over both these fields and their interrelationship. Soviet political institutions also receive attention insofar as they, and the changes that have taken place within them, are expressions of the ruling philosophy of government. In the middle group of essays, the emphasis shifts to popular political attitudes and the state's endeavors to shape or reshape them by indoctrination and propaganda. The existence of a persistent and significant discrepancy between the political outlooks of the state and the citizen--of "official Russia" and "popular Russia"--is shown from various points of view.

The Soviet political mind as it appears here is not simply Soviet; in many ways it is a Russian political mind. The continuity amid change is apparent in the survival or revival of certain traditional Russian attitudes toward the state. Another line of continuity across the great divide of 1917 is the contribution made by Russian revolutionary Populism of the nineteenth century to Lenin's political thought, and hence to Bolshevism. Finally, considerable attention is given in this volume to a relatively less explored link with the Russian past: the resurrection during the Stalin period, in large part under the influence of Stalin himself, of some patterns of thought and policy, political values, and even institutional forms that were characteristic of Russian Czarism at certain times.

But notwithstanding its debts to the Russian past, the mind of . . .

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