Reexamining the Soviet Experience: Essays in Honor of Alexander Dallin

Reexamining the Soviet Experience: Essays in Honor of Alexander Dallin

Reexamining the Soviet Experience: Essays in Honor of Alexander Dallin

Reexamining the Soviet Experience: Essays in Honor of Alexander Dallin


These stimulating essays, written by some of the field's finest historians and political scientists, invite discussion and reflection on matters of theory and practice in view of the USSR's demise. How did we study the Soviet Union before, and in what ways must we adjust our approaches and habits to take account of new opportunities and pitfalls? How do current developments in the USSR's successor states alter or deepen our understanding of the Soviet experience? These questions are explored here in thorough examinations of specific problems that arose during the contributors' recent research and writing as well as in the emergence and evolution of the field of Soviet studies and in the development of the Soviet social and political institutions themselves. Readers will be challenged to take stock of their own preconceptions about and approaches to studying this complex and rapidly changing region.


David Holloway and Norman Naimark

This volume of essays is dedicated to Alexander Dallin on the occasion of his retirement as Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History at Stanford University. Alex Dallin has been one of the leading scholars in the field of Soviet and East European Studies since World War II. the authors of these essays, individually and collectively, owe him a considerable intellectual debt, and are pleased to present these essays to him as a mark of respect and appreciation.

The son of the famous Menshevik scholar David Dallin, Alex Dallin began his career by working on the Harvard Interview Project, shortly after World War II. He quickly became one of the most influential scholars in the rapidly developing field of Soviet and East European Studies. He was the model scholar-organizer, applying his immense energy and ability for the benefit of the broader community of specialists in the field. He served as Director of the Russian Institute at Columbia University and, later, of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at Stanford. For several decades he was a member of virtually every important committee in the field, and in 1984-85 he was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Dallin's classic study, German Rule in Russia, 1941-1945, which was published in 1957, demonstrated how a gifted mind and a talented pen could turn painstaking research into a fascinating and moving story of occupation and resistance. From that point until the present, Alex Dallin's work has had a profound and beneficial influence on the field. (See the bibliography of his oeuvre in the appendix.) His scholarship achieves the unusual quality of being deeply researched and carefully formulated on the one hand, while lively and full of ideas on the other. For Dallin, the study of the Soviet Union is not a question of confirming an already held point of view, but rather a matter of seeking to understand a complex and changing reality. Unlike many of his contemporaries of both the left and the right, Dallin has tried to take personal politics out of his examination of the Soviet system, thereby liberating scholarship from ideological predispositions and making the Soviet polity more alive and worthy of study in and of itself.

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