Socialism in Russia: Theory and Practice

Socialism in Russia: Theory and Practice

Socialism in Russia: Theory and Practice

Socialism in Russia: Theory and Practice

Synopsis

This study by Simonia is among the first to present an in-depth analysis of the theory and practical effect of the "transition to socialism" in Russia. The work consists of two parts: the first deals with the attempt initiated by Lenin to affect a socialist system, the evolution of his theoretical thought, and his search for a model of indirect transition to socialism (through state capitalism); the second analyzes Stalin's direct declaration of state-bureaucratic socialism, his distortion of the ideas of cooperation, state capitalism, and socialist accumulation, and the failure of his communist society. In concluding, Simonia relates Russia's socialist development to its current economic and socio-political problems, providing insights into its tortuous and thorny history.

Excerpt

This is a book about Russia's recent past, focusing on the profound revamping of its public life which occurred as a result of the 1917 upheaval. In this work, I show how after an outburst of revolutionary maximalism and a chimeric attempt to install a "dictatorship of the proletariat," Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, finding his country to be tottering on the brink of an abyss, succeeded in bringing it around to a pragmatic reformist alternative to "War Communism." I also show how from 1928 onward, this realistic alternative was rejected, and, under the guidance of the "great leader and father of nations"--Josif Vissarionovich Stalin-- the ground was laid, step-by-step, for one of the most ruthless and murderous totalitarian regimes in history.

But this is also a book about the present. For much of what Stalin wrought has not yet died away altogether, not only in the material conditions of everyday Russian life but also in the people's souls, mentality, and subconscious. Even the ways of overcoming Stalinism have been and sometimes still are the same, as we have learned them from our past experience. Indeed, "the dead seize the living." We won't get rid of this onerous legacy until and unless we have definitely perceived it.

There is at least one more circumstance that makes this book particularly relevant. It is the New Economic Policy (NEP), enunciated by Lenin in 1921, which, in my view, retains its practical significance today, in the early 1990s. Naturally, there can be no question of reverting to the NEP of the 1920s as such. Too much has changed since that time both within and around Russia. By practical significance, then, I mean the . . .

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