Kritika

Articles from Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter

Andrei Borisovich Zubov, Ed., Istoriia Rossii: XX Vek [A History of Russia: The 20th Century]. 1: 1894-1939
Andrei Borisovich Zubov, ed., Istoriia Rossii: XX vek [A History of Russia: The 20th Century]. 1: 1894-1939. 1,023 pp. ISBN-13 978-5170593620. 2: ]939-2007. 847 pp. Moscow: AST, 2009. ISBN-13 978-5170593637. Istoriia Rossii is a welcome addition...
Defenders of the Motherland or Defenders of the Autocracy?
Iosif Iosifovich Kolyshko, Velikii raspad: Vospominaniia (The Great Disintegration: A Memoir), ed. Igor" Vladimirovich Lukoianov. 464 pp. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2009. ISBN-13 978-5981873317. Matthew Rendle, Defenders of the Motherland:...
Getting to Know You: The Soviet Surveillance System, 1939-57
"Violence is the midwife of history," observed Marx and Engels. One could add that for their Bolshevik pupils, surveillance was the midwife's guiding hand. Never averse to violence, the Bolsheviks were brutes driven by an idea, and a grandiose one...
Inner Asia: Empires and Silk Roads
Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. xxviii + 472 pp. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. ISBN 0691135892. $35.00. Michal Biran, The Empire of the Qara Khitai...
Intelligentsia Self-Fashioning in the Postwar Soviet Union: Revol't Pimenov's Political Struggle, 1949-57
At the 20th Party Congress in 1956, Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin for developing a kul't lichnosti, a "cult of personality" or "cult of the individual." Less often noticed but equally important was a very different cult of personality that developed...
Isaiah Berlin's Russian Thinkers and the Argument for Inclusion
Although there has been quite a bit of debate over Isaiah Berlin's life and legacy as a historian of ideas and political theorist, his Russian Thinkers is generally viewed as a classic in the field of Russian intellectual history. (1) Even his detractors...
Jay Bergman, Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov
Jay Bergman, Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov. 454 pp., illus., bibl., index. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009. ISBN 0801447313. $39.95. Andrei Sakharov, not unlike Mikhail Gorbachev, has been more...
Symbols of Power in Rituals of Violence: The Personality Cult and Iconoclasm on the Soviet Empire's Periphery (East Germany, 1945-61)
It all turned into a movement on the city streets. In a short time, all the banners and posters on the public buildings and peoples' enterprises were removed. As each poster bearing a slogan proclaiming honor to the Soviet Union and German-Polish friendship...
Thawed Selves: A Commentary on the Soviet First Person
Here's a question worth pondering: why does the phrase "Soviet intellectual history" sound odd? Why is it that so much recent scholarship on the intellectual lives of Soviet citizens has focused almost entirely on their dialogues with themselves, on...
"The Camp Is Not a Resort": The Campaign against Privileges in the Soviet Gulag, 1957-61
"Rulers change, the Archipelago remains." (1) Such was the final judgment of the preeminent Gulag chronicler, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, after his brief description of the Soviet penal system under Nikita Khrushchev. At first glance such a broad condemnation...
"The Differences Were Only in the Details": The Moral Equivalency of Stalinism and Nazism in Anatolii Bakanichev's Twelve Years Behind Barbed Wire
In the spring of 1945, Anatolii Efimovich gakanichev (1920-2006), having endured almost four years as a German prisoner of war (POW), finally returned to his native USSR. Instead of a warm welcome, he was met with intense suspicion. In his unpublished...
What Makes a "Big Book"?
In the present issue of Kritika we launch a new rubric: "Classics in Retrospect." We start with Isaiah Berlin's Russian Thinkers, a work that for decades has defined the way in which nonspecialist, Anglophone readers approach Russian intellectual history,...