As in all of my previous work, the debt to fellow scholars is enormous. Here I would like to thank in particular those who read my original proposal and made suggestions as to selections. First, my colleague at the University of Chicago, Sheila Fitzpatrick, has generously shared with her students and associates her expert knowledge of Soviet history, particularly the era of Stalinism. A pioneer in the archival study of the darker regions of the Soviet past, at a time when other explorers were too timid to venture far beyond the revolution, Sheila has become a mentor to much of the profession, and one of my joys of the last years has been working closely with her in workshops and conferences at Chicago. No less a debt is owed to my close friend, collaborator, and comrade, Lewis H. Siegelbaum, whose passion for Soviet history is matched by his deep knowledge and wide reading. He is often a critic of what I write, but always with a shared interest in making what we both do better. Philip C. Skaggs, my student at the University of Michigan and already emerging as a scholar of the revolution in his own right, was enthusiastic about this project from the beginning and not only contributed many suggestions but infected me with his own energy for our common field of study. A special thanks goes to Andrei Doronin, a friend and indispensable facilitator, who has made my visits to the Russian Center for Preservation and Study of Documents of Modern History (RTsKhIDNI; now the Russian State Archive for Social and Political History (RGASPI), both productive and personally pleasant. My gratitude as well to my editors at Oxford. Gioia Stevens guided the book through the shoals of readers, board members, and production, all while handling the early years of her first child, while Linda Jarkesy and Peter Coveney facilitated the final stages of production. And finally, a special debt of gratitude to those closest to me, who share my life and put up with my work—to Armena, Sevan, and Anoush.
Transliteration is based on a modified Library of Congress system. Most names and places are given in the Russian form, except for a few of the most familiar. So, for example, Alexander Kerensky is rendered Aleksandr Kerenskii, but Moscow is given, not Moskva. In most instances the word “soviet” will be used with no capitalization to mean the councils formed during the revolution and established as part of the USSR system of legislatures. If capitalized, Soviet refers to the central government, the state, or the system of the USSR. This general rule does not apply to selections quoted from other sources.
Dates are given in the Julian calendar, used in Russia up to February 1918, for documents up to that date, unless otherwise noted. That calendar was thirteen days behind the Western Gregorian calendar in the twentieth century. So, for example, the “October Revolution,” took place on October 25, 1917, in Petrograd, which was November 7, 1917, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.