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A New, Peculiar State Explorations in Soviet History, 1917-1937 by Andrea Graziosi

A New, Peculiar State Explorations in Soviet History, 1917-1937


A New, Peculiar State Explorations in Soviet History, 1917-1937 by Andrea Graziosi

Using a variety of old and new archival sources to examine the emergence of the Soviet system (1917-1937), this combined approach offers chronologically coherent and original construction of some crucial stages and problems in Soviet history. The past two centuries have produced an extraordinary number of new states-more than 30 in 20th-century Europe alone. It is within this turbulent context that one must analyze the rise of the Soviet state, an entity that would prove fragile in the long run despite its all-powerful facade. An examination of the extreme features and peculiarities of the Soviet variant offers revealing insights into this exceptional historical process and contributes to a wider understanding of the European Forty Year War (1912-1953). Graziosi devotes particular attention to Soviet solutions to the peasant and nationality problems, as well as to the pre-eminent role of ideology, the rise of personal despotism, and the unusual degree of penetration between state and economy. Using a variety of interpretations, he applies concepts from political, economic, and social history to the Soviet phenomenon without losing sight of its connections with more general European developments. The life of a Bolshevik leader is used to provide an overview of the whole period from six points of view: psychology, ideology, despotism, nationality, relations with the West, and economic building. Also, an analysis of industrialization based on the accounts of foreign workers who often met a tragic fate in the great purges contributes significantly to an assessment of the role that myth building played in the Stalinist repression of the Soviet working class.


At the crossroad of political, economic and social history, Andrea Graziosi's essays show (enlighten?) in a new and profoundly original way the emergence and consolidation of a super-state fighting against its own society. For many years Andrea Graziosi has investigated some crucial questions, such as the roots of particularly violent state practices in the founding experiences of 1917-22, the great peasant war between the Bolsheviks and the villages, the regimes
relations with the workers. The synthetic breadth of a historical vision that never forgets to place its object of investigation in the larger European context, and the perfect mastery of both old and new sources have made of Graziosi a discoverer

and one of the most innovative historians of the USSR. Graziosi
's A New Peculiar State is a new milestone in our knowledge of the first decade of the Bolshevik regime. -Nicolas Werth Institut d'histoire du temps present Paris

About the Author

ANDREA GRAZIOSI is a Professor at the University of Naples in Italy./e A student of 20th-Century Soviet and Eastern European History, he has also taught at the European University Institute, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, and at Yale University. The author of books and essays in various languages, he co-directs the European seminar on Russian and Soviet history.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th July 2000


Andrea Graziosi

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Praeger Publishers Inc an imprint of ABC-CLIO


296 pages


European history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Revolutionary groups & movements
Revolutions, uprisings, rebellions
Marxism & Communism



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