Assignments

Paper Assignments

Students will be asked to write three papers over the course of the semester, totaling twenty pages in length. Each paper is worth 20% of the grade – totaling 60% of the final grade.

Class Papers Page

One of the goals of this course is to allow students to practice and improve their writing skills. These include forming a coherent argument, clear presentation of a thesis, writing style and grammar. Another important element of good academic writing is citation style. You will be expected to properly cite sources you use in all your papers in this class. Please read the page on plagiarism from the MIT Writing Center (linked below) and the very good discussion of plagiarism in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi. Remember, plagiarism does not necessarily have to be intentional.

You will have a choice of two different but widely accepted citation styles (PDF). You must be consistent in your use of one style throughout a paper, and you are encouraged to stick with the same style throughout the course in order to learn it thoroughly.

No one is born a naturally good writer. It takes a lot of practice to develop good writing skills. You are encouraged to ask questions and to meet with the TA if you have any issues you'd like to discuss about either writing or the course materials.

Online Writing Resources

Paper 1 Description (PDF)
Paper 2 Description (PDF)
Paper 3 Description (PDF)

Class Assignments

The terms, personages, and events listed below are drawn from the readings. The definitions provided, drawn from Britannica Online, should make the reading easier to follow but are not a substitute for doing the reading. Please note that interpretations presented in the Britannica may not always agree with those in the reading or those presented by the professor. It is important to read and listen critically, and to come to your own conclusions.

LEC # TOPICS ASSIGNMENTS
1 Introduction to the Course  
2 The Setting: Tsarism

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. Pp. 15-23, and 31-39.

  • What are the main social groups into which Fitzpatrick divides Tsarist society?
  • What does she mean by the "schizoid nature of Russian society"(21)? Why are the self-presentations given in this paragraph schizoid? What are some other examples of this dualism?
  • Why does Fitzpatrick believe that Tsarism was doomed with or without the war?

Workers and War

"Father Gapon's Petition." Pp. 96-99.

  • To what extent can you see a similar "schizoid" character in this document? In particular, how would you contrast the content of the demands with their tone?
     

"Memorandum to Nicholas II." Pp. 476-478.

  • How would you compare Durnovo's depiction of Tsarist society to Fitpatrick's?
  • Why does the opposition, in Durnovo's view, represent "no real force"? How, then, could it become a danger?
     

Trotsky, Leon. "Peculiarities of Russia's Development." In The Russian Revolution. Pp. 1-10.

  • Trotsky states "The laws of history have nothing in common with a pedantic schematism"(4). Why do you think he needs to say this? Consider, in particular, the extent to which his vision of Russia's history is compatible with the vision of history in the Communist Manifesto.

The Peasantry

Frank. "Popular Justice." Pp. 239-265.
 

Stolypin, Peter. "We Need a Great Russia." Pp. 457-464.

  • Stolypin agrees that peasants need more land, but argues against taking it from existing landlords through nationalization. What are the key reasons for this preference?
  • What is Stolypin's attitude toward the mir?

The National Question

Pipes, Richard. "The National Problem in Russia." In The Formation of the Soviet Union. Pp. 1-8.


Visual Aids

Color (!) Photos of Tsarist Russia.


Key Terms

Russian Empire, Emancipation of 1861, Russo-Japanese WarBloody Sunday1905 RevolutionDumaStolypin reformspeasant mir, and proletariat.


Cast of Characters

Nicholas IISergei Witte, and Peter Stolypin.

3 The Revolutionary Tradition

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. Pp. 23-31.

You may find it helpful to read this section both before and after the selections that follow, to fix the big picture in your mind. This selection is particularly helpful for defining terms and characters you'll encounter in the selections below as well.

  • Why were Russia's Marxists "obliged to work not for the coming revolution, but the revolution after next" (28)?
  • Russian Marxists all detested tsarism, cared about improving the lot of the working class, and drew inspiration from Marx's writings. Yet as this selection reveals, they fragmented rapidly. Why do you think a unified movement was unable to hold together?

Revolutionary Theory I: General

Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Pp. 13-33.

  • Is it fair to say that Marx and Engels are offering a scientific theory of history?
  • What stages of history do they describe? What forces drive history forward?
  • To what extent is the capitalist society M&E describe recognizable as a "modern" society (compare our discussion in Tuesday's class)?
  • What demonstrates that the capitalist system has become a fetter on productive forces?
  • Why are proletarians doomed to misery under capitalism?
  • What features of capitalism transform the proletariat into a powerful political actor?
  • Consider M&E's discussion of the place of ideas in historical development (see especially at page 31). How would you reconcile this with their description of the mission of the Communist party?
     

Daniels. Pp. 23-25 (Trotsky on "Permanent Revolution").

  • Trotsky believes, in effect, that the Russian working class is well-situated to seize power, but is unlikely to be able to hold onto it without help from revolutions abroad. Is this a paradox? What arguments does he present for each of these propositions?

Revolutionary Theory II: Bolsheviks vs. Mensheviks

Daniels. Pp. 6-17 (Lenin’s Theory of the Party, Lenin on the Party Split, Marxist Reactions to Lenin).

  • Can you find anything in the "Communist Manifesto" that would support Lenin's position that workers need outside help to acquire a proper class consciousness? What would a proper class consciousness be?
  • What are the key motivations for Lenin's call for an organization of professional revolutionaries?
     

Axelrod, Pavel. "The Unification of Russian Social Democracy and Its Tasks." Pp. 48-52.

  • Do Trotsky and Axelrod disagree with Lenin's proposition that the workers cannot develop a proper class consciousness on their own?
  • What are their reasons for rejecting Lenin's model of a highly centralized party of professional revolutionaries.

The National Question

Sakwa: 1.17 ("The Right of Nations to Self-Determination").

  • Consider this document in light of the "Communist Manifesto." Why would self-determination be a difficult issue for Marxists?

Key Terms

Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (includes Bolsheviks & Mensheviks), trade union consciousness (Daniels), Great Russian nationalism (Sakwa), "law of combined development" (Trotsky), Marxismcommunismsocialismcapitalismbourgeoisieserfdom, and feudalism.

 

Cast of Characters

Georgii PlekhanovVladimir LeninLeon Trotsky, Pavel Axelrod, Yulii Martov, and Petr Struve.

4 The Revolutions of 1917

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 40-67.

Answer these two questions not only based on the Fitzpatrick readings, but also the readings on "Seizing Power," "Victory," and "The Revolution from Below."

  • Sometimes historians argue about whether the October revolution was made "from above" or "from below." In other words, they argue whether the Bolsheviks rode to power on a wave of popular support or simply organized a conspiracy to take power. What do you think Fitzpatrick's position would be? What about your own?
  • Fitzpatrick is skeptical that the Bolsheviks' success represents an implementation of the philosophy of "What is to be Done?". Do you share this skepticism? What evidence can you provide for this position?

Revolution and War

Sakwa: 2.1-2.3 (Order No. 1, April Theses, Lenin on the Imperialist War).

Irakli Tsereteli's Statement in Defense of the War

  • On Order No. 1, see below.
  • Regarding the April Theses and the two documents on the war: do you think it was politically risky for Lenin to support an end to the war? If not, why didn't other parties do it? If so, why did it seem worth the risk?
  • Can you see the influence of Marxism in Lenin and Tsereteli's positions? Or not?

The Grain Crisis

Documents from The Provisional Government: 1917.

  • See below.

Dual Power

Suny. Pp. 35-38 (A. F. Kerenskii's Statement...., Iraklii Tsersteli's Speech...).

Daniels. Pp. 44-47 (Lenin on the Dual Power).

Suny. Pp. 41-43 (Tsereteli and Lenin's Exchange of Words....).

Daniels. Pp. 57-59 (The Military-Revolutionary Committee).

  • For Order No. 1, The Grain Crisis, and Dual Power selections: please read these documents with an eye to who was exercising authority in practice and how they justified their authority. To what extent do you think that ordinary Russians would have had a feeling that someone was "in charge"?

On Seizing Power

Sakwa: 2.9-2.11, and 2.13 (Lenin: For, Kamenev and Zinoviev: Against).

Suny. Pp. 45-47 (Letter to Central Committee....).


Victory

Sakwa: 2.16-2.18, and 2.23 (Victory Address, Izvestiya's Condemnation, Decrees on Peace and Land, and Bogdanov's Criticism).


Revolution from Below

Suny. Pp. 43-45 (Report to Commissar).

Smith, Steve A. "Petrograd in 1917: The View from Below." Pp. 63-64.

  • See questions under Fitzpatrick
  • Also: compare this to the Durnovo piece we read two sessions ago. To what extent were his predictions accurate? If they were right, were they right for the right reasons?

Key Terms

February RevolutionJuly DaysOctober RevolutionConstituent Assembly, Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), dual power, and workers' control.
 


Cast of Characters

Prince LvovAlexander KerenskyPavel MiliukovGeneral KornilovGrigorii Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev.

 

5 The Civil War

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 68-92.

  • What reasons does Fitzpatrick give for the Bolsheviks' success in the Civil War? Which of them seem most important to you?
  • What is the "ideology vs. pragmatism" debate? What is Fitzpatrick's attitude to it? In understanding the course of the Civil War and policies adopted during it, is the Bolsheviks' Marxism relevant?

Eliminating Political Opposition

  • Suny. Pp. 67-73 (Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly).

Withdrawing from War

Sakwa: 3.6-3.7.

  • What things do Lenin and the Left Communists agree about?

Running a State, Fighting a War

Figes, Orlando. Pp. 1-6, 246-249, and 271-273.

Tucker, Robert C. Stalin as Revolutionary. Pp. 181-182.

Lincoln, W. Bruce. Red Victory. Pp. 476-478.

Trotsky, Leon. "The Train." In My Life. Pp. 411-422.

Sakwa: 2.11 (review), 3.1, 3.8, 3.10, and 3.18 (Secret Police, Red Army, State Capitalism, Terror).

  • To what extent do Lenin's pre-revolutionary thoughts (2.11) correspond to the tasks that the Bolsheviks faced after the revolution?
  • Consider the policies described in these selections in light of the "ideology vs. pragmatism" debate. How helpful are these terms?
  • To what extent did the Bolsheviks simply continue policies that the tsarist government was already embracing?
  • Trotsky's account is obviously self-serving. What can be learned from it?
  • Think of the Civil War as a particular kind of environment. What personal qualities are likely to be selected for in such an environment? Consider Trotsky in particular.

Red Opposition

Suny. Pp. 77-82 (Iulii Martov's Letter...).

Sakwa: 3.9, 3.11-3.12, and 3.19 (Workers' Control, Left Communists, Democratic Centralists).

  • To what extent could the arguments of these oppositions be me with claims of wartime necessity? What might the oppositionists respond?

Visual Aids

Chart about hyperinflation.


Key Terms

Peace of Brest-LitovskCivil WarWar CommunismRed Army, the "Whites" (and the White Armies), Czech Legion, the ChekaLeft CommunistsDemocratic Centralists, grain requisitioning (prodrazverstka), kulakssovkhoz, and kolkhoz.

 

Cast of Characters

Admiral Alexander KolchakGeneral Denikin, and Nikolai Bukharin.

 

6 The Crisis of War Communism & the Shift to NEP

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 93-106.

Avrich, Paul. "The Crisis of War Communism." In Kronstadt 1921. Pp. 7-34.

The Opposition Suppressed
Aleksandra Kollontai, and Mikhail Kalinin.

 

 

 

Sakwa: 3.22-3.25, and 3.27-3.28 (Party Reform, Workers' Opposition, Kronstadt, Bureaucratism, Ban on Factions, Trade Union Debate).


The Shift to NEP

Tucker, Robert C., ed. The Lenin Anthology. Pp. 511-517 (Importance of Gold Now and After...).


Assignment

In class we will conduct a simulated "agitation trial." These trials were propaganda devices the Bolsheviks used in the 1920's to defend their policies and leaders. Download (PDF) descriptions of such trials from Party newspaper Pravda (Truth). We will stage a mock trial of War Communism. Students whose last names begin with A through I will be the prosecution, and J-Z the defense. In place of reading questions, please prepare for this exercise.

You will note from the descriptions that the witnesses in such trials were generally defined in sociological terms—they were representatives of particular social groups, rather than individuals with specific knowledge. So as you prepare for class, think about what groups both the prosecution and defense might want to involve in such a trial. Draw arguments for your side FROM THE READINGS (please!). Defenders should prepare to answer the criticisms raised in the various Sakwa readings, while the prosecution will need to make use of these criticisms. The prosecution should also prepare to argue the point that if War Communism was justified, the shift to the New Economic Policy would not have been necessary, whereas the defense ought to think about how to make their defense of War Communism consistent with the introduction of NEP.

Key Terms

New Economic Policy (NEP)Kronstadt revoltWorkers' Opposition, tax in kind, bourgeois specialists (spetsy), smychka (worker-peasant alliance), "commanding heights," and "On party unity" (ban on factions).


Cast of Characters
 

7 Defining Bolshevism

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. "The Bolsheviks' Dilemma: The Class Issue in Party Politics and Culture." The Cultural Front. Pp. 16-36.

  • Are there continuities between the Bolsheviks' pre- and post-revolutionary attitudes toward the proletariat?
  • Fitzpatrick sugggests (33-34) that the Bolsheviks had no "real alternative to maintaining the proletarian connection." Do you agree? To what extent is this statement confirmed by the other readings for this session?

Solts, A. A. "Communist Ethics." Pp. 42-54.

Note: we will be discussing this article very intensively in class. Please read it with particular care.

  • Wood (selection below, p. 197) argues that in this period the Bolsheviks found themselves asking "What qualified the party to exercise its dictatorship of the proletariat?" Do you think Solts found this issue problematic?
  • What does Solts see as the main danger facing the party, and how does he propose to address it?
  • Does this seem like a piece of Marxist theory to you? Why or why not?

Wood, Elizabeth. The Baba and the Comrade. Pp. 123-26, 147-53, and 194-208.

  • Why does Wood take issue with portrayals of NEP as a period of relaxation?
  • In what way did the transition to NEP challenge earlier social goals?
  • What arguments does Wood give to explain how byt (daily life) became such an important issue in 1923?
  • Do you see the family-work issues discussed in this selection as specific to the NEP-era USSR, or are they of a sort generally encountered elsewhere?

Renewed Opposition and its Demise

Sakwa: 4.7-4.8, 4.18-4.20, and 4.22 (Declaration of the Twenty-Two, Workers' Truth, Declaration of the Forty-Six, the New Course, Stalin on Dictatorship).

Suny. Pp. 124-126 (Bukharin and Dzerzhinskii Disagree...., Letter from Nikolai Bukharin...., Letter from Dzerezhinskii).

  • Does the party opposition seem to have any "taboos"—i.e., how far is it willing to take its criticism? Are the opposition recognizable as members of the same party described by Stalin?
  • How would you compare the emphases in Stalin's discussion of the party with those made by Solts?

The Lenin Cult

Suny. Pp. 126-128 (Joseph Stalin, " The October Revolution...").


Key Terms

Proletkult, Gosplan (State Planning Commission), zhenotdely (women's sections), PravdaBlack Hundreds (Sakwa, p. 131), nepmen, chinovniki (functionaries), "anarcho-syndicalism" (Sakwa, p. 138; also pp. 121-22), appointmentism (Fitzpatrick, p. 25), and economic accounting (khozrachet).

Cast of Characters

Vyacheslav Molotov, and Patriarch Tikhon.

  Film: Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks  
8 The Politics and Economics of NEP

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 106-119, and 124-129.

  • Why does Fitzpatrick seem to find it unlikely that the Communist Party could tolerate NEP's implications easily?
  • What was the political significance of "Socialism in One Country" (see also Sakwa document 4.24)
  • What was the Bukharin-Preobrazhensky debate on the financing of industrialization? (see also Sakwa document 4.25)
  • What political disadvantages did the Right's advocacy of a conciliatory policy to the peasantry involve?

Nove, Alec. An Economic History of the USSR. Pp. 101-114 (also review Wood, pp. 123-126).

  • What, in Nove's view, explains the low level of marketed grain in the 1920's?
  • How much class differentiation was there among the peasantry?

Monetary Reform

Maiakovskii, Vladimir. "Burzhui, Say Goodbye to Your Pleasant Money."

  • At whom is this poem targetted? What do you think of its tone? Does it rest on recognizably "socialist" values?
  • Compare the new money about which Maiakovskii was writing to earlier Soviet currency (see pictures of the money). Does the design of the new currency seem to reflect some of the same concerns evident in this poem?

Lenin's Last Thoughts

Sakwa: 4.13, and 4.15-4.16 (Lenin's Last Testament, Socialism in Russia, Better Fewer, But Better).

  • What does Lenin see as the root of conflicts in the Party leadership?
  • Do you have any speculations about why he wasn't willing to pick a successor for his own role?
  • How does he propose to deal with the peasantry? How long will it take until the peasant question is resolved?

The Party Opposition: The Left, United, and the Right

Daniels. Pp. 144-147 (The Zinoviev-Kamenev Opposition).

Daniels. Pp. 151-153 (Bukharin on the United Opposition).

Sakwa: 4.27 (Bukharin Warns against Stalin).

  • What policy issues were at stake in the discussions over the Zinoviev-Kamenev and United oppositions?
  • What do Bukharin's statements to Kamenev reveal about Bukharin's political difficulties? Is he simply saying back to Kamenev what Kamenev had said to the Party Congress some years earlier?

The Industrialization Debate: Stalin vs. Bukharin

Sakwa: 4.24-4.25 (Socialism in One Country, Primary Socialist Accumulation).

  • See questions under Fitzpatrick.
     

Stalin. "On the Grain Crisis," and "Siberian Speech." Pp. 159-162, and 41-48 (as marked).

  • Stalin seems to offer at least three explanations for problems with grain procurement: the problems result from low prices offered for grain and lack of industrial goods to offer the peasantry, or from the greediness and hostility of the kulaks, or from the small size of peasant holdings. Does he effectively reconcile all these positions?
  • In "Siberian Speech," Stalin suggests that it won't be possible to strike at the kulaks without alienating some middle (or "average") peasants. Why? What solution does he offer for influencing middle peasants?
     

Daniels. Pp. 162-163, and 166-169 (Bukharin on Peasant Policy, Equilibrium).

  • Bukharin had famously said, in 1925, that peasants should strive to "get rich." What is his attitude to kulaks here? How do you think he would answer Stalin's argument that anti-kulak policies will also offend middle peasants?
  • Why does he criticize Trotskyism in 1928, long after Trotsky had been pushed out of the leadership?

The National Question

Suny. Pp. 122-124 (The Question of Nationalism....).


Visual Aids

Scissors Crisis chart.
Money of the Early 1920's.

Key Terms (most only in the readings this session)

Lenin's Testament, the triumvirate, Left Opposition/Right Opposition, "socialism in one country," "squeezing the peasantry," the "scissors crisis" (see the chart discussed in class), "Urals-Siberian" method/Article 107 (Fitzpatrick, p. 125), "dekulakization," circular flow of power (Fitzpatrick, 109), and vozhd (Daniels, 146).

Cast of Characters

 

Joseph StalinGrigorii ZinovievLev KamenevNikolai BukharinFeliks DzerzhinskyAleksei RykovLazar KaganovichNadezhda Krupskaya, and Vladimir Maiakovskii.

9 The Great Break: Collectivization & Industrialization

Please focus on the following issues with respect to all of the readings

  • What accounts for the tremendous sense of haste characteristic of the First Five-Year Plan period?
  • To what extent was this a transition to a "planned" economy? Were the plans teleological or genetic?
  • Were collectivization and industrialization separate policies? If they were connected, how so?
  • Fitzpatrick says there were tremendous battles over setting priorities. Based on the other sources, why do you think this was so?
  • Why does the search for enemies seem to become so much more prominent in this period than in NEP?

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 120-124, and 129-141.

Collectivization Pp. 168-169, 175, 200-201, 209, and 218-221.

 

Sakwa: 5.7-5.8, 5.16 (Stalin on Industrialization, Against Wage Equality, Forward, Oh Time!).


Visual Aids

Chart of grain exports.

Key Terms

Industrialization (generic definition), collectivization, First Five-Year Plan, the Shakhty trial, Magnitogorsk (i.e., Magnetic Mountain), "gigantomania," class liquidation, "Dizzy with Success," "revolution from above," Famine of 1932-33, internal passport (propiska), "red specialists," and subbotnik.

Cast of Characters

Sergo Ordzhonokidze.

 

 

Fainsod, Merle. "Collectivization: The Method." Pp. 95-106.

Sakwa: 5.3-5.6 (Liquidation of Kulaks, Dizzy with Success, Bolshevik-Leninist Opposition).


Industrialization

Kotkin, Stephen. "Peopling a Shock Construction Site." In Magnetic Mountain. Pp. 72-82, and 86-103 (as marked).


Stalin's Letters to Molotov.

10 The New Economy

Khomiakov-Andreev, Gennady. Bitter Waters. Pp. 185-188, 4-13, 22-25, 39-55, 69-85, and 105-122.

In class we will again be doing small group discussions, trying to answer the general question of whether Khomiakov-Andreev describes a "market economy," a "planned economy," or something else. The following more specific questions will serve to guide this conversation:

  • Does the law of supply and demand operate?
  • In a capitalist economy, demand is unpredictable. Is it here?
  • Incentives: what do managers and workers care about? Do they try to maximize profit?
  • Is there a division of labor?
  • Are there property rights? Is the legal system important?
  • How do money and the financial system work?
  • How does the planning cycle work? What incentives are there for parties to planning process?
  • Who’s powerful? Party, state, Moscow, local authorities?

Key Terms

(This week's terms will not be used in your final exam. They are for your reading assistance only.)

kolkhozniki, defitsitnyi, udarnichestvo/udarnik (shock worker), Yezhovshchina (see p. 190, fn. 11), kombinatsii/kombinirovanie/kombinator (see p. 191, last fn.), artel (see p. 190, fn. 2), and partizanshchina.

11 Purge and Terror
  • How would you explain the great purges? Were they products of Stalin's paranoia, a new flare-up of Fitzpatrick's "revolutionary virus," the culmination of the violence of the preceding two decades, or something else?
  • The "show trials" asked people to believe many manifestly implausible things—including that people who had been among the most powerful leaders of the country had for many years been working against it. Why do you think the claims put forward in these trials were so extreme?
  • What, if any, mass support was required for the purges to take place on the scale they did? Why do you think it was forthcoming? Why was opposition not successful?
  • Are you convinced by Tucker's explanation of "the why of forced confession"? Are other arguments possible?
  • Sometimes it is argued that Bukharin intended his statements at his public trial to reveal that the entire process was based on fictions, despite making formal admissions of guilt. What do you think?

Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Pp. 163-170.

Tucker, Robert C. Stalin in Power. Pp. 441-478.

"Last Plea of the Accused Bukharin." In The Great Purge Trial. Pp. 327-328, and 656-668 (as marked).

Sakwa: 5.17-5.19, 5.23-5.24, 5.30, and 5.32 (Ryutin Group, Congress of Victors, Kirov Murder, Purge Plenum, Show Trials, Criticisms).

Key Terms

 

purges (chistki), the Great Purges/Great TerrorNKVD, show trials, and the "Congress of Victors".

Cast of Characters

Sergei KirovYurii PyatokovMarshal TukhachevskyGenrikh YagodaNikolai YezhovAndrei Vyshinsky, and Pavlik Morozov.

12 World War II

Reading Questions

  • What were some of the repressive measures used to ensure discipline and effort in the war? What about measures intended to generate enthusiasm?
  • How would you compare the themes sounded in wartime propaganda to those prominent prior to the war? See especially Sakwa documents 6.16-6.18, 6.23, 6.24, 6.28, 6.39?
  • What makes sense to you regarding (a) Stalin's unwillingness to belief that a German invasion was happening (see 6.1-6.5, 6.13, 6.14, and Barber) and (b) Stalin's failure to appear publicly at the start of the war (6.16-6.17)?
  • Was the war a transformative experience for the Soviet system, or did it reinforce features already prominent?
  • Why do Barber and Harrison call the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings the "first casualties of the Cold War"?

Readings

Barber, John. The Soviet Home Front. Pp. 19-44, and 59-67.

Sakwa: 6.1-6.5, 6.7-6.9, 6.11-6.26, 6.28, 6.30-6.32, and 6.39 (Soviet-Nazi Pact, War, Appeals to Patriotism, Mass Deportations, Victory Toast).

Khomiakov-Andreev. Pp. 146-151, and 163-171.

Key Terms

Great Patriotic War, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ("non-aggression pact"), Finno-Soviet "winter war"Seige of LeningradBattle of Stalingrad, Untermenschen, Order No. 227 (on retreaters and deserters), Lend-Lease, "Ten Great Victories," "anti-Soviet" theory of Hiroshima, KatynBabii Yar, and deported peoples.

Cast of Characters

Lavrentii Beria.

13 The Origins of the Cold War

Suny. Pp. 273-285 ("The Premises of Policy." From Stalin and the Bomb).

Reading Questions

 

Sakwa 

  • What were the plans for setting up new political systems in the states of Eastern Europe?
  • How would Germany be made to pay for the war? What evidence is there that this issue was of special importance to the Soviets?
  • What lessons, if any, does Stalin seem to draw from his war experience?
  • How does Kennan explain the importance of Marxism for the Soviet leadership?
     

General

  • What evidence did the Soviets have at the end of WWII that the rest of the
    world was bent on confrontation with the Soviet Union? What about the
    Western powers' evidence regarding the intentions of the Soviets?
  • Why do you think the alliance did not hold up in the post-war world?

Ending World War II

Sakwa: 6.33-6.36.


The Rise of Rivalry

Sakwa: 7.2-7.5, and 7.13 (Two Camps, Long Telegram, Iron Curtain, Mr. X).

"The Novikov Telegram." Pp. 3, 8, and 12-16.


Internal Consolidation

Sakwa: 7.8, and 7.14 (Attack on Cosmopolitanism, Preserving Peace).


Khrushchev and Kennedy

Zubok, Vladislav, and Constantine Pleshakov. Inside the Kremlin's Cold War. Pp. 182-188, and 236-74.


Key Terms

Yalta ConferenceCold WarBay of Pigs invasionCuban missile crisisBerlin wallWarsaw TreatycontainmentHungarian revolution of 1956, 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, KGB, and "Iron Curtain".

Cast of Characters

Nikita KhrushchevYuri GagarinJohn Foster Dulles, and George Kennan.

  Film: Cranes are Flying  
14 The Khrushchev Years: Thaw and Social Change

We will have small-group discussions in class on the following topic: Suppose you were an advisor to Khrushchev in the 1950's. Offer a list of pros and cons of the policies actually pursued in the following areas: de-Stalinization (was it worth it to give the Secret Speech and allow a freer discussion of Stalin's rule?), the economy, and foreign policy. Remember that you would have been trying to offer suggestions that would have been convincing to Khrushchev as reflecting his goals and values.

Reading Questions

 

  • What continuities can you see in Khrushchev's policies with Communist/Bolshevik traditions? What policies were major departures?
  • How do you understand the utopian strain in Khrushchev's policy? What were some aspects of it, and how might you explain them?
  • What explains the degree of opposition to Khrushchev within the party?

Zubok, Vladislav, and Constantine Pleshakov. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War. Pp. 175-182.

Agrarian and Political Reform

Medvedev, Roy, and Zhores Medvedev. Khrushchev. Pp. 30-45, 56-65, 94-101, and 117-122.

Sakwa: 8.1-8.3, 8.4, 8.6, 8.10, and 8.12 (The New Course, Virgin Lands, Secret Speech, Annulling Deportations, 1961 Party Program).


Foreign Policy

Sakwa: 8.16-8.17 (Peaceful Coexistence, Imperialist Threat).


Opposition, Dissent, and Khrushchev's Fall

Sakwa: 8.7, 8.15, and 8.19-8.21 (Anti-Party Group, Solzhenitsyn, Khrushchev's Ouster).

Key Terms

 

Anti-Party Group, Twentieth Party Congress (1956), Khrushchev's Secret Speech, de-Stalinization, personality cult, "New Course," Virgin Lands scheme, shestdesyatniki (Sakwa, p. 341), and "peaceful coexistence".

Cast of Characters

 

Lazar KaganovichGeorgii MalenkovAnastas Mikoyan, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

15 The Brezhnev Era: Politics and Economics

We will focus especially on Yeltsin's memoir, for which the other readings are a helpful context. Some questions regarding Yeltsin

  • Recall our earlier discussion of УcharismaФ—the claim to legitimacy from performing heroic or extraordinary feats. To what extent is Yeltsin a charismatic figure?
  • How would you compare Yeltsin’s description of the economy to the economy of the 1930’s, as described by Kotkin and Andreev-Khomiakov?
  • What are some examples of the ways central priorities were or were not effective in shaping life in Sverdlovsk?
  • What, if anything, can you gather about Yeltsin’s attitude to laws and rules?
  • Look for examples of political battles involving Moscow authorities. What actors got involved? What was the outcome?
  • How would you describe Yeltsin’s Уmanagement philosophyФ? Give some examples.
  • How much do you trust Yeltsin’s account?
  • What do you think of the image of Brezhnev given here?

Colton, Timothy. "Brezhnev's Ambiguous Legacy." In The Dilemma of Reform in the Soviet Union. Pp. 6-31.

Yeltsin, Boris. Against the Grain. Pp. 43-56, and 61-82.

The Brezhnevite System and Foreign Policy

 

Sakwa: 9.1-9.4 (1965 Reforms, Stagnation, Detente, Developed Socialism).


End of the Thaw and the Rise of Dissent

Sakwa: 9.17, 9.19 (Call for Reform, KGB Surveillance).


Key Terms

detente, invasion of Afghanistan, nepotism, and "period of stagnation" (zastoi).

Cast of Characters

Leonid BrezhnevAleksei KosyginYuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko.

 

16 The Brezhnev Era: Social Change

Colton, Timothy. "What Ails the Soviet System?" In The Dilemma of Reform in the Soviet Union. Pp. 32-67. (Colton is a professor of political science at Harvard.)

  • Which of the six categories of Soviet problems Colton specifies (see page 36 and following) strike you as most challenging?
  • What were some of the political and economic implications of the USSR's demographic difficulties?
  • Was it getting harder or easier for educated people to find jobs in the 1970's?
  • Why does Colton think the Soviet regime had a "tacit pact with society" about living standards (47)?
  • What explained ordinary Soviets' growing hordes of cash, and what were some of the economic consequences?
  • Why do you think the Brezhnev leadership chose to have existing enterprises expand their missions to address problems with consumer goods and food supply (p.37, 55)? How is the decision to focus on repair of industrial equipment (41) similar, if at all?
  • What "vicious circles" does Colton identify as key threats for the future (56-57)?
  • Without the benefit of hindsight, do you think you would have been more or less optimistic about Soviet prospects than Colton was based on the evidence he had available?

Society

Suny. Pp. 360-379 (The "New Soviet Man" turns Pessimist, The Little Deal....).


The Andropov Years

Sakwa: 9.32-9.35 (Continuity, Flexibility, Ideology, Novosibirsk Report).

  • Based on the available evidence, do Andropov and/or Zaslavaskaia seem to have appreciated the seriousness of the problems facing the Soviet Union?

Key Terms

samizdat, "developed socialism," "expectations gap," second economy, merger v. rapprochement of nationalities (Colton, p. 44), "One Week Like Any Other," and the "Novosibirsk report."

Cast of Characters

 

Yuri AndropovKonstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

17 Gorbachev's Political Revolution

McFaul, Michael. "Gorbachev's Design for Reforming..., The End of the Soviet Union." In Russia's Unfinished Revolution; Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. Pp. 33-86.

Economic Reform

 

Sakwa: 10.1-10.6 (Anti-Alcohol Campaign, Perestroika).


Political Reform

Sakwa: 10.8-10.18 (Seventieth Anniversary Speech, Nina Andreeva, Nineteenth Party Conference, Congress of People's Deputies, Abolition of the Party's Leading Role, New Political Thinking).


Key Terms

Nineteenth Party Congress (Summer 1988), Congress of People's Deputies (March elections, televised May session), uskorenie (acceleration), glasnost, perestroika, New Political Thinking, amendment to Article Six (CPSU's "leading role"), Andreeva letter, withdrawal from Eastern Europe, and withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Cast of Characters

 

Yegor Ligachev, Alexander Yakovlev, and Boris Yeltsin.

18 Nationalism

Hosking, Geoffrey. "The Flawed Melting Pot." In The Awakening of the Soviet Union. Pp. 82-88.

The Baltics and Central Asia
"Communist empire" (Hosking, p. 83), "bourgeois nationalism" (Hosking, p. 87), "elder brother," indigenous cadres, titular nationalities, and "empire-savers" vs. "nation-builders".

Soviet Republics

RSFSR (Russia), Baltics (EstoniaLatviaLithuania), Soviet "East Europe" (BelarusUkraineMoldova), Caucasus (GeorgiaArmeniaAzerbaijan), and Central Asia (KazakhstanKyrgyzstanUzbekistanTurkmenistanTajikistan).

 

 

 

Zaslavsky, Victor. "The Evolution of Separatism in Soviet Society under Gorbachev." Pp. 71-79.


Georgia

Brook, Stephen. "Civil War or Ice-Cream." In Claws of the Crab. Pp. 6, 8, 17, and 21-33. 


Russia

Szporluk, Roman. "Dilemmas of Russian Nationalism." Pp. 441-462.


Key Terms
 

19 Collapse of the Soviet Union

McFaul. Pp. 86-117 (The End of the Soviet Union).

Humphrey, Caroline. "'Icebergs,' Barter, and the Mafia in Provincial Russia." Pp. 8-13.

Sakwa: 10.20-10.22, 10.24-10.32, and 10.37 (Sovereign Russia, Union Treaty, Referendum, August Coup, Suspension of Communist Party, Gorbachev's Resignation).

Key Terms

"August coup," State Committee for the State of Emergency (GKChP), Democratic Russia, Russian "White House," Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)barter (general definition), "icebergs," and food-cards/coupons/orders.

Four Autonomous Republics in Russia

 

BuryatiaKalmykiaTuva, and Yakutia.

Cast of Characters

Gennadii Yanaev, Vladimir Kryuchkov, Boris Pugo, Anatolii Lukyanov, Andrei Kozyrev, Pavel Grachev, and Aleksandr Lebed.

20 New Russia Emerges, 1991-1993

Remnick, David. "The October Revolution." In Resurrection. Pp. 37-83.

Key Terms

 

"October events," 1993 referendum, "irreconcilable opposition," National Salvation Front, Ostankino, and price liberalization.

Cast of Characters

 

Yegor Gaidar, Viktor Chernomyrdin, Aleksandr Rutskoi, and Ruslan Khasbulatov.

21 From Yeltsin to Putin, 1993-2001

Suny: pp. 564-573 (What Russia Teaches Us Now: How Weak States Threaten Freedom).

22 Contemporary Russia Pelevin, Victor. Homo Zapiens.