© 1996 – Routledge
Since its creation immediately after the Russian revolution,the militia has had a broad range of social,political and economic functions necessary to direct and control a highly centralized socialist state.However,as the communst party lost its legitimacy the militia was increasingly thrust into the front line of political conflict.A task it was unsuited to perform.Despite the efforts of perestroika to reform it,the collapse of the Soviet state also led to the collapse of morale within the militia.
Louise Shelley provides a comprehensive view of the history,development,functions,personnel and operations of the militia from its inception until after the demise of the Soviet state.The militia combined elements of continental,socialist and colonial policing.Its functions and operations changed with the development of the state,yet it always intervened significantly in citizen's lives and citizens were very much involved in their own control.Over time the militia became more removed from politics and more concerned with crime control,but it always remained a tool of the party.
This is the first book to analyze the militia,which was one of the most vital elements of control within the Soviet State.It will be a crucial aid to understanding the authoritarianism of the communist system and its legacy for Russia and the successor states.
Louise I.Shelley is Professor at the Department of Justice,Law and Society and the School of International Service at the American University,Washington D.C.