Stalinism: Russian and Western Views at the Turn of the Millenium, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Russian and Western Views at the Turn of the Millenium, 1st Edition

By John L. H. Keep, Alter L. Litvin


264 pages

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Stalinism surveys the efforts made in recent years by professional historians, in Russia and the West, to better understand what really went on in the USSR between 1929 and 1953, when the country's affairs were shrouded in secrecy.

The opening of the Soviet archives in 1991 has led to a profusion of historical studies, whose strengths and weaknesses are assessed here impartially though not uncritically. While Joseph Stalin now emerges as a less omnipotent figure than he seemed to be at the time, most serious writers accept that the system over which he ruled was despotic and totalitarian. Some nostalgic nationalists in Russia, along with some Western post-modernists, disagree. Their arguments are carefully dissected here. Stalinism was of course much more than state sponsored terror, and so due attention is paid to a wide range of socio-economic and cultural problems. Keep and Litvin applaud the efforts of Soviet citizens to express dissenting views.


'Keep constantly seeks to draw attanetion to what has been found by historians, traditional and postmodernist alike, while maintaining a running debate with the postmodernist writers. This produces an informative and interesting text. Anyone seeking a guide to recent writing in these areas will find much of interest.' - Michael Ellamn, IRSH

The outpouring of articles and books on Stalin and Stalinism is ongoing. This book offers a well-informed survey of recent work in this area in four areas. In view of the central importance of Stalinism in the twentieth century this is undoubtedly a useful project.' - Michael Ellman, IRSH

About the Authors

Alter L. Litvin is professor of history and historiography at Kazan State University, Tatarstan. He has written many books dealing with the Russian civil war, the Volga region, and political terror, and has also helped to edit a number of documentary collections. He has won awards for his distinguished professional achievements.

John L. H. Keep was from 1970 to 1988 a professor of history at the University of Toronto. He is author of works on the Russian revolution, the social history of the Russian army (15th-19th centuries), and the post-Stalin USSR. He recently translated and edited A.L. Litvin's Writing History in Twentieth Century Russia: A view from within.

About the Series

Totalitarianism Movements and Political Religions

This innovative book series will scrutinise all attempts to totally refashion mankind and society, whether these hailed from the Left or the Right, which, unusually, will receive equal consideration. Although its primary focus will be on the authoritarian and totalitarian politics of the twentieth century, the series will also provide a forum for the wider discussion of the politics of faith and salvation in general, together with an examination of their inexorably catastrophic consequences.

There are no chronological or geographical limitations to the books that may be included, and the series will include reprints of classic works and translations, as well as monographs and collections of essays.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory