An insider account of the struggle to reform the Soviet/Russian legal system and create a law-based society. This text situates the formal commitment to democratic politics, and the creation of a legal and constitutional order within the context of Russian history and tradition.
Drawing on newly available archival materials including official documents, reports, and personal accounts, this remarkable study presents a detailed picture of the living standards of various social groups in prewar Soviet Russia, and the role of state-controlled distribution of food and goods as a tool of the Stalinist dictatorship. The study offers a new perspective not only on the period of collectivization, industrialization, and terror but also on the regime's most rudimentary method of controlling human behavior and reshaping the social order. In her conclusion the author analyzes the long-term impacts of the Stalinist "dictatorship of distribution", from bureaucratization to rural depopulation to the emergence of a distinctive type of black-market economy.