The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia
The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1921-39
The Socialist Revolutionary party, which had been the largest and most popular party in Russia in 1917, did not after the October Revolution just disappear into the "dustbin of history", as Trotsky hoped, but – led by its leadership in exile in the 1920s and 1930s – continued to observe and comment on developments in Russia.
In emigration, the Socialist Revolutionary (SR) party often put forward policy proposals on a wide range of topics: policies which, based on a shrewd understanding of the real situation in Russia, offered realistic alternatives to the policies being pursued by the Marxist Bolshevik regime. This book fills a gap in examining one of the most significant Russian political parties, and is based on extensive original analysis of SR party materials, shows how it operated; how it formulated and disseminated its ideas; what these ideas were, and how the party's ideas developed in response to changing circumstances in Russia and Europe more widely. Far from being the agrarian Slavophile romantics as they are often portrayed, this book shows the SRs were energetic European modernisers who contributed vigorously to the leading debates of their day; it also shows how the SR vision of a populist, socialist regime failed to materialise as state control, dictatorship and the collectivisation of agriculture took hold.
Table of Contents
1. SRs as Russian Revolutionaries 2. The Socialist Revolutionary Party in Prague 3. The Soviet Union during NEP 4. The Bolshevik Regime, Soviet Society and SR Political Tactics 5. The Socialist League of the New East 6. The SRs and Stalin’s Great Turn 7. The Collectivisation of Agriculture 8. The 1930s and the Road to War
Elizabeth White is Lecturer in international history at the University of Ulster, UK.
"White’s book complements and supplements existing major scholarship on the SR party, which has focused primarily on the history of the party and its splits, and its terrorist and agrarian policies in the turbulent period between 1905 and 1917. It also contributes to the burgeoning study of the Russian e´migre´ community. Her work, which is based on a comprehensive examination of party archival material, contains some very perceptive insights and useful commentary... White is to be commended for her efforts in producing a book that makes an important contribution to the study of e´migre´ politics, and highlights the significant contribution that the Prague SRs made to the intellectual and political history of inter-war Europe and the Soviet Union." - Alexander Trapeznik, University of Otago; Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 24, No. 2, December 2011
‘In this original study the author has done a very competent job in telling the story of the Prague SR e´migre´ s, and she is right to say that their study is part of European history. Their commentary also makes possible a more profound understanding of developments in the Soviet Union’ -- James D. White, University of Glasgow