1st Edition

Western Intellectuals and the Soviet Union, 1920-40
From Red Square to the Left Bank

ISBN 9780415545853
Published May 14, 2009 by Routledge
282 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

Despite the appalling record of the Soviet Union on human rights questions, many western intellectuals with otherwise impeccable liberal credentials were strong supporters the Soviet Union in the interwar period. This book explores how this seemingly impossible situation came about.

Focusing in particular on the work of various official and semi-official bodies, including Comintern, the International Association of Revolutionary Writers, the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, and the Foreign Commission of the Soviet Writers' Union, this book shows how cultural propaganda was always a high priority for the Soviet Union, and how successful this cultural propaganda was in seducing so many Western thinkers.

Table of Contents

1. The Soviet Myth and Western Intellectuals: From Attraction to Action  2. Comintern – The Origins of Soviet Cultural Propaganda  3. MORP – Propaganda through Coercion  4. MORP – The Closing Years  5. Laying the Foundations of Relations with Western Intellectuals: VOKS in the 1920s  6. Manufacturing Support: VOKS in the 1930s  7. VOKS and the ‘Famous Foreigners’  8. The Bond of Friendship: Foreign Commission of the Soviet Writers’ Union and French Writers

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Ludmila Stern is Senior Lecturer in the School of Modern Language Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia, where she coordinates Russian Studies, and Interpreting and Translation Studies. She has published on VOKS and French intellectuals, and her other research interests include courtroom interpreting (Australian War Crimes Prosecutions and ICTY).


"It is no secret that a large number of distunguished Western intellectuals used to admire the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, but far less is known about the specific Soviet policies and organizations designed to nurture these attitudes. One major tool was the meticulously designed conducted tour. It is the major objective of Ludmila Stern's original and well-researched study to establish and document precisely the Soviet contribution to the persuasion of Western intellectuals...This informative volume deserves to be widely read and pondered."

--Paul Hollander, American Historial Review, October 2007


'This book brings to light a hitherto neglected aspect of Soviet policy. It is required reading for scholars interested in Soviet myth-creation' - Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal Fordham University, Russian Review, 2008