A Time of Troubles

Surveillance and Terror.  These two terms were used in Sheila Fitzpatricks chapter, A Time of Troubles, as a way of discussing the Great Purges of 1937 and 1938.   In this Chapter, Fitzpatrick explored the many ways the Great Terror took hold of the Soviet State and how it spread throughout the state.

The one part of Sheila Fitzpatrick chapter that really stood out to me was her section on how the Great Terror Spread.  Fitzpatrick noted that there were several ways that the Great Purge spread.  … Read the rest here

The “Nature” of Communism

A key aspect of the Soviet Union’s quest for true Communism was becoming waste-free and efficient. Every single resource was utilized for the common good of the state; this included people, materials, machines, and even nature. Unused land was waste, and waste had no place in the Party’s strategy.

Looking back, particularly with today’s heightened emphasis on preserving the environment, it is easy to see the ways in which these policies of brutal extraction from the land would lead to future consequences.… Read the rest here

A classic struggle of “us against them”

In her article “Us Against Them” in Fitzpatrick’s Stalinism: New Directions, Sarah Davies describes a society in the Soviet Union that is fraught with discontent. In the mid to late 1930’s the elite party leaders were attempting to reconstruct a class system–albeit a different one than before–and the people were growing weary.

The long-term goal of the revolutionaries was to abolish the class system and bring to fruition a country ruled by the working class, but it was a goal that proved to be nearly impossible. … Read the rest here