Surveillance in Russia

Holquist takes his argument and focuses on USSR and their plans to monitor the mood in Russia. His organization was very solid, keeping the flow and had breaks in the different thoughts, but how he views his sources presents a little concern for me. I personally did not notice any vetting of the sources because in Mother Russia (like anywhere else), there is a tendency to either emphasis or ignore particular aspects of what was going on. For example, there are issues of validity in countries such as Russia where there is censorship and even self-censorship on the management (and surveillance) levels.

Holquist continues on to revisit that idea of Imperial Russia compared to the other powers during World War I. In my World War I class with Professor Sweeney, we discussed ideas such as these, especially regarding communication home. For example, the troops would often be issued form letters to send home just to let their parents know they were alive, which they would sign and send; which in turn, alleviated some of the burden on the censors. The French, on the other side, used imported laborers to help keep their factories in production. These laborers would send letters home describing their working conditions in some of the most risky jobs and the chance that the stories of people being sent to the front (for one reason or another). It wasn’t until they tried to draft 25,000 Algerians to work in France that they realized the letters being sent home by the workers needed censored or they would never find enough workers in the colonies volunteering to come work in France. As a whole, the idea of censorship seems to be both beneficial (for the controlling state) but at the same time, a waste of resources and manpower because it is obvious when citizens become unhappy with the state, just like they did with the Revolution of 1905 and again in the Russian Revolution.