Social Scientist. v 21, no. 240-41 (May-June 1993) p. 74.


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REVIEW ARTICLE / ARVINDVYAS*

Stalin's Russia

Chris Ward, Stalin's Russia, Edward Arnold, Hodder and Stoughton, London and New York, 1993, pp. 232, price not stated.

'History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors, and issues deceive with whispering ambitions, guides us by vanities. Think now, she gives when our attention is distructed, and what she gives, give with supple confusions, that the giving famishes the craving ... .1

Chris Ward's book is an outstanding historical work. As he says 'history has a different way of looking at things a way of thinking about vanished meanings' (p. 1).... It has been superbly documented (on an average 50-100 references or footnotes per page!) relying on both pre-glasnost and posi-glasnost sources (i.e. archives) though the latter have not yet been exhausted especially for foreigners and only for a select group of Russians. The pre'glasnost sources are mainly Pravda, Izvestiya, Za Industrializatiza (For Industrialization,) Trud (labour) and stenographic records of party congresses and conferences. The post-glasnost sources, as mentioned before have been used in a haphazard way and no systematic research has yet been undertaken especially for the republics and for the highly sensitive period of the 1930s (p.5).

The book has been organized as follows: (a) Stalin's early career and the circumstances that led to the rise of his power, (b) his attitude towards NEP, the industrialization debate and the relationship between collectivization and industrialization (chs. 2-3). Chapter four deals with perhaps the most controversial question relating to purges and politics, finally the last two chapters deal mainly with his role in World War II and culture and society in the USSR.

Consider briefly the contents of each chapter in turn, after which we shall examine, to quote Stalin, the 'errors of Chris Ward and the other errors of Chris Ward.'2

Centre for Russian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Social Scientist, Vol. 21, Nos. 5-6, May-June, 1993



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