A History of the Soviet Union by Peter Kenez

By Peter Kenez

An exam of political, social and cultural advancements within the Soviet Union. The publication identifies the social tensions and political inconsistencies that spurred radical swap within the govt of Russia, from the flip of the century to the revolution of 1917. Kenez envisions that revolution as a hindrance of authority that posed the query, 'Who shall govern Russia?' this query used to be resolved with the construction of the Soviet Union. Kenez lines the advance of the Soviet Union from the Revolution, during the Nineteen Twenties, the years of the hot monetary guidelines and into the Stalinist order. He exhibits how post-Stalin Soviet leaders struggled to discover how one can rule the rustic with no utilizing Stalin's tools but in addition with out brazenly repudiating the previous, and to barter a relaxed yet antipathetic coexistence with the capitalist West. during this re-creation, he additionally examines the post-Soviet interval, tracing Russia's improvement as much as the current day.

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According to this reasoning, the primary purpose of the Russian revolution was to break that chain and thereby initiate a world revolution. As they saw it, their revolution could be successful in the long run only if it was aided by sympathetic, more advanced, and above all socialist nations. The expectation of a socialist revolution following the mad devastation of World War I was by no means nonsensical. Today we know that the revolution did not occur, that the old order reasserted itself. At the time, however, everyone, friend and foe alike, hoped for or feared just such a cataclysmic transformation.

When the serfs were liberated in 1861, they received approximately half of the land they had cultivated before; but this was an arrangement that most considered unfair – they wanted all of it. As the population grew in the decades preceding World War I, demand for land increased. In 1917, when the central authority collapsed, the peasants wanted to make their own revolution, which to them meant above all a redistribution of land. Few understood that even taking all the lands of the nobility was not a long-term solution: given methods of cultivation in Russia, there was simply not enough land for everyone who wanted to cultivate it.

The third source of conflict during the days of the provisional government was the increasing desire of the national minorities for autonomy. Russia has been a multi-ethnic state from its inception. The minorities, which made up half of the population of the empire, greatly differed from one another in economic and cultural development and in degree of national consciousness. As long as the empire was strong, minority nationalism could not threaten the stability of the state. With the exception of the Poles and perhaps the Finns, nationalist aspirations were limited to small circles of people primarily interested in cultural autonomy.

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