Judgment: A Novel
David Bergelson, Translated from the Yiddish by Harriet Murav and Sasha Senderovich Northwestern University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PJ5129.B45M513 2017 | Dewey Decimal 839.133
Never before available in English, Judgment is a work of startling power by David Bergelson, the most celebrated Yiddish prose writer of his era.
Originally published in 1929 and set in 1920 during the Russian civil war, Judgment traces the death of the shtetl and the birth of the “new, harsher world” created by the 1917 revolution. Jews and non-Jews smuggle people, goods, and anti-Bolshevik literature back and forth across the new political border. Filipov acts as the arbiter of "judgment" to prisoners in a Bolshevik outpost, who include Spivak, a counterrevolutionary; Lemberger, a pious and wealthy Jew; a seductive woman referred to as "the blonde"; and a memorable cast of smugglers and criminals.
Ordinary people, depicted in a grotesque and modernist style—comparable to Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry—confront the overwhelming forces of history, whose ultimate outcome remains unknown.
Upon their scandalous deportation from the United States in 1919, famous anarchist writers and activists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were greeted like heroes by the new Bolshevik government in Russia. Berkman described it as “the most sublime day of my life.” And yet he would flee the country after only two years. Belarus-born Ida Mett, who went through a similar experience at the time, also wrote a harrowing account of the Red Army’s brutal massacre at the Kronstadt Uprising before she too went into exile. How did each of these figures become so deeply disillusioned with Russia so quickly? And why, within a few years, did they all leave the country forever?
1917 offers a unique alternative perspective on the early years of the Russian Revolution through the narrative perspective of these three eyewitnesses. Featuring an introduction by Murray Bookchin, this book emphasizes the rarely discussed anarchist hopes for a democratic October revolution, while also critiquing the increasingly authoritarian responses of Bolshevik leaders at the time. Published for the centennial of the Russian revolutions, 1917 contains four essays by Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Ida Mett, and Bookchin, as well as a poem by Dan Georgakas, that analyze, assess, celebrate, and bemoan both the wild successes and the bitter failures of the revolution.
Filmed in1966 and ’67, but kept from release for twenty years, The Commissar is unquestionably one of the most important and compelling films of the Soviet era. Based on a short story by Vasily Grossman, it tells of a female Red Army commissar who is forced to stay with a Jewish family near the frontlines of the battle between the Red and White Armies as she waits to give birth. The film drew the ire of censors for its frank portrayal of the violence faced by Russian Jews in the wake of the revolution.
This book is the first companion to the film in any language. It recounts the film’s plot and turbulent production history, and it also offers a close analysis of the artistic vision of its director, Aleksandr Askoldov, and the ways that viewers can trace in the film not only his complex aesthetics, but also the personal crises he endured in the years leading up to the film. The result is an indispensable companion to an unforgettable film.
An American Diplomat in Bolshevik Russia
DeWitt Clinton Poole, Edited by Lorraine M. Lees and William S. Rodner University of Wisconsin Press, 2014 Library of Congress DK266.5.P66 2014 | Dewey Decimal 327.73047092
Diplomat DeWitt Clinton Poole arrived for a new job at the United States consulate office in Moscow in September 1917, just two months before the Bolshevik Revolution. In the final year of World War I, as Russians were withdrawing and Americans were joining the war, Poole found himself in the midst of political turmoil in Russia. U.S. relations with the newly declared Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated as civil war erupted and as Allied forces intervened in northern Russia and Siberia. Thirty-five years later, in the climate of the Cold War, Poole recounted his experiences as a witness to that era in a series of interviews.
Historians Lorraine M. Lees and William S. Rodner introduce and annotate Poole's recollections, which give a fresh, firsthand perspective on monumental events in world history and reveal the important impact DeWitt Clinton Poole (1885–1952) had on U.S.–Soviet relations. He was active in implementing U.S. policy, negotiating with the Bolshevik authorities, and supervising American intelligence operations that gathered information about conditions throughout Russia, especially monitoring anti-Bolshevik elements and areas of German influence. Departing Moscow in late 1918 via Petrograd, he was assigned to the port of Archangel, then occupied by Allied and American forces, and left Russia in June 1919.
The traditional narrative of the Russian Civil War is one of revolution against counterrevolution, Bolshevik Reds against Tsarist Whites. Liudmila Novikova convincingly demonstrates, however, that the struggle was not between a Communist future and a Tsarist past; instead, it was a bloody fight among diverse factions of a modernizing postrevolutionary state. Focusing on the sparsely populated Arkhangelsk region in Northern Russia, she shows that the anti-Bolshevik government there, which held out from 1918 to early 1920, was a revolutionary alternative bolstered by broad popular support.
Novikova draws on declassified archives and sources in both Russia and the West to reveal the White movement in the North as a complex social and political phenomenon with a distinct regional context. She documents the politics of the Northern Government and its relations with the British and American forces who had occupied the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk at the end of World War I. As the civil war continued, the increasing involvement of the local population transformed the conflict into a ferocious "people's war" until remaining White forces under General Evgenii Miller evacuated the region in February 1920.
Beginning in the fall of 1920, Aleksandr Antonov led an insurgency that became the largest armed peasant revolt against the Soviets during the civil war. Yet by the summer of 1921, the revolt had been crushed, and popular support for the movement had all but disappeared. Until now, details of this conflict have remained hidden. Erik Landis mines recently opened provincial and central Soviet archives and international collections to provide a depth of detail and historical analysis never before possible in this definitive account of the uprising.
Landis examines both sides of the conflict, probing the testimonies of the insurgents, their opponents, and those caught in between. We witness firsthand the frustrations, failures, and internal conflicts of the Bolsheviks and the spirit of rebellion that drove the insurgents and helped drive a localized dispute into a well-organized mass rebellion that struck fear in the hearts of Communist leaders. This political and military threat was influential in bringing about Lenin's conciliatory New Economic Policy, which allowed farmers and villages to sustain themselves in a quasi-market economy.
Bandits and Partisans presents a gripping tale of brutality, domination, and revolt, placing readers at the frontlines of the complex and rich history of the Russian civil war and the consolidation of the new Soviet state.
The rise of the Bolsheviks is an epic Russian story that now has a definitive end. The major historian of the subject, Adam Ulam, has enlarged his classic work with a new Preface that puts the revolutionary moment, and especially Lenin, in perspective for our modern age.
The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) were the largest political party in Russia in the crucial revolutionary year of 1917. Heirs to the legacy of the People’s Will movement, the SRs were unabashed proponents of peasant rebellion and revolutionary terror, emphasizing the socialist transformation of the countryside and a democratic system of government as their political goals. They offered a compelling, but still socialist, alternative to the Bolsheviks, yet by the early 1920s their party was shattered and its members were branded as enemies of the revolution. In 1922, the SR leaders became the first fellow socialists to be condemned by the Bolsheviks as “counter-revolutionaries” in the prototypical Soviet show trial.
In Captives of the Revolution, Scott B. Smith presents both a convincing account of the defeat of the SRs and a deeper analysis of the significance of the political dynamics of the Civil War for subsequent Soviet history. Once the SRs decided to openly fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, they faced a series of nearly impossible political dilemmas. At the same time, the Bolsheviks fatally undermined the revolutionary credentials of the SRs by successfully appropriating the rhetoric of class struggle, painting a simplistic picture of Reds versus Whites in the Civil War, a rhetorical dominance that they converted into victory over the SRs and any left-wing alternative to Bolshevik dictatorship. In this narrative, the SRs became a bona fide threat to national security and enemies of the people—a characterization that proved so successful that it became an archetype to be used repeatedly by the Soviet leadership against any political opponents, even those from within the Bolshevik party itself.
In this groundbreaking study, Smith reveals a more complex and nuanced picture of the postrevolutionary struggle for power in Russia than we have ever seen before and demonstrates that the Civil War—and in particular the struggle with the SRs—was the formative experience of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.
Countess Sofia Panina lived a remarkable life. Born into an aristocratic family in imperial Russia, she found her true calling in improving the lives of urban workers. Her passion for social service and reputation as the "Red Countess" led her to political prominence after the fall of the Romanovs. She became the first woman to hold a cabinet position and the first political prisoner tried by the Bolsheviks. The upheavals of the 1917 Revolution forced her to flee her beloved country, but instead of living a quiet life in exile she devoted the rest of her long life to humanitarian efforts on behalf of fellow refugees.
Based on Adele Lindenmeyr's detailed research in dozens of archival collections, Citizen Countess establishes Sofia Panina as an astute eyewitness to and passionate participant in the historical events that shaped her life. Her experiences shed light on the evolution of the European nobility, women's emancipation and political influence of the time, and the fate of Russian liberalism.
Russians from all walks of life poured into the streets of the imperial capital after the February Revolution of 1917, joyously celebrating the end of Tsar Nicholas II’s monarchy. One year later, with Lenin’s Bolsheviks now in power, Petrograd’s deserted streets presented a very different scene. No celebrations marked the Revolution’s anniversary. Amid widespread civil strife and lawlessness, a fearful citizenry stayed out of sight.
In Crime and Punishment in the Russian Revolution, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa offers a new perspective on Russia’s revolutionary year through the lens of violent crime and its devastating effect on ordinary people. When the Provisional Government assumed power after Nicholas II’s abdication, it set about instituting liberal reforms, including eliminating the tsar’s regular police. But dissolving this much-hated yet efficient police force and replacing it with a new municipal police led rapidly to the breakdown of order and services. Amid the chaos, crime flourished. Gangs of criminals, deserters, and hooligans brazenly roamed the streets. Mass prison escapes became common. And vigilantism spread widely as ordinary citizens felt compelled to take the law into their own hands, often meting out mob justice on suspected wrongdoers.
The Bolsheviks swept into power in the October Revolution but had no practical plans to reestablish order. As crime continued to escalate and violent alcohol riots almost drowned the revolutionary regime, they redefined it as “counterrevolutionary activity,” to be dealt with by the secret police, whose harshly repressive, extralegal means of enforcement helped pave the way for a Communist dictatorship.
A special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Morgan Philips Price was one of the few Englishmen in Russia during all phases of the Revolution. Although his Bolshevik sympathies accorded him an insider’s perspective on much of the turmoil, his reports were often heavily revised or suppressed. In Dispatches from the Revolution, Tania Rose collects for the first time Price’s correspondence from Russia—official and unofficial, published and unpublished—to reveal a side of Russian life and politics that fell largely unreported in the years before, during, and after the Revolution. This collection includes Price’s pre-censored observations and comment, written for a range of British publications, as well as letters, postcards, and other writings. A foreword by Eric Hobsbawm and introductory material by Rose place Price’s observations in biographical and historical context. Dispatches from the Revolution offers an account of the Russian Revolution from an eyewitness whose political commitment, fluency in Russian, and extensive travel far beyond the cities permitted him to write, uniquely, not only of metropolitan news and politics, but also of the experiences and issues signficant to ordinary peasants, workers, and soldiers in remote areas of the Russian empire. An important source to scholars of Russian history, this book will also appeal to general readers with interests in Russia, journalism, and world affairs.
Offering a fundamental reinterpretation of the emergence of the Soviet state, Peter Holquist situates the Bolshevik Revolution within the continuum of mobilization and violence that began with World War I and extended through Russia's civil war. In so doing, Holquist provides a new genealogy for Bolshevik political practices, one that places them clearly among Russian and European wartime measures. From this perspective, the Russian Revolution was no radical rupture with the past, but rather the fulcrum point in a continent-wide era of crisis and violence that began in 1914.
While Tsarist and Revolutionary governments implemented policies for total mobilization common to other warring powers, they did so in a supercharged and concentrated form. Holquist highlights how the distinctive contours of Russian political life set its experience in these years apart from other wartime societies. In pursuit of revolution, statesmen carried over crisis-created measures into political life and then incorporated them into the postwar political structure. Focusing on three particular policies--state management of food; the employment of official violence for political ends; and state surveillance--Holquist demonstrates the interplay of state policy and local implementation, and its impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. Making War, Forging Revolution casts a new light on Russia's revolution and boldly inserts it into the larger story of the Great War and twentieth-century European history.
The Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 and the ensuing communist regime have often been portrayed as a man’s revolution, with women as bystanders or even victims. Midwives of the Revolution examines the powerful contribution made by women to the overthrow of tsarism in 1917 and their importance in the formative years of communism in Russia.
Focusing on the masses as well as the high-ranking intelligentsia, Midwives of the Revolution is the first sustained analysis of female involvement in the revolutionary era of Russian history. The authors investigate the role of Bolshevik women and the various forms their participation took. Drawing on the experiences of representative individuals, the authors discuss the important relationship between Bolshevik women and the workers in the turbulent months of 1917.
The authors demonstrate that women were an integral part of the revolutionary process and challenge assumptions that they served merely to ignite an essentially masculine revolt. By placing women center stage, without exaggerating their roles, this study enriches our understanding of a momentous event in twentieth-century history.
The period before 1917 was a brilliant one for Russian literature, marked by the innovations and experimentation of modernism. With the Bolshevik seizure of power, a parallel process of drastic social innovation and experimentation began. How did revolution in the arts and revolution in society and politics relate to one another? Victor Erlich, an eminent authority on modern Slavic culture, takes up this question in Modernism and Revolution, a masterful appraisal of Russian literature during its most turbulent years.
Probing the salient literary responses to the upheaval that changed the face of Russia, Erlich offers a new perspective on this period of artistic and political ferment. He begins by revisiting the highlights of early twentieth-century Russian poetry—including the works of such masters as Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Pasternak—and goes on to examine the major prose writers of the first post-revolutionary decade. In an inquiry that ranges over poetry, criticism, and artistic prose, Erlich explores the work of, among others, Symbolists Bely, Blok, and Ivanov, Futurists Khlebnikov and Mayakovsky, Formalists Jakobson and Shklovsky, the novelists Pilnyak and Zamyatin, the short-story master Babel, and the humorist Zoshchenko. He delineates a complex and ambiguous relationship between Russian literary modernism and the emerging Soviet state.
Here, following the artistic experimentation and cultural diversity begun early in the century, we witness a trend toward regimentation and conformity as the literary avant garde's modus vivendi with the new regime becomes increasingly precarious. As this regime recedes into history, along with the passions and prejudices it aroused, the accomplishments and failures of writers caught up in its early revolutionary fervor can at last be seen for what they were. From a perspective formed over a lifetime of study of Russian literature, Victor Erlich helps us look clearly, judiciously, and deeply into this long obscured part of the literary past.
In 1920, on the third anniversary of the October Revolution, dramatist Nikolai Evreinov directed a cast of 10,000 actors, dancers, and circus performers—as well as a convoy of armored cars and tanks—in The Storming of the Winter Palace. The mass spectacle, presented in and around the real Winter Palace in Petrograd, was intended to recall the storming as the beginning of the October Revolution. But it was a deceptive reenactment because, in producing the events it sought to reenact, it created a new kind of theater, agit-drama, promulgating political propaganda and deliberately breaking down the distinction between performers and spectators.
Nikolaj Evreinov: “The Storming of the Winter Palace” tells the fascinating story of this production. Taking readers through the relevant history, the authors describe the role of The Storming of the Winter Palace in commemorating Soviet power. With a wealth of illustrations, they also show how photographs of Evreinov’s theatrical storming eventually became historical documents of the October Revolution themselves.
NOTES OF A RED GUARD
Eduard M. Dune. Translated and Edited by Diane P. Koenker and S. A. Smith University of Illinois Press, 1993 Library of Congress DK254.D78A3 1993 | Dewey Decimal 947.0841092
This compelling never-before-published
account takes the reader into Red Guard and Red Army units, Moscow factories,
workers' homes, and to the unfamiliar world of feudal Dagestan. Worker-revolutionary
Eduard Dune was seventeen when the Russian revolution began. He joined the Bolshevik
party and fought with the Moscow Red Guard during the October revolution. Notes of a Red Guard is his candid account of what happened through 1921. This
uncensored account offers a rare glimpse of revolutionary Russia from the perspective
of an educated, skilled worker who became a rank-and-file participant.
Novel with Cocaine
M. Ageyev Northwestern University Press, 1991 Library of Congress PG3476.A3164R613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 891.7344
A Dostoevskian psychological novel of ideas, Novel with Cocaine explores the interaction between psychology, philosophy, and ideology in its frank portrayal of an adolescent's cocaine addiction. The story relates the formative experiences of Vadim at school and with women before he turns to drug abuse and the philosophical reflections to which it gives rise. Although Ageyev makes little explicit reference to the Revolution, the novel's obsession with addictive forms of thinking finds resonance in the historical background, in which "our inborn feelings of humanity and justice" provoke "the cruelties and satanic transgressions committed in its name.
Peasants, Power, and Place is the first English-language book to focus on Ukrainian-speaking peasants during the revolutionary period from 1914 to 1921. In contrast to the many studies written from the perspectives of the Ukrainian national movement’s leaders or the Bolsheviks or urban workers, this book portrays this period of war, revolution, and civil war from the viewpoints of the villagers—the overwhelming majority of the population of what became Ukraine. Utilizing previously unavailable archival documents, Mark R. Baker opens a unique and neglected window into the tumultuous events of those years in Ukraine and across the crumbling Russian Empire. One of Baker’s key arguments is that the peasants of Kharkiv province thought of themselves primarily as members of their particular village communities, and not as members of any nation or class—ideas to which peasants were only then being introduced. Thus this study helps to move the historiography beyond the narrow and ideologized categories created during the Cold War and still employed today. Readers will gain a broader understanding of the ways in which the majority of the population experienced these crucial years in Ukraine’s history.
The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution irrevocably changed the course of history, with consequences still being felt a century later. This book offers a dramatic depiction of the chaotic events of the revolution, drawn from selected firsthand accounts.
Assembling extracts from letters, journals, diaries, and memoirs from a remarkably diverse cast of both Russians and foreign nationals who were there when the revolution broke, Petrograd, 1917 is a strikingly close-up account of these world-shaking events. Each entry is supplemented with a short introductory note that sets it in context, and the book is rounded out with more than seventy illustrations, including photographs of the Romanovs and the violence in the streets as well as propaganda posters, postcards to loved ones, and more. In these pages, the drama and terror of those days comes to life once more, a century on.
Georgian social democracy was the most successful social democratic movement in the Russian Empire. Despite its small size, it produced many of the leading revolutionary figures of 1917, including Irakli Tsereteli, Karlo Chkheidze, Noe Zhordania, and Joseph Stalin. In the first of two volumes, Stephen Jones writes the first history in English of this undeservedly neglected national movement, which represented one of the earliest examples of European social democracy at the turn of the twentieth century.
Georgian social democracy was part of the Russian social democracy from which Bolshevism and Menshevism emerged. But innovative theoretical programs and tactics led Georgian social democracy down an independent path. The powerful Georgian organization united all native classes behind it, and it set a remarkable precedent for many of the anti-colonial nationalist movements of the twentieth century. At the same time, Georgian social democracy was committed to a "European" path, a "third way" that attempted to combine grassroots democracy, private manufacturing, and private land ownership with socialist ideology.
One of the few Western historians fluent in Georgian, Jones fills major gaps in the history of revolutionary and national movements of the Russian Empire.
Under the Influence presents the first investigation of the social, cultural, and political factors that affected drinking and temperance among Russian and Soviet industrial workers from 1895 to 1932. Kate Transchel examines the many meanings of working-class drinking and temperance in a variety of settings, from Moscow to remote provinces, and illuminates the cultural conflicts and class dynamics that were deeply rooted in drinking rituals and the failure of attempted reforms by the Tsarist and Soviet authorities.
As the title suggests, workers were often under the influence of alcohol, but they were also under political influences that defined what it meant to be a Soviet worker. Perhaps more importantly, they were under deeper, prerevolutionary cultural influences that continued to shape lower-class identities after 1917. The more the Soviet state tried to control working-class drinking, the more workers resisted. Radical legislation, massive propaganda, and even coercion were not sufficient to motivate workers to abandon traditional forms of fraternization.
Under the Influence highlights working-class culture and underscores the limitations the Bolsheviks faced in attempting to create a cultural revolution to complete their social and political revolution.
Voline Black Rose Books, 1975 Library of Congress DK265.E413 1975 | Dewey Decimal 947.0841
A famous history of the Russian revolution and its aftermath. This edition reinstates material that has been omitted from recent editions of the English-language version and reproduces the complete text of the original French volumes.
Details the military aspects of the American Expeditionary Force's (AEF) deployment to Siberia following World War I to protect the Trans-Siberian Railroad
In the final months of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson and many US allies decided to intervene in Siberia in order to protect Allied wartime and business interests, among them the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from the turmoil surrounding the Russian Revolution. American troops would remain until April 1920 with some of our allies keeping troops in Siberia even longer.
Few American citizens have any idea that the United States ever deployed soldiers to Siberia and that those soldiers eventually played a role in the Russian revolution while protecting the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Wolfhounds and Polar Bears relies on the detailed reports of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) as well as on personal stories to bring this rarely discussed expedition to life.
Initial chapters recount the period in World War I when conditions in Russia pointed to the need for intervention as well as the varied reasons for that decision. A description of the military forces and the geographic difficulties faced by those forces operating in Siberia provide the baseline necessary to understand the AEF’s actions in Siberia. A short discussion of the Russian Railway Service Corps explains their essential and sometimes overlooked role in this story, and subsequent chapters provide a description of actual operations by the AEF.
Wolfhounds and Polar Bears: The American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, 1918–1920 may well be the most detailed study of the military aspects of the American intervention in Siberia ever undertaken, offering a multitude of details not available in any other book-length history.