Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Legacy of Russia and the Soviet Union - Authoritarian and Repressiv

The Legacy of Russia and the Soviet Union - Authoritarian and Repressive Traditions that Refuse to Die There circulated such a Soviet political anecdote: The ghost of Nicolas II visited Brezhnev to inquire about the conditions of his Mother Russia, only to be told that nothing had changed since his reign except for that the vodka was now 20 percent instead of 15. Shocked, the dead czar exclaimed: "I lost my head only for that 5 percent difference?" This was, of course, only a humorous exaggeration, a case of political satire. Yet beneath the humor, there lies a very profound testament to the belief that Russia's political culture has been inherited from its czarist days and manifested throughout its subsequent development. The traditions from the pre-Revolution and pre-1921 Russia, it seems, had left its brand on the 70-years of Communist rule. The Soviet communism system was at once a foreign import from Germany and a Russian creation: "on the one hand it is international and a world phenomenon; on the other hand it is national and Russian†¦it was Russian history which determined its limits and shaped its character." (Berdyaev, "Origin") Historically, Russia has always been a country of perplexing dualities. The reality of Dual Russia, the separation of the official culture from that of the common people, persisted after the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War. The Czarist Russia was at once modernized and backward: St. Petersburg and Moscow stood as the highly developed industrial centers of the country and two of the capitals of Europe, yet the overwhelming majority of the population were subsistent farms who lived on mir; French was the official language and the elites were highly literate, yet 82% of the populati... ...oved to be singularly influential and daunting. This is, perhaps, the greatest obstacles to achieving true democracy in Russia—the authoritarian and repressive traditions that refuse to die out with the passage of time. Works Cited Berdyaev, Nicolas. The Origin of Russian Communism. London: Saunders, 1937. Cohen, Stephen. Rethinking the Soviet Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Fitzpatrick, Sheila. The Russian Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Hosking, Jeoffery. The First Socialist Society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. Tucker, Robert C. "The Mortal Danger". Course Reader for World Culture: Russia Since 1917. New York University, Spring 2001. Tucker, Robert C. "Stalinism as Revolution from Above". Stalinism. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York: American Council of Learned Societies, 1999.

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