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About this Lecture
In this module, we introduce the rich and contested scholarship that has surrounded the nature of the early Soviet government, focusing in particular on the debate between the ‘circumstantialists’ and the ‘totalitarianists’. Put simply, were Lenin and the Bolsheviks always going to set up the highly centralised and violently-repressive form of government that they did (because of the ‘totalistic’ nature of Marxist ideology, because of Lenin’s personality, etc.) or was it the result of the Bolsheviks responding on an ad hoc basis to the immediate circumstances and the exigencies of civil war? As we move through the module, we think about some of the key sources at our disposal to think about his question, as well as the some of the key events in Soviet history that provide an insight into what Lenin and the Bolsheviks were thinking.
In this course, Dr Lara Douds (Northumbria University) explores the development of the Soviet system of government in the years following the October Revolution. In the first module, we introduce the rich and contested scholarship on this topic, including the concepts of ‘circumstantialism’ and ‘the totalitarian paradigm’. After that, we think about the nature of the government set up by the Bolsheviks following the October Revolution. In the third module, we explore why the Bolsheviks dissolved the newly-created Constituent Assembly after just thirteen hours, before turning in the fourth module to consider what the Red Terror can tell us (if anything) about the intrinsic nature of Bolshevism. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the extent to which the political culture of the early Soviet regime was transformed and shaped by the experience of the long and brutal Russian Civil War, 1917-22.
Dr Lara Douds is Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow in History at Northumbria University. She is a specialist in the history of state building, political practice, and political culture in the first decade of Soviet power and author, among other things, of Inside Lenin’s Government: Power, Ideology and Practice in the Early Soviet State (2018).
Cite this Lecture
Douds, L. (2021, February 04). Russia: The Development of the Soviet Politics, 1917-22 - Historiography [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/russia-the-development-of-the-soviet-politics-1917-22/historiography-485edc4a-5b70-4686-a499-23e63c7a56b7
Douds, Lara. "Russia: The Development of the Soviet Politics, 1917-22 – Historiography." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Feb 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/russia-the-development-of-the-soviet-politics-1917-22/historiography-485edc4a-5b70-4686-a499-23e63c7a56b7