POLI 329 Jan. 23.docx

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14 Apr 2012
January 23
- Kenez says at the very heart of soviet history, a blank spot open to wide
interpretations, none fully satisfactory
- Can you draw straight line from Leninism to Stalinism, 3 theories say
fundamental continuity while 3 say fundamental discontinuity
- Which theory gives the best explanation and most mileage
- 1st theory: Totalitarianism/The Totalitarian Theory
o Popular during Cold War, advanced by Zbigniew Brzezinski and
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
o This theory purports that Stalinism is simply Leninism full-blown
o However, there was a real break in 1917 from the Tsarist era
o Emphasizes politics and ideology in its explanations
o Fundamental to the Soviet system are:
One-Party State
Autocratic Leader
Centralized Economy
Marxist-Leninist Ideology
o The system is incapable of reform
o They focus on Lenin and the Vanguard Party, Lenin spoke of the need
for a small, organized, hierarchical party system in control
o Civil War, which Bolsheviks won due to characteristics inherent in the
party, its organization and its ruthlessness
o Anti-faction rule at the 10th party Congress in 1921
o NEP is seen as a temporary retreat
o Cheka, the secret police, which later became the NKVD and then the
o It was planned to go this way
- All other theories were developed in response to this first theory
- 2nd Theory: Modernization
o Still seen as fundamental continuity
o Ideology not seen as important
o Stalinism was used to industrialize the economy
o Drastic measures taken to turn it into a more modern country
o More of an economic necessity
o One single revolution from above
o Britain was the first to industrialize, had the easiest time, the later you
industrialize the more competition you face worldwide
o If you need to concentrate more on heavy machinery, the more
reliance on the state to funnel resources
o Marxism as an ideology of industrialization
o Leninism is “Marxism plus electrification”
o Collectivization was simply a means by which to do this
o This theory also sees NEP as a temporary retreat
o Collectivization, consolidation of power, and terror
o Terror was used to scare people into working harder and faster
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