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On the Ideological Front: The Russian Intelligentsia and the Making of the Soviet Public Sphereby Stuart Finkel
Synopses & Reviews
Having emerged, exhausted but triumphant, from the bloody and divisive Russian Civil War, V. I. Lenin and his colleagues turned to eliminating perceived ideological foes from within. In On the Ideological Front, Stuart Finkel tells the story of the1922 expulsion from Soviet Russia of almost one hundred prominent intellectuals, including professors and journalists, philosophers and engineers, writers and agronomists. Finkels meticulously researched and persuasively argued study sets this compelling human drama within the context of the Bolsheviks determined efforts to impose ideological conformity, redefine the role of the intelligentsia, and establish a distinctly Soviet public sphere. The book demonstrates that the NEP period was not a time of intellectual pluralism and ideological retreat on the part of the Bolsheviks. On the contrary, from its formative years, the Soviet regime zealously policed the ideological front and laid the institutional and discursive foundations for the Stalinist state.
This book centers on a powerful and gripping story, the 1922-1923 expulsion from Soviet Russia of some one hundred prominent intellectuals—professors, journalists, philosophers, writers, engineers, agronomists, and others. Stuart Finkel’s meticulously researched account of this purge is the first close scholarly examination of this event and the first to set it in the context of Bolshevik curbs, prohibitions, and punishment of intellectuals who resisted ideological conformity. The book demonstrates that the infamous expulsion was part and parcel of the Bolshevik effort to redefine the role of the intelligentsia and to establish a distinctly Soviet public sphere. Lenin and his colleagues’ policy toward intellectuals was closely connected to their endeavors to create a harmonious, unitary, and unconditionally Bolshevik society.
About the Author
Stuart Finkel is assistant professor of history, University of Florida. He lives in Gainesville.
Table of Contents
The Russian intelligentsia and the Bolsheviks at the end of the civil war — Bolsheviks and professors : the struggle over university autonomy — Exposing the caste spirit in professional and scientific organizations — Cultural, literary, philosophical, and spiritual societies — Publishing, censorship, and ideological struggles — The deportations, part I : precedents and planning — The deportations, part II : arrest, negotiation, and expulsion — Epilogue : the deportees in emigration — Conclusion : the intelligentsia in Soviet Russia.
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