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Library of Jewish Philosophy #493: Behind the Facade of Stalin's Command Economy: Evidence from the Soviet State and Party Archivesby Paul R. Gregory
Synopses & Reviews
The opening of the once secret Soviet state and party archives in the early 1990s was an event of profound significance. Western scholars gained access to the same documents as had Soviet leaders, penetrating the official wall of secrecy that had stood firm for decades. But while considerable archive-based research on that period has been published over the past five years, relatively little work has been devoted to the economics of the Stalin system. Although the Stalinist command economy is supposedly a thing of the past, it continues to plague Russia's transition to a market economy, and, more important, it continues to have considerable emotional appeal as a substitute for a market economy.
So what can we learn about that economy from these formerly secret archives that we could not have learned prior to their opening? Behind the Façade of Stalin's Command Economy brings together prominent scholars from Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom to summarize economic research based on the Soviet state and party archives. These contributors—most of whom have worked with these archives since they were opened—examine in detail such topics as the economics of the gulag, the management of military innovation, the specifics of defense budgets, the rule of law, Stalin's handwritten margin comments on planning documents, internal Politburo discussions, and other areas whose coverage could not have been imagined twenty years ago. Examining the period from the early 1930s through Stalin's death in 1953—the period of the creation of the Stalinist system—this enlightening book reveals what we have learned from the archives, what has surprised us, and what has confirmed what we already knew.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing from recently released Soviet archives, this study of the Stalinist economy considers its continued influence on the economic realities and political hopes of modern-day Russia. In eight essays, economists from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia consider the economics of the period from 1930 to Stalin's death in 1953. Particular attention is given to the impact of Stalin's direct orders, the institutions of Communist rule, the crafting of Soviet economic policy, military management and spending, and the role of the gulag.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The "red files" revealed. Examining the period from the early 1930s through Stalin's death in 1953—the height of the Stalinist regime—this enlightening book reveals what we have learned from the archives, what has surprised us, and what has confirmed what we already knew. Most of the authors have worked with these archives since they were opened.
Examining the period from the early 1930s through Stalin's death in 1953--the height of the Stalinist regime--this enlightening book reveals what we have learned from the archives, what has surprised us, and what has confirmed what we already knew. Contributors: Eugenia Belova, Joseph Berliner, Robert W. Davies, Paul Gregory, Mark Harrison, Oleg Khlevnyuk, A. E. Rees, Aleksei Tikhonov
About the Author
Paul Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow, holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. His most recent book is Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin's Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina (Hoover Institution Press, 2010).
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