“Better fewer, but better,” Lenin once said, referring to the challenges of cultivating quality recruits into the Party and state apparatus after the Civil War. For this week’s digest we received fewer submissions, but many that were exemplary. The transition from Lenin’s leadership to Stalin’s rule and the Bolsheviks’ assault on the Orthodox church proved to be the most popular topics by far. But there were wonderfully engaging posts about the poet Alexander Blok, the New Economic Policy, homeless children and the role of women as well. There was stiff competition for the students’ choice award again this week. Props to the author of Russian it Through the Semester for taking time to pen a fine analysis of Russian women in war and revolution.
Two important issues we need to focus on more explicitly are:
1) the relationship between debates about economic development / social policy and Stalin’s consolidation of the leadership of the country.
2) how the internationalist / anti-nationalist Bolsheviks re-assembled a multi-ethnic empire and state apparatus.
Readers can look forward to insightful posts on these themes and many more after the weekly digest comes back from Mid-Term break on October 15.