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Inside Lenin's Government: Ideology, Power and Practice in the Early Soviet State

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 22 Aug 2019
Lara Douds examines the practical functioning and internal political culture of the early Soviet government cabinet, the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom), under Lenin. This study elucidates the process by which Sovnarkom's governmental decision-making authority was transferred to Communist Party bodies in the early years of Soviet power and traces the day-to-day operation of the supreme state organ.The book argues that Sovnarkom was the principal executive body of the early Soviet government until the Politburo gradually usurped this role during the Civil War. Using a range of archival source material, Lara Douds re-interprets early Soviet political history as a period where fledging 'Soviet' rather than simply 'Communist Party' power was attempted, but ultimately failed when pressures of Civil War and socio-economic dislocation encouraged the centralising and authoritarian rather than democratic strand of Bolshevism to predominate.Inside Lenin's Government explores the basic mechanics of governance by looking at the frequency of meetings, types of business discussed, processes of decision-making and the administrative backdrop, as well as the key personalities of Sovnarkom. It then considers the reasons behind the shift in executive power from state to party in this period, which resulted in an abnormal situation where, as Leon Trotsky commented in 1923, 'leadership by the party gives way to administration by its organs'.
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Paperback (1) 17918 lei  Economic 4-6 săpt. +8380 lei  13-21 zile
  Bloomsbury Publishing – 22 Aug 2019 17918 lei  Economic 4-6 săpt. +8380 lei  13-21 zile
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  Bloomsbury Publishing – 22 Feb 2018 47796 lei  Economic 4-6 săpt. +23430 lei  13-21 zile

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ISBN-13: 9781350126497
ISBN-10: 1350126497
Pagini: 240
Dimensiuni: 156 x 234 x 18 mm
Greutate: 0.34 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Academic
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Reflects on the early Soviet era as one where 'Soviet' rather than simply 'Communist Party' power was attempted, but ultimately failed for various reasons

Notă biografică

Lara Douds is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of York, UK.


Introduction1. State and Revolution and the Idea of Soviet Democracy2. Early Soviet Democracy in Practice: Sovnarkom as Cabinet, 1917-19 3. The Sovnarkom Administration Department as an 'Anti-bureaucratic' Apparatus4. Sverdlov, the Soviets and the Secretariat5. 'Collegiality' in the Early Soviet Government6. Sovnarkom's Decline and the Rise of the Politburo 1919-237. The Politics of Illness: Lenin and his Deputies, 1921-23ConclusionBibliographyIndex


Lara Douds demonstrates with rich detail, based on new archival findings, that the top-down ideological or power-driven, personality-based interpretations are no longer sustainable.
Why did a regime that promised liberation end up delivering a violent dictatorship? With this close study of early Soviet State archives, Douds provides a provocative and compelling answer to this question, arguing that the Bolsheviks' commitment to building a new kind of democracy was worn down by the exigencies of civil war and the need to preserve the revolution.
Lara Douds shows that Sovnarkom grew from scrap wood furniture and staff typing with two fingers into a collegial and open government for the new Soviet state. She shows that the party Politburo took over not because of dictatorial intentions but for efficiency. This first archive-based study of the new Soviet government is important for students of Russia and of revolutions in general.