National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931-1956

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Harvard University Press, 2002 - History - 378 pages
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During the 1930s, Stalin and his entourage rehabilitated famous names from the Russian national past in a propaganda campaign designed to mobilize Soviet society for the coming war. Legendary heroes like Aleksandr Nevskii and epic events like the Battle of Borodino quickly eclipsed more conventional communist slogans revolving around class struggle and proletarian internationalism. In a provocative study, David Brandenberger traces this populist "national Bolshevism" into the 1950s, highlighting the catalytic effect that it had on Russian national identity formation.

Beginning with national Bolshevism's origins within Stalin's inner circle, Brandenberger next examines its projection into Soviet society through education and mass culture--from textbooks and belletristic literature to theater, opera, film, and the arts. Brandenberger then turns to the popular reception of this propaganda, uncovering glimpses of Stalin-era public opinion in letters, diaries, and secret police reports.

Controversial insofar as Soviet social identity is commonly associated with propaganda promoting class consciousness, this study argues that Stalinist ideology was actually more Russian nationalist than it was proletarian internationalist. National Bolshevism helps to explain not only why this genre of populism survived Stalin's death in 1953, but why it continues to resonate among Russians today.

 

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This study is very much in the growing literature on how nationality is a construct of mass culture, as Brandenberger examines the steps that were taken by the Soviet leadership of the 1930s to create ... Read full review

Contents

Mobilization Populism and
1
Tsarist and Early Soviet Societys Weak Sense
10
Mobilizing Stalinist Society in the Early
27
The Emergence of Russocentric Etatism
43
Ideology in the Prewar Classroom
63
Popularizing State Ideology through
77
The Popular Reception of National Bolshevism
95
Wartime Stalinist Ideology
115
Popular Engagement with the Official Line
160
Soviet Ideology during the Zhdanovshchina
183
Public and Party Education during
197
Postwar Soviet Mass Culture
214
National Bolshevism and Modern
240
Notes
261
Index
365
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About the author (2002)

David Brandenberger is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Richmond.

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