№ 1, 2018
Creating and Protecting a New Society Hoffmann D.L. Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914—1939 / Translated from English by A.Tereshchenko. Moscow: New Literary Observer, 2018
The article presents a review of the Russian translation of the book by David Hoffmann, the US historian, “Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism”, published in the original language in 2011. According to the author of the review, this book is valuable and interesting particularly because it presents the comparative analysis of a number of practices and institutions that were traditionally viewed as the Soviet specificity. However, this is not about “generalizing” the Soviet experience. In contrast, the main point of the book is that the Soviet system that developed by the 1930s was unique, but its uniqueness is not determined by the unprecedented, or fundamentally new practices. The specificity of the Soviet Union lies in the fact that the country used and developed the worldwide methods of state violence formed before and during the World War I with an unprecedented intensity. The example of the Soviet Union allows Hoffmann to clearly demonstrate the consequences of the situation, when the institutions and practices of the “welfare state” are not checked by the rights of citizens. The Soviet case is extreme precisely because such institutions and practices were able to fully develop, albeit without any meaningful resistance from the citizens.
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