Thank You, Comrade Stalin!: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War

Thank You, Comrade Stalin!: Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War

By: Jeffrey Brooks (author)Paperback

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Thank you, our Stalin, for a happy childhood." "Thank you, dear Marshal [Stalin], for our freedom, for our children's happiness, for life." Between the Russian Revolution and the Cold War, Soviet public culture was so dominated by the power of the state that slogans like these appeared routinely in newspapers, on posters, and in government proclamations. In this penetrating historical study, Jeffrey Brooks draws on years of research into the most influential and widely circulated Russian newspapers--including Pravda, Isvestiia, and the army paper Red Star--to explain the origins, the nature, and the effects of this unrelenting idealization of the state, the Communist Party, and the leader. Brooks shows how, beginning with Lenin, the Communists established a state monopoly of the media that absorbed literature, art, and science into a stylized and ritualistic public culture--a form of political performance that became its own reality and excluded other forms of public reflection. He presents and explains scores of self-congratulatory newspaper articles, including tales of Stalin's supposed achievements and virtue, accounts of the country's allegedly dynamic economy, and warnings about the decadence and cruelty of the capitalist West. Brooks pays particular attention to the role of the press in the reconstruction of the Soviet cultural system to meet the Nazi threat during World War II and in the transformation of national identity from its early revolutionary internationalism to the ideology of the Cold War. He concludes that the country's one-sided public discourse and the pervasive idea that citizens owed the leader gratitude for the "gifts" of goods and services led ultimately to the inability of late Soviet Communism to diagnose its own ills, prepare alternative policies, and adjust to new realities. The first historical work to explore the close relationship between language and the implementation of the Stalinist-Leninist program, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! is a compelling account of Soviet public culture as reflected through the country's press.

About Author

Jeffrey Brooks is Professor of European History at The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of When Russia Learned to Read (Princeton), which won the Vucinich Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and of many articles on Russian and Soviet culture and politics.


List of Illustrations vii Acknowledgments xi Prologue xii One The Monopoly of the Printed Word: From Persuasion to Compulsion 3 Two The First Decade: From Class War to Socialist Building 19 Three The Performance Begins 54 Four The Economy of the Gift: "Thank You, Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood" 83 Five Literature and the Arts: "An Ode to Stalin" 106 Six Honor and Dishonor 126 Seven Many Wars, One Victory 159 Eight The Theft of the War 195 Epilogue Renewal, Stagnation, and Collapse 233 Notes 249 Index 307

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691088679
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 344
  • ID: 9780691088679
  • weight: 510
  • ISBN10: 0691088675
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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