This book is a tribute to the memory of Victor Zaslavsky (1937-2009), sociologist, emigre from the Soviet Union, Canadian citizen, public intellectual, and keen observer of Eastern Europe. In seventeen essays leading European, American and Russian scholars discuss the theory and the history of totalitarian society with a comparative approach. They revisit and reassess what Zaslavsky considered the most important project in the latter part of his life: the analysis of Eastern European - especially Soviet societies and their difficult "transition" after the fall of communism in 1989-91. The variety of the contributions reflects the diversity of specialists in the volume, but also reveals Zaslavsky's gift: he surrounded himself with talented people from many different fields and disciplines. In line with Zaslavsky's work and scholarly method, the book promotes new theoretical and methodological approaches to the concept of totalitarianism for understanding Soviet and East European societies, and the study of fascist and communist regimes in general.
Tommaso Piffer is a Bodossakis Research Fellow of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge and an affiliate of the Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Vladislav Zubok is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. Among his publications are Inside the Kremlin's Cold War (with Costantine Pleshakov, Harvard University Press, 1996); Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Stalin to Putin (with Eric Shiraev, Palgrave Press, 2000); A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Zhivago's Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Harvard University Press, 2009).