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When revolutions happen, they change the rules of everyday life--both the codified rules concerning the social and legal classifications of citizens and the unwritten rules about how individuals present themselves to others. This occurred in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which laid the foundations of the Soviet state, and again in 1991, when that state collapsed. Tear Off the Masks! is about the remaking of identities in these times of upheaval. Sheila Fitzpatrick here brings together in a single volume years of distinguished work on how individuals literally constructed their autobiographies, defended them under challenge, attempted to edit the "file-selves" created by bureaucratic identity documentation, and denounced others for "masking" their true social identities.

Marxist class-identity labels--"worker," "peasant," "intelligentsia," "bourgeois"--were of crucial importance to the Soviet state in the 1920s and 1930s, but it turned out that the determination of a person's class was much more complicated than anyone expected. This in turn left considerable scope for individual creativity and manipulation. Outright imposters, both criminal and political, also make their appearance in this book. The final chapter describes how, after decades of struggle to construct good Soviet socialist personae, Russians had to struggle to make themselves fit for the new, post-Soviet world in the 1990s--by "de-Sovietizing" themselves.


Engaging in style and replete with colorful detail and characters drawn from a wealth of sources, Tear Off the Masks! offers unique insight into the elusive forms of self-presentation, masking, and unmasking that made up Soviet citizenship and continue to resonate in the post-Soviet world.

Asked shortly after the revolution about how she viewed the new government, Tatiana Varsher replied, "With the wide-open eyes of a historian." Her countrywoman, Zinaida Zhemchuzhnaia, expressed a similar need to take note: "I want to write about the way those events were perceived and reflected in the humble and distant corner of Russia that was the Cossack town of Korenovskaia." What these women witnessed and experienced, and what they were moved to describe, is part of the extraordinary portrait of life in revolutionary Russia presented in this book. A collection of life stories of Russian women in the first half of the twentieth century, In the Shadow of Revolution brings together the testimony of Soviet citizens and émigrés, intellectuals of aristocratic birth and Soviet milkmaids, housewives and engineers, Bolshevik activists and dedicated opponents of the Soviet regime. In literary memoirs, oral interviews, personal dossiers, public speeches, and letters to the editor, these women document their diverse experience of the upheavals that reshaped Russia in the first half of this century.

As is characteristic of twentieth-century Russian women's autobiographies, these life stories take their structure not so much from private events like childbirth or marriage as from great public events. Accordingly the collection is structured around the events these women see as touchstones: the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-20; the switch to the New Economic Policy in the 1920s and collectivization; and the Stalinist society of the 1930s, including the Great Terror. Edited by two preeminent historians of Russia and the Soviet Union, the volume includes introductions that investigate the social historical context of these women's lives as well as the structure of their autobiographical narratives.

About 1.5 million East European Jews—mostly from Poland, the Ukraine, and Russia—survived the Second World War behind the lines in the unoccupied parts of the Soviet Union. Some of these survivors, following the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, were evacuated as part of an organized effort by the Soviet state, while others became refugees who organized their own escape from the Germans, only to be deported to Siberia and other remote regions under Stalin’s regime. This complicated history of survival from the Holocaust has fallen between the cracks of the established historiographical traditions as neither historians of the Soviet Union nor Holocaust scholars felt responsible for the conservation of this history, which at best is pushed to the margins and often silenced or forgotten altogether. With Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union, editors Mark Edele, Sheila Fitzpatrick, and Atina Grossmann have compiled essays that are at the forefront of developing this entirely new field of transnational study, which seeks to integrate scholarship from the areas of the history of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the history of Poland and the Soviet Union, and the study of refugees and displaced persons. Life as an escapee of the Holocaust was terribly difficult and often lethal, but it at least offered the opportunity for survival and, therefore, an experience fundamentally different than the systematic genocide the Nazis unleashed on those left behind in the territories under their control. What became of these survivors varies greatly—some joined Soviet Jewish evacuees in harsh exile in Central Asia; some Polish Jews evacuated to Iran in 1942 with the exile Anders Army, moving on to Palestine; most were eventually repatriated to postwar Poland, and many of them then fled further to displaced persons camps in allied-occupied Europe, where they constituted the largest group of East European Jewish survivors. Shelter from the Holocaust addresses these very different paths in seven chapters, beginning with a general overview of migration patterns, including a specific example of postwar memory focusing on those who ended up in Australia. The book continues with an exploration of the diverse ways Polish Jewish survivors talk about their experiences and identity with regard to the Holocaust, and ends with one family’s personal narrative of experiences in Uzbekistan during World War II. Shelter from the Holocaust came to fruition as the result of the opening of formerly classified Soviet and Polish archives, determined efforts to interview the last remaining Holocaust survivors, and the growing interest in the histories of displaced persons and migration. This pioneering volume will interest scholars of eastern European history and Holocaust studies, as well as those with an interest in refugee and migration issues.
H διακεκριµένη ιστορικός Sheila Fitzpatrick καταπιάνεται µε τις δοµές εξουσίας στην ΕΣΣ? υπό τον Στάλιν και ανατρέπει πολλές από τις κρατούσες απόψεις. Ο Ιωσήφ Στάλιν ήταν ο αδιαµφισβήτητος ηγέτης επί δεκαετίες, τόσο στο εσωτερικό της χώρας όσο και για τον δυτικό κόσµο, µε αποτέλεσµα οι περισσότεροι ιστορικοί να αντιµετωπίζουν τους αξιωµατούχους του ως πειθήνια όργανα µε διακοσµητικό ρόλο. Όµως στην πραγµατικότητα αυτοί οι αξιωµατούχοι µοιράστηκαν σε έναν βαθµό την εξουσία και λειτούργησαν ως µία συλλογική οµάδα διακυβέρνησης από τα τέλη της δεκαετίας του ’20 ως τον θάνατο του Στάλιν.
Μετά από εκτεταµένη, πρωτότυπη έρευνα, η συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει πρώτη φορά σε βάθος αυτό τον στενό κύκλο. Περιγράφει πώς αυτοί οι σύντροφοι συνεργάζονταν στενά µε τον ηγέτη τους, τον οποίο φοβούνταν αλλά και θαύµαζαν: από τον Μπέρια, που η υπόλοιπη οµάδα φρόντισε να εκτελεστεί αµέσως µετά τον θάνατο του Στάλιν· τον Μόλοτοφ, που παρέµεινε µέλος της οµάδας ακόµα και όταν συνέλαβαν και εξόρισαν τη σύζυγό του· τον Ορτζονικίτζε, υπεύθυνο της βιοµηχανίας· τον Αντρέγεφ, που πήγαινε στις εκκαθαρίσεις ακούγοντας Μπετόβεν σε ένα φορητό γραµµόφωνο· ως τον Χρουστσόφ, που διέλυσε τελικά την οµάδα το 1957.
Από τις Μεγάλες Εκκαθαρίσεις και τον B΄ Παγκόσµιο ως την παράνοια των ύστατων χρόνων του σταλινισµού, το βιβλίο παρουσιάζει µια ολότελα νέα εικόνα του Στάλιν µέσα στον περίγυρό του – µια εικόνα που αλλάζει την αντίληψή µας για τη διακυβέρνηση του σοβιετικού καθεστώτος.
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