From Lenin to Stalin
Serge, VictorPublisher: Monad Press
Year Published: 1973 First Published: 1937
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX7118
A fascinating, first-hand account of the Stalinist takeover in Russia.
Abstract: A fascinating, first-hand account of the Stalinist takeover in Russia.
Victor Serge had a history in left circles in Europe before the Bolshevik Revolution, and went to Russia early in 1919. He became a member of the party and worked with the Communist International. As Stalin consolidated his power, Serge threw in his lot with the left opposition. As a result he was subjected to increasing harassment and finally left the country in 1936, barely escaping the purge trials. In the west, he continued to write about the revolutionary movement. Some of his earlier works were seized and suppressed by the secret police before he left Russia, and have never been published.
The book is largely anecdotal rather than analytical, but precisely for this reason it may give a better taste of the flavour of the tines than a drier academic treatment could.
The slanders, manipulations, murders, and other tactics of the Stalinist bureaucracy are all relatively well known, although not nearly as well as they should be - many of their lies are still believed. This vividly describes their application.
But perhaps the most compelling part of the narrative is that portion dealing with the attitude of the old Bolsheviks to Stalin. Serge's description of their simple-minded faith in the party as a revolutionary instrument, which led them to remain loyal to it after it was completely taken over by Stalin and his henchmen in the mistaken belief that the party would survive any temporary aberrations forced on it by the leader, is powerfully revealing. This helps in part to explain the bogus confessions obtained from the victims of the Moscow trials.
It's a grim, gripping story.
[Reviewed by Ulli Diemer]
Table of Contents
A Note about the Author
From Lenin to Stalin
1. March 1918, the Headless Revolution
2. The Revolution Finds a Man
3. The Second Head of the Revolution
4. Slander, a Strong Poison
5. The March to Power
6. The Victory of November 7, 1917
7. The Great Years
8. The Third International
9. The NEP and the Opposition
11. The Communist International and the Chinese Revolution
12. Discord in the Central Committee
13. Defeats, Proscriptions, Capitulations
14. From Lenin to Stalin
15. Industrialization and Collectivization
18. The Persecution of Women
19. Terror and Economic Recovery
20. The Brilliant and Beloved Leader
22. Two Documents
23. The Apotheosis
25. The Old Man - The Fourth International
26. Ambush in Spain
27. The Truth in the Service of Socialism
1. Life and Culture in 1918
2. Lenin and Imperialism
3. The End of Henry Yagoda
4. Stalin's Terror continues with Envoy's Recall
5. The Condition of Women
6. Managed Science, Literature, and Pedagogy