Osmo Jussila: Neuvostoliiton tragedia. Utopiasta vankileirien saaristoksi [The tragedy of the Soviet Union. From utopia to Gulag Archipelago]

31 January 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Neuvostoliiton tragedia. Utopiasta vankileirien saaristoksi
[The tragedy of the Soviet Union. From utopia to Gulag Archipelago]
Helsinki: Otava, 2012. 448 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-26521-4
€32.80, hardback

The acclaimed Russian and Soviet history scholar Osmo Jussila examines the early history of the Soviet Union from a fresh perspective. He shows how, in the years following the 1917 Revolution, an originally positive idea for a better society turned into a bureaucratic tyranny. The Soviet Union’s strong man V.I. Lenin created the Bolshevist Party as a paramilitary organisation which managed to seize power in October 1917. Even in the early years of Soviet power the ‘Red Terror’ crushed its opponents with executions and the establishment of prison camps. Although Lenin was a good professional revolutionary, he was almost incapable of building a new society: his solutions were often cruel, arbitrary and hasty. Jussila’s general view of Lenin is in line with the ideas that are familiar from more recent historical research, but the author also focuses and deepens his analysis to provide an essentially complete picture of Soviet Russia’s chaotic development and of Lenin’s role in the formation of the oppressive Soviet state.
Translated by David McDuff

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