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He reveals, for example, the bizarre story of the state-sponsored scientific study of Lenin's brain. Originally conceived to "prove" Lenin's genius, the plan was never revealed to the public-for to do so was more than the security-conscious Soviet leadership could have borne. Gregory also exposes the harsh features of Stalin's criminal justice system-in which the theft of state and collective property was punished far more severely than the theft of private property. Indeed, the theft of small amounts of grain was punishable by ten years in the Gulag or a death sentence. The author also illuminates the true story behind the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, telling how the ill-conceived incursion was ordered by a Politburo of aging and ill leaders who would not be around to deal with the long-term consequences of their decision.
In addition, the book examines such topics as Stalin's Great Terror, the day-to-day life of Gulag guards, Lenin's repression of "noncommunist" physicians and his purge of intellectuals, the 1940 Soviet execution of 20,000 Poles, and other previously well-concealed tales.
About the Author:
Paul R. Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow, holds anendowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin