National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931-1956 / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $25.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 67%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $25.00   
  • New (2) from $58.49   
  • Used (2) from $25.00   


During the 1930s, Stalin and his entourage rehabilitated famous names from the Russian national past in a propaganda campaign designed to mobilize Soviet society for the coming war. Legendary heroes like Aleksandr Nevskii and epic events like the Battle of Borodino quickly eclipsed more conventional communist slogans revolving around class struggle and proletarian internationalism. In a provocative study, David Brandenberger traces this populist "national Bolshevism" into the 1950s, highlighting the catalytic effect that it had on Russian national identity formation.

Beginning with national Bolshevism's origins within Stalin's inner circle, Brandenberger next examines its projection into Soviet society through education and mass culture--from textbooks and belletristic literature to theater, opera, film, and the arts. Brandenberger then turns to the popular reception of this propaganda, uncovering glimpses of Stalin-era public opinion in letters, diaries, and secret police reports.

Controversial insofar as Soviet social identity is commonly associated with propaganda promoting class consciousness, this study argues that Stalinist ideology was actually more Russian nationalist than it was proletarian internationalist. National Bolshevism helps to explain not only why this genre of populism survived Stalin's death in 1953, but why it continues to resonate among Russians today.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Ronald Grigor Suny
A major contribution to the growing literature on Soviet nationality policy. David Brandenberger frames his study with a large and important question: the generation of a Russian/Soviet national identity during the Stalinist years. He tells the important story of the production of a more nationalist world view and how it was received, moving from elites to the masses. Focusing on history and historians, Brandenberger links historiography with nation-making and state building. This work should be widely read, not least because it clearly and eloquently illuminates the painful process of forging national identity.
James Von Geldern
Brandenberger alters our understanding of how Soviet culture was created and how it held Soviet society together. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the foundation of documents on which it rests. Clearly the result of years of gathering, these documents show us Stalinism as received, as a set of social practices and discourses in constant revision and misuse. National Bolshevism illuminates broader debates about the functioning of Soviet society, the origins of national consciousness, and the formation of the subject with the modern state, and will be a widely read contribution to the field.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674009066
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Russian Research Center Studies Series, #93
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Brandenberger is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Richmond.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Table

A Note on Conventions

Terms and Acronyms

Introduction: Mobilization, Populism, and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity

1. Tsarist and Early Soviet Society's Weak Sense of National Identity

Part One: 1931-1941

2. Mobilizing Stalinist Society in the Early to Mid-1930s

3. The Emergence of Russocentric Etatism

4. Ideology in the Prewar Classroom

5. Popularizing State Ideology through Mass Culture

6. The Popular Reception of National Bolshevism on the Eve of War

Part Two: 1941-1945

7. Wartime Stalinist Ideology and Its Discontents

8. Ideological Education on the Home Front

9. Wartime Mass Culture and Propaganda

10. Popular Engagement with the Official Line during the War

Part Three: 1945-1953

11. Soviet Ideology during the Zhdanovshchina and High Stalinism

12. Public and Party Education during the Early Postwar Period

13. Postwar Soviet Mass Culture

14. The Popular Reception of Ideology during Stalin's Last Decade

Conclusion: National Bolshevism and a Modern Russian National Identity

Appendix: Civic History Textbook Development, 1934-1955



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)