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It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past

It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past

by David Satter

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A veteran writer on Russia and the Soviet Union explains why Russia refuses to draw from the lessons of its past and what this portends for the future

Russia today is haunted by deeds that have not been examined and words that have been left unsaid. A serious attempt to understand the meaning of the Communist experience has not been undertaken, and millions of victims of Soviet Communism are all but forgotten. In this book David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent and longtime writer on Russia and the Soviet Union, presents a striking new interpretation of Russia's great historical tragedy, locating its source in Russia's failure fully to appreciate the value of the individual in comparison with the objectives of the state. 

Satter explores the moral and spiritual crisis of Russian society. He shows how it is possible for a government to deny the inherent value of its citizens and for the population to agree, and why so many Russians actually mourn the passing of the Soviet regime that denied them fundamental rights. Through a wide-ranging consideration of attitudes toward the living and the dead, the past and the present, the state and the individual, Satter arrives at a distinctive and important new way of understanding the Russian experience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300178425
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 12/13/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

David Satter is senior fellow, Hudson Institute, and fellow, Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He was Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times from 1976 to 1982, then a special correspondent on Soviet affairs for the Wall Street Journal

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Abbreviations and Administrative Delineations xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Statue of Dzerzhinsky 11

Chapter 2 Efforts to Remember 29

Chapter 3 Butovo and Kommunarka 49

Chapter 4 St. Petersburg 75

Chapter 5 The Appeal of Communism 95

Chapter 6 The Responsibility of the State 112

Chapter 7 The Trial of the Communist Party 128

Chapter 8 Moral Choice under Totalitarianism 142

Chapter 9 The Roots of the Communist Idea 167

Chapter 10 Symbols of the Past 88

Chapter 11 History 207

Chapter 12 The Shadow of Katyn 229

Chapter 13 Vorkuta 256

Chapter 14 The Odyssey of Andrei Poleshchuk 279

Conclusion 300

Notes 307

Bibliography 357

Index 365

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