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Rahat Shahriar
Jul 17, 2022
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In 1966 I went to the USSR for a year of research as a British Job Function Email List exchange student, hoping to be allowed to work on Lunacharsky's personal papers, which were in the Communist Party archives. The Soviets did not like to give access to Soviet-era archives to Job Function Email List foreigners and they refused me the consultation. However, after a few months of struggle, I was allowed into the State Archives, considered less politically sensitive, to work on the archives of the Lunacharsky ministry (Narkompros) from the 1920s. Those Narkompros materials were absolutely Job Function Email List fascinating. Through them I learned about Lunacharsky, but above all I began to understand how politics worked in the ussr. The prevailing idea about the ussr. Encapsulated in the totalitarian model, held that all Job Function Email List policy was formulated in the Politburo and then passed down. But what I discovered in the files was that the Ministry of Education formulated policies (just like other ministries, departments Job Function Email List of the Central Committee of the Party, etc.) and then tried to put pressure on the Politburo, the government, the Council of Ministers and the people who they integrated it so that their policies were approved. Sometimes Job Function Email List they were successful and sometimes they were not, but I was seeing a political process that the totalitarian model simply did not allow to see. When you began your historiographical studies of Job Function Email List Soviet communism, this "totalitarian school" perspective was predominant in Sovietology . However, you took a different stance, focusing on a « story from below » , which served and centered on Job Function Email List everyday life. What were your criticisms or objections to this paradigm Job Function Email List and why did you choose to approach Soviet history from a societal perspective ? My first negative encounters with the "totalitarian model" came from my archival work in the ussr . That was before I went to the United States, in the early 1970s.
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Rahat Shahriar

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