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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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Russian Revolutionary Extremism

Russian Revolutionary Extremism

(p.117) Chapter 10 Russian Revolutionary Extremism
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

Every great revolution tends to give rise to dictatorship, especially after undergoing an extremist phase. In the twentieth century, postrevolutionary dictatorship may be associated with totalitarianism. In the case of Russia, this problem can shed light on the connection between 1917 and 1928, the failure of the thermidorean New Economic Policy, and how the Russian Revolution paved the way for Stalinism. This chapter examines revolutionary extremism in Russia and how it contributed to the unprecedented rigors of the postrevolutionary dictatorship in the country. It traces extremism to the tradition of Russian Jacobinism and looks at the role of Vladimir Lenin in the emergence of revolutionary extremism. It also discusses how the civil war of 1918 made Soviet Communism more Leninist than Lenin. It argues that Russian revolutionary extremism embraced cultural war to create a new, “proletarian” style of life and thought that would supplant the “bourgeois” heritage.

Keywords:   revolution, dictatorship, totalitarianism, Russia, Russian Revolution, Stalinism, revolutionary extremism, Vladimir Lenin, civil war, Communism

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