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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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Stalinist Ideology as False Consciousness

Stalinist Ideology as False Consciousness

(p.254) Chapter 22 Stalinist Ideology as False Consciousness
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

One of the myths of Stalinism is that Marxism was the inspiration and plan that guided the development of Soviet-style socialism after the revolution of 1917. Many Russian intellectuals as well as outsiders cite the abandonment of old orthodoxies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s as proof that Marxism was a failure. However, this argument has a flawed premise. Marxism had not really guided the Soviet Union for more than half a century before Leonid Brezhnev came to power. It was Joseph Stalin, not Gorbachev, who was responsible for Marxism's demise. Ideologically, it was Stalinist dogma, not Marxism, that Gorbachev and the exponents of perestroika rejected. Stalin justified his purges by invoking the infamous doctrine of class struggle. Marxism as false consciousness served until the end of the Stalin era and beyond to support the position and interests of the ruling class and a portion of the dominant class. Marxists made an effort to work out the implications of false consciousness only after the Russian Revolution.

Keywords:   socialism, Stalinism, Marxism, Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, Joseph Stalin, class struggle, false consciousness, Russian Revolution

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