The Introduction outlines the contents of the book. The book contains a number of chapters related to each other with respect to certain Russian elite informal and archaic political practices that include the personification of power as reflected in political “clan” and “family circle” networks, elite oligarchy combined with autocracy, and a host of lesser but strongly suggestive practices. Although the focus is on the formative Stalin period, the book looks both forward and backward in time from there.
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