Peasants, Political Police, and the Early Soviet State: Surveillance and Accommodation under the…

Hardcover | December 15, 2011

byHugh D. Hudson

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This book combines social and institutional histories of post-revolutionary Russia, focusing on the secret police and their evolving relationship with the peasantry in the period leading up to collectivization. Based on an analysis of Cheka/OGPU reports, the book argues that at first the police did not only respond to peasant resistance with force; rather, they also listened to peasant voices. The police believed that compromise was possible, and that the peasants could be convinced to work within the Bolshevik construct of state and society. As time went on, however, local police agents increasingly saw themselves engaged in a war with the peasantry over control of grain and domination of local organs of power. As the focus shifted from objective economic factors to the putative influence of the kulaks, the only solution became to break the peasantry.

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This book combines social and institutional histories of post-revolutionary Russia, focusing on the secret police and their evolving relationship with the peasantry in the period leading up to collectivization. Based on an analysis of Cheka/OGPU reports, the book argues that at first the police did not only respond to peasant resistanc...

HUGH D. HUDSON is a professor of History at Georgia State University. He specializes in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research spans both Imperial Russian history and that of the Soviet Union with special attention to the role of marginal social groups in shaping the culture and economic structure of the country. His...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.16 × 5.66 × 0.65 inPublished:December 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230338860

ISBN - 13:9780230338869

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Table of Contents

State, Peasants, and Police to 1921 * Famine, Market Forces, and Ameliorative Actions, 1921-1923 * Lenin's Death, "Face to the Countryside," and Growing Police Fears, 1924 * Soviet Elections, Grain Crises, and Kulaks, 1925-1926 * Liquidation of Kulak Influence, War Panic, and the Elimination of the Kulaks as a Class, 1927-1929

Editorial Reviews

"This important volume illuminates how the political police described peasant grievances in the 1920s and how a change in central political attitudes shaped these descriptions. Hudson's close reading of reports shows that the Soviet state relied on mass surveillance of its population to better understand and control them." - The American Historical Review "In a valuable, fresh study of the Soviet countryside and state policy, Hugh Hudson draws deeply on police reports from the 1920s. Along the way, he provides important new insight into peasant concepts of justice and legitimate government. The story of how the police and the leadership shifted after Lenin's death from realistic appraisals of rural problems to a view that 'enemies' were leading the peasantry is complex; Peasants, Political Police, and the Early Soviet State yields much new information about the development of Soviet policy in a crucial area." - Robert W. Thurston, Phillip R. Shriver Professor of History, Miami University of Ohio"Peasants, Political Police, and the Early Soviet State focuses on Cheka/OGPU reports from the countryside, specifically how agents assessed the peasants' mood, and the sources of peasants' discontent and satisfaction. It is a tightly focused book that stays within the bounds of reports (archival materials), and it is very balanced in its treatment of Cheka/OGPU reports. It offers an original view of the Cheka/OGPU's agents' pragmatic, often empathetic analysis of the economic, agricultural, and political situation in the countryside, how and why those reports changed over time, and how the once independent analyses came to influence and then legitimize the sharp policy shifts enacted by the Stalin group. Insightful and valuable." - William J. Chase, professor, Department of History, University of Pittsburgh