Volume 62 Number 1 Abstracts

Discussion of Anna Krylova's "Beyond the Spontaneity-Consciousness Paradigm: "Class Instinct" as a Promising Category of Historical Analysis"

Anna Krylova, Reginald E. Zelnik, and Igal Halfin

Anna Krylova questions whether the spontaneity-consciousness paradigm, the standard interpretive approach toward Bolshevik thought in the field of Soviet studies, offers an exhaustive account of Bolshevik discourse. To do that she examines the centrality of V. I. Lenin's What Is to Be Done? (1902) in Bolshevik thought and points to the 1905 revolution as the formative event in the Bolshevik conception of the worker. Krylova introduces an overlooked Bolshevik notion of "class instinct" (klassovyi instinkt, klassovoe chut'ie) and argues that the notion of "class instinct" centrally informed the Bolshevik vision of the worker, structuring her article as a dialogue between scholars of Soviet history and their historical subjects. In the conclusion, she suggests the consequences that such a broadened notion of the Bolshevik conception of proletarian identity--beyond the spontaneity-consciousness paradigm--has for interpretations of Bolshevik and Stalinist culture. In "A Paradigm Lost?" his response to Krylova's essay, Reginald E. Zelnik welcomes Krylova's "class instinct" thesis as a fresh enrichment of and supplement to the spontaneity-consciousness paradigm, but, he argues, if we place this language in its early historical context, we cannot avoid the conclusion that with or without the introduction of "instinct," Lenin and the Bolsheviks still had to face the same kind of contradictions in their conceptualization of the role of workers in the revolutionary movement. The revolutionary value of particular consciousness or particular instinct still had to be judged in accordance with an external point of reference, the nature of which remained and remains elusive. Igal Halfin, in his response, "Between Instinct and Mind: The Bolshevik View of the Proletarian Self," argues that the Bolshevik notion of the self indeed deserves careful scrutiny. Focusing on how the official Soviet language characterized the interaction between workers' bodies and workers' souls, Halfin argues that the synthesis of the affective and the cerebral was key to this construction of the New Man in the 1920s and 1930s.

"Ever Higher" The Evolution of the Project for the Palace of Soviets

Sona Stephan Hoisington

In this article, Sona Hoisington focuses on the evolution of the project for the Palace of Soviets and its metamorphoses during the four stages of the competition (1931-33) and after. Rather than interpreting the project as the repudiation of modernist architecture, as many scholars have done, Hoisington argues that the design evolved from the modern and functional to the eclectic and monumental. Drawing on archival materials, she demonstrates that this change came about gradually and in a contradictory fashion. Hoisington shows how the Palace of Soviets acquired mythic significance, becoming a symbol of Soviet might and determination to overtake America and a temple to the revolution and its deity, Vladimir Lenin. In conclusion, she argues that the evolution of the Palace of Soviets encapsulates the changing models in the Soviet Union of the 1930s.

Oh, That! Myth, Memory, and World War I in the Russian Emigration and the Soviet Union

Aaron J. Cohen

Historians of Russia have not analyzed the roles that the memory of World War I played in Russian life, and Russia remains largely absent from comparative studies of the war and its legacy. Russian people did have "sites of memory" where they expressed myths, displayed symbols, and mobilized public opinion around the memory of World War I. Outside the Soviet Union, a non-Soviet Russian memory of the Great War flourished in the interwar years, and the war became an important memory that military émigrés used to overcome the rupture from the past (imperial Russia) and the present (Russian territory) caused by revolution and life in emigration. The war had a different expression in Soviet Russia, where journalists and publicists evoked its image, but not its historical content, to break the USSR from the Russian past and separate the first socialist society from its enemies in the present.

Who Voted Communist? Reconsidering the Social Bases of Radicalism in Interwar Poland

Jeffrey S. Kopstein and Jason Wittenberg

Research on the sources of support for the communists in interwar Poland has emphasized the role of ethnic minorities, especially the Jews. To what degree did Poland's national minorities vote for the Communist Party? Using census data and electoral returns on interwar Poland's 272 districts, as well as a new technique for inferring individual level behavior from aggregate level data, Jeffrey Kopstein and Jason Wittenberg generate reliable estimates of ethnic group voting behavior for the Sejm elections of 1922 and 1928. The results show that it is incorrect to speak of a unified minority vote. Communist parties received disproportionate support from Belarusans. By 1928 Ukrainians voted overwhelming for ethno-national parties. The bulk of Jews drifted into establishment politics, disproportionately supporting the pro-government Bloc. Contrary to the myth of the "Jewish communist," Jews provided only a small fraction of the electoral support for the communist parties. The evidence shows that not only were the overwhelming number of Jews not communist supporters but the vast majority of communist voters were not Jews.

On the Edge of Reason: The Boundaries of Balkanism in Slovenian, Austrian, and Italian Discourse

Patrick Hyder Patterson

In this article Patrick Patterson offers new perspectives on the critique of Balkanist discourse elaborated recently by Maria Todorova and others. Examining Slovenian, Austrian, and Italian commentary on contemporary southeastern Europe, Patterson concludes that Slovenia's "western" neighbors did not wholeheartedly embrace the campaign by some influential Slovenes to distance their society from other, purportedly "Balkan," Yugoslavs. Although Balkanism marked the discourse of all three countries, Italian and Austrian opinion often rejected important implications of the Slovenes' exceptionalist rhetoric. Ultimately, the internal dynamics of Austrian and Italian identity and political culture trumped the Balkanist logic behind Slovenes' claims to a uniquely "central European" character. Moreover, even in Slovenian sources, Balkanist rhetoric proved less dominant and consistent than the prevailing critique admits. Accordingly, that critique, which treats Balkanism as a rigid, uniform, pervasive, and virtually inescapable "power discourse" of hegemony, should be revised to account for forces that may limit or subvert its power.