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Essays in memory of Victor Zaslavsky

Edited by Tommaso Piffer and Vladislav Zubok

Tommaso Piffer is a Bodossakis Research Fellow of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge and an affiliate of the Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Vladislav Zubok is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. Among his publications are Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War (with Costantine Pleshakov, Harvard University Press, 1996); Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Stalin to Putin (with Eric Shiraev, Palgrave Press, 2000); A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (The University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Harvard University Press, 2009).

This book is a tribute to the memory of Victor Zaslavsky (1937–2009), sociologist, émigré from the Soviet Union, Canadian citizen, public intellectual, and keen observer of Eastern Europe.In seventeen essaysleading European, American and Russian scholars discuss the theory and the history of totalitarian society with a comparative approach. They revisit and reassess what Zaslavsky considered the most important project in the latter part of his life: the analysis of Eastern European - especially Soviet societies and their difficult “transition” after the fall of communism in 1989–91. The variety of the contributions reflects the diversity of specialists in the volume, but also reveals Zaslavsky’s gift: he surrounded himself with talented people from many different fields and disciplines.

In line with Zaslavsky´s work and scholarly method, the book promotes new theoretical and methodological approaches to the concept of totalitarianism for understanding Soviet and East European societies, and the study of fascist and communist regimes in general.

442 pages, cloth, 2017
$70.00 / €64.00 / £56.00


1. Tommaso Piffer and Vladislav Zubok

2. Peter Baehr
Movement, Formation, and Maintenance in the Soviet Union, Victor Zaslavsky’s Challenge to the Arendtian Theory of Totalitarianism
3. Giovanni Orsina
European Liberalism in the Age of Totalitarianism
4. Vittorio Strada
Totalitaranism avant la lettre
5. Vladimir Tismaneanu
Totalitarianism and Ideological Hubris
6. Emilio Gentile
From Facts to Words, From Militia Party to Fascist Totalitarianism

7. Vladimir Pechatnov
Stalin the Statesman, A Historian’s Notes
8. Oleg Khlevniuk
Stalin’s Dictatorship, Priorities, Policies, and Results
9. Andrea Graziosi
The “National Question” in the Soviet Union
10. Inessa Yazhborovskaia
The Katyn Case. History and Articulation of Official Discourse in Russia
11. David Holloway
Totalitarianism and Science, The Nazi and the Soviet Experience
12. Maria Teresa Giusti
From Fascism to Communism, The History of a Conversion

13. Veljko Vujačić
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Vasily Grossman, Slavophile and Westernizer Against the Totalitarian Soviet State
14. Antonella d’Amelia
“Without the free word, there are no free people” Lydia Chukovskaya’s Writings on Terror and Censorship
15. Lev Gudkov
The Transition from Totalitarianism to Authoritarianism in Russia
16. Gail Lapidus
Totalitarianism, Nationalism, and Challenges for Democratic Transition
17. Mark Kramer
Public Memory and the Difficulty of Overcoming the Communist Legacy, Poland and Russia in Comparative Perspective