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20 November 2018

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The Bolsheviks in Power

by Alexander Rabinowitch

Examines the pivotal first year of Bolshevik rule. Using newly released Russian sources, he unravels the roots of Soviet authoritarianism, demonstrating that the Bolsheviks did not come to power with a plan to institute dictatorship. Instead, the Red Terror and the oppressive political system that developed was largely the result of ad hoc reactions to escalating crises – in particular the continuing war with Germany and the developing Civil War. An important lesson indeed. And it is far from the only instance when isolating and bombarding a nascent regime has served to harden its resolve and bring out the darkest of human inclinations.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Mar/Apr 2008