Moscow, 1937

Moscow, 1937


By (author) Karl Schlögel

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  • Publisher: Polity Press
  • Format: Hardback | 650 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 231mm x 56mm | 1,134g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0745650767
  • ISBN 13: 9780745650760
  • Edition: 2
  • Edition statement: 2nd ed.
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 113,998

Product description

Moscow, 1937: the soviet metropolis at the zenith of Stalin sdictatorship. A society utterly wrecked by a hurricane ofviolence. In this compelling book, the renowned historian Karl Schlogelreconstructs with meticulous care the process through which, monthby month, the terrorism of a state-of-emergency regime spiraledinto the Great Terror during which 1 millionhuman beings lost their lives within a single year. He revisits thesites of show trials and executions and, by also consultingnumerous sources from the time, he provides a masterful panorama ofthese key events in Russian history.He shows how, in the shadow of the reign of terror, the regimearound Stalin also aimed to construct a new society. Based oncountless documents, Schlogel s historical masterpiecevividly presents an age in which the boundaries separating thedream and the terror dissolve, and enables us to experience thefear that was felt by people subjected to totalitarian rule. Thisrich and absorbing account of the Soviet purges will be essentialreading for all students of Russia and for any readers interestedin one of the most dramatic and disturbing events of modernhistory.

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Author information

Karl Schlogel is Professor of Eastern European History at theEuropean University Viadrina in Frankfurt.

Review quote

Winner of the Leipzig Book Prize for EuropeanUnderstanding "An almost impossibly rich masterpiece. The density andseriousness, the deliberation and literary art of this exhilaratingtour de force testifies to the enduring value and purpose of thatperhaps now-vanishing triumph of the human intellect, thebook." The Atlantic, best five books of 2012 "A dizzyingly brilliant panorama of the enormous variety of eventsand processes unfolding in Moscow between 1936 and 1938. Schlogelsucceeds admirably - indeed, better than any historian to date - inreproducing the atmosphere and grotesque contradictions." Times Higher Education "Exceptionally readable. An extraordinary, thought-provokingmasterpiece." Literary Review An excellent and original book. Not only is it a highlydetailed account of a city in turmoil (containing many morefascinating stories than a review can ever do full justice), but itreveals clearly how 1937 was a year of extremecontradictions Europe/Asia Studies "Schlogel's total history of Moscow during the fateful yearranks among the best of Sovietology." International Affairs "No book could be more equal to the task of restoringStalin s victims to Western memory than Schlogel s Moscow, 1937 - it is an extraordinary work of scholarship,prose and remembrance." Times Literary Supplement " A brilliant achievement of historical writing, one that canbe read profitably by specialist and the general readeralike. American Historical Review "Schlogel's comprehensive overview gives a profound overall view ofwhat it was like to live in such a crucial place in such a crucialyear." Dublin Review of Books "It is great. Moscow, 1937 teaches us that life goes on asusual, even in the midst of great catastrophe, but it also teachesthat great catastrophe can look a lot like life going on asusual." Vol. 1 Brooklyn "Compelling in every way, the book startles the mind and stirs theimagination in the way that only poetry and music can sometimes do.An instant classic." Wichita Eagle "Karl Schlogel s Moscow 1937 draws a living,multi-dimensional portrait of the megacity in a crucial year ofupheaval that evokes all the hope, despair, creativity, horror,escapism, terror, fear, and striving that enveloped the Muscovitecityscape and its inhabitants. Schlogel is an unusuallyinventive historian and a brilliant stylist; it s a greatboon to have his latest work available in English. " Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University and author ofStalin s Genocides "This book s focus is one year, 1937, and one place,Moscow, but it is no narrow history. The narrative has sweep anddepth, encompassing the mundane, the spectacular, and the nightmaredream world of Stalin s purges; an incomparable book aboutpeople during one of the most grandiose and terrifying epochs ofthe twentieth century." David Shearer, University of Delaware "Starting from a birds-eye view of the city from above, a homageto the flight of Bulgakov s Margarita, Schloegel captures thecomplex specificity of a time and place of immense significance inSoviet and twentieth-century history. In this multivalenthistorical moment, interrogations at the Lubyanka coexist withhappy summer vacations and the triumphant conquest of the NorthPole by Soviet aviators. Schloegel brings into play aningenious variety of sources, ranging from architectural blueprintsand city directories to execution records, not forgetting diariesand literary evocations. This is a masterful, panoramic work by agifted story-teller who is also a highly innovative, sophisticatedand erudite historian." Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago "In brilliant fashion Karl Schlogel presents Moscow as arotating stage of Soviet desire and Stalinist nightmares. Like noother author before him, he charges his prose and the sequence ofscenes with the hallucinatory power of the Communist project. Thevertiginous and terrifying effect is his very point and singularachievement." Jochen Hellbeck, Rutgers University "Karl Schlogel's Moscow 1937 is a brilliant essay of "Totalhistory" on a crucial episode of Soviet history, on one ofthe greatest historical catastrophes of the Twentieth Century.Thisis the first book which goes beyond totalitarianism and revisionismand brings us a totally new interpretation of thistragic event by presenting together opposing experiences and manifestations such as the preparation foruniversal, free, direct and secret elections and carefully planned,organized mass killings. Or, in other words, Dream andTerror." Nicolas Werth, Institut d histoire du tempspresent "This is a montage of a great city in tumult, in equal partsdepicting the optimism of progress and the horror of the showtrials, all in the shadow of a looming war." Andrew Cornish, Readings "While most historians see both terror and civilisation asimportant to understanding the Soviet experience of the 1930s, theytend to spend their time investigating either one or the other.Schlogel is the first to attempt to knit them together sointricately. Moscow 1937 is an act of remembrance as well as a workof history. London Review of Books "There is no book that so perfectly and completelycaptures the stark contradictions of Soviet life. Each scene is amarvel, and together they recreate for us a multisided and vanishedworld." Wendy Goldman, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,USA

Table of contents

Preface x Acknowledgements xiii Reproduction Acknowledgements xvii Translator's Note xx Introduction 1 1 Navigation: Margarita's Flight 10 Margarita's fl ight Manuscripts don't burn: a writer in1937 Relief map of the city, locations, staging posts Dramatis personae and their portrayal: dual characters NKVD, the organization 'People vanished from theirapartments without trace' Sudden deaths, execution asspectacle 'It can't be!' 2 Moscow as a Construction Site: Stalin's General Plan inAction 33 Aleksandr Medvedkin's film New Moscow A new cityscape:Stalin's General Plan for the Reconstruction of Moscow Moscow as a construction site: between demolition and newconstruction Moscow beyond the ring roads Humanlandscape, struggle for survival 3 A Topography of the Disappeared: The Moscow Directory of1936 54 Snapshot of the status quo: directories as documents of theirage Topography of power and other locations Tracesof the disappeared Lists of people to be shot and theposthumous reconstruction of their addresses 4 The Creation of Enemies: The Criminal Prosecution of theTrotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre, 19 - 24 August 193668 World-historical criminal cases: the rhetoric of the fi rstMoscow show trial The echo of violence: how a latent civilwar comes to be articulated in language 'Double-dealers' The birth of the show trial from the spirit of lynch-law The ideal enemy 5 'Tired of the Effort of Observing and Understanding': LionFeuchtwanger's Moscow 1937 81 A key scene in European intellectual history: Feuchtwanger'smeeting with Stalin The impotence of the anti-fascistmovement: how to generate a point of view The end of the flaneur: journey in the shadow of the NKVD Thephenomenology of confusion and the creation of unambiguous meaning:credo quia absurdum Leave-taking at BelorusskiiStation 6 In the Glare of Battle: Spain and Other Fronts 95 Moscow maps: the scene is Spain A world in meltdown, warscare The Soviet nation as a patriotic fi ghting unit Metastases: show trial in Barcelona, the NKVD abroad Barcelona transfer: Moscow experiences 7 Blindness and Terror: The Suppressed Census of 1937109 A journey into the interior of society 6 January 1937:snapshot of an empire Ten years after the census of 1926:balance sheet after the Great Leap Forward Self-analysis,self-education, data acquisition The shock of the missingmillions Statistics as crime 8 A Stage for the Horrors of Industrialization: The SecondMoscow Show Trial in January 1937 125 'The Business-like atmosphere' The language of expertwitnesses The topography of the Five-Year Plan Human sacrifi ce, nemesis, chorus Postscript 9 'A Feast in the Time of Plague': The Pushkin Jubilee of 10February 1937 144 The New York Times: 'All Russia was Pushkin-mad today' 'Comrade Pushkin': consecration of a classic A feast in thetime of plague: coded discourses Platitudes of a newculture Russian genius and imperial rule 10 Public Death: Ordzhonikidze's Suicide and Death Rites160 The shock: Sergo is dead Escape into ritual Suicide as a weapon A hopeless situation and protest Death as a group experience: speaking of death in times ofmass murder 11 The Engine Room of the Year 1937: The February-MarchPlenum of the Central Committee 177 A leadership at its wits' end: the voice of panic Testing the limits and exceeding them: the Party indicts Bukharinand Rykov The shock: 'universal, free, secret elections' Audit report: ungovernability and fear of chaos Wreckers at work in the NKVD The dissolution of the Partyand the creation of a new one Setting the machinery inmotion 12 Moscow in Paris: The USSR Pavilion at the InternationalExhibition of 1937 198 The exhibition trail: a journey through the map of the SovietUnion The theme park of twentieth-century civilization Marginal encounters 13 Red Square: Parade Ground and Place of Execution209 14 Chopin Concert and Killing Ritual: Radio and the Creationof the Great Community 215 Radiofi katsia: the two faces of progress Radio as thebackground noise of the new age The sphere of feelings Radio listeners as 'citizens of the world' Stalin:the original soundtrack: the direction of the historical moment Wreckers at work in the ether 15 Soviet Art Deco: Time Preserved in Stone 229 The First All-Union Congress of Architects, 16 26 June1937 Moscow as a building site Chaos and stress The Soviet universe as exhibition The creation of anew style during a state of emergency Closing speech: FrankLloyd Wright 16 'Brown Bodies, Gaily Coloured Shorts': Sports Parade248 'The glorious beauty of young people' Fizkul'turnik, fizkul'turnitsa: icons of the new age 'Stalin's tribe':tableaux vivants in Red Square 17 Wealth and Destruction: The Seventeenth InternationalGeology Congress in Moscow 256 The emergence of Soviet geologists: science and the dream of anaffluent nation Pioneers the nation does not need:geologists as enemies of the people Vladimir Vernadskii: apatriot without fear Excursion to the Moscow VolgaCanal: science and slave labour 18 A City by the Sea: The Opening of the Moscow VolgaCanal 274 After the White Sea Canal: Stalin's second arterial highway A canal as a Gesamtkunstwerk: the aesthetics of a man-maderiverscape Dmitlag, the Gulag Archipelago at the gates ofthe capital: the parallel society of the camp zone Perekovka/ reforging: the laboratory of the new man 'I haveseen a country that has been transformed into one greatcamp' 19 Year of Adventures, 1937: A Soviet Icarus 294 Triumphs, records: a city in a fever Non-stop to America The conquest of the Arctic Twentieth-centuryadventures Heroes of the age: Stalin's aviators 'There are thousands of dreamers like me' 'Bolshevikromanticism' and terror 20 Moscow as Shop-Window: The Abundance of the World, Hungryfor Goods and Dizzy with Hunger 314 Andre Gide: on luxury and shortages Advertisements,window displays: objects of desire and how to present them Dizzy with hunger A hopeless struggle: a nation ofspeculators The queue as grapevine 21 Open Spaces, Dream Landscapes: Cruising on the Volga,Holidaying on the Red Riviera, Conspiracies in the Dachas326 22 The National Bolshevik Nikolai Ustrialov: His Return Homeand Death 332 Returning home from exile: establishing contact with the newRussia National Bolshevism and Stalin's 'Socialism in OneCountry' The world of 'former people' and 1937 Adouble reading: a diary with comments by the NKVD 23 Celebrating the October Revolution on 7 November 1937344 In the diplomats' box Conversations in the inner circleof power 24 A Miniature of High Society before the Massacre355 The bombs come closer Beau monde, illustrious society Masked ball at the American Embassy Interior withpiano and nursemaid Yezhov's salon: art and the secretpolice Postscript: inventory of luxury and fashion 25 Soviet Hollywood: Miracles and Monsters 372 Lenin in October: the Revolution corrected The USSR as aland of film, picture palaces and stars Mosfi lm 1937:chaos in the film factory Volga-Volga: directors asconspirators, actors as spies Terror and goodentertainment 26 Death in Exile 387 Dimitrov's diary: a record of self-destruction Vanishingpoint Moscow: biotope Foreign comrades Vulnerability: world communism as world conspiracy Lists,dossiers and card indexes 27 Arcadia in Moscow: Stalin's Luna Park 404 'A centre of culture and rest' 'What a summer!' The locus of public opinion 28 'Avtozavodtsy': The Workforce of the Stalin Car Factories413 'Shanghai': city of immigrants, city on the periphery Ivan Likhachev, captain of industry Factory patriotism: thefactory as melting pot 'Mass criticism', or theorchestration of hatred and despair 29 Dzhaz: The Sound of the Thirties 433 Dzhaz (Utesov) Songs for the masses (Dunaevskii) Classical music (Shostakovich) 30 Changing Faces, Changing Times 444 31 America, America: The Other New World 450 Ili' a Il' f and Evgenii Petrov's journey to America Special relations: Soviet Americanism and the New Deal TheAmerican way of life in 1937 Utopia as present-dayreality 32 'I Know of No Other Country ...': 1937 and theProduction of Soviet Space 463 The birth of the Soviet Union from the spirit of songs for themasses Moscow as an image-making machine Homogenizing labour: purges and the unity of the Sovietnation 33 The Butovo Shooting Range: Topography of the Great Terror472 Looking for traces: the archaeology of the graveyard Mass murder on the outskirts of the city Sociology of themass grave Killing by quota: Order No. 00447 Worldwar, civil war 34 Lonely White Sail ...: Dreamtime, Children's Worlds505 35 Yezhov at the Bolshoi Theatre: Celebrating Twenty Years ofthe Cheka 510 At the heart of Moscow: power made visible Celebratoryspeeches and music between the mass murders Ovations forthe executioners: morituri salutant 36 Bukharin Takes his Leave 519 Bukharin's final plea The show trial: exercises indialectics The Lubianka: prison as a production site Letter to Koba A Moscow childhood in 1900 37 'For Official Use Only': Moscow as a City on the Enemy Map538 38 The Foundation Pit 544 The imaginary centre: a support for the empire The domethat disappeared: Russian Byzantium Labouring away at avacuum: fantasies of the building of the century Rome, NewYork, Moscow: the genius of Boris Iofan War, post-war, andthe end of the state of emergency 39 Instead of an Epilogue 558 Notes 559 Select Bibliography 619 Index 638