Symbols and Legitimacy in Soviet Politics

Symbols and Legitimacy in Soviet Politics

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Symbols and Legitimacy in Soviet Politics analyses the way in which Soviet symbolism and ritual changed from the regime's birth in 1917 to its fall in 1991. Graeme Gill focuses on the symbolism in party policy and leaders' speeches, artwork and political posters, and urban redevelopment, and on ritual in the political system. He shows how this symbolism and ritual were worked into a dominant metanarrative which underpinned Soviet political development. Gill also shows how, in each of these spheres, the images changed both over the life of the regime and during particular stages: the Leninist era metanarrative differed from that of the Stalin period, which differed from that of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev periods, which was, in turn, changed significantly under Gorbachev. In charting this development, the book lays bare the dynamics of the Soviet regime and a major reason for its fall.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 364 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 26mm | 698.53g
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1107004543
  • 9781107004542
  • 1,374,519

Review quote

'A fascinating and thoroughly-researched interpretation of Soviet history. Gill compellingly shows how the political language and symbols of the regime, which long helped to sustain it, ultimately left it defenceless to fresh thinking'. Archie Brown, author of The Rise and Fall of Communism 'Exhaustively documented and judiciously argued, Symbols and Legitimacy in Soviet Politics cements Graeme Gill's reputation as a leading student and interpreter of the Soviet epoch'. Michael Urban, University of California, Santa Cruz 'Graeme Gill's fascinating study of what he calls the Soviet metanarrative revisits a number of Soviet myths from different periods, and forces us to look at them in a new and very different light. This original, thoroughly researched book is a must read for anyone interested in Soviet legitimation, mythology, ideology, symbolism and political ritual.' Leslie Holmes, Professor of Political Science, University of Melbourneshow more

Table of contents

1. Ideology, metanarrative and myth; 2. Formation of the metanarrative, 1917-29; 3. The Stalinist culture, 1929-53; 4. An everyday vision, 1953-85; 5. The vision implodes, 1985-91; 6. Impact of the metanarrative.show more

About Graeme Gill

Graeme Gill is Professor of Government and Public Administration at the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. A long-time scholar of Soviet and Russian politics, his work covers all aspects of the politics of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, as well as democratisation and the history of the state. His books include The Collapse of a Single-Party System (Cambridge University Press, 1994), The Politics of Transition (with Stephen White and Darrell Slider, Cambridge University Press, 1993) and The Origins of the Stalinist Political System (Cambridge University Press, 1990).show more

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