Leonard Schapiro was a British political scientist and one of the world’s foremost experts on Soviet politics. His works include The Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Russian Studies; he also translated Turgenev’s novel Spring Torrentsinto English.

Soviet Heroes

Each of these books tells the story of disillusionment with communism. The authors are very different—the one an intellectual, the other a distinguished soldier who only late in life was confronted with problems of abstract politics, which he felt compelled to resolve. Yet in each case the motives for the …

The Case for Khrushchev

Let History Judge was the title that Roy Medvedev gave to an admirable book on Stalin. He has now published a biography of Khrushchev, written, as was the previous book, in the Soviet Union. Medvedev seems to have considerable freedom to write in the USSR (though he has been warned …

Under the Volcano

When during the late war British military observers were first allowed to visit the Soviet Union and see the armed forces in action, a number of them came back appalled by what they had seen. War equipment was primitive, as was the cartography, the supply system was rough and inadequate, …

The Polish Revolution

Lenin’s main theory was based on the thesis that left to themselves the workers would never carry out a revolution. Unless the idea of revolution was put into their heads by clever intellectuals (“brought from the outside,” as Lenin put it) workers would content themselves with “trade-unionist” demands for better …

A Good Man

The horrifying story of the sufferings of Hungarian Jewry at the hands of the Germans has most recently been studied in detail in a monumental work, Randolph Braham’s The Politics of Genocide.[^1] When the Germans occupied Hungary, there were 246,803 Jews in Budapest (over 800,000 in the entire country), including …

Scaffolding of Lies

How does one set about establishing the intellectual origins of the doctrine which has come to be known as “Leninism”? The accepted way in the past has been to trace those ideas or doctrines with which it can be demonstrated Lenin was acquainted, and to argue from the similarity that …

Soviet Heroes

The continuing interest in the West in the lives and fates of the Soviet dissidents who are engaged in a desperate and lonely struggle for elementary human rights shows that, even if at times precious little is done by the West to help these brave men and women, at least …

A Journey Into the Soviet Future

What will the Soviet Union be like in the Eighties? What will it do? Will it wish to cooperate with the Western world? Will it remain aggressively expansive? And, if so, will it have the economic and political strength to survive? Regrettably, these questions are among the most important ones …

Communist Myths

“The most popular mass insurrection in history” was Trotsky’s description, in his History of the Russian Revolution, of the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks on November 7, 1917. More accurately, one should date this event from the night of November 6 to 7, when the Bolshevik Red Guards, supported …

Rewriting the Russian Rules

The late Merle Fainsod’s How Russia Is Ruled was first published in 1953. Ten years later it appeared in a second edition, which examined the changes which had occurred since Khrushchev had replaced Stalin. Professor Fainsod’s work was a milestone in the study of the Soviet Union. It was probably …

Max Hayward (1924–1979)

By the recent death in Oxford of Max Hayward, at the early age of fifty-four, British learning suffered the loss of one of the few really outstanding scholars in the Russian field to have emerged here since the war. He had a profound knowledge of Russia and of things Russian, …

A Shameful Story

No sooner had the British forces in June 1944 carried out their part in the Allied invasion of Germany than they were faced with the fact that among the prisoners of war captured there were Russians in German uniforms. By the time the war in Europe ended, between two and …

The Russian Way

Dr. Nekrich, until he left the USSR in 1976, worked as a senior research scholar at the Institute of History of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 1965, his work on the outbreak of the war between the USSR and Germany, entitled June 22, 1941, was published by the Academy, …

Two Cheers for Leskov

Nikolai Semenovich Leskov (1831-1895), somewhat younger than Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Goncharov and a contemporary of Tolstoy, was a minor star in the brilliant constellation of the writers of fiction in nineteenth-century Russia. He published over a hundred stories, as well as several novels and collections of sketches. He won little …

Two Years That Shook the World

Nearly sixty years have passed since the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd—traditionally on November 7, 1917, because that was when the Second Congress of Soviets voted them into power. Actually power had been in their hands for some time before, but it is regarded as more democratic to stress the …

Russia: The Pursuit of the Extreme

In what is probably his best, as well as his most recent, book Edward Crankshaw has set himself the task of presenting the history of the Russian Empire from 1825 until its collapse. His narrative stops before the revolution of 1917—his aim is not to show how it all ended, …

Disturbing, Fanatical, and Heroic

“There are times, in my opinion, when one has to lower the tone, take the whip into one’s hands not just to defend oneself, but in order to go into the attack in a much cruder manner”—so wrote Dostoevsky to Strakhov, over a hundred years ago, when embarking on The …

Khrushchev Forgets

In October, 1964, Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev was removed from office by a palace revolution in which his protégé Brezhnev emerged as his successor to head the Communist party of the Soviet Union. However, in contrast with what had hitherto been Soviet practice, he was neither murdered nor transformed into an …

Bukharin’s Way

There are several reasons why Bukharin is unique among communist leaders as a subject for a biographer. In the first place there can be few, if any, leading communists of any nationality who, in the general consensus of those who knew them and worked closely with them, are invariably described …

The Soviet Jews

Perhaps it is the natural order of things for Jews to be disliked by the members of the majority community among whom they live. A minority, and especially a minority with distinctive physical and social features, is always at risk in this respect: the vulgar masses will readily deride and …

What Is Fascism?

“Let us not lose ourselves in the systems: let us listen to the voice of history.” De Maistre’s advice can still be heeded with profit, as a recently published symposium amply demonstrates. Its theme was “the nature of fascism”: more than two dozen scholars, mainly either historians or sociologists, assembled …

A Lost Politics

There is a continuing interest in the history of political thought, an enduring curiosity to learn how men in the past have reflected on the state, on the process of living together in society, and on the conditions of the just and good life. Even the current fashion for concrete …