[This was an essay I wrote for college a few months ago – forgive the near-pompous, formal language, hope you find it interesting…]


Nikolai Bukharin, just before the 1937 arrest which led to his death, wrote “My solitary, innocent head will draw in thousands more innocent people. For, after all, [the prosecutors] have to create an organisation, a Bukharinist organisation.”[1] A key method of the

Nikolai Bukharin - unwittingly cleared the ground for his own complete destruction

Nikolai Bukharin – unwittingly cleared the ground for his own destruction by collaborating with Stalin

Great Terror of 1936-8 was the fabrication of organisations, and Bukharin as a participant in, and increasingly a victim of the Terror, knew this. Organisations opposed to Stalinism were grossly misrepresented, falsely linked to foreign governments, blown far out of proportion and often fabricated, but they did exist. In this essay we will examine organised Trotskyism in the USSR in the 1930s and the scattered youth opposition groups of the late 1940s with a focus on what they tell us about Stalinist society.

There is a school of Soviet history writing that explores resistance and opposition. Its focus is for the most part on “weapons of the weak” as defined by James C Scott and other “subaltern strategies”: acts of passive or small-scale resistance that were part of the everyday experience of Stalinism. “Speaking Bolshevik”, a concept coined by Stephen Kotkin, describes a process by which people aped Communist vocabulary and behaviour as a survival mechanism.[2] Viola makes a comprehensive list of forms of “active opposition” which includes rebellions, strikes, protests, broadsheets and terrorism.[3] Opposition newspapers were, of course, produced by organisations, yet Viola seems to neglect this vital aspect of resistance in favour of spontaneous and un-sustained or else individual-level acts. All through resistance studies, examinations of dissent and resistance centre around specific events, times and places.[4] The study of an organisation, however, transcends specific times and places and gives us a more general picture of the society from which it emerged. It is strange that this task has been neglected.

” […] little attention has been paid to the small group of people who overtly resisted in word and deed. While in a study of mass behaviour they would occupy little more than a place reserved for the curiosities of Soviet society, the form and content of their resistance reveal just exactly how far a citizen of the Soviet Union could distance himself from the officially prescribed norms.”

(Juliane Fürst, “Prisoners of the Soviet Self?—Political Youth Opposition in Late Stalinism”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2002, 353–375)


The above quotation relates to the anti-Stalinist youth organisations of the late 1940s whom we will discuss later. We will devote more attention to the Trotskyist organisations of the 1930s because they represented much more than “a place reserved for curiosities” numerically and politically. In this we will confine ourselves to the period after the defeat of the United Opposition and the exile of Trotsky in 1927-8.

These opposition organisations help us to determine what mental and practical scope existed for sustained, committed, organised opposition under Stalinism. Moreover, they reveal new ways of looking at such interpretive categories as Sovietisation and Stalinisation, resistance and assent, pragmatism and utopianism, Bolshevik ideology and Soviet power. They help us to understand further the social implications of the Great Terror of 1936-8 in attempts to shape a new kind of society and individual. In opposing the Bolshevik and Soviet ideology of the opposition groups to Stalinism we gain an insight into the social forces at play and the implications of Stalinism for Soviet society.

This essay will not examine the efforts of nationalist organisations existing at the peripheries of Soviet power. The case of Chechnya, for example, reflects the violent ethnic cleansing efforts of the Stalinist state[5] but it reveals little about a Stalinist, let alone a Soviet, society that had never been fully established in Chechnya and Ingushetia. As early as 1918 Red Army leaders considered these two regions to be impenetrable due to terrain and culture.[6] This and other examples of nationalist organisations and armies are historically very significant but their existence depended entirely on non-Soviet traditions and forces that were prevalent due to the relative weakness of Soviet power in time or place. Christian youth organisations – which Bukharin estimated in 1928 had a combined membership equalling that of the Komsomol[7] – were not political organisations and we must exclude them as well.

The Left Opposition in Russia in the 1930s was small and weak - but so were the Bolsheviks at the start of 1917. Analogies must have occurred to Stalinists and Opositionists alike

The Left Opposition in Russia in the 1930s was small and weak – but so were the Bolsheviks at the start of 1917. Analogies must have occurred to Stalinists and Opositionists alike

Service dismisses the Left Opposition as completely insignificant by 1937.[10] He perhaps fails to appreciate the analogy that would have come to the mind of Stalin or a Trotskyist, that the Bolsheviks were practically irrelevant to the course of the February Revolution, their leaders in prison or exile and their Centre staffed by obscure figures. Yet their numbers grew from 49,000 in April 1917 to 240,000 in July.[11] In November 1918 they held state power and majorities in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets. This story was celebrated in Bolshevik ideology and throughout Soviet society and it greatly inspired both the Trotskyists and the oppositionists of the late 1940s.[12]

The extent to which Trotsky himself was demonized and vilified resounds in Russia and internationally to this day.[13] Therefore it is all the more necessary for us to define what we mean by “Trotskyists”. We mean the organisation or organisations which identified themselves as the Bolshevik-Leninists, the Left Opposition, and the Fourth International; which produced, distributed and read the Bulletin of the Opposition and which agreed with Trotsky’s analysis of the nature of the Soviet Union and the need for political revolution. We will also mention other opposition organisations such as those of Riutin and Zinoviev which the Stalinist government falsely labelled “Trotskyites” but which did not enjoy as sustained an existence as the Trotskyists.[14]

In 1936 the organisers of the Trial of the Sixteen famously blundered when the defendant Goltsman “confessed” to having met Trotsky and his son Lev Sedov at a hotel in Copenhagen which had ceased to exist fifteen years before the alleged meeting.[15] But while they

Hotel Bristol, Copenhagen - "site" of one of the greatest blunders of the show trials

Hotel Bristol, Copenhagen – “site” of one of the greatest blunders of the show trials

had invented the details, the instinct of the prosecutors was correct. Goltsman and IN Smirnov had met with Lev Sedov in 1931 and 1932. The exiled Trotsky was establishing links with the “Leningrad Opposition” around Zinoviev as well as Smirnov’s group in order to form a united anti-Stalin bloc in the context of the widespread upheaval of 1932.[16] Like the Riutin platform of 1932 this bloc was rapidly suppressed by arrests and executions.[17] Therefore Trotskyist and other distinct anti-Stalinist organisations existed, in 1932 forming something resembling the “joint Trotskyite-Zinovievite Centre” that was concocted by prosecutors in August 1936.

The important question is how deep-rooted this opposition was in society as a whole, not just among the Communist Party leadership and former leadership. An idea is given by the Stalinists’ reaction to the murder of Kirov, after which 30,000 families, “mostly workers”, were deported from Leningrad in order to break the “Leningrad Opposition” around the figure of Zinoviev. Kevin Murphy’s examination of the Trotskyist and United Oppositions in the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow in the 1920s is very important in assessing the level of support for oppositions among workers and rank-and-file party members as opposed to the heavy focus on leadership figures. Its examination is confined to the 1920s but it gives a strong indication as to the strength of grassroots support for the opposition. In particular it shows how a small number of dedicated militants could exert great influence on other workers.[18] That only a remnant might have remained loyal into the 1930s is of course a valid point but the massive failures of forced collectivisation and the difficulties and struggles that ensued in the early-to-mid 1930s in many areas opened a rift between the working class and the Communist Party.[19]

Stalin estimated that there were 12,000 Trotskyists in the Communist Party. We should see this as a propaganda statement by Stalin who was trying to play down the significance of Trotskyism numerically.[20] However the statement is valuable in that it indicates that the minimum credible number of Trotskyists was around 12,000. In addition to this, ex-members of the Communist Party, many of whom would have been Trotskyists, numbered 1.5 million.[21] NKVD figures show that 41,362 people were arrested for “Trotskyism” in 1937-8, far outweighing the numbers arrested for any other political denomination. Around 15,000 “Right” and 14,000 “Ukrainian Nationalists”[22] come closest. The number of arrest is of course not a precise indicator, reflecting the centrifugal tendencies of the Great Terror.[23] Over 41, 000 arrests for Trotskyism does, however, give a valuable counter-indication to Stalin’s 12,000. In any case, as noted a membership in the tens of thousands, even if largely in exile, was all that the Bolsheviks could call upon at the start of 1917, something which the Trotskyists themselves must have reflected on, not to mention Stalin.

The Trotskyite movement was not simply a bogeyman or a curiosity; it represented a serious element in Stalinist society. Tens of thousands of oppositionists had been persecuted, imprisoned and killed since the mid-1920s, Trotsky pointed out in 1937; “Can it really be that all this was for the sake of a personal struggle between Trotsky and Stalin?”[24] Murphy demonstrates how its implications for Stalinist society and popular opinion go well beyond this organised force.[25] The importance in Soviet social history of organised Trotskyism has been underestimated due to several factors. Firstly, its complete effacement by policies of terror left few to record its history – there are not enough first-hand memoir accounts to count on the fingers of both hands, according to Rogovin.[26] He also contends that the hostility of both Stalinist and anti-communist writers to Trotskyism cut down the number of those outside this eradicated movement who might be motivated to record its history.[27]

The Great Terror must be understood in the context of this organised Trotskyist opposition. Many contemporaries including Hitler saw the Great Terror as an act of insanity. One participant remembers how it sapped morale and initiative and made the Red Army less combat-ready on the eve of war.[28] It remains in the eyes of many “the greatest mystery of the Stalin years.”[29] Others, however, then and since, have emphasized the very rational nature of the Terror. Molotov justified it in the 1970s on the basis that not only “clear Rightists” and Trotskyists but “many who vacillated, those who did not firmly follow the line and in whom there was no confidence that at a critical moment they might desert” were deliberately targeted. He stressed the context of a looming world war under whose pressures dissent could find an echo and lead to division and weakness.[30] The real implications of this were the destruction of Trotskyism and the devastation and terrorizing of national minorities.[31]

The Great Terror fell hardest on the cities and on party members, but its implications went far beyond the party to every level of society. Molotov’s comments confirmed the speculations of Deutscher, who, writing in the 1950s, imagined a mid-1930s Stalin threatened by the rumour of war and haunted by the fate of Tsar Nicholas II. Stalin and Nicholas both face determined revolutionary organisations who might take advantage of the conditions of war; Stalin tells the ghost of Nicholas that his, Stalin’s, opponents are all imprisoned or in exile, but the ghost of Nicholas retorts that Stalin himself was imprisoned in Siberia at the start of 1917.[32] Far from a totalitarian monolith, the Stalinist regime must have been aware of its own fragility in the late 1930s.

The Moscow Trials denounced Trotskyism without ever explaining truthfully what Trotskyism was. Nor were virtually any of the leaders tried in the show trials actual Trotskyists. Stalin insisted that the Fourth International was

“…not a political trend in the workers’ movement but an unprincipled gang of wreckers without ideas, diversionists, intelligence agents, spies, murderers, sworn enemies of the working class, acting in the hire of the intelligence service organs of foreign states.”

(Service, Trotsky, 441)

These were the means by which Stalinism discredited Trotskyism and justified its physical extermination within the USSR. That the prosecutors of the Moscow Trials, the press and the state tackled an outrageously misrepresented straw man shows the power of their physical apparatus and propaganda services but it also demonstrates their political weakness.

Overall this seems to suggest a point made by Fürst to which I will return later, that the “real backbone” of the Soviet system was not the “radical fanatic or convinced socialist” but

“turned out to be the ‘new Soviet people’, who had adapted official demands to suit their own personal needs and survival and were thus neither rejecting nor truly fulfilling them.”

(Fürst, 369)

In thus eliminating the opposition based not on politics but on conscious lies, Stalin typified the model of what Fürst calls “the imperfect”, those who “adapted official demands to suit their own personal needs and survival.” The ideas of the “resistance school” of “weapons of the weak” and “speaking Bolshevik” are usually applied with a large degree of sympathy to opposition, resistance and survival strategies of ordinary Soviet citizens. But they often very accurately describe the Soviet government itself which was compelled to “speak Bolshevik” to the people. Actual resistance, whenever it reared its head in an organised form, was, like the Trotskyists, consciously “Bolshevik-Leninist”. To use Fürst’s words again, the new elite were “neither rejecting nor truly fulfilling” the demands of Bolshevik ideology.

Understanding this requires that we briefly state the position of the Trotskyists: In the years immediately following the revolution the Soviet state was fatally handicapped by war, poverty, backwardness and international isolation. Bureaucracy replaced democracy in the Soviets, the Communist Party and all levels of state administration. Stalin was the personification and leader of the bureaucratic caste which secured privileges through its rule over the state. The Soviet Union should be defended at all costs from the restoration of Capitalism but nonetheless a political revolution was necessary to remove the bureaucracy.[33] Trotskyism (unlike Stalinism from 1939-1941)[34] had zero links to fascism or (unlike Lenin in April 1917[35]) to foreign governments. Trotskyism was a threat to Stalin and to those in privileged positions but not to the Soviet regime itself.

The experience of imprisoned Trotskyists is evidence of the social importance of their organisation and of an alternative Soviet identity. It also illustrates the disproportionate hostility toward them demonstrated by the Soviet government. In the Gulag, Trotskyists were marked with the status of KRTD, for Counter-Revolutionary Trotskyite Activity, rather than the standard KRD for Counter-Revolutionary Activity. This extra letter on their papers made it compulsory for guards to treat them with extra harshness, including beatings and the hardest types of work.[36] This harsh treatment killed the majority but the remainder were more systematically shot or otherwise eliminated in mysterious circumstances.[37] In numbers arrested and in harshness of treatment Trotskyists or alleged Trotskyists were the worst-hit by the Great Terror.

The gold-mining slave labour camps of Kolyma in Eastern Russia

The gold-mining slave labour camps of Kolyma in Eastern Russia

Despite this experience the imprisoned Trotskyists defied victim status in many ways. In the gold mines of Kolyma Trotskyists from various distant camps organised a united hunger strike that won them better conditions. In one area a group of Trotskyists managed to win an exemption from physical labour with no corresponding reduction in rations. Another group being conveyed to the camps shouted slogans out train windows and, in one case in Vladivostok, unfurled a banner reading “Down With Stalin” from a ship. In Vorkuta 1,000 went on a 132-day hunger strike for better conditions and the release of their families. Trotskyists in the camps generally formed well-organised, close-knit groups. They had an overall organisation between camps consisting of fleeting encounters between prisoners while in transit.[38] They were a mix of a few old, seasoned Oppositionists with a majority of young people, some sixteen or seventeen.[39]

Historians concerned with opposition and resistance under Stalinism marvel at

“an entire world within the Stalinist dictatorship, a semi-autonomous world of many layers, cultures, and languages of existence, experience, and survival that coexisted with, evolved within, interacted with, and at times bypassed the larger and seemingly omnipresent reality of Stalinism.[40]

It is remarkable that historians with such preoccupations have so consistently overlooked the fascinating and tragic world-within-a-world of resistance and autonomy that was Trotskyism in the Gulag. This may be another measure of the extent to which both western and Stalinist historiography has neglected the importance of this movement.

The enigma of the Great Terror is why Trotskyists, who supported the Soviet regime, were special targets for extreme demonization, torture and extermination, over and above any other form of “counter-revolutionary”. The solution is to understand that the struggle against Trotskyism was not a factional dispute, a doctrinal debate or a leadership challenge but a social conflict. Stalinism was eliminating alternative poles of influence, trying to reshape society as a whole into a pliant and non-revolutionary body of people. If this was an attempt to fashion a “new Soviet man”, it was anything but utopian.

111This demanded of the regime that it terrorise the nationalities, the oppositionists, the ruling bureaucracy itself[41] and to a lesser extent the population as a whole. It was a pre-emptive strike against separatism, revolution and palace coups, aimed at creating a society in which such things were impossible. The primary task therefore, which Bolsheviks would have understood keenly, was to eliminate the revolutionary party. This was a spectacular inversion and negation of Bolshevik ideology.

International supporters of the Stalinist terror included Italian fascists, who cheered Stalin for embracing “realism” and suppressing “the demon of revolution for the sake of revolution”, and White émigrés. One of the latter, a “Eurasian” named S. Ya. Efron, pledged allegiance to Stalin in the 1930s in the service of “the fatally important Russian ideal” and organised assassinations of Trotskyists in Western Europe.[42] It should be no surprise that fascists and Whites might support Stalin’s terror: its targets were after all national minorities and revolutionary communists. This fact again problematises the question of resistance and assent and poses difficult questions as to the nature of Sovietisation and Stalinisation, which we will address further below.

Trotsky claimed in 1936 that the Soviet government was engaged in a “struggle against the youth”:

“The most innocent groups of schoolchildren who try to create oases in this desert of officiousness are met with fierce measures of repression […] Healthy young lungs find it intolerable to breathe in the atmosphere of hypocrisy inseperable from a Thermidor – from a reaction, that is, which is still compelled to dress in the garments of revolution.”

(Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, 162-5)

The members of the anti-Stalinist youth groups of the late 1940s would never have read the above words and would have accepted the anti-Trotskyist position of the Komsomol and the Communist Party.[43] Nonetheless, completely independently, several hundred young pairs of lungs found the air sufficiently intolerable to form secret opposition organisations in the late 1940s.

Fürst’s essay “Prisoners of the Soviet Self?—Political Youth Opposition in Late Stalinism” details the activities and politics of these anti-Stalinist youth groups. She identifies 27 distinct organisations which were notable for their opposition to Stalinism but also for their Communist zeal. Her point, elucidated further in her reply to Kuromiya’s critique, is that their political position blurs the boundaries between resistance and assent under Stalinism. This idea deserves further exploration.

The essay concludes with a quotation from Anatoly Zhigulin who, after a sentence in the Gulag, concluded that “in the end Leninism and Stalinism were one and the same.”[44] However, the main argument of the essay is that the ideologically earnest were brought into opposition to the Stalinist system, the backbone of which was made up of careerist and self-interested people who neither rejected nor fulfilled Bolshevik ideology. If as argued above, this encompassed the ruling bureaucracy as well as sections of society, and if the youth opposition groups resembled and argued for Leninism, it is bizarre that the author should endorse the conclusion that “Leninism and Stalinism were one and the same.” As a statement expressing Zhigulin’s disillusionment after a sentence in the Gulag it is relevant and interesting but as a concluding remark to this essay it is very disappointing.

On the contrary, the distinction between Lenin and Stalin is symptomatic of wider differences which are key to understanding where we are to draw the line between assent and resistance. Like the youth groups of the late 1940s,[45] a casual reader of the works of Lenin today will find glaring differences between it and the policy and practise of Stalin. Compare the following to Stalin’s policies of the liquidation of the kulaks and complete collectivisation[46]:

“…Socialists have no intention whatever of appropriating the small peasants… the advantages of mechanized socialist agriculture will be made clear to them only by force of example.”

(VI Lenin, Article published September 11th, 1917, The Land Question and the Fight for Freedom, Progress Publishers, 1978, 37-45)

“…we shall not tolerate any use of force in respect of the middle peasants [] We say that the resistance of the counter-revolutionary efforts of the rich peasants must be suppressed. That is not complete expropriation […] comrades frequently resort to coercion and thus spoil everything […] There is no upper layer that can be cut off, leaving the foundation and the building intact.”

(Report on the work in the countryside, 8th Congress of the VKP(b), March 23rd, 1919, Ibid. 80-98)

Lenin had no qualms about the use of coercion in some circumstances, but the quotes above show that complete and compulsory collectivisation and the wholesale expropriation and liquidation of the kulaks were alien to Bolshevik policy on the land question. This is one example of how Stalin silently rejected the social projects of Bolshevism despite his fluency in its terminology.

A pair of interpretive categories which might be more useful is Sovietisation and Stalinisation. Rather than seeing the latter following seamlessly from the former, it is revealing to conceive of them as antagonistic forces, albeit both deploying the same vocabulary. Stalinisation was forced collectivisation and industrialisation plus the complete effacement of political opposition, with particular violence and thoroughness applied to a party that defended the Soviet Union but advocated revolution with the aim of more power for the Soviets.

Fürst, similarly, finds that the most ideologically committed communists in the USSR were anti-Stalinists whom Stalinism ruthlessly suppressed. From this she tentatively concludes that they were “prisoners of the Soviet self”,[47] incapable of expressing dissent in any other way. A more obvious conclusion might be that communist ideology and Stalinism were in many vital respects antagonistic, putting those who genuinely espoused the state ideology in conflict with the state itself whose commitment was lukewarm at best, and murderously hostile at worst. The rupture between Sovietisation and Stalinisation comes in 1936-8 with the physical elimination of the Trotskyists, the apostles of Bolshevik/communist ideology.

Stalin's prosecutor in the Moscow Trials, Andrey "shoot the mad dogs" Vyshinsky - he had been on the other side of the barricades in 1917. Had he undergone a complete conversion, or had the Soviet regime?

Stalin’s prosecutor in the Moscow Trials, Andrey “shoot the mad dogs” Vyshinsky – he had been on the other side of the barricades in 1917. Had he undergone a complete conversion, or had the Soviet regime?

Despite the antagonism which we have outlined above, Stalinism was compelled to “dress in the garments of revolution” or, to use a phrase more popular in recent historiography that means the same thing, to “speak Bolshevik.” “Speaking Bolshevik” was not just a tactic of peasant resistance or a “weapon of the weak.” The most powerful people in the country, including Stalin himself, had to “speak Bolshevik” despite a violent antagonism toward communist opponents that surpassed any other. In the Moscow trials the Stalinists had to invent extravagant conspiracy theories and play on anti-Semitism rather than criticize (and thereby publicize) the politics of the Trotskyists. The prosecutor Vyshinsky, a former Right Menshevik, was “speaking Bolshevik” at the Moscow trials. Trotskyism was apparently a weapon of imperialism, fascism and capitalist restoration.[48] Vyshinsky even invented “petit-bourgeois” origins for Trotskyism.[49]

Similarly, the Komsomol helped in the persecution and torture of revolutionary communists whose crime was to form organisations. To do this the Komsomol had to “speak Bolshevik” and call the dissenters “counter-revolutionaries.”[50] The extent to which the Komsomol and Communist Party had to “speak Bolshevik” illustrates that the ideology of Bolshevism and the living memory of the Revolution enjoyed very significant prestige in Soviet society. Therefore organised opposition to Stalinism was pro-soviet and Bolshevik in character and form. In this respect perhaps the greatest “resister”, or perhaps suppressor, of Bolshevism was the state which is generally seen as its fountainhead. It follows that the agent which “imposed” Bolshevik ideology was the Soviet working class and wider public.

This does not mean that Stalin and his followers were necessarily devoid of communist ideology or of admiration for Bolshevism, or that in “speaking Bolshevik” they were not addressing themselves too. There was no capitalist class in the USSR, all major industries were nationalised, the economy was planned and jobs and social welfare were provided for citizens. These were the fruits of “Sovietisation” and the basis of the power of the ruling stratum. But if, as we have argued, “Stalinisation” as a process worked in the opposite direction to Sovietisation, culminating in the final rupture that was the Great Terror, this fundamentally recasts conceptions of resistance and assent. The anti-Stalinist, pro-Soviet opposition organisations are not oddities or the results of brainwashing but the natural result of the fundamental antagonisms that existed between Stalinisation and Sovietisation.





  1. Deutscher, Isaac, Stalin: A Political Biography, Penguin Books (1949, 1970)
  2. Dewey, John, Not Guilty: Dewey Commission Report, Wellred Books (1938, 2005)
  3. Fisher, Ralph Talcott, Jr, Pattern For Soviet Youth: A Study of the Congresses of the Komsomol, 1918-1954, Columbia University Press, New York (1955-1959)
  4. Kizny, Tomasz, Gulag, Firelfy Books (1958, 2004)
  5. Read, Christopher (Ed.), The Stalin Years: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan (2003)
  6. Rees, Lawrence, Their Darkest Hour, Random House (2007)
  7. Rogovin, Vadim, 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror, Mehring Books, Michigan (1998)
  8. Service, Robert, Trotsky: A Biography, Macmillan (2009)
  9. Shalamov, Varlam, John Glad (trans), Kolyma Tales, Penguin (1980, 1994)
  10. Snyder, Timothy, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Vintage (2011)
  11. Trotsky, Leon, Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where is it Going?, New Park Publications Ltd (1937, 1973)
  12. Ulam, Adam B, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Fontana/Collins (1965)
  13. Viola, Lynne (ed), Contending With Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance In the 1930s, Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London (2002)


  1. Burds, Jeffrey, “The Soviet War against ‘Fifth Columnists’: The Case of Chechnya, 1942-4”, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Apr., 2007), pp. 267-314, Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30036445. Accessed: 27/03/2013 06:42
  2. Daniels, Robert, “The Left Opposition as an Alternative to Stalinism”, Slavic Review, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Summer, 1991), pp. 277-285. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2500203. Accessed: 19/03/2013 04:04
  3. Fürst, Juliane, “Prisoners of the Soviet Self? Political Youth Opposition in Late Stalinism”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2002, 353–375
  4. Fürst, Juliane, “Re-Examining Opposition under Stalin: Evidence and Context: A Reply to Kuromiya”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 55, No. 5 (Jul., 2003), pp. 789-802, Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3594573. Accessed: 27/03/2013 07:00
  5. Kuromiya, Hiroaki, “’Political Youth Opposition in Late Stalinism’: Evidence and Conjecture”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Jun., 2003), pp. 631-638, Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3594551. Accessed: 19/03/2013 04:04
  6. Murphy, Kevin, “Opposition at the Local Level: A Case Study of the Hammer and Sickle Factory”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Mar., 2001), pp. 329-350 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/826351. Accessed: 27/03/2013 07:28

[1] Vadim Z Rogovin, 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror, Mehring, Michigan, US (1998), 17

[2] Lynne Viola (ed) Contending With Stalinism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London (2002), 19-20

[3] Viola, 18-19

[4] Kevin Murphy, “Opposition at the Local Level: A Case Study of the Hammer and Sickle Factory”, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Mar., 2001), pp. 329-350 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/826351. Accessed: 27/03/2013 07:28; Jeffrey J Rossman, “A Worker’s Strike in Stalin’s Russia”, in Contending With Stalinism, 44-73

[5] Jeffrey Burds, “The Soviet War against ‘Fifth Columnists’: The Case of Chechnya, 1942-4”, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Apr., 2007), pp. 267-314. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30036445. Accessed: 27/03/2013 06:42

[6] Ibid

[7] Fisher, Ralph Talcott, Jr, Pattern For Soviet Youth: A Study of the Congresses of the Komsomol, 1918-1954, Columbia University Press, New York (1955, 1959), 143-4


[8] VI Lenin, Joe Fineberg & George Hanna (trans), What Is to Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement (1902), Marxists Internet Archive, http://marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/index.htm, Chapters II, IV and Conclusion

[9] Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: A Political Biography, Penguin Books (1949, 1970), 46-115

[10] Robert Service, Trotsky: A Biography, Macmillan (2009), 459

[11] Adam B Ulam, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Fontana/Collins (1965), 427, 460

[12] Rogovin, 383, Fürst, 369

[13] Robert H. McNeal, “Deomonology: The Orthodox Communist Image of Trotskyism”, International Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1, Communism (Winter, 1976/1977), pp. 20-40. Published by: Canadian International Council. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40542144. Accessed: 19/03/2013 02:45

[14] John Dewey, Not Guilty: Dewey Commission Report, Wellred Books (1938, 2005), 376

[15] Rogovin, 17

[16] Ibid,20

[17] Ibid, 24

[18] Murphy, “Opposition at the Local Level…”, 347

[19] Murphy, 347, Rossman, “A Workers’ Strike…”, 44-5, Rogovin, 60-66

[20] Rogovin, 287-8

[21] Khlevnyuk, “The Objectives…”, 106

[22] Burds, “The Soviet War Against ‘Fifth Columnists’…”, Table 1

[23] Read, The Stalin Years, 103

[24] Rogovin, 142

[25] Murphy, 347

[26] Rogovin, 380

[27] Rogovin, xx

[28] Rees, 197, 202

[29] Read, The Stalin Years, 102

[30] Khlevnyuk, 118

[31] Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Vintage (2011), 89-108

[32] Deutscher, 373

[33] Leon Trotsky, Revolution Betrayed: What is the Soviet Union and Where is it Going?, New Park, London (1937, 1973), Chapters V and IX, 84-114, 273-290

[34] Snyder, 117 onwards, examines the background to the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939

[35] Ulam, 424-428, relates how Lenin returned to Russia from exile in 1917 with the help of the German government

[36] Rogovin, 376

[37] Rogovin, 389, 392

[38] Rogovin, 384

[39] Ibid, 383

[40] Viola, 1

[41] Rees, 200-202

[42] Rogovin, 329

[43] McNeal, “Demonology”

[44] Fürst, 369

[45] Fürst, 362-3

[46] Snyder, 24, Trotsky, 32

[47] Fürst, 366: “The style, content and form of Soviet resistance were pre-programmed by the very

system that then felt under attack from the idealistic youngsters it had created.”

[48] Rogovin, 57

[49] Dewey, 379

[50] Fürst, 355-356


  1. Sarah says:

    Dear Basebenzi,
    I am a student of cultural history at Viadrina Frankfurt(Oder) and currently working on a paper on forms and spaces of resistance against Stalinism. I have read your essay with great interest and would like to cite it in my work. It would be fantastic if you could send me a pdf-version that includes your name and perhaps the university you study at. As I write in German, I suppose sending you my own paper once it is finished will not be of much use to you, but I’ll be happy to share ideas and insights.

    • sapteuq says:

      Dear Sarah, I’m very happy that you are interested in citing my essay. I would also be very interested in reading yours, I can use google translate. I’ll e-mail you right away.

  2. […] Opposition Groups Under Stalinism […]

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