The Making of a Moderate Bolshevik: an Introduction to L. B. Kamenev’s Political Biography

  • Catherine Merridale


Political biography has not always been regarded as an entirely respectable topic for serious historians. The broader reinterpretation of issues such as class, gender and social conflict which preoccupied the historical profession in the 1960s and 1970s allowed little space for the study of individual political actors, and high politics, let alone the individual politician, was seldom the focus for innovative research. Biography more often than not appeared to be a pastime for the amateur. To some extent, recent interest in psycho-analysis and postmodernism has reversed this trend, provoking some historians to rediscover the individual in a new context, but so far this sort of work has had little impact on historians of Soviet Russia. The latter have been obliged, whether or not they subscribe to a Marxist theory of history, to address the explicitly Marxist political and historical debate embedded in Soviet Communism. Some, therefore, have chosen to explore economic and political developments in the broadest analytical terms. Ironically, however, at the same time historians of the USSR have had to face the inescapable fact that two key individuals — Lenin and Stalin — exerted an influence over the political process which is almost without parallel in the history of the modern state.


Private Tutor Marxist Theory Historical Profession Habeas Corpus Coalition Discussion 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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  • Catherine Merridale

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