Making Sense of the Soviet Communist Dictatorship and the Cold War Through Stalin´s Terror, Khrushchev´s Reforms and Brezhnev´s Period of Stagnation

Projekt: Forskning


The project is based on my interviews with Vladimir Semichastny (1924-2001), the former chairman of the KGB during the period 1961-1967. The aim of this study is to analyze Vladimir Semichastny´s attempt to make sense of his own political career that culminated in the KGB headquarters, Lubyanka, and his thoughts on the place of the Communist system in Soviet and Russian history. In a broader perspective, the project also deals with questions concerning individual and social memory of the Soviet terror, with the problem of how strategies that legitimized the Soviet communist dictatorship coexisted with critical stances within the system itself and with the question of how it is possible to give a positive meaning to the Soviet communist dictatorship even after the collapse of the Communist system and at the same time not deny the worst crimes of Stalinism. Thus, the aim is to write a study based on a comparative analysis of how an individual in his historical consciousness tried to construct a coherent, overreaching narrative of a person's life as a part of the Soviet project while this project itself is constructed from very problematic and sometimes very contradictory hegemonic historical narratives. The project aims to contribute to the analysis of the discursive construction of the inner "Soviet self" and to the concept of "internalizing Soviet ideology". The book is under contract with the Yale University Press and will appear in the Yale-Hoover series on Authoritarian regime.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2015/04/012018/03/31