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University of Glasgow

The Russian Anarchists by Paul Avrich Review by: J. A. Newth Soviet Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Oct., 1968), pp. 260-261 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: . Accessed: 15/03/2013 21:21
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leader, what claim can he make on our attention? I suspect that Martov's personal qualities were all-important in making him a figure of some prominence. And yet the author, having chosen to write a political biography, does little probing into Martov's personality and gives little play to the historical imagination. Accordingly, unlike J. P. Nettl's Rosa Luxemburg, Mr. Getzler's Martov fails to come alive. Universit of California, San Diego

Eva Broido, Memoirs of a Revolutionary.London, OUP, 1967. 150 pp. 25s. THE memoirs of Eva Broido, an outstanding Menshevik 'praktik' or activist, now available in her daughter's excellent translation, are a very valuable addition to the literature of the Russian revolutionary movement. They cover the period from I899-1900 when she joined the committee of the social-democratic group 'Sotsialist' in St. Petersburg and the editorial board of Rabochayabibliotekain Vil'no, until March 1917, when the news of the February revolution reached her group of 'Siberian Zimmerwaldists' in Siberian exile. The general reader will cherish this life-story of a very courageous and resourceful woman-revolutionary as a 'human document of exceptional interest' (V. I. Nevsky), especially the account of her childhood and youth spent in the virgin forests, swamps and little towns of the Lithuanian part of the Jewish 'pale of settlement', her story of the heroic Yakutsk Protest of March I901 in which her husband, Mark Broido, played a prominent role and her description of the Armenian massacre in Baku in August 1905. The student of the Russian revolutionary movement will be rewarded with some rare bits of information on the Bolshevik-Menshevik running feud in the workers' movement of Baku and St. Petersburg at the grass-root level of practical activity. He may also discern, in Eva Broido's horrified reaction to the beastly cruelty of the Russian muzhik and her experience of utter helplessness amidst the racial passions of the 'Tatar'-Armenian conflict which destroyed her Union of Baku Workers, some of the psychological roots of the deep Menshevik aversion to any gamble on the elemental forces of Russia's peasantry or its ethnic minorities, an aversion which clearly distinguished the Mensheviks from the Socialist Revolutionaries and increasingly from their Bolshevik rivals. La Trobe University, Melbourne

Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press and London, OUP, i967. 303 pp. 6os.
THE history of the anarchist movement in Russia covers a very brief period of time, but one that was full of historical events which we cannot yet hope to put into perspective. Professor Avrich begins with the upsurge of activity in I905, when the apparent collapse of tsarism seemed imminent and the inspiration of Bakunin (d. 1876) and his foreign disciples encouraged small groups of persecuted workmen, principally Jews in the Polish provinces (with some intellectuals and a few members of the nobility), to take up the struggle with direct action-terrorism. Mass terror was to be the weapon for the destruction of the state, and the state was not to be replaced. This movement, concentrated in the provinces, collapsed with the recovery after I906, and the survivors were hunted down or escaped into exile. In the remaining years before 19I7, a revival of anarchist doctrines emerged, interwoven but basically irreconcilable with the organized socialist movement, and counterposing to 'scientific' Marxism a deep distrust for intellectual systems (both for their own sake, and as presaging a refurbished, but at bottom basically identical, state) and a predilection for the loose, syndicalist type of industrial organization

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instead of the Marxist concept of the trade union as a weapon. The final collapse of 1917 enabled the anarchist movement to propagate its views openly, substantially in accord with the Bolsheviks, while Lenin on his return from exile appeared to be abandoning Marx's careful science and to be driving the force of revolution forward at a headlong pace. Now, as the struggle for control of the capital developed, the focus of anarchist activity moved to Petrograd and Moscow. But with the October revolution came also disillusion. The new state power of the Bolsheviks, by their national policy, by Brest-Litovsk, and above all by their insistence on getting the economy on its feet again, alienated their erstwhile allies, and the urban anarchists were driven back to the use of the only weapon they possessed, individual terrorism. They were destroyed by the Cheka, all but a few who fled abroad or who joined forces with the new government to defend it against the Whites, an even more intolerable enemy. Only in the Ukraine, in a completely rural ambience, did the anarchists succeed for a brief time in resisting both the Reds and the Whites. The spectacular career of Makhno in 1918-19 was bound to come to an end as the Soviet government consolidated itself, and death or exile followed. The surviving anarchists in Soviet prisons learnt of one last flare up of violence, when the Kronstadt mutiny had its glorious fortnight, and then of the NEP. For them, the wheel had turned full circle. This, then, is the briefest outline of the story which Professor Avrich has pieced together from contemporary sources and the archives of those who escaped abroad. He has thus accumulated an enormous amount of detail both biographical and doctrinal-and the anarchists were picturesque characters with an ebullience of language which the official Left could hardly match. They provided no small part of the driving force which set the revolution in motion, and, once in motion, it destroyed them. Universityof Glasgow J. A. NEWTH

William Taubman, The View from the Lenin Hills: Soviet Youth in Ferment. London, Hamish Hamilton, I968. 249 pp. 30s. I should begin by declaring my interest in this book. On p. 172 the author refers to the fact that 'A British exchange student showed up regularly, but I gathered that he couldn't follow much of the discussion.' That was me. This book is an account, by an American exchange student, of his experiences in the Soviet Union, and in particular of Moscow State University (MGU), and of the attitudes of MGU students. It differs from the accounts of other exchange students mainly by its inclusion of a description of the open political meetings held in MGU in 1965-66 at which the students often made very critical remarks. The book opens with an account of one such meeting. I was present and can vouch for the accuracy of Taubman's account. An interesting feature of this book is that the picture it paints of Soviet students is contrary to the stereotypes prevalent both in the United States and in the Soviet Union. In The New IndustrialState Galbraith argued that in the United States, for economic reasons, a view of the Soviet Union is propagated which has very little relationship to the facts. The image of a country implacably opposed to the United States, eager and determined to destroy the American way of life, is, in the Galbraith view, an ideology necessary to present-day American society. The book under review represents the reaction to this ideology of a young American who has been to Moscow State University and met Soviet students, young people who like fun, American folk songs and American cars, and who would like nothing more than real peace and the opportunity to visit foreign countries, about which their views are not identical with those of Komsomol'skaya pravda. It is worth emphasizing that the Soviet Union, far from being a danger to the way of life of other countries, is from the point of view of its rulers a country under permanent siege by the West, from which come the motor car,

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