ISBN-10:
0300103220
ISBN-13:
9780300103229
Pub. Date:
04/10/2004
Publisher:
Yale University Press
A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia

A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia

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Overview



Alexander N. Yakovlev played a unique role in the transformation of the Soviet Union that led to its collapse in 1991. It was he who developed the concept of perestroika and persuaded Gorbachev to pursue it, despite the cataclysmic though deeply desired changes he knew would ensue. Since the disappearance of the Soviet Union, Yakovlev has devoted himself to understanding its tragic history. This book is the outcome of ten years of research and a lifetime of reflection on the evils of the system of which he was a part and which shaped the country he loves.

Through his privileged access to the Presidential Archives and other state and Party archives, Yakovlev is able to put Soviet history into a unique perspective: like Churchill, he was both participant and witness. Indicting the Soviet system from its inception, Yakovlev focuses chapter by chapter on different groups of victims. In all, the author estimates that 60 million citizens were killed during the Soviet years and millions more died of starvation. His book brings into sharper focus than ever before the facts and events of the Soviet Union’s legacy of terror.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300103229
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 04/10/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 274
Sales rank: 176,882
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author



Alexander N. Yakovlev is president of the International Democracy Foundation in Moscow and chair of Russia’s Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression. He was Soviet ambassador to Canada from 1973 to 1983, then returned to the Soviet Union to become the main architect of perestroika under Gorbachev.

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A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best and most important books ever written on the Soviet Union, which is exposed here as a genocidal totalitarian tyranny every bit as nefarious as Hitler¿s Third Reich. Yakovlev, once a prominent member of the Soviet elite and architect of 'perestroika' who is now head of the Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, absolutely shreds the revisionist history coming from Gregory Freeze, J. Arch Getty, Robert W. Thurston and others. He has been going through the archives and listening to the stories from terror victims for the last ten years. All this makes A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia the most damning indictment of Soviet Communism since Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Yakovlev confidently states with absolute certainty that the number of people murdered by the Soviet state for political reasons or who perished in camps/gulags or in man-made terror-famines is around 30-35 million - with a total of 60 million dead if you include those who perished during the second world war, in which Stalin is largely responsible for being foolish enough to form a pact with Hitler and paranoid enough to butcher tens of thousands of his military elite, leaving his country open to attack. The litany of sadistic atrocities against the clergy is absolutely hair-raising: priests, monks and nuns being crucified in their own churches, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and other bestial horrors. In one incident, 47 clergymen were shot, axed to death, or drowned. Besides the clergy and military elite, other victims of Soviet Communism include: peasants (many millions), the intelligentsia, returning Soviet POW's, whole ethnic groups (Crimean Taters, Don Cossacks, Chechens, Volga Germans, Kalmyks, etc.), even so-called 'Socially Dangerous Children.' Yakovlev also tackles one of the great myths about Soviet Communism: 'Good Lenin/Bad Stalin.' Lenin was no big-hearted idealist concerned for humanity, but a fanatic and a cold-blooded murderer, willing to kill off millions of his fellow countrymen in the name of the 'revolution.' Yakovlev quotes the murderous orders Lenin issued: ¿impose mass terror immediately, shoot and deport hundreds of prostitutes who have been getting soldiers, former officers, and so on drunk. Not a minute¿s delay.¿ ¿Hang (by all means hang, so people will see) no fewer than 100 known kulaks, fat cats, bloodsuckers.¿ ¿launch merciless mass terror against kulaks, priests, and White Guards. Suspicious individuals to be locked up in concentration camp outside city.¿ In 1919, Lenin ordered the Cheka (Bolshevik secret police) to execute those who did not show up for work on a particular religious holiday. As Yakovlev shows, Stalin simply picked up where Lenin left off. I absolutely urge anyone interested in the history of the 20th century to read this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best and most important books ever written on the Soviet Union. Yakovlev, once a prominent member of the Soviet elite and architect of 'perestroika' who is now head of the Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression, absolutely shreds the revisionist history coming from 'academics' like Gregory Freeze, J. Arch Getty, Robert W. Thurston and others. He has been going through the archives and listening to the stories from terror victims for the last ten years, all this makes A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia the most damning indictment of Soviet Communism since Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Yakovlev confidently states with absolute certainty that the number of people murdered by the Soviet state for political reasons or who perished in camps/gulags or in man-made terror-famines is around 30-35 million - with a total of 60 million dead if you include those who perished during the second world war, in which Stalin is largely responsible for being foolish enough to form a pact with Hitler and paranoid enough to butcher tens of thousands of his military elite, leaving his country open to attack. The litany of sadistic atrocities against the clergy is absolutely hair-raising: priests, monks and nuns being crucified in their own churches, thrown into cauldrons of boiling tar, scalped, strangled, given Communion with melted lead and other bestial horrors. In one incident, 47 clergymen were shot, axed to death, or drowned. Besides the clergy and military elite, other victims of Soviet Communism include: peasants, the intelligentsia, returning Soviet POW's, whole ethnic groups (Crimean Taters, Don Cossacks, Chechens, Volga Germans, Kalmyks, etc.), even so-called 'Socially Dangerous Children.' The horror... Yakovlev also tackles one of the great myths about Soviet Communism: 'Good Lenin/Bad Stalin.' Lenin was no big-hearted idealist concerned for humanity, but a fanatic and a cold-blooded murderer, willing to kill off millions of his fellow countrymen in the name of the 'revolution.' Yakovlev quotes the murderous orders Lenin issued: 'One out of ten guilty of parasitism will be shot.' 'The more representatives of the reactionary clergy we manage to shoot, the better.' 'mobilize some 20,000 more Petersburg workers, plus 10,000 or so bourgeois, place some machine guns behind them, shoot several hundred and bring some real mass pressure against Yudenich.' In 1919, Lenin instructed the Cheka to execute those who did not show up for work on a particular religious holiday. As Yakovlev shows, Stalin simply picked up where Lenin left off. I absolutely urge anyone interested in the history of the 20th century to read this book.