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Captives of Revolution
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The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) were the largest political party in Russia in the crucial revolutionary year of 1917. Heirs to the legacy of the People’s Will movement, the SRs were unabashed proponents of peasant rebellion and revolutionary terror, emphasizing the socialist transformation of the countryside and a democratic system of government. They offered a compelling, but still socialist, alternative to the Bolsheviks, yet by the early 1920s their party was shattered and its members were branded as enemies of the revolution. In 1922, SR leaders became the first fellow socialists to be condemned by the Bolsheviks as “counterrevolutionaries” in the prototypical Soviet show trial. In Captives of the Revolution, Scott B. Smith presents both a convincing account of the defeat of the SRs and a deeper analysis of the significance of the political dynamics of the civil war for Soviet history. Once the SRs decided to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, they faced a series of nearly impossible political dilemmas. At the same time, the Bolsheviks undermined the SRs by appropriating the rhetoric of class struggle and painting a simplistic picture of Reds versus Whites in the civil war, a rhetorical dominance that they converted into victory over the SRs and any alternative to Bolshevik dictatorship. The SRs became a bona fide threat to national security and enemies of the people—a characterization that proved so successful that it became an archetype to be used repeatedly by the Soviet leadership against any political opponents, even those from within the Bolshevik party itself. Smith reveals a more complex and nuanced picture of the postrevolutionary struggle for power in Russia than we have ever seen before and demonstrates that the civil war—and in particular the struggle with the SRs—was the key formative experience of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
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  1. Front Flap
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  1. Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xi-xix
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  1. Chapter 1. Dilemmas of Civil War
  2. pp. 1-42
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  1. Chapter 2. The Shape of Dictatorship
  2. pp. 43-88
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  1. Chapter 3. Komuch
  2. pp. 89-122
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  1. Chapter 4. The Politics of the Eastern Front
  2. pp. 123-176
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  1. Chapter 5. Between Red and White
  2. pp. 181-214
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  1. Chapter 6. The End of the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries
  2. pp. 215-238
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  1. Chapter 7. “Renegades of Socialism” and the Making of Bolshevik Political Culture
  2. pp. 239-278
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 279-348
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 349-370
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 371-380
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  1. Back Flap
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  1. Back Cover
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