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'They know not what they do'? Bolshevik understandings of the agency of perpetrators, 1918-1930

Ryan, James ORCID: 2017. 'They know not what they do'? Bolshevik understandings of the agency of perpetrators, 1918-1930. Historical Research 90 (247) , pp. 151-171. 10.1111/1468-2281.12164

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This article examines how the Bolshevik party and state officials in early Soviet Russia understood the agency of their enemies, an important consideration which illuminates the particular dynamics and complexities of state violence in the Soviet context. It focusses on criminal justice, and on the relationship between the state and peasantry. The evolution of Bolshevik thought on these issues is traced from the revolution to the onset of Stalinism, providing intellectual context for the violent campaigns of the nineteen‐thirties. The article exposes the theoretical ambiguities, ironies and inconsistencies that characterize the intellectual history of the Soviet state's violent and punitive practices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0950-3471
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 July 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:11

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