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Comparative Horrors

Timothy Garton Ash: Delatology, 19 March 1998

Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789-1989 
edited by Sheila Fitzpatrick and Robert Gellately.
Chicago, 231 pp., $27.95, September 1997, 0 226 25273 6
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... effects of denunciations. Unfortunately, her account lacks the imaginative and literary power of Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror. ‘In the Soviet case,’ she writes, in a fairly typical passage, ‘ “manipulative” denunciations should be considered part of a complex of informal mechanisms of citizen agency, including client-patron relations and ...

A Little Swine

Sheila Fitzpatrick: On Snitching, 3 November 2005

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero 
by Catriona Kelly.
Granta, 352 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 1 86207 747 9
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... had treated as a purely totalitarian phenomenon) seemed ripe for comparative treatment. In 1997, Robert Gellately and I edited a comparative volume called Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History 1789-1989. This was around the time of the attempted impeachment of President Clinton, which featured a denunciation of Monica Lewinsky by ...

Better to bend the stick too far

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The history of Russia, 4 February 1999

A History of 20th-Century Russia 
by Robert Service.
Allen Lane, 654 pp., £25, July 1998, 0 7139 9148 8
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... ruled by the Romanovs. ‘What was Russia? And what was Russia’s part in the Soviet Union?’ Robert Service asks in his introduction. But there are no answers to these questions, only – as is frequently the case in this rich but sometimes inconclusive work – a series of options. ‘For some witnesses the Soviet era was an assault on everything ...

Who remembers the Poles?

Richard J. Evans: Between Hitler and Stalin, 4 November 2010

Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin 
by Timothy Snyder.
Bodley Head, 524 pp., £25, September 2010, 978 0 224 08141 2
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... Russians; the death rate of 10-15 per cent Snyder cites for the inmates of the Gulag is given by Robert Conquest in his classic The Great Terror as a minimum, exceeded many times over in some years; citing official Soviet documents, Anne Appelbaum records that a total of 2,750,000 people died in the camps and exile settlements under Stalin, again most likely ...

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