Əsas səhifə The Russian Review The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Lifeby Roman Brackman

The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Lifeby Roman Brackman

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Russian Review
July, 2002
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The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review
Author(s): Amy Knight
Review by: Amy Knight
Source: The Russian Review, Vol. 61, No. 3 (Jul., 2002), p. 465
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3664164
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Book Reviews 465

Brackman, Roman. The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life. Foreword by Ha

London: Frank Cass, 2001. xx + 466 pp. $49.95. ISBN 0-7146-5050-1.

Roman Brackman argues that Stalin's most enduring legacy is that he was an agent

the tsarist secret police. The author spent many years poring over old newspaper r

and files from tsarist police archives, as well as conducting extensive interview

materials, as well as on a large number of secondary sources, Brackman concludes th

understanding Stalin is his prerevolutionary connection with the Okhrana. This asso

Okhrana, according to Brackman, was Stalin's deepest secret, one that he strove all o
from coming to light.

This terrible secret explains why Stalin was obsessed with destroying archival d

murdering witnesses, the author writes. Indeed, according to Brachman, Stalin's de

secret would come out was what motivated much of his bizarre and cruel behavior: &; quot;
tant the story of Stalin's Okhrana career might be on its own merit, it pales into

comparison with the horrors that Stalin's fear of revelation of his Okhrana past bur

tory" (p. xvi).

There can be no doubt that Stalin was intensely concerned about his image as a
lutionary and that he strove to have history rewritten to paint him as a great hero. It

stories about connections with the tsarist secret police were circulated about Stalin,
Bolsheviks. Embarrassing facts or rumors about the prerevolutionary careers of

leadership were effective weapons in the Kremlin power struggles, and Stalin himsel

to use them against real or potential opponents. Lavrentii Beria, for example, was pla

his career with allegations that he had worked for the intelligence services of the anti-

of Azerbaijan before 1917. Stalin more than once used these allegations as a means o
in line.

As to the claims about Stalin being an agent of the Okhrana, Brackman presents s

evidence and does a good job of piecing it together. But his thesis that Stalin's secr

single driving factor in his dictatorship is not entirely convincing. Stalin's intense pa

cruelty, which led him to commit his evil deeds as a totalitarian leader, were person

undoubtedly had several causes, some dating back to his early childhood and others p
riences as a young adult. Nonetheless, this book sheds valuable new light on Stalin's

past that helped to shape that character. Given the powerful role that Stalin played in d

development of the Soviet Union, and the course of world history in the twentieth cen
is an important contribution to the historical record.

Amy Knight, Carleton University

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, David. Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologie
the Path to War with Japan. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 200
$40.00. ISBN 0-87580-276-1.

This book deals with the interplay of Russia's imperial ideologies and the Russian E
policy in the Far East during the decade before the war with Japan. The author's tas
part played by ideology in the tsarist government's behavior that led to the bloody
not analyze the policy in the region of other powers.

The origins of the Russo-Japanese war have more than once attracted the attenti

But in most cases they neglected such an important factor as the intellectual motiv

decision makers. The author's main task here is simply to study the different thoug
Nicolas II and his statesmen in their Far Eastern policy.

In addition to this original approach, Schimmelpenninck van der Oye can presen

extraordinary rich materials drawn from Russian archives. In fact, he was the first for

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