Face to the Village: The Riazan Countryside under Soviet Rule, 1921-1930

By Tracy McDonald

© 2010

In the summer of 1924, the Bolshevik Party called on scholars, the police, the courts, and state officials to turn their attention to the villages of Russia. The subsequent campaign to 'face the countryside' generated a wealth of intelligence that fed into the regime's sense of alarmed conviction that the countryside was a space outside Bolshevik control.

Richly rooted in archival sources, including local and central-level secret police reports, detailed cases of the local and provincial courts, government records, and newspaper reports, Face to the Village is a nuanced study of the everyday workings of the Russian village in the 1920s. Local-level officials emerge in Tracy McDonald's study as vital and pivotal historical actors, existing between the Party's expectations and peasant interests. McDonald's careful exposition of the relationships between the urban centre and the peasant countryside brings us closer to understanding the fateful decision to launch a frontal attack on the countryside in the fall of 1929 under the auspices of collectivization.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED OCT 2016

    From: $36.71

    Regular Price: $48.95

    ISBN 9781487521691
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    From: $36.71

    Regular Price: $48.95

Quick Overview

Richly rooted in archival sources, including local and central-level secret police reports, detailed cases of the local and provincial courts, government records, and newspaper reports, Face to the Village is a nuanced study of the everyday workings of the Russian village in the 1920s.

Face to the Village: The Riazan Countryside under Soviet Rule, 1921-1930

By Tracy McDonald

© 2010

In the summer of 1924, the Bolshevik Party called on scholars, the police, the courts, and state officials to turn their attention to the villages of Russia. The subsequent campaign to 'face the countryside' generated a wealth of intelligence that fed into the regime's sense of alarmed conviction that the countryside was a space outside Bolshevik control.

Richly rooted in archival sources, including local and central-level secret police reports, detailed cases of the local and provincial courts, government records, and newspaper reports, Face to the Village is a nuanced study of the everyday workings of the Russian village in the 1920s. Local-level officials emerge in Tracy McDonald's study as vital and pivotal historical actors, existing between the Party's expectations and peasant interests. McDonald's careful exposition of the relationships between the urban centre and the peasant countryside brings us closer to understanding the fateful decision to launch a frontal attack on the countryside in the fall of 1929 under the auspices of collectivization.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘This book presents a fascinating insight into the intricate world of the Central Russian peasant in the years before the violent imposition of collectivization… This engrossing study will be of great value to researchers and students interested in the relationship between state and society in the wake of tumultuous events and in understanding the world of the pre-collectivization Soviet peasantry.’
    Christopher Lash
    Europe-Asia Studies vol 65:08:2013

    ‘Tracy McDonald’s book presents a fascinating insight into the intricate world of the Central Russian peasant in the years before the violent imposition of collectivization … the book is an engrossing study which will be of great value to researchers and students interested in the relationship between state and society in the wake of tumultuous events and in understanding the world of the pre-collectivization Soviet peasantry.’


    Christopher Lash
    Europe-Asia Studies

    ‘This rich study has a great deal to say about the rural background to collectivization, and about the way that party leaders responded to, and were frustrated by, peasants’ actions and attitudes … This is a thoughtful, penetrating, and important contribution to our understanding of the Soviet village during NEP and collectivization.’


    James W. Heinzen
    American Historical Review

    ‘Tracy McDonald's excellent book offers both authentic details and an illuminating set of important general conclusions drawn from close observation of a fascinating layer of rural experience in the early Soviet Union…. Face to the village will appeal to a broad array of students and scholars interested in early Soviet political and social history and peasant studies.’
    Brian Bonhomme
    The Russian Review vol. 71:01:2012

    ‘Tracy McDonald’s rich monograph focusses on transitions in village culture and relations between the state and local society in the 1920s in Riazan’ province…Face to the village is an illuminating examination of the still more Russian peasant dominated than Soviet controlled countryside of the 1920s.’
    Cathy A. Frierson
    Slavic Review, vol 71:02:2012

    ‘A thoughtful, penetrating, and important contribution to our understanding of the Soviet village during NEP ( New Economic Policy) and collectivization.’


    James W. Heinzen
    American Historical Review vol 118:03:2013

    'What sets Face to the Village apart from other studies of the Soviet countryside? Tracy McDonald provides engaging arguments on the loyalties of local officials and the practices of Soviet institutions, which she supports through extensive digging in local archives and an impressive grasp of the secondary literature. Face to the Village is filled with exceptionally colourful descriptions of local structures such as the courts and the police, and offers a unique entry into the dynamics of Soviet provinces in a time of ferment and upheaval.'
    Ben Eklof, Department of History, University of Indiana, Bloomington

    'Face to the Village presents a portrait of the Soviet countryside that is not only rich with detail, but that also provides rare insight into the tensions that shaped collectivization. Tracy McDonald extends the scholarship on the late Imperial Russian peasantry into the early Soviet era in a way that has never been done before. The links she finds between the development of the soviets, local governments, and villages are absolutely fascinating.'
    Aaron Retish, Department of History, Wayne State University
  • Author Information

    Tracy McDonald is an associate professor in the Department of History at McMaster University.

  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations and Maps
    Word Choice and Translation
    Acknowledgments

    Introduction

    Part One. The Battle for Space: What Physical and Virtual Space Reveal about the Countryside

    1. The Setting
    2. The Police
    3. The Courts
    4. The Rural Soviet

    Part Two. The Battle for Resources: What Non-Violent Crime Reveals about the Countryside

    5. T axation: Talking with the Taxman about Subsistence; or, Feeding the Proletarian Cat
    6. The Forest: Wood, Warmth, and Repair

    Part Three. The Battle for Souls: What Violent Crime Reveals about the Countryside

    7. Bandit Tales: The Steam of the Still and the Lure of Easy Profit
    8. Hooliganism: Toward the Cultured Life
    9. Rough Justice: The Village Disciplines Its Own
    10. Pitelino

    Conclusion

    Appendix
    Glossary
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index