Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization by Stephen Kotkin

By Stephen Kotkin

This learn is the 1st of its sort: a street-level inside of account of what Stalinism intended to the loads of normal those that lived it. Stephen Kotkin used to be the 1st American in forty five years to be allowed into Magnitogorsk, a urban in-built reaction to Stalin's choice to remodel the predominantly agricultural state right into a "country of metal." With designated entry to formerly untapped information and interviews, Kotkin forges a bright and compelling account of the influence of industrialization on a unmarried city community.

Kotkin argues that Stalinism provided itself as a chance for enlightenment. The utopia it proffered, socialism, will be a brand new civilization in response to the repudiation of capitalism. the level to which the citizenry participated during this scheme and the connection of the state's targets to the desires of normal humans shape the substance of this interesting tale. Kotkin tells it deftly, with a awesome realizing of the social and political method, in addition to a prepared intuition for the main points of daily life.

Kotkin depicts an entire variety of existence: from the blast furnace staff who worked within the huge, immense iron and metal plant, to the households who struggled with the lack of housing and prone. Thematically equipped and heavily centred, Magnetic Mountain indications the start of a brand new degree within the writing of Soviet social heritage.

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With meager pensions and savings often lost, elderly people were hardest hit by the post-Soviet displacement. Today, many can be seen selling their personal effects on the ground near the train station or making a little money sweeping streets with handmade brooms. Simply stated, a malaise has descended over Russia. Alcoholism is rampant and visible. People everywhere smoke heavily.

The USSR was put on a regimen of Five-Year Plans, which involved the frenzied construction of huge dams, giant factories, long railroads, deep mines, and entire cities for new urban workers. In their first decade, Soviet planners and builders achieved results not seen elsewhere in 50 years. The inspiration for all of this was not profit (no fortunes would be earned here), but an endless stream of Communist Party propaganda. Posters, articles, loudspeaker trucks, and even art and music warned the people about aggressive capitalist enemies abroad and dangerous counterrevolutionaries at home.

Physical Geography A third cause of Russia’s limited agricultural potential is a serious lack of water. This might seem odd, because only Brazil has more freshwater than Russia. Russia’s water problem lies not in amount but rather in distribution. Only one major river, the Volga, delivers water from the cold north to the warmer south, where irrigation can bring substantial harvests of vegetables and fruits. All of Russia’s other great river systems are located in Siberia, where the extreme climate prevents highvalue farming.

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