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Moscow, 1937


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Preface x Acknowledgements xiii Reproduction Acknowledgements xvii Translator's Note xx Introduction 1 1 Navigation: Margarita's Flight 10 Margarita's fl ight ? Manuscripts don't burn: a writer in 1937 ? Relief map of the city, locations, staging posts ? Dramatis personae and their portrayal: dual characters ? NKVD, the organization ? 'People vanished from their apartments without trace' ? Sudden deaths, execution as spectacle ? 'It can't be!' 2 Moscow as a Construction Site: Stalin's General Plan in Action 33 Aleksandr Medvedkin's film New Moscow ? A new cityscape: Stalin's General Plan for the Reconstruction of Moscow ? Moscow as a construction site: between demolition and new construction ? Moscow beyond the ring roads ? Human landscape, struggle for survival 3 A Topography of the Disappeared: The Moscow Directory of 1936 54 Snapshot of the status quo: directories as documents of their age ? Topography of power and other locations ? Traces of the disappeared ? Lists of people to be shot and the posthumous reconstruction of their addresses 4 The Creation of Enemies: The Criminal Prosecution of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre, 19 - 24 August 1936 68 World-historical criminal cases: the rhetoric of the fi rst Moscow show trial ? The echo of violence: how a latent civil war comes to be articulated in language ? 'Double-dealers' ? The birth of the show trial from the spirit of lynch-law ? The ideal enemy 5 'Tired of the Effort of Observing and Understanding': Lion Feuchtwanger's Moscow 1937 81 A key scene in European intellectual history: Feuchtwanger's meeting with Stalin ? The impotence of the anti-fascist movement: how to generate a point of view ? The end of the fl aneur: journey in the shadow of the NKVD ? The phenomenology of confusion and the creation of unambiguous meaning: credo quia absurdum ? Leave-taking at Belorusskii Station 6 In the Glare of Battle: Spain and Other Fronts 95 Moscow maps: the scene is Spain ? A world in meltdown, war scare ? The Soviet nation as a patriotic fi ghting unit ? Metastases: show trial in Barcelona, the NKVD abroad ? Barcelona transfer: Moscow experiences 7 Blindness and Terror: The Suppressed Census of 1937 109 A journey into the interior of society ? 6 January 1937: snapshot of an empire ? Ten years after the census of 1926: balance sheet after the Great Leap Forward ? Self-analysis, self-education, data acquisition ? The shock of the missing millions ? Statistics as crime 8 A Stage for the Horrors of Industrialization: The Second Moscow Show Trial in January 1937 125 'The Business-like atmosphere' ? The language of expert witnesses ? The topography of the Five-Year Plan ? Human sacrifi ce, nemesis, chorus ? Postscript 9 'A Feast in the Time of Plague': The Pushkin Jubilee of 10 February 1937 144 The New York Times: 'All Russia was Pushkin-mad today' ? 'Comrade Pushkin': consecration of a classic ? A feast in the time of plague: coded discourses ? Platitudes of a new culture ? Russian genius and imperial rule 10 Public Death: Ordzhonikidze's Suicide and Death Rites 160 The shock: Sergo is dead ? Escape into ritual ? Suicide as a weapon ? A hopeless situation and protest ? Death as a group experience: speaking of death in times of mass murder 11 The Engine Room of the Year 1937: The February-March Plenum of the Central Committee 177 A leadership at its wits' end: the voice of panic ? Testing the limits and exceeding them: the Party indicts Bukharin and Rykov ? The shock: 'universal, free, secret elections' ? Audit report: ungovernability and fear of chaos ? Wreckers at work in the NKVD ? The dissolution of the Party and the creation of a new one ? Setting the machinery in motion 12 Moscow in Paris: The USSR Pavilion at the International Exhibition of 1937 198 The exhibition trail: a journey through the map of the Soviet Union ? The theme park of twentieth-century civilization ? Marginal encounters 13 Red Square: Parade Ground and Place of Execution 209 14 Chopin Concert and Killing Ritual: Radio and the Creation of the Great Community 215 Radiofi katsia: the two faces of progress ? Radio as the background noise of the new age ? The sphere of feelings ? Radio listeners as 'citizens of the world' ? Stalin: the original soundtrack: the direction of the historical moment ? Wreckers at work in the ether 15 Soviet Art Deco: Time Preserved in Stone 229 The First All-Union Congress of Architects, 16?26 June 1937 ? Moscow as a building site ? Chaos and stress ? The Soviet universe as exhibition ? The creation of a new style during a state of emergency ? Closing speech: Frank Lloyd Wright 16 'Brown Bodies, Gaily Coloured Shorts': Sports Parade 248 'The glorious beauty of young people' ? Fizkul'turnik, fi zkul'turnitsa: icons of the new age ? 'Stalin's tribe': tableaux vivants in Red Square 17 Wealth and Destruction: The Seventeenth International Geology Congress in Moscow 256 The emergence of Soviet geologists: science and the dream of an affluent nation ? Pioneers the nation does not need: geologists as enemies of the people ? Vladimir Vernadskii: a patriot without fear ? Excursion to the Moscow?Volga Canal: science and slave labour 18 A City by the Sea: The Opening of the Moscow?Volga Canal 274 After the White Sea Canal: Stalin's second arterial highway ? A canal as a Gesamtkunstwerk: the aesthetics of a man-made riverscape ? Dmitlag, the Gulag Archipelago at the gates of the capital: the parallel society of the camp zone ? Perekovka/ reforging: the laboratory of the new man ? 'I have seen a country that has been transformed into one great camp' 19 Year of Adventures, 1937: A Soviet Icarus 294 Triumphs, records: a city in a fever ? Non-stop to America ? The conquest of the Arctic ? Twentieth-century adventures ? Heroes of the age: Stalin's aviators ? 'There are thousands of dreamers like me' ? 'Bolshevik romanticism' and terror 20 Moscow as Shop-Window: The Abundance of the World, Hungry for Goods and Dizzy with Hunger 314 Andre Gide: on luxury and shortages ? Advertisements, window displays: objects of desire and how to present them ? Dizzy with hunger ? A hopeless struggle: a nation of speculators ? The queue as grapevine 21 Open Spaces, Dream Landscapes: Cruising on the Volga, Holidaying on the Red Riviera, Conspiracies in the Dachas 326 22 The National Bolshevik Nikolai Ustrialov: His Return Home and Death 332 Returning home from exile: establishing contact with the new Russia ? National Bolshevism and Stalin's 'Socialism in One Country' ? The world of 'former people' and 1937 ? A double reading: a diary with comments by the NKVD 23 Celebrating the October Revolution on 7 November 1937 344 In the diplomats' box ? Conversations in the inner circle of power 24 A Miniature of High Society before the Massacre 355 The bombs come closer ? Beau monde, illustrious society ? Masked ball at the American Embassy ? Interior with piano and nursemaid ? Yezhov's salon: art and the secret police ? Postscript: inventory of luxury and fashion 25 Soviet Hollywood: Miracles and Monsters 372 Lenin in October: the Revolution corrected ? The USSR as a land of film, picture palaces and stars ? Mosfi lm 1937: chaos in the film factory ? Volga-Volga: directors as conspirators, actors as spies ? Terror and good entertainment 26 Death in Exile 387 Dimitrov's diary: a record of self-destruction ? Vanishing point Moscow: biotope ? Foreign comrades ? Vulnerability: world communism as world conspiracy ? Lists, dossiers and card indexes 27 Arcadia in Moscow: Stalin's Luna Park 404 'A centre of culture and rest' ? 'What a summer!' ? The locus of public opinion 28 'Avtozavodtsy': The Workforce of the Stalin Car Factories 413 'Shanghai': city of immigrants, city on the periphery ? Ivan Likhachev, captain of industry ? Factory patriotism: the factory as melting pot ? 'Mass criticism', or the orchestration of hatred and despair 29 Dzhaz: The Sound of the Thirties 433 Dzhaz (Utesov) ? Songs for the masses (Dunaevskii) ? Classical music (Shostakovich) 30 Changing Faces, Changing Times 444 31 America, America: The Other New World 450 Ili' a Il' f and Evgenii Petrov's journey to America ? Special relations: Soviet Americanism and the New Deal ? The American way of life in 1937 ? Utopia as present-day reality 32 'I Know of No Other Country . . .': 1937 and the Production of Soviet Space 463 The birth of the Soviet Union from the spirit of songs for the masses ? Moscow as an image-making machine ? Homogenizing labour: purges and the unity of the Soviet nation 33 The Butovo Shooting Range: Topography of the Great Terror 472 Looking for traces: the archaeology of the graveyard ? Mass murder on the outskirts of the city ? Sociology of the mass grave ? Killing by quota: Order No. 00447 ? World war, civil war 34 Lonely White Sail . . .: Dreamtime, Children's Worlds 505 35 Yezhov at the Bolshoi Theatre: Celebrating Twenty Years of the Cheka 510 At the heart of Moscow: power made visible ? Celebratory speeches and music between the mass murders ? Ovations for the executioners: morituri salutant 36 Bukharin Takes his Leave 519 Bukharin's final plea ? The show trial: exercises in dialectics ? The Lubianka: prison as a production site ? Letter to Koba ? A Moscow childhood in 1900 37 'For Official Use Only': Moscow as a City on the Enemy Map 538 38 The Foundation Pit 544 The imaginary centre: a support for the empire ? The dome that disappeared: Russian Byzantium ? Labouring away at a vacuum: fantasies of the building of the century ? Rome, New York, Moscow: the genius of Boris Iofan ? War, post-war, and the end of the state of emergency 39 Instead of an Epilogue 558 Notes 559 Select Bibliography 619 Index 638

About the Author

Karl Schlogel is Professor of Eastern European History at theEuropean University Viadrina in Frankfurt.


Winner of the Leipzig Book Prize for EuropeanUnderstanding "An almost impossibly rich masterpiece. The density andseriousness, the deliberation and literary art of this exhilaratingtour de force testifies to the enduring value and purpose of thatperhaps now-vanishing triumph of the human intellect, thebook." The Atlantic, best five books of 2012 "A dizzyingly brilliant panorama of the enormous variety of eventsand processes unfolding in Moscow between 1936 and 1938. Schlogelsucceeds admirably - indeed, better than any historian to date - inreproducing the atmosphere and grotesque contradictions." Times Higher Education "Exceptionally readable. An extraordinary, thought-provokingmasterpiece." Literary Review An excellent and original book. Not only is it a highlydetailed account of a city in turmoil (containing many morefascinating stories than a review can ever do full justice), but itreveals clearly how 1937 was a year of extremecontradictions Europe/Asia Studies "Schlogel's total history of Moscow during the fateful yearranks among the best of Sovietology." International Affairs "No book could be more equal to the task of restoringStalin s victims to Western memory than Schlogel s Moscow, 1937 - it is an extraordinary work of scholarship,prose and remembrance." Times Literary Supplement " A brilliant achievement of historical writing, one that canbe read profitably by specialist and the general readeralike. American Historical Review "Schlogel's comprehensive overview gives a profound overall view ofwhat it was like to live in such a crucial place in such a crucialyear." Dublin Review of Books "It is great. Moscow, 1937 teaches us that life goes on asusual, even in the midst of great catastrophe, but it also teachesthat great catastrophe can look a lot like life going on asusual." Vol. 1 Brooklyn "Compelling in every way, the book startles the mind and stirs theimagination in the way that only poetry and music can sometimes do.An instant classic." Wichita Eagle "Karl Schlogel s Moscow 1937 draws a living,multi-dimensional portrait of the megacity in a crucial year ofupheaval that evokes all the hope, despair, creativity, horror,escapism, terror, fear, and striving that enveloped the Muscovitecityscape and its inhabitants. Schlogel is an unusuallyinventive historian and a brilliant stylist; it s a greatboon to have his latest work available in English. " Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University and author ofStalin s Genocides "This book s focus is one year, 1937, and one place,Moscow, but it is no narrow history. The narrative has sweep anddepth, encompassing the mundane, the spectacular, and the nightmaredream world of Stalin s purges; an incomparable book aboutpeople during one of the most grandiose and terrifying epochs ofthe twentieth century." David Shearer, University of Delaware "Starting from a birds-eye view of the city from above, a homageto the flight of Bulgakov s Margarita, Schloegel captures thecomplex specificity of a time and place of immense significance inSoviet and twentieth-century history. In this multivalenthistorical moment, interrogations at the Lubyanka coexist withhappy summer vacations and the triumphant conquest of the NorthPole by Soviet aviators. Schloegel brings into play aningenious variety of sources, ranging from architectural blueprintsand city directories to execution records, not forgetting diariesand literary evocations. This is a masterful, panoramic work by agifted story-teller who is also a highly innovative, sophisticatedand erudite historian." Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago "In brilliant fashion Karl Schlogel presents Moscow as arotating stage of Soviet desire and Stalinist nightmares. Like noother author before him, he charges his prose and the sequence ofscenes with the hallucinatory power of the Communist project. Thevertiginous and terrifying effect is his very point and singularachievement." Jochen Hellbeck, Rutgers University "Karl Schlogel's Moscow 1937 is a brilliant essay of "Totalhistory" on a crucial episode of Soviet history, on one ofthe greatest historical catastrophes of the Twentieth Century.Thisis the first book which goes beyond totalitarianism and revisionismand brings us a totally new interpretation of thistragic event by presenting together opposing experiences and manifestations such as the preparation foruniversal, free, direct and secret elections and carefully planned,organized mass killings. Or, in other words, Dream andTerror." Nicolas Werth, Institut d histoire du tempspresent "This is a montage of a great city in tumult, in equal partsdepicting the optimism of progress and the horror of the showtrials, all in the shadow of a looming war." Andrew Cornish, Readings "While most historians see both terror and civilisation asimportant to understanding the Soviet experience of the 1930s, theytend to spend their time investigating either one or the other.Schlogel is the first to attempt to knit them together sointricately. Moscow 1937 is an act of remembrance as well as a workof history. London Review of Books "There is no book that so perfectly and completelycaptures the stark contradictions of Soviet life. Each scene is amarvel, and together they recreate for us a multisided and vanishedworld." Wendy Goldman, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,USA

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