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Week 10: The Great Breakthrough in Socialist Construction

Questions for Discussion:

What was the purpose of the Great Breakthrough in Socialist Construction? Why, and how, did the Soviet government introduce the policies of collectivisation and industrialisation in 1928? How did these policies transform Soviet society?

Set reading (to be prepared for class discussion):

Source: Iosif Stalin, ‘A Year of Great Change. On the Occasion of the Twelfth Anniversary of the October Revolution. November 7, 1929’. Available online:

David Hoffmann, Peasant Metropolis: Social Identities in Moscow, 1929-1941 (Ithaca; London: Cornell University Press, 1994). Chapter 2, ‘The Process of In-Migration’, pp. 32-72. Scan available on Moodle.

Selected further reading:

Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928-1931 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978).

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). E-book.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village after Collectivization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Hiroaki Kuromiya, Stalin’s Industrial Revolution: Politics and Workers, 1928-1932 (Cambridge, 1988).

Lewis Siegelbaum, Stakhanovism and the Politics of Productivity in the USSR, 1935-1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). E-book.

Lynne Viola, Peasant Rebels under Stalin: Collectivization and the Culture of Peasant Resistance (New York, 1996). E-book.