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Seminar 5

Looking East: Perceptions of the Soviet Union in Europe

  • Why was the Communist International formed?
  • Was the Communist International just an instrument of Soviet foreign policy? (debate)
  • Which role did the “peoples of the east” play in the concept of the Bolsheviks?
  • What were the main problems of British-Soviet relations?
  • What was the rationale for sending trade union and workers’ delegations to Soviet Russia?

Essential Reading

Theses on the National and Colonial Questions (1920)’, Suny (ed.), The Structure of Soviet History, pp. 285-289.

‘Theses on the Conditions for Admission to the Communist International’ (1920), Jane Degras, The Communist International, 1919-1943. Documents, vol. 1: 1919-1922 pp. 166-172 OR Suny (ed.), The Structure of Soviet History, pp. 289-294

Fyodor Dan’ on the British workers’ delegation to the Soviet Union 1920: (Translation by Francis Kng)

Russia; the official report of the British Trades Union Delegation to Russia and Caucasia, Nov. and Dec., 1924 (London 1925), Introduction, pp. 17ff.

Suny, Ronald G., The Soviet Experiment (New York, Oxford, 1998), pp. 159-169 or the chapter on the Comintern and Soviet Foreign Policy in the interwar period in any other good history of the Soviet Union.

Gorodetsky, Gabriel, ‘The Soviet Union and Britain’s General Strike of May 1926’, Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique 17 (1976), pp. 287-310

Recommended Reading

Documents on workers' delegations and communist propaganda in Britain in the Modern Records Centre

White, Stephen, ‘Communism and The East: The Baku Congress, 1920’, Slavic Review, 33 (1974), pp. 492-514

Further Reading

British Labour Delegation to Russia, 1920, report (London 1920)

Adler, Friedrich, The Anglo-Russian report : a criticism of the report of the British trades union delegation to Russia, from the point of view of international socialism (London 1925)

Documents of the seven Congresses of the Communist International

Russia with our own eyes: full report of the British Workers' Delegation 1950

White, Stephen, ‘British Labour in Soviet Russia, 1920’, The English Historical Review 109 (1994), pp. 621-640

Jacobsen, Jon, 'Essay and Reflection: On the Historiography of Soviet Foreign Relations in the 1920s', The International History Review 18 (1996), pp. 336-357

Fayet, Jean-Francois, 'Paul Levi and the Turning Point of 1921: Bolshevik Emissaries and International Discipline in the Time of Lenin', in Norman LaPorte, Morgan, Kevin, and Matthew Worley (eds), Bolshevism, Stalinism and the Comintern (Houndmills, Basingstoke 2008), pp. 105-123

Fairchild Calhoun, Daniel, The United Front, the TUC and the Russians, 1923-1928 (Cambridge 1976)