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Before the Archives

Until the archives became available, western scholars could carry out research on the Soviet economy only at arm's length. They relied on official statistics, including the occasional secret document such as the 1941 plan captured by Germany that fell into Allied hands after the war, party and government publications including newspapers and journals, authorised economic and historical research, censored personal memoirs, and interviews with Soviet emigrants usually carried out in the United States or Israel. Despite such limitations western scholars were able to become surprisingly well informed about Soviet economic institutions and performance and were able to build up a degree of expertise that may seem remarkable in retrospect.

Over the lifetime of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union, i.e. from 1918 to 1991, the journals currently archived by JSTOR under economics, history, and Slavic studies published 642 articles on aspects of Soviet economic life, policy, and thought. For convenience, since the overall number is large and there is some overlap in the JSTOR classification, I have drawn an arbitrary line between those journals specialized in economics, including economic history, and those specialized in area studies, history, and geography. The articles themselves are listed on the pages below, in date order, as a research aide for modern scholars who wish to compare their knowledge and understanding based on the archives with that established by their predecessors who worked under much more difficult and restrictive conditions.

These pages are not intended to provide an exhaustive bibliography of the field. Rather, they list only work that was originally selected for publication in a limited number of high-ranking general and field journals.

Mark Harrison, 8 April, 2004