Debates on Stalinism

By Mark Edele

Debates on Stalinism


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9431-0
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: June 2020
  • BIC Category: USSR, Soviet Union, Russia, History, HISTORY / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union, HISTORY / Historiography, Political Structures: Totalitarianism & Dictatorship, Former Soviet Union, Ussr (Europe), Humanities / Historiography, History, Modern History
  • Series: Issues in Historiography


Debates on Stalinism introduces major debates about Stalinism during and after the Cold War. Did 'Stalinism' form a system in its own right or was it a mere stage in the overall development of Soviet society? Was it an aberration from Leninism or the logical conclusion of Marxism? Was its violence the revenge of the Russian past or the result of a revolutionary mindset? Was Stalinism the work of a madman or the product of social forces beyond his control? The book shows the complexities of historiographical debates, where evidence, politics, personality, and biography are strongly entangled. Debates on Stalinism allows readers to better understand not only the history of history writing, but also contemporary controversies and conflicts in the successor states of the Soviet Union, in particular Russia and Ukraine.


'[.] explains - in clear and lucid terms - why Stalinism is important, and why it is still important today.'
Professor Matthew Stibbe, Sheffield Hallam University

' [...] Edele is to be commended for his exposition of the intricate, intense debates over the past half-century within Anglo-American academia and more recently within the Soviet successor states, notably Russia and the Ukraine.
History Australia

'[...] this book presents an excellent overview of some of the conflicts over Stalinism and an incisive analysis of some of the themes within that debate. It is a welcome addition to our literature on this subject.'
The Russian Review

'[...] His approach to debates among historians about Stalinism is biographical, contains a good deal about their infighting, and seeks to define - and complicate - schools of thought. That he has made a worthy contribution to Manchester University Press' series on Issues of Historiography is a testament to the magnitude of his reading, the sharpness and consistency of his argument, and the unusual politicisation of the subject he has chosen.'
Labour History

"demonstrates that a historiographical essay (a genre many students consider boring) can be interesting reading. excellent medicine against . [historical amnesia] for all students of Stalinism."
European University at St. Petersburg, JSPPS 7:2 (2021)


Debates on Stalinism: an introduction
Part 1: Biography and historiography
1. A 'withering crossfire': debating Stalinism in the Cold War
2. Marxism-Lewinism and the origins of Stalinism
3. The Russian origins of totalitarianism: empire and nation
4. Unrevisionist revisionism
Part II: Cold War debates
5. Stalinism with Stalin left in
6. Totalitarianism and revisionism
7. After revisionism
Part III: contemporary debates
8. Fighting Russia's history wars
9. Holodomor: a transnational history
New perspectives on Stalinism? A conclusion
Further reading


Mark Edele is Hansen Professor in History at the University of Melbourne

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