chapter  1
23 Pages

History, Hierarchy and Nationalities

The notes that follow are essentially a series of hypotheses, discussion points, relevant (in my view) to the origins and nature of the Soviet social structure. It is not my intention to assert that any of the points to be made below represent the explanation of a complex phenomenon. For example, the historical past of Russia obviously has some bearing on the present, both in forming the ideas of the rulers as to the behaviour appropriate to rulers, and in affecting the willingness of the ruled to accept what others, brought up in another environment, might well regard as intolerable. However, I am well aware that historical tradition is a many-sided thing, that it includes both Peter the Great and Tsarevich Alexei, Bakunin and Pobedonostev, Stenka Razin and Nikon, Dostoevsky and Gorky, to name at random a few personalities unquestionably part of Russia's past and unquestionably different in many essential respects. This being so, no argument is made concerning the inevitability of Bolshevism or of any part of the social structure of today, even while its specifically Russian background can hardly be discounted.