chapter  2
20 Pages

The Culture of the New Elite 1921–5 Ascetic knights and drinking pals

The history of the Communist Party during the years of NEP has been largely seen as the interaction of prominent personalities.1 The extent to which the political history of the CP intermingled with cultural history has been limited to what is called political culture.2 Here the emphasis has been on the culture of debate as a Bolshevik virtue. It is reiterated over and over that in the 1920s Bolshevik political discourse was mainly deliberative. Bolsheviks debated issues at public forums. The decline of the culture of debate within the Bolshevik Party is usually attributed to the rise of Stalin and his entourage.3