6 Pages

Ways in to The Text

WithVictor Petrov, Riley Quinn

Sheila Fitzpatrick, the author of Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s is an Australian historian who specializes in the history of Soviet Union. Everyday Stalinism argues that Soviet citizens made an enormous effort to continue to live "everyday lives", despite shortages, corruption, and fear of regime. Fitzpatrick describes the Soviet Union as a "shortage economy" because it was frequently difficult to purchase common consumer goods such as bread or toothpaste. She offers three metaphors, or symbolic descriptions, for Soviet state's relations with its people: as a prison, focusing on the state's discipline of society; as a boarding school, focusing on patriotism and respect for the state; and as a soup kitchen, focusing on the state as the provider of goods for the deserving poor. Everyday Stalinism was widely praised for its research and accessibility, and has gone on to be the most important work of post-Cold War revisionist social history of Soviet everyday life.