4 Pages

Module 4 The Author’s Contribution

WithVictor Petrov, Riley Quinn

Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism describes how citizens struggled to lead a "normal" life during the "extraordinary" circumstances of Stalinism, with its revolutionary plans, economic changes, and widespread state interference in private lives. Fitzpatrick brings together the study of key aspects of everyday life, such as housing, family problems, and food and clothes shortages, to give a wide picture of the many aspects of a person's life. Fitzpatrick concludes by discussing her three metaphors, or symbols, for the relationship between the Soviet state and citizen. These painted the state as: a prison, focusing on the discipline of society; a boarding school, focusing on patriotism and respect for the state; and a soup kitchen, providing goods for the deserving poor. She is also aware of Russian historiography, and she serves as a bridge between the then-untranslated work of the Russian scholar Elena Osokina and Western scholarship. Osokina's work investigated the consumption patterns of Soviet citizens, which are central to Fitzpatrick's argument.