5 Pages

Module 5 Main Ideas

WithVictor Petrov, Riley Quinn

Sheila Fitzpatrick's argument in Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s rests on two themes: the shortage economy and the inescapabilty of the Soviet state. Fitzpatrick argues that the black market became even more important to people's lives than the limited but officially permitted private sector in the 1920s. A theme running throughout the book is the influence of the Soviet state. Fitzpatrick offers three metaphors, or symbolic models, for the Soviet state's relations with people. The state is described as: a prison, a boarding school, and a soup kitchen. She settles on the last as the best description of the Stalinist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Fitzpatrick published Everyday Stalinism in 1999, recently enough for her text to pose few problems for the modern reader in terms of language. Roberta Manning argues that Fitzpatrick is more concerned with illustrating her wider points than with examining the evidence critically.