Inside the Stalin Archives

Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia by Jonathan Brent

This describes Jonathan Brent’s experiences working in the Soviet archives from the early 1990s to the present day. It correlates this to development of the modern Russian state.

It has many interesting stories. I gave a Stalin anecdote I had not heard. In this two alternative architectural drawings for a building were submitted to Stalin for his approval. They were included on one diagram and Stalin signed his approval across both drawings making it unclear which he approved.  Consequently, the building was made with both architectural styles.

Another interesting point is that from 1917 to 1953 (Stalin’s death) was 36 years, and from 1956 (Krushchev’s speech) to 1991 (end of the Soviet Union) was 35 years. So the Soviet period falls into two equal periods with a time of transition.


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