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Soviet Government "Samizdat" Issued For Internal Use

Stalinistskaia Rossiia: marsistskii analiz [Stalinist Russia: A Marxist Analysis].

Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Inostrannoi Literatury, 1956. Octavo (22 × 14.4 cm). Original printed wrappers; 238, [1] pp. Along the top wrapper: Rassylaetsia po spetsial’nomu spisku [Distributed by special list], no. 85. Owner annotation to title; else about very good.

First edition in Russian. A Russian translation of a British Marxist critique of the Soviet state published by the “Special Section” of the Foreign Languages Publishing House. Founded in 1946 by Stalin’s decree, the so-called Special Section translated and printed Western literature that was otherwise banned in the Soviet Union for being perceived as critical of the Soviet state. The books were printed in small print runs of about 200 copies and distributed according to a “special list” of party officials, to acquaint them with “contemporary tendencies and critiques” with each item numbered, this being no. 85. Works written by Western Marxists who were in some way critical of the Soviet state seemed to have been of particular interest for the Special Section, which also printed numbered editions of George Orwell’s “1984” and Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” among others.

This text by the prominent British Marxist and founder of the Socialist Worker’s Party of Britain, Tony Cliff (born Yigael Gluckstein; 1917-2000), presents a Trotskyite analysis of the Soviet state. Despite Cliff’s Socialist credentials, the introduction to the Russian translation presents his views as “distortions of Marx, Engels and Lenin”. Published after Stalin’s death and shortly after Khruschev’s “Secret speech” condemning the cult of Stalin’s personality, the introduction notes: “The book is especially interesting in light of the decisions made by the 20th Party congress, since it is a clear example of the way the reactionary bourgeois propaganda is using the mistakes made during the flourishing of the cult of personality.” This translation may have been redacted or gone through censorship of its own as the length of the translation appears to be about 50 pages shorter than the English version. No copies of this translation are held in libraries outside Russia.

One of 300 copies printed, this being no. 80.

As of December 2020, not in KVK, OCLC.

Book ID: 51155

Price: $750.00