On Hold

Censored Work on Soviet Georgia

XX let sovetskoi Gruzii: sotsial´no ekonomicheskii ocherk [Twenty years of Soviet Georgia: a socio-economic overview].

Tbilisi: Izdatel'stvo "Zaria Vostoka", [1941]. Large octavo (25.5 × 18 cm). Original blind-stamped and blue-stamped beige cloth; 292 pp. 7 leaves of plates and 1 map, as well as numerous illustrations in the text. Old owner inscription to ffep; else very good.

A richly illustrated anniversary edition celebrating twenty years of Soviet Georgia, this volume highlights Georgia as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, emphasizing his role in the Revolution and the Communist party. Published during high Stalinism, with portraits of Lenin and Stalin opening the volume, followed by the portrait of Viacheslav Molotov, at the time the People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs and most powerful man in the Soviet Union after Stalin. The opening chapter on “Stalin’s Georgia” includes a photograph from within his prison cell, as well as photographs of his hometown, Gori. The volume includes chapters on Georgian industrial development, natural resources, agriculture and science, all accompanied by contemporary photographs. A culture section includes images of Georgian spas, sporting events, and of reproductions of contemporary art, including numerous portraits of the Soviet leader.  
After Stalin’s death in 1953, and especially following Khrushchev’s 1956 “Secret Speech” condemning the cult of Stalin’s personality, the emphasis on Stalin became undesirable. According to "Spisok knig, ne podlezhashchikh rasprostraneniiu v knigotorgovoi seti" (Moscow, 1981, p. 35), the book was to be removed from circulation in the Soviet book trade (and, by extension, was also relegated to the "spetskhran" of Soviet libraries, or special restricted holdings for politically compromised literature). Ironically for Stalin, who was famous for erasing his enemies from history by censoring their writings and even removing their names from articles and images from photographs, the removal of this book and many other writings by and about Stalin captures the removal of Stalin himself from the annals of Soviet history. One of 5000 copies printed (of which 700 were special copies with tipped in plate).

As of March 2021, not found in KVK, OCLC.

Book ID: 51250