Having emerged, exhausted but triumphant, from the bloody and divisive Russian Civil War, V. I. Lenin and his colleagues turned to eliminating perceived ideological foes from within. In On the Ideological Front, Stuart Finkel tells the story of the1922 expulsion from Soviet Russia of almost one hundred prominent intellectuals, including professors and journalists, philosophers and engineers, writers and agronomists. Finkel's meticulously researched and persuasively argued study sets this compelling human drama within the context of the Bolsheviks' determined efforts to impose ideological conformity, redefine the role of the intelligentsia, and establish a distinctly Soviet public sphere. The book demonstrates that the NEP period was not a time of intellectual pluralism and ideological retreat on the part of the Bolsheviks. On the contrary, from its formative years, the Soviet regime zealously policed the ideological front and laid the institutional and discursive foundations for the Stalinist state.
Stuart Finkel is assistant professor of history, University of Florida. He lives in Gainesville.