In these two essays Russian Marxist Historian Vadim Rogovin refutes the claim that the rise of Stalinism in the USSR was the inexorable product of the October Revolution. He demonstrates that there existed a strong movement led by Leon Trotsky which offered a realistic alternative to Stalinism and that a struggle against this movement was the primary function of the Stalinist terror.
He writes that the terror “was political genocide against Soviet and foreign communists, a preventive civil war, the only political means which Stalin could use to retain power and suppress that part of the Soviet and international communist movement which, potentially or in fact, was a political force representing an alternative to his totalitarian regime.”
His work thus refutes the state-sponsored historian of both the United States and Russia, whose academic laurels depend upon historical facts to political needs.
Vadim Rogovin (1937-1998) was a Doctor of Philosophical Sciences at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow from the late 1970s until his death. Prior to this he had worked in the field of literary and aesthetic criticism.
As a researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Rogovin studied and wrote about the existence and growth of social inequality in the USSR and its implications for social justice, labor productivity, and social morality in Soviet society. Rogovin’s interest in analyzing the allocation of wealth and privileges in the Soviet Union grew out of political conclusions he drew about the origins of the Soviet bureaucracy. After having quietly gained access to some of the writings of the Left Opposition during the 1960s and 1970s, Rogovin, whose own grandfather had died in the purges, became convinced of the correctness of Leon Trotsky’s opposition to Stalin.
In the late 1980s, he became an outspoken critic of Mikhail Gorbachev’s pro-market economic reforms and their negative impact on the living standards of the broad mass of the population. After writing articles in the popular Soviet press about the positions of the Left Opposition on major questions of politics and policy, Rogovin started publishing what would become a seven-volume series on the rise of Stalinism and the history of the socialist-based opposition to Stalin’s rule.
Before his untimely death due to cancer in 1998, he delivered lectures on this theme to audiences in Europe, the United States, Australia, and Latin America.
Additional biographical information about Rogovin and commentary about his contributions can be found here, in a tribute given to him on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday by David North, the Chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site.
Books by Vadim Rogovin