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The Idea of Individual Liberation in Bolshevik Visions of the New Soviet Man
Jay Bergman European History Quarterly 1997 27: 57 DOI: 10.1177/026569149702700103 The online version of this article can be found at: http://ehq.sagepub.com/content/27/1/57.citation

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Jay Bergman

The Idea of Individual Liberation in Bolshevik Visions of the New Soviet Man

Among the promises the Bolsheviks made when they took power in Russia in 1917 was that they would create a new and higher form of human being to inhabit the Communist utopia they predicted. For the Bolsheviks, more than for the Jacobins in France a century earlier, it was not enough to begin the world over again, in the sense of radically refashioning social and political
institutions. For the revolution the Bolsheviks advocated to be morally and intellectually defensible, it had to bring with it in some fashion the ethical improvement of humanity, leading eventually to the emergence of a new human being what the Bolsheviks referred to as the New Soviet Man - whose superior qualities and attributes would be the most obvious indication that a Communist society was preferable to all others. The New Soviet Man, in other words, was the highest objective and the
-

ultimate justification of the revolutionary enterprise to which the Bolsheviks devoted their lives. In their eagerness to conceptualize and then to create such a man, the Bolsheviks had several antecedents, all of them traceable to Western civilization, which has often revealed a fascination with the moral regeneration and perfectibility of humanity. As Frank and Fritzie Manuel have demonstrated in their magisterial study of utopias and utopianism in Western thought, it was not until modem times that those in the West who articulated a vision of a regenerated humanity believed that, by radically transforming human society, human beings themselves might be made more virtuous. Previously, in ancient and medieval times, and even into the Renaissance, moral goodness was envisioned almost exclusively as a consequence of religious devotion, or of living in a paradise or utopia that, in the absence of divine intervention, was forever incapable of becoming a reality. But for the Bolsheviks and other modern revolutionaries less encumbered

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than earlier generations by Christian notions of otherworldly salvation, secular life contained within itself the possibility of its own radical transformation. Nearly all of these revolutionaries, including the Bolsheviks, fully shared the conviction of Helvetius, the French philosophe, that human beings could be made virtuous by manipulating their social and political environment.&dquo; While there was much about the Bolsheviks that was utopian, in that they imagined all sorts of things that presently did not exist and had little chance of being realized in the immediate future, they differed from utopians such as Thomas More and Tommaso Campanella - whom the Bolsheviks for other reasons because they included among their ideological antecedents considered the new people and new society they conjured in their imagination not as fantasies totally disconnected from reality, but as projections of the present into the future. For the Bolsheviks, the New Soviet Man was not only a vision or a standard against which the imperfections of humanity could be judged, but an attainable goal, a more perfect facsimile of the Lenins, Trotskiis, and other professional revolutionaries who were living as real S individuals within, rather than beyond, historical time. The Western ideology which most closely prefigured Bolshevism in promising and predicting a new species of humanity was, of course, Marxism. To be sure, Marx and Engels offered on several occasions the disclaimer that it was not for them to describe in any detail how persons living under Communism would differ from persons living under capitalism. A classless society, in their opinion, was too far in the future for anyone, even persons as prescient as they believed themselves to be, to understand completely. Nevertheless, scattered in the writings of both men are comments on the Communist man of the future that, taken together, suggest a poly-functional, multitalented, and socially-conscious individual, deriving pleasure and satisfaction from giving pleasure and satisfaction to others, who, by virtue of eliminating of everything in life that enforces economic and intellectual specialization, will be able to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, without ever becoming hunter, [and] criticise after dinner or critic. Without private property and the fisherman, shepherd, distinction between manual and intellectual labour to circumscribe what the individual can accomplish, human beings can, at long last, become everything they wish to be. However, Marx
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...

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and

Engels simply assumed that, under Communism, the fulfil-

ment of each individual person was compatible with that of every other; their comments on how individuals living under Communism would relate to one another were limited to generaliza-

tions that the essence of mans existence under Communism was a collective one and that the end of economic exploitation would enable people to live with one another in perpetual peace. As a result, the Bolsheviks and the other European socialists who followed Marx and Engels had to determine for themselves whether an individuals interests in a classless society could ever conflict with those of others (or with those of the society as a whole), and if so, how such conflicts might be adjudicated in the absence of a state. In this respect, as well as in others, Marxisms legacy to the Bolsheviks was incomplete, and while Bolshevism inherited Marxs notion of individual liberation as a process of self-realization and self-fulfilment, individual Bolsheviks would cite Marxist texts selectively (or not at all) in explaining the relationship between the New Soviet Man they envisioned and the Communist society they predicted. Another influence on the Bolsheviks was the Russian intelligentsia. By virtue of its intellectual origins in the Enlightenment, the intelligentsia stressed, in Dobroliubovs words, respect for human nature and for human personality in general, which the intelligentsia believed would make possible the creation of economic, political and social institutions that were just.8 Indeed, in its coupling of individual liberation and social justice, in its conviction that each of these objectives was inconceivable without the other, the intelligenty, prefigured Bolshevism. And like the Bolsheviks, many of the intelligentsia tended to advocate ideologies (such as populism and Marxism) that extolled collective social entities (such as the peasantry and the proletariat) as the historical instrument by which the emancipation of the individual and the creation of a new and higher species of humanity would be accomplished. Of the intelligenty who predicted the eventual emergence of such people, Chernyshevsky offered the fullest description of their personalities and of the social and physical environment in which they would live. In his novel, What is to be Done? (which is subtitled Tales of New People) Chernyshevsky indicates, for example, that the qualities of tact, coolness, boldness, resolution and common sense that enable Lopukhov, Kirsanov and Vera

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Pavlovna to calculate their interests in a way that benefits all of them are the very same qualities of the new men and women of the future.9 In fact, through the literary artifice of Veras dreams (particularly the fourth one), Chernyshevsky is able to indicate in considerable detail how these new people will actually live: in a series of urban enclaves, dotted with enormous glass and aluminum edifices, that are surrounded by verdant plains, where everyone can enjoy his labour and have time left over for cultural and intellectual pursuits because the most difficult work is per-

formed by machines. Many Bolsheviks found Chernyshevkys vision inspirational, and several of them, including Lenin, consciously imitated Rakhmetov, Chernyshevskys prototype of the professional revolutionary, in cultivating the qualities of hardness, single-mindedness and courage that the tasks of conducting a revolution and creating a new society required. Although Rakhmetov - who was really an agent of revolution rather than was not a model of the New Soviet Man, he was a product of it certainly a precursor of the kind of person the Bolsheviks believed would be needed to create such a man.&dquo; It is fairly easy to distinguish the purely personal attributes of the New Soviet Man. To a large degree, the Bolsheviks were in agreement on many of them. Perhaps the most obvious aspect of the New Soviet Man was that, like a modern Prometheus, he would use reason and logic, along with science and technology, to subjugate nature, thus transforming it from an alien force that threatened him into something he could use, at his discretion, for his own purposes. In fact, there were virtually no limits to what the New Soviet Man could accomplish. According to Nikolai Bukharin, once Communism is achieved, the tyranny of nature over man will have vanished.&dquo; According to Anatolii Lunacharsky, the Bolsheviks will create fighter-titans who will transform the earth.3 And according to Sergei Kirov, writing in 1922, well before he linked his political fortunes irrevocably to Stalins, the Soviet people one day will be capable of embellishing this wretched earth with monuments, such as our enemies could never imagine, even in their dreams.4 L.M. Sabsovich, an official in Gosplan who in 1930 put to paper his vision of a Communist society, imagined a society in which everything has been mechanized, and all the domestic chores that women previously performed are done by machines.&dquo; In 1924 Leon Trotskii even ventured the prediction that under Communism:
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Man will occupy himself with re-registering mountains and rivers, and will earnestly and repeatedly make improvements in nature. In the end, he will have rebuilt the earth, if not in his own image, at least according to his own taste.... Through the machine, man in Socialist society will command nature in its entirety, with its grouse and its sturgeons. He will point out places for mountains and for passes. He will change the course of the rivers, and he will lay

down rules for the oceans.6

A number of the Bolsheviks believed that the New Soviet Man would be a beneficiary of his own ingenuity and intellect, transforming not only nature but humanity itself. In what was perhaps the ultimate expression of the rationalism and scientism implicit in Bolshevism, several Bolsheviks, among them Alexander Bogdanov, believed that, under Communism, people would be capable of physical rejuvenation and resurrection, and a few of them even imagined that, through the application of science and technology, humanity could be made immortal. Maxim Gorkii, for example, wrote in 1909 that people stronger than we are may, in the future, defeat death, while Leonid Krasin in 1924 advocated the mummification of Lenins body in the expectation that the creator of the Soviet state might eventually be made alive again. Three years earlier, Krasin had spoken of his certainty that advances in science and technology would eventually make possible the resurrection of historical figures.&dquo; Similarly, the anonymous author of a Marxist pamphlet published in 1906, and reissued in Moscow in 1918 and again in Kharkov in 1923, calmly predicted that man was destined to populate the universe and to make himself immortal. 18 In keeping with Marxs vision of a Communist man who hunts, fishes, rears cattle and engages in intellectual and artistic pursuits, the New Soviet Man would also be versatile, capable of appreciating literature, art, philosophy, poetry and music, even if he was not a writer, artist, philosopher, poet or musician. In Bukharins words, the freedom to develop oneself is the highest form of freedom, and a Communist society would be superior to all others precisely in its capacity to promote a cultural revolua tion, a new orientation, new creative potentialities in people creative enrichment of the personalities of those who labour as the distinction between physical and intellectual labour disappears.&dquo; Sentiments such as these can be found in the writings of nearly every prominent Bolshevik with the notable exceptions of Lenin, who considered such speculation about the future
...
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a

waste of time, and

Stalin, whose notions of individual liberation


-

and there are similar paeans were, to a great extent, sui generis to the virtues of versatility in the writings of Soviet philosophers and political theorists of the 1950s and 1960s.Z~ Along with physical and intellectual capabilities that far exceeded those of ordinary men, the New Soviet Man would be exemplary in his personal habits and manners. Among the other qualities that the New Soviet Man would possess were: politeness and civility, which Lenin and Trotskii considered a necessary corrective of the boorishness for which they often upbraided the Soviet masses (and for which Lenin later recommended removing Stalin from his position of General Secretary of the Communist Party);2 conciseness and precision in both oral and written discourse, which Alexei Gastev encouraged by issuing appeals urging Russians to be less prolix in their language;z2 and punctuality in personal affairs, which Gastev and P.M. Kerzhentsev considered so important that in 1923 they established a League of Time - the members of which were required to wear wristwatches to eliminate the Oblomovism (or lethargy) they believed was characteristic of the Russian people.23 The immediate objective of their efforts was to make Soviet workers more productive, more efficient and more reliable in reporting to work, but productivity, efficiency and reliability were also qualities the New Soviet Man would manifest in the future. It is important to bear in mind that, in the view of most Bolsheviks, versatility, politeness, punctuality, verbal brevity, physical prowess and an ability to subjugate nature would be characteristic of everyone living in a classless society, not just of the men; under Communism there would be a New Soviet Woman as well as a New Soviet Man. With the elimination of class struggle and economic exploitation, it would be possible, for the first time in history, for men and women to live with one another as equals, and to recognize all of the ways in which men and women, despite their biological differences, were the same. After many years in which men regarded women primarily as instruments of their own gratification, men and women could finally share in the common destiny of humanity. It is certainly true that many Bolshevik feminists, such as Alexandra Kollontai, argued strenuously both before and after the Bolshevik Revolution that the problems of working women were sufficiently
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different from those of working men to warrant institutions within the Bolshevik Party established specifically for the purpose of alleviating them.24 In fact, because of the special discrimination they endured, working women probably would anticipate their emancipation in a Communist society with a greater sense of urgency than most men would. But these Bolshevik feminists also agreed with their male colleagues in the Party that, because capitalism victimized workers regardless of gender, the capitalist system should be overthrown in a revolution in which men as well as women participated. And once men and women, working together, created Communism, the terms of their emancipation would be nearly identical, differing only in the requirement that there be institutions, such as day-care centres, that guaranteed women the time away from childrearing they would need to pursue their own emancipation on equal terms with men. In the context of explaining why individual liberation was paramount, more important for a woman than the love she might feel for a man, Kollontai enumerated the qualities women would possess under Communism,
self-discipline instead of emotionalism; recognition of the value of freedom independence instead of submission and a faceless person; assertion of individuality instead of the naive attempt to absorb and reflect the alien nature of the beloved; insistence on the right to earthly happiness instead of the hypocritical donning of the mask of virtue; and finally, a willingness to put the expression of love in a subordinate place in ones life. Before us stands not a
...

and

mate - the shadow of a man; before us stands a person

Female Human

Being.25

Elsewhere in the same work Kollontai defined the New Soviet Woman as, a human being possessing a characteristic value, with her own individuality, who asserts herself .26 It is hard to imagine many Bolsheviks, male or female, prior to the Stalin era either challenging this description or denying that it applied equally well to the New Soviet Man. But there is another aspect of the New Soviet Man on which the Bolsheviks strongly, and sometimes vehemently, disagreed. Because they inherited from both Marxism and the Russian intelligentsia a commitment to social justice as well as to the emancipation of the individual, and because Marxism and the intelligentsia never really made clear which of these two objectives was more important, there were several questions the

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Bolsheviks had to answer before they could begin to create a socialist society and then, sometime later, a Communist one. Was individual liberation an end in itself, an objective that took precedence over all others, or was it something to be valued as a means to an end, for what it contributed to the welfare of humanity as a whole? Could the individual, in pursuing his emancipatory agenda - whether it included mastering nature, developing particular talents and abilities, or finding satisfaction in leisurely or recreational pursuits ever come into conflict with persons who were doing the same thing? Could the individuals pursuit of his own liberation ever work to the detriment of the classless society in which he lived? Indeed, does a classless society have interests or requirements of its own, and, if so, what is the proper relationship between these larger social interests and those of the individual? If, for some reason, these two sets of interests were to conflict, would the individual voluntarily sacrifice his interests to those of society? Would the individual ever have to be coerced to support the larger social interest, or would a measure of friendly persuasion achieve the same result? Or would the options of altruism, persuasion and coercion be rendered moot by an inherent identity of social and individual interests? An analysis of how the Bolsheviks answered (or evaded) these questions may make what the Bolsheviks actually did after taking power in Russia in 1917 more understandable. A number of the Bolsheviks considered the liberation of the individual an end in itself and the ultimate justification of Communism. Although he never said so explicitly, Trotskii, for one, clearly believed this. Not only are his writings filled with promises of Communism as a system in which there is respect for the personal dignity of every individual, it is also the case that Trotskii seemed to reserve his loftiest rhetoric for descriptions of the personal attributes and abilities that the truly liberated individual, living under Communism, would possess.2 In Literature and Revolution, for example, Trotskii concludes an exposition of the role of literature and the arts in the creation of Communism with an eloquent statement of the humanistic goals that the New Soviet Man, liberated from the exigencies of economic struggle, will finally be able to accomplish:
-

ness

Man at last will begin to harmonize himself in earnest. He will make it his busito achieve beauty by giving the movement of his own limbs the utmost

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precision, purposefulness and economy m his work, his walk, and his play.... Man will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instmcts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.... Man will become immeasureably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.28

Trotskii that individual liberation was the paramount objective of Communism that in 1918 he characterized as a lord of creation anyone who had familiarized himself with the conquests of the mind; in Trotskiis formulation, even persons who had not created lasting works of literature and art were individually liberated if they were reasonably conversant about those who had.29 Nikolai Bukharin, writing in 1934, after Stalin had removed him from power, expressed very similar ideas. In his Culture in Two Worlds which Bukharin intended as a valedictory statement of the Marxist objectives to which he had devoted his life he stressed that the creative freedom he favoured could only be achieved under Communism and that this freedom was the only thing that makes possible the development of all human capabilities, talents, and passions; in Bukharins opinion, what the liberated individual is able to accomplish as a result of his freedom is valuable not only for what it may contribute to society as a whole, but also for its own sake, as an end in itself.3 In 1935, as Bukharins political fortunes deteriorated further, he used the precious little freedom that was left to him to prepare for publication in Izvestiia a series of articles in which he located the superiority of socialism and Communism precisely in the value they placed on the emancipation of the individual,
was
-

So convinced

the freedom to develop oneself is unlimited and it is utilized fully only under communism.... Socialism enriches the individual person and elevates the intellectual aspects of it.... The individual person, individual mitiative, abilities, knowledge, intellect, will, and character all develop on the basis of a triumphant socialist economy.&dquo;
...

Implicit in these and other articles Bukharin composed in the mid-1930s was that belief that, however harsh and unpromising

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the Soviet Union might appear at the present time, sometime in the future, probably under Communism, the idea of individual liberation would re-emerge, rendering Stalins triumph over Bukharin, and over the humanistic principles Bukharin claimed
to

champion, a pyrrhic one.


It must be borne in mind

that, while exercising political power, both Trotskii and Bukharin expressed ideas that were in many ways at variance with those they advocated after their political careers within the Soviet system had ended. Many times in the early 1920s Trotskii and Bukharin stressed the notion that, until pure Communism was established in the Soviet Union (or anywhere else), the duty of the individual was to suppress his individual interests and desires and to support the collective institutions principally the Party, the army and the trade unions which the Soviet state was maintained. For instance, in a through in 1923 Bukharin emphasized how essential it delivered speech was that the Soviet government transform Soviet workers as quickly as possible into obsequious and highly disciplined labour machines who, in the interests of the state, would carry out unquestioningly the orders and directives of their superiors.32 Similarly, in The ABC of Communism, which Bukharin coauthored with Evgeny Preobrazhensky in 1924, he wrote of the necessity of labour discipline based upon the strictest mutual control. That the workers would willingly submit to this discipline would in no way mitigate the loss of individuality and individual choice this discipline entailed.3 As for Trotskii, one recalls his celebrated dictum, first proclaimed in 1924 but implicit in many of the policies he advocated earlier, that one cannot be right against the party, one can be right only with the party and through the party, because history has not created any other parties able to make real what is right.34 In 1920, Trotskii even dismissed the notion of the sacredness of human life, claiming it was nothing but Kantian-priestly, vegetarian-Quaker gossip.35 So emphatic, in fact, was Trotskiis emphasis on the primacy of collective endeavour in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1924 (when the Bolsheviks were not only consolidating power but presumably also creating the preconditions for the eventual construction of Communism) that one can reasonably wonder how he expected a system that was conditioning its citizens to follow unswervingly collective entities such as the Party and the army to be able, at some point in the
-

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future, to reverse habits and practices developed over many years


and to inculcate in people a respect for the individual and a commitment to pursue the objective of individual liberation. In explaining Trotskiis failure to address this point (which Bukharin and many other Bolsheviks ignored as well), one might speculate that, prior to being stripped of their positions of power, Trotskii and Bukharin were simply so preoccupied by the immediate tasks of consolidating power and defending the Soviet state for which collective institutions such as the Party and the were army certainly required that they were unable to recognize how inappropriate these same collective institutions might be to the task of emancipating the individual person and creating the New Soviet Man. Still, Trotskii and Bukharin never repudiated individual liberation as an objective, however much the means they adopted to achieve it may actually have worked to its detriment. Nor did they ever reject the notion that under Communism the interests of the individual would be paramount, and that the interests of a Communist society would consist primarily of fostering individual liberation to this extent, the interests of the individual and society would be the same. Other Bolsheviks, however, envisioned the relationship between Communism and individual liberation differently. If, in Trotskiis and Bukharins scenario, Communism was a precondition of the liberation of the individual, in the view of Bogdanov, for example, a Communist society was not only a prerequisite of individual liberation but the object of this liberation as well. In this latter conception, the welfare of a Communist society was always paramount, and everyone who lived in such a society would voluntarily and freely devote himself to advancing its interests. According to Bogdanov, societies were essentially systems for organizing human and material resources, and a Communist society was best able to perform this task because all of its constituent elements (that is, the individuals living in it) would function harmoniously. The ultimate goal of a socialist revolution was a kind of universal collectivism, and the proletariat was uniquely capable of achieving it through the collective labour it performed under capitalism; unlike the labouring poor of slaveholding and feudal societies, the industrial working class was able to develop a sense of what Bogdanov called comradely cooperation, an ability to work together on behalf of common
-

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objectives, which the New Soviet Man would eventually inherit.36 In contrast to what happened in earlier societies, where individuals energies were either dissipated in the pursuit of purely personal goals, or mobilized by an authoritarian state to enhance its power, in a Communist society everyone would collaborate freely on goals from the pursuit of which everyone would benefit. In a book published in 1914, Bogdanov explained how this ethic of collegiality that would exist under Communism makes possible the great tasks, such as the transformation of nature, in which the New Soviet Man would be engaged:
struggle against the endless spontaneity of nature [requires] a fusion of personal lives into one colossal whole, harmonious in the relation of its parts, systematically grouping all elements for one common struggle.... An enormous mass of creative activity, spontaneous and conscious, is necessary to solve this task. It demands the forces not of man but of mankind, and only in working at this task does mankind as such emerge.&dquo;
The

In this way the New Soviet Man would resemble a cell in a living organism, and like a cell in an organism he would be inseparable (though certainly distinguishable in the functions he performed) from everyone else in society who enable the society as a whole
to

survive.3$

In his futuristic novels, Red Star and Engineer Menni, both written before the Bolshevik Revolution, Bogdanov described the New Soviet Man and his society in some detail. In this society, which is located on Mars, most vestiges of individuality have been eliminated: the houses the Martians inhabit are identical, children are reared communally in special Childrens Colonies, there is unisex clothing and a single language, and the only public monuments the Martians erect are intended to commemorate significant events rather than the exploits of individuals. 39 At one point in Engineer Menni, Netti, the Martian physician whom Bogdanov uses to express his own views, draws a distinction between what he says was the historical mission of the bourgeoisie on earth, which was to create a human individual, an active being inspired with self-confidence, and the present task of the proletariat, which is to gather these active atoms [of

society], bind them together with a higher bond [and] fuse them into a single, intelligent human organism This is not to suggest that Bogdanov rejected the principle of individual liberation. However, by reversing the relationship in a

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69 Communist society between the individual and society from what it was for Trotskii and Bukharin, he downgraded its importance significantly. If, for Trotskii and Bukharin, individual liberation was an end in itself, and Communism the political system that most easily facilitated it, for Bogdanov, the interests of a Communist society took precedence over everything else, even the liberation of the individual. But because, under Communism, the individuals interests would always be identical to those of society, and because everyone who was living under Communism would be aware of this, the individual could commit himself to serving his society cognizant that in doing so he would also be assisting in his own emancipation. Bogdanov expressed this idea, however elliptically, in Red Star: The whole [society] lives in each and every one of us, in each tiny cell of the great organism, and each of us lives through the whole.4 A decade later, in an article describing the education he favoured in a Communist society, he claimed that only collectivism creates the conditions for the systematic development of individual abilities.42 And in 1920 he noted that the collectivism he favoured did not entail the submission of the minority to the majority, but rather its complete agreement with the majority.&dquo; To be sure, this natural harmony of interests Bogdanov anticipated was different from that which utilitarians such as Bentham and Mill claimed to exist in a perfectly self-regulating society, where everyone who is capable of calculating his interests rationally is allowed, within limits, to pursue them. Although both Bogdanov and the utilitarians posited a congruence of individual and social interests in the societies they favoured, in Bogdanovs Communist society the individual advances his own interests as a consequence of choosing to advance the larger social interest, while in the self-regulating society of Bentham and Mill the individual advances the larger social interest as a consequence of choosing to advance his own interests. Moreover, in the utilitarians scenario the individual is unaware that his actions, rationally calculated, will benefit society as well as himself; in Bogdanovs, by contrast, the individual recognizes what the consequences of his actions will be. Indeed, Bogdanov believed that this ability to discern the results of actions and behaviour would be one of the principal attributes of the New Soviet Man - just as the congruence of individual and social interests would be one of the distinguishing features of Communism

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Several other Bolsheviks envisioned the relationship of the New Soviet Man to society in similar terms. Like Bogdanov, Gorkii considered individual liberation a laudable objective; in a letter he wrote to E.A. Kuskova in 1929, he proclaimed that what is important to me is the rapid all-round development of human personality.&dquo; But because, in Gorkiis view, the proletariat, as a class, was inclined to favour collectivist solutions to its problems, the members (or the descendants) of the proletariat who will eventually establish Communism will recognize that their emancipation consists precisely of advancing the larger interests of society.6 In 1908 Gorkii explained this idea in the following way:
Not I but we here is the basis for the emancipation of the individual. Then, finally, man will feel himself to be the incarnation of all wealth, of all the worlds beauty, of all experience of humanity, and spiritually the equal of all his brothers.... The individual person is integrated only when heroes disappear, and people are tied to one another by feelings of mutual respect.... These feelings inevitably strengthen in everyone an awareness of the unity of human experience, and they create a sense of solidarity that makes possible the
-

achievement of common

objectives.&dquo;

In a similar vein, Alexandra Kollontai imagined the New Soviet Man and the New Soviet Woman as creatures motivated primarily by a desire to enhance the welfare of the society in which they lived. In much the way that Gorkii and Bogdanov did, Kollontai acknowledged the validity of individual liberation, and she also recognized that Communism was its essential prerequisite : Only in the new social labour order, in which the concern of society will be directed to the creation of conditions favourable to the flourishing of personality, will the social atmosphere be formed in which the realization of the higher moral person, now inaccessible to us, will be possible. 48 But because the virtues of those creating Communism will include a capacity for altruism and an ability to recognize the primacy of collective endeavour, there will be a tendency - an entirely laudable one, among those actually living under according to Kollontai Communism to elevate the welfare of society above the interests of any particular individual. 49 With the creation of Communism there will come into existence a new generation independent and courageous and with a strong sense of the collective: a
-

...

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generation
else.S~

which

places the good of

the collective above all

What, then, would be the fate of the individual, the emancipation of whom Kollontai always claimed to champion? Here Kollontai seemed to shift her position. In 1905 she insisted that under Communism personal desire will coincide with social imperatives which suggests that individual liberation would be a concomitant of any and all efforts to serve the larger social interest.&dquo; By 1921, however, she had concluded that, even under Communism, these desires and social imperatives could conflict, and that if they did, The needs and interests of the individual must be subordinated to the interests and aims of the collective. 112 Evidently, in 1921 individual liberation did not have as high a priority on Kollontais ideological agenda as it did in 1905; by 1921 she had determined that there were, in fact, circumstances when the interests (and the emancipation) of the individual would have to be sacrificed to the interests of society. The reason for the change in her position, it seems, is that, over the years, she became much less confident than Bogdanov and Gorkii that the natural harmony of interests they all anticipated would extend to every circumstance or situation. As a result, she was more willing than Bogdanov and Gorkii to concede that in a Communist society there would be at least the possibility of conflict. In Kollontais view, however, there was no reason to be alarmed by this, since in those relatively infrequent instances when a confluence of individual and social interests did not exist, the individual would recognize this and prevent any conflict that might ensue simply by subordinating his own interests to those of society. Conflict, it seems, was something that Kollontai wanted at all costs to avoid, and instead of acknowledging that conflict, properly managed and adjudicated, could be beneficial to individuals and societies alike, she claimed that the New Soviet Man and Woman would be virtuous precisely in their capacity to prevent it, mostly by subordinating their own interests to the larger social ones if ever (or whenever) these diverged. A Communist society, in sum, would be completely harmonious: the natural harmony of interests Kollontai envisioned in the society as a whole would obviate most conflicts, while the altruism she imagined in the New Soviet Man and Woman would prevent all others.&dquo; Many of the themes that Bogdanov, Gorkii and Kollontai
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72

stressed in describing the New Soviet Man are evident as well in what Lunacharsky had to say on the same subject. Like the others, Lunacharsky saw virtue in the liberation of the individual, and like the others he believed that this liberation was truly possible only under Communism. The first duty of a free and collective order, he wrote in 1909, would be the realization of the possibility for each and everyone to develop himself.&dquo;&dquo; But because the proletariat, as a class, is conditioned by the collective nature of the work it performs (and also by the proximity of the slums in which it lives) to recognize the nobility of collective endeavour, it is able to establish a Communist society in which individuals devote themselves to furthering the common good; in Lunacharskys phraseology, it is able to proceed from I to , We . ss In typically florid language, Lunacharsky described in 1918 what exactly it was that made Communism as a political system, preferable to every other. A Communist society, he claimed, would be one,
where everyone actually works not for someone else who uses his labour, but in order to make his own payment to the general fund, to the common temple, in which he can live and can pray to the great and to the beautiful. Only in such a society is it actually possible to have truly educated people, only there can man reveal what is in his own heart and stop saying, with Maupassant, that man is always a solitary being and that even his best friends will always remain an enigma to him.... Peoples hearts will be joined with others in an atmosphere of brotherhood, in an atmosphere in which people love one another and help one another. 56
...

To demonstrate that this kind of collectivism would not result in individual distinctiveness being obliterated, Lunacharsky resorted to many of the same intellectual expedients some might call them semantic sleights of hand - that Bogdanov, Gorkii and Kollontai had used. Quite fortuitously, there would be an identity of individual and social interests under Communism, so that the individual would actually ennoble himself by working for the common good. In 1904 Lunacharsky promised that in the future we will construct a social order in which the interests of the individual and those of society will be in complete harmony.5 Should this harmony of interests cease to exist or simply fail to apply in any particular situation, however, the individual would properly make the interests and the welfare of society his priority; in 1909 Lunacharsky said that in a
-

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73 Communist society there would be collective projects requiring the individual to sacrifice at least some of his interests, and he even claimed that persons living in such a society would give up their lives if the interests of society somehow required it. S8 But Lunacharsky, unlike Kollontai, was not content simply to acknowledge the necessity, at times, of individual acts of altruism, which, while preventing conflict, might also jeopardize the emancipation of the individual. Instead, he attempted to safeguard this emancipation by distinguishing what he said were two very different, and even opposite and mutually exclusive, kinds of individualism. There was, he said, a micropsychic individualism, predominant mainly in capitalist societies, that fostered the self at the expense of others, the petty at the expense of the profound, and all that was imitative and ephemeral at the expense of everything that was creative and permanent. Needless to say, Lunacharsky rejected this kind of individualism entirely, and he was pleased to predict that it would have no place in a Communist society. But there was also a better kind of individualism, which Lunacharsky called macropsychic, that he said would characterize the New Soviet Man. This individualism, as it happened, was concerned with greater things than the individual himself: the macropsychic individual would recognize the triviality of his own needs and interests indeed in he would even recognize the triviality of his own existence comparison with the great and enduring collectivities around him, and he would happily and enthusiastically devote his entire life to protecting them. In the macropsychic individual, he claimed, the &dquo;I&dquo; is identified with some broad and enduring We&dquo; . 1 59 It is hardly necessary to point out the fatuousness of Lunacharskys argument. If it is intellectually defensible (though perhaps empirically indeterminable) to posit a natural harmony of interests in a society that does not yet exist, and if it is also intellectually defensible (though perhaps questionable ethically) to assert that individuals in a society should be prepared under certain circumstances to sacrifice their interests, or even their lives, in the service of some larger social interest, it is simply preposterous, and also a perversion of language, to claim that sacrificing an individual or his interests is actually an expression or an affirmation of individualism. By juggling his categories and amending his definitions, Lunacharsky may have made it
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74

possible psychologically for himself to continue to pose as a champion of individual liberation, but his intellectual gymnastics also had the effect of reducing the notion of individual liberation to absurdity. Still, Lunacharsky valued the idea of individual liberation,
however much his attempts to reconcile it with what he saw as the requirements of a Communist society may have trivialized it or rendered it meaningless. And Lunacharsky, like Bogdanov, Gorkii and Kollontai, always believed that every New Soviet Man would be endowed with a unique combination of qualities and attributes, so that in a Communist society individual diversity would always exist. But individual diversity, so predominant in the visions of Trotskii and Bukharin, and still visible, though partially obscured, in those of Bogdanov, Gorkii, Kollontai and Lunacharsky, is practically nonexistent in Alexei Gastevs. Of all the Bolsheviks, Gastev was probably the most insistent in arguing that Soviet workers should regiment themselves for maximum industrial efficiency, and in keeping with this objective he advocated the application of Taylorism, a concept of industrial management developed in the USA that stressed the rationalization of labour through the imposition of uniform rules and procedures. In the 1920s, as the director of the Central Institute of Labour, and as a participant in the movement for the Scientific Organization of Labour (Nauchnaia Organizatsiia Truda, commonly known as NOT), Gastev tried to increase industrial productivity in the Soviet Union by using methods that he thought were consistent with Taylorism, such as photographing workers in an effort to eliminate unnecessary motions But Gastev went well beyond Taylorism in his belief that, to achieve the levels of productivity to which the Bolsheviks aspired, the Russian worker would have to be regimented to the point where

he would be little more than a machine, lacking those aspects of personality, such as spontaneity, creativity and intuition, that make human beings individually and collectively unique. To be sure, there were others in the Soviet government, and many outside of it as well, who advocated the mechanization of humanity. In his celebrated novel Cement, Gladkov depicted the New Soviet Man as possessing many of the qualities of machines: one of the characters in the novel, who works in a cement factory and is presented as a prototype of the New Soviet

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75
a machine, Im an engine L. Sosnovskii, the editor of Bednota, reminded his readers in the early 1920s of the necessity of seeking and finding new men [who] must be welded into a cohort of steel.62 And Vsevelod Meierkhold, as part of the effort to create an October in the Theatre to complement the political revolution of 1917, recommended the creation of new and different human beings who, in the precision and co-ordination of their movements, would be high velocity men, much like the workers of the future that Gastev - whom Meierkhold greatly admired - was trying to create.63 Clearly, Gastevs ideas resonated deeply in Bolshevik culture, and in Russian culture generally in the early twentieth century, which gave rise to intellectual and artistic movements such as Futurism and Constructivism that exalted technology as a liberating force in the history of humanity. Lenin was only the most prominent of the many Bolsheviks who helped to establish in the Soviet Union a cult of the machine, which played a prominent role in Soviet politics and culture. But it was Gastev, more than anyone else, who saw that this cult of the machine could lead to the dehumanization of man, a process he lauded as both socially and economically beneficial. According to Gastev, industrial labour by itself should have made Russian workers efficient, punctual, singleminded, attentive, and orderly just like the American workers he so admired, and whose superiority as a class he considered the single most critical factor in the expansion of the American economy. But since Russian workers were actually cynical, lethargic and lackadaisical, and given to prolonged periods of daydreaming, the Soviet state would have to intervene to eliminate these traits, which Gastev attributed not to capitalism but to what he considered defects in the Russian national character. 64 The result would be a world in which there was no longer any difference between human beings and machines. As Gastev imagined them, the new men and women of the future, having grown out of iron, would have nerves of steel and muscles like iron rails, and would be so devoid of individuality, so lacking in the distinctive characteristics that foster a sense of individual identity, that there would be no reason to give them names.65 In 1919 Gastev predicted that proletarian psychology would be characterized by a striking anonymity permitting the classifica-

Man,

says that when Im with

myself .6 Similarly,

...

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76
an individual proletarian unit [the term Gastev used to designate an individual worker] as A, B, C, or 325, 0.075, 0, and so on.66 And in 1921 he even deemed the protection of the individual just a minor problem with which the new people of the future would scarcely concern themselves. 17 The following
same article, cited above, in which Gastev recommended replacing names with letters or numbers reveals how strongly he favoured the elimination of individuality that would follow the regimentation and mechanization of humanity:

tion of

excerpt from the

The methodical, constantly growing precision of work, educating the muscles and nerves of the proletariat, imparts to proletarian psychology a special alertness, full of distrust for every kind of human feeling, trusting only the instrument, the apparatus, and the machine.... The psychology of the proletariat is already being transformed into a new social psychology where one human complex works under the control of another.... This psychology reveals a new working-class collectivism which is manifested not only in relations between persons but in the relations of whole groups of people with whole groups of mechanisms.... The manifestations of this mechanized collectivism are so foreign to personality, so anonymous, that the movement of things, in which there is no longer any individual face but only regular uniform steps and faces lacking expression, lyricism, emotion, and a soul, is measured not by a shout or a smile, but by a pressure gauge or a speed gauge.68

In his lengthy poem, Express, a Siberian Fantasy, Gastev described even more vividly how utterly without individuality the New Soviet Man would be. The poem describes the journey of an express train, The Panorama, as it crosses Siberia at some unspecified time in the future. Although many of the cities the train passes, such as Kurgan, Krasnoiarsk, Irkutsk and Novosibirsk, are still run by capitalists, there are others mostly in the regions of Siberia closest to European Russia - where life and work are organized on a co-operative basis. Once those who live in these co-operative settlements defeat the capitalists and take control of all of Siberia, they will reap the benefits of the skyscraper platforms, blast furnaces and other monuments to technological proficiency that the capitalists previously constructed. There is much about what Gastev describes in the poem that is mindboggling. Not only are the human beings who live in and around these co-operative settlements very much like machines, or automated producers, who go about their daily business without expressing, or even feeling, any emotions, but many of the farms, factories and houses where these automatons
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live and work are in some sense alive, able to run or march from one location to another. In Gastevs Siberia, the distinction between animate and inanimate has been virtually obliterated, and the human beings who inhabit this utopia of hypermodernity, with its speeding railroads and automated sidewalks and elevators, are really an amalgam of organic and inorganic matter.69 In Gastevs phraseology, all the little souls living in Siberia have been drowned in metal, and there is being forged in fiery crucibles everywhere a single great one that will enable every human being to act on the basis of that which most directly serves the interests of society. 70 But in Gastevs Communist society of the future there is neither a natural harmony of social and individual interests, nor are there any interests the individual has to sacrifice in serving his society, because in such a society there are really no individuals at all, only animated machines who are programmed or conditioned to act in every instance in a way that is socially useful and productive. Because in Gastevs society an authoritarian state is conspicuously missing, it is not clear how, in the absence of external coercion, these New Soviet Men and Women are programmed or conditioned to behave as they do. But the monotony and uniformity of their behaviour, as well as the absence of any internal motivation to explain their behaviour, are striking proof that, for Gastev, individual emancipation, as a concept and an

objective, was an absurdity.&dquo;


For this reason, Gastev and the other leaders of NOT
were

severely criticized in Pravda in 1923 for transforming the living person into an unreasoning and stupid instrument without any general qualifications or sufficient all-round development. 12 And Bogdanov (though not Bukharin or Trotskii) criticized Gastev for confusing the work habits the Bolsheviks hoped to inculcate in the proletariat with the culture and society they hoped the proletariat would eventually create; Gastevs prescription for the future, he complained, would reduce human beings to participants in a military drill.&dquo; In the early 1920s Bolshevism still retained in its aspirations enough of the individualism it had inherited from the intelligentsia for its leaders to recoil in horror when visionaries such as Gastev pointed out where the collectivism they were practising was likely to lead. But for those in the Party and in the country who were truly concerned about the liberation of the individual, the worst was yet to come.

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78

The Stalinist version of the New Soviet Man was different in a number of ways from all previous ones. However much Trotskiis and Bukharins emphasis on individual liberation caused the Communist society they envisioned to differ from the more collectivist conceptions entertained by Bogdanov, Gorkii, Kollontai, Lunacharsky and Gastev, all of these Bolsheviks imagined the New Soviet Man largely as a beneficiary, rather than as an instrument, of history; for them, the New Soviet Man was the highest expression of the promise in Bolshevism that history would yield a new social order superior to every other that preceded it. But for Stalin, the New Soviet Man was not a consequence or a concomitant of Communism. Rather, any man in the Soviet Union who was actively engaged in building Communism was, to one degree or another, a New Soviet Man, and any woman who was supporting a Soviet man in this endeavour was herself a New Soviet Woman. Because, by 1936, the Soviet Union (in Stalins estimation) had achieved socialism, and was about to enter a transitional phase from socialism to Communism, there was no longer any reason, in Stalins view, to confine the New Soviet Man to the realm of fantasy; all the Soviet people had to do if they wished to see what the men and women of the future would be like was to look around them at the categories of people the Soviet government singled out for praise and recognition. As a result, the Soviet people would recognize the extent to which they themselves had been transformed, along with their society, since the October Revolution of 1917. As Andrei Zhdanov proclaimed in 1946:
With each day our people attain an even higher level. Today we are not the people we were yesterday, and tomorrow we will not be as we were today. We are already not the same people we were before 1917. Russia is not the same and our character has changed also. 74

Because the Soviet Union, by Stalins own analysis, had reached in the 1930s a point in its historical development where it resembled Communism more than it did capitalism, Stalin could properly forbid any further speculation on the future: if the future was already implicit in the present, then any discussion of a future beyond the one that already existed would be unnecessary and, from Stalins perspective, potentially harmful politically. 71 Whom did Stalin consider New Soviet Men in the Soviet

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79

Union in the 1930s? And what qualities did these persons possess that justified Stalins consideration of them as prototypes of the universal Communist human being that would exist once Communism was established everywhere? Judging by the public praise and economic rewards that were lavished on them, one can legitimately include among the ranks of Stalins supermen the Stakhanovites, who shattered existing norms of industrial productivity, the aviators who established national and international records for transcontinental flight, and the various mountaineers, parachutists and long-distance skiers whose exploits in exceeding what were previously thought to be the limits of human ability were exalted in the Soviet press with a degree of hyperbole otherwise reserved for Stalin himself. 76 It is important to bear in mind that, beginning in the mid1930s, virtually all of the Soviet citizens whom the government singled out for commendation were honoured primarily as individuals. Their achievements were extolled as a consequence of individual excellence, and even in undertakings such as coal mining, in which individual achievement was impossible without the contributions of others, only the individual hero was recognized : although Stakhanov could not possibly have mined 14 times the normal allotment of coal without the assistance of the timberers who fortified the shaft in which he worked, the latter were completely ignored in the celebratory rites that followed.&dquo; Indeed, one of the reasons the Soviet press stressed the exploits of Soviet pilots such as Chkalov, Beliakov and Baidukov, rather than representatives of other professions, was that aviation, by its very nature as a solitary enterprise, was conducive to individual heroism. The feats of these men were essentially the feats of single individuals, and because the nature of their achievements was consistent with what Stalin believed would be the heroism of the New Soviet Man, he could point to the fact that Soviet pilots had crossed the North Pole or traversed the length of the Soviet Union in record time as proof of the superiority of Communism and of the Soviet system as a whole. In a peculiar way, Stalin restored to the New Soviet Man the element of individual initiative that, to one degree or another, Bogdanov, Gorkii, Kollontai, Lunacharsky and Gastev had removed. The accomplishments of the Stakhanovites, pilots, mountaineers, parachutists and skiers were not so much a consequence of their physical prowess - although their strength,

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80

endurance, quickness and manual dexterity were all generously acknowledged. Rather, such people were singled out either implicitly or explicitly as New Soviet Men because they dared to ignore or to challenge conventional wisdom, because they
refused to be bound

by commonly accepted notions of what was

humanly possible. What Piatakov maintained about the Stakhanovites applies equally to the others: they were people who challenged and overturned existing norms.&dquo; In Stalins conception, the New Soviet Man was someone, anyone, who, by virtue of his willingness to challenge authority, placed himself outside the existing hierarchies in which he lived and worked. And to the
Soviet state chose to characterize many of those who actually did this as models for everyone else to emulate, it had some reason for believing that the attributes of these individuals would eventually be shared by the population as a whole. Although not everyone in Stalins Communist society of the future would be a Stakhanovite, a pilot or a skier, all of its inhabitants would possess the temperament and, in particular, the individual initiative, that mining coal, flying airplanes and racing down mountains required. 79 But the individualism Stalin seemed to favour bore little resemblance to the individualism that was implicit in the aspirations of the Russian intelligentsia, or even in the Bolshevism of Trotskii and Bukharin. Although the heroes Stalin exalted acted as individuals when they violated existing norms or rules of procedure, they did so only with the blessing of Stalin himself, and the fact that this blessing was sometimes granted retroactively in no way lessened or eliminated its necessity; if Stalin had not approved of what Chkalov and Stakhanov had done, undoubtedly they would not have been rewarded as they were, and they might even have been reprimanded, punished or shot. In point of fact, the particular groups of people in the Soviet Union that Stalin singled out as New Soviet Men were treated both by Stalin and by his epigones in the Soviet press as little more than children, whose childlike, irrational and almost instinctive proclivity for challenging authority, common sense and conventional wisdom was politically acceptable only because Stalin sanctioned it. In Stakhanovs reminiscences of the occasion in November 1935 when he and the other original Stakhanovites visited Stalin in the Kremlin, Stakhanov captured the essence of Stalins attitude when he described how the Soviet
extent that the

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81

leader looked down on [him] with the eyes of a father and a teacher, leaving the clear impression that without Stalins stem but benevolent paternalism, Stakhanov could not possibly have mined as much coal as he did.8 And in his speech to the Stakhanovites, Stalin, for his part, went out of his way to characterize the heroes assembled in front of him as simple and shy [people] who, despite their amazing accomplishments, required a father-figure like Stalin to explain the larger political and historical significance of what they had done.8 Although the people Stalin recognized as New Soviet Men were truly distinguishable as individuals, and the contributions they made to Soviet society were genuinely unique, their individualism, as Stalin interpreted it, was essentially that of a child. And just like children, in whom disobedience rarely assumes a political dimension, Stalins New Soviet Men willingly acknowledged the permanence and the legitimacy of Soviet dictatorship. So involved were they in mining coal, climbing mountains or jumping out of airplanes that none of them ever thought to ask how best the Soviet people should be governed. This, then, was Stalins New Soviet Man, at least as he was presented to the Soviet people in the 1930s: a heroic, energetic, wilful and childlike naif, whose willingness to take risks and to defy conventional wisdom was exceeded only by his blind devotion to Stalin. In the 1940s and early 1950s, however, Stalin felt compelled to indicate how the New Soviet Man would live
once

behalf of socialism and the Soviet state had day or at the end of his life. To be sure, Stalin never stated his preferences directly. Nowhere in his written works, at any rate, is there a description of the domestic arrangements within which the New Soviet Man would spend his leisure time. But by examining (in much the way that Vera Dunham has done) the kinds of characters that were presented in the middlebrow literature the regime tended to favour towards the end of the Stalin era, one can infer the domestic qualities and attributes that would make the New Soviet Man a model citizen as well as a model worker.82 Paradoxically, the New Soviet Man at home - as opposed to the New Soviet Man at work - would be a self-interested, conformist, unheroic and anti-intellectual Communist meshchanin with predominantly consumerist aspirations; the pink lampshades, mauve wallpaper and scalloped doilies would be only the
on

his exertions

stopped, whether

at the end of his work

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82 external manifestations of a deeply private and socially conservative sensibility that was based upon the principle that those who give to their society through their labour are entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the form of creature comforts much like those Stakhanov and the original Stakhanovites received in 1935.&dquo; In keeping with Stalins smug observation at the ceremonies at which these rewards were presented that life has become more joyous, the figures in middlebrow Soviet fiction in the 1940s and early 1950s express the belief that there is a private sphere of life which is no less important to the Soviet citizen than the time he spends serving the larger interests of society a belief that the Soviet government, in the interest of preserving political stability, was prepared to recognize.8 In the Soviet novels that depict, as it were, the private lives of the New Soviet Man and Woman, this belief is expressed in a variety of ways, sometimes with a high degree of literary skill, sometimes not, but nowhere with greater clarity than in Cherkasovs The Day Begins in the East, which was serialized in Oktiabr in 1949. In Cherkasovs story, which takes place during the Second World War, the heroine, who works as a gold prospecter, explains why she so desperately wants a house of her own, even as the Germans are approaching Stalingrad, threatening the very existence of the Soviet state:
-

We must buy a house! We are fed up with living in back yard wings and dragging ourselves from flat to flat. We have a whole trunkful of honorary
...

awards! And we have two medals also! Where should I put them? On top of the icon? Yes? We will certainly build a house and thats all there is to it. I want to live properly as a person should. Thats how it is!8

At first glance, it might appear that the attributes and qualities Stalin preferred in the New Soviet Man and Woman are contradictory. The very same people who labour so heroically in factories suddenly become self-seeking and small-minded petitbourgeoisie once they retire from their jobs, or simply go home for the night. But this combination of qualities is actually consistent with Stalinism as a whole; just as the New Soviet Man is both heroic and complacent, idealistic and acquisitive, and cognizant of the larger social interest as well as his own, Stalinism combined economic modernization (for which heroism, idealism and a sense of the social are often required) and political and social conservatism (which can foster com-

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83

placency, acquisitiveness and the cultivation of private interests).


Furthermore, this dualism in Stalinism between economic modernization and political and social conservatism was implicit as well in the agenda of autocratic reformers in Russian history who preceded Stalin, such as Peter the Great, Alexander II and Stolypin. Perhaps the ultimate paradox in the evolution of the New Soviet Man as he was envisioned by the Bolsheviks is that the closer the Bolsheviks came in their own estimation to creating a society that was different from all those in history that preceded it, the more they depicted the people who would populate this society in ways that reflected a tradition of autocratic modernization that anyone familiar with Russian history would immediately recognize. Like the Petrine shipbuilder or engineer whose technical ingenuity helped to strengthen the tsarist system he supported, the Stakhanovite exceeded his norms while remaining politically loyal to the Soviet regime. Indeed, one suspects that Stalin, who was well aware of how much his political and economic policies resembled those of Peter the Great, was equally aware of the extent to which he anchored the New Soviet Man, who was previously just an ethereal figment of the Bolshevik imagination, in the realities of the Russian past. And conversely, one suspects that neither Peter, Alexander II or Stolypin would have found Stalins vision of the New Soviet Man in any significant sense inconsistent with their own notion of how the subjects of a modernizing autocracy should act. With Stalins death in 1953, and the ascendancy of Khrushchev that followed it, the New Soviet Man assumed once more the role he had previously served, namely as an object of aspiration, realizable only in the future.86 Not even Khrushchevs prediction that the Soviet Union would achieve Communism by 1980 could make the New Soviet Man the reality (or the perceived reality) he had been under Stalin. But for the entire course of Soviet history, from the hopeful beginnings of 1917 to the ignominious collapse of 1991, the vision of the New Soviet Man was an integral part of Soviet mythology, serving to legitimize the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet system just as much as it inspired and energized the Bolshevik leadership, and very possibly the Soviet populace as well, to make the dream of a Communist, classless society a reality. But if this vision was a source of political legitimacy for the

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84

Bolsheviks, it also helped to erode that legitimacy by establishing


standard of perfection against which the harsh realities of life in the Soviet Union could be judged. As it happened, the Bolsheviks created not a New Soviet Man but a New Soviet Leviathan, which could neither create a perfect human being, nor provide a reasonable measure of material security for the imperfect, but very real human beings who inhabited it. Preoccupied, even obsessed, at times, with creating a new man for the future, the Bolsheviks easily brutalized the individuals they governed in the present. Indeed, the Bolsheviks frequently justified the suffering they inflicted on the Soviet people on the grounds that any undertaking so noble as the creation of a perfect man and a perfect society sanctioned any means that were necessary to complete it. However much the Bolsheviks (with the obvious exceptions of Gastev and Stalin) championed the concept of individual liberation, they were prepared in the name of Communism to sacrifice the interests, and sometimes the lives, of millions of individual human beings because they thought that in doing so they were hastening the creation of a higher form of human personality. But this personality was, in actuality, only an abstraction, even when Stalin saw many of its attributes prefigured in particular categories of the Soviet population. The Bolsheviks objective of individual liberation was ethically flawed in other ways, not just in the brutal methods that were adopted in the pursuit of it. Equally deficient, from the perspective of Western liberalism, was the concept itself, the very notion which the Bolsheviks inherited from of individual liberation as a process of selfMarxism and the Russian intelligentsia realization and self-fulfilment. Obviously, neither Gastev nor Stalin advocated individual liberation as the Bolsheviks generally defined it. Gastevs New Soviet Man was essentially a robot or an automaton, and Stalins was little more than a child. As for Bogdanov, Gorkii, Kollontai and Lunacharsky, while they all claimed to be committed to the emancipation of the individual, their willingness in most circumstances to subordinate the individuals interests to those of Communist society as a whole makes one sceptical of just how firm and lasting their commitment actually was. (Bogdanovs perceived identity of social and individual interests in a Communist society seems to have been mostly a rhetorical device to mask his preference for the interests of society over those of the individual.) But even if their belief in
a
-

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85

individual liberation was as genuine as that of Trotskii and Bukharin, their notion of the kinds of things a truly liberated individual would do in a Communist society was seriously constricted. All of these Bolsheviks, and Trotskii and Bukharin as well, espoused a purely cultural and aesthetic individualism that is traceable historically to the Renaissance: they all believed that the highest expression of a persons humanity was the fulfilment of his individual potential; whether that took the form of writing

novels, climbing mountains, buildings bridges

or

conducting

scientific research was less important than the fact that activities such as these fostered a sense of individual uniqueness and selfworth. But there is another kind of individualism, more political than cultural and aesthetic, to which these Bolsheviks were more or less oblivious: an individualism that not only acknowledges, but recognizes the inevitability and desirability of political differences and disagreements, an individualism that allows people to express unpopular opinions without retaliation, or fear of retaliation, from their government. Only an infinitesimal number of Bolsheviks espoused this political individualism as well as the more aesthetic and cultural variety favoured by Trotskii, Bukharin and the others, and among foreign Communists only Rosa Luxemburg comes to mind as one who understood that freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. 87 In the last years of their lives, Trotskii and Bukharin finally came to accept this, but the lateness of their conversion hardly makes them the best exemplars of a kind of individualism that for most of their political lives they vehemently

rejected.
For this reason, one can properly question whether the aesthetic and cultural individualism to which the Bolsheviks were committed (or claimed to be committed) would have resulted in the emergence of a human being who was truly free. Furthermore, the fact that the individual liberation the Bolsheviks espoused was actually a fairly limited one strongly suggests that the entire enterprise of creating a New Soviet Man was flawed, perhaps fatally, from the very beginning, and that the Russian people, and the other peoples of the former Soviet Union, are better off today without any such vision of a perfect human being to divert them from the essential task of improving their lives in the immediate future. In 1991 Viktor Erofeev, a Soviet novelist and critic, attempted to explain to Westerners why the collapse of

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the Soviet Union was so those who welcomed it:

troubling

to the Soviet

people,

even to

All this [political turmoil] is not comprehensible to Westerners because they have never lived in a system which claimed to be creating a perfect new man, which celebrated the possibility of man. You [Westerners] are only asked by your state to be yourself. But here the collapse has created a crisis of humanism, the collapse of the state has left man small, humiliated, vulnerable. Thats why people sometimes seem indifferent, why political proclamations are taken more broadly.&dquo;
was surely right in claiming that the crisis the Soviet Union was experiencing was spiritual as well as political and economic in its dimensions, there is good reason to question his implication that the Soviet people were better off before the Soviet system collapsed because the system provided them with a vision of human perfection to which they could aspire. Studying the New Soviet Man as the Bolsheviks envisioned him from 1917 to 1953 reveals, if nothing else, the dangers of intellectuals seeking and using political power to realize a vision of the future that, in the Soviet case, was not just an abstraction, but a flawed abstraction as well.

Although Erofeev

Notes
The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Professors Barbara Clements, George Kline and Marshall Shatz in the preparation of this article. 1. Thomas Paine, Common Sense, reprinted in Michael Foot and Isaac Kramnick, eds, The Thomas Paine Reader, (London 1987), 109. Paine, of course,
was writing at the time of the American Revolution. But the sentiments he expressed were shared by the French Revolutionaries and, in particular, the Jacobins. It is revealing of the different emphases of the French and Russian Revolutions that while the Jacobins spoke in the 1790s of remaking the world, Maiakovsky claimed in 1917 that the Bolsheviks would remake life, Lunacharsky in 1918 that they would create a new man, and Pavel Lebedev-Poliansky, also m 1918, that the proletarian culture the Bolsheviks would foster would make possible the emergence of a new human being possessing entirely new and different emotions and ideas. (V.F. Shishkin, Velikii Oktiabr i proletarskaia moral (Moscow 1976), 20-1, quoted in Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution (New York 1989), 38; A. Lunacharsky, Mir obnovliaetsia (Moscow 1989), 141; Pavel Lebedev-Poliansky, Pod znamenem "Prolekulta", Proletarskaia kultura , 1 (July 1918), 3.) Although the Jacobins certainly considered human perfection a welcome consequence of the economic and political changes they advocated, only marginal figures in the French Revolution, such as Hupay and Mercier, fleshed out a coherent vision of a new man living in a state of perpetual happiness. The Supreme Being that Robespierre called on all

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Frenchmen to worship was, of course, divine, not human. See, e.g., James Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (New York 1980), 79-83; and Crane Brinton, The Jacobins (New York 1930), 137-83. 2. Frank E. Manuel and Fritzie P. Manuel, Utopian Thought in the Western World (Cambridge, MA 1979). 3. Ibid., 33-114. 4. C.A. Helvétius, De lEsprit, or Essays of the Mind (London 1810). Trotskiis retort to parsons of all religious creeds that the Bolsheviks were engaged in creating a real paradise on earth for the human race rather than a paradise in the world to come was one that other Bolsheviks could support. Quoted in René Fueloep-Miller, The Mind and Face of Bolshevism: An Examination of Cultural Life in Soviet Russia (New York 1965), 76. 5. As Leszek Kolakowskii has pointed out, the Bolsheviks claimed to know not only what the future would be, but how to achieve it. (Leszek Kolakowskii, Need for Utopia, Fear of Utopia, in Seweryn Bialer and Sophia Sluzar, eds, Radicalism in the Contemporary Age, Volume 2: Radical Visions of the Future (Boulder, CO 1977), 7.) Since utopias are by definition unattainable, the Bolsheviks cannot properly be considered utopians. 6. For example, Frederick Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, reprinted in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, 26 (New York 1976), 189. 7. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, reprinted in Collected Works, op. cit., 5, 47. Also in The German Ideology, Marx and Engels commented that in a Communist society there will be no painters, only men and women who, among other things, paint. Op. cit. 5, 394. 8. N.A. Dobroliubov, Selected Philosophical Works (Moscow 1956), 283. An analysis of the intelligentsia can be found in Marshall Shatz, Soviet Dissent in Historical Perspective (New York 1980), 12-63. 9. Nikolai Chernyshevsky, What is to be Done?, trans by Michael Katz (Ithaca and London 1989), 211. 10. Ibid., 359-60. 11. Katerina Clark has noted the resemblance between the positive heroes extolled in Soviet literature, particularly in the Stalin era, and the myths of the princes and the saints and of the warrior-knights of the byliny that were a part of Kievan and Muscovite culture. (Katerina Clark, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual (Chicago 1981), especially 46-67.) Many of these positive heroes, such as Korchagin in How Steel was Tempered, were in fact fictional equivalents of the New Soviet Man. But it would be wrong to conclude that this aspect of old Russian culture influenced the Bolsheviks in the same way, and to the same extent, however much as the intelligentsia did. There is no evidence that the Bolsheviks they were influenced by aspects of Russian culture, such as its paternalism and authoritarianism - ever considered Kievan or Muscovite folk heroes forerunners or antecedents of the New Soviet Man. Perhaps the most one can say in this regard with which nearly all native Russians is that the myths surrounding these figures made it easier for the Bolsheviks to in the Soviet population were familiar present the New Soviet Man to the Soviet people, and for the Soviet people, in turn, to receive it. 12. N. Bukharin and E. Preobrazhensky, The ABC of Communism (Baltimore
-

1969), 121.

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13. Lunacharsky, Mir obnovliaetsia, op. cit., 140. 14. Quoted in Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, op. cit., 198. 15. L.M. Sabsovich, LURSS dans dix ans: plan général de la construction du socialism: hypothèse (Paris 1930). 16. Leon Trotskii, Literature and Revolution (1925), trans. by Rose Strunsky (Ann Arbor 1960), 251. 17. M. Gorkii, Razrushenie lichnosti (1909), reprinted in M. Gorkii, Sobranie sochinenii (Moscow 1953), 24, 71; M. Olminsky, Kriticheskie stati i zametki, Proletarskaia revoliutsiia , 1 (1931), 149-50. 18. O proletarskoi etike (Moscow 1918), 38, cited in George L. Kline, Religious and Anti-Religious Thought in Russia (Chicago 1968), 165. 19. N. Bukharin, Filosofiia kulturnogo filistera, Izvestiia , 286 (10 December 1935), 3; N. Bukharin, Oprokinutye normy: vnutrenee obozrenie, Izvestiia , 1 (1 January 1936), 3. 20. See, e.g., Vladislav Kelle, Kommunizm i gumanizm (Moscow n.d.), 48; and S.G. Strumilin, Rabochii den i kommunizm (1959), reprinted in S.G. Strumilin, Izbrannye proizvedeniia v piati tomakh, 5 (Moscow 1964), 367. 21. V.I. Lenin, Gosudarstvo i revoliutsiia (1917), reprinted in V.I. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 5th edn, 33 (Moscow 1962), 89, 91; L. Trotskii, Konchik bolshogo voprosa, 74 (4 April 1923), 1. , Pravda 22. Fueloep-Miller, Mind and Face, op. cit., 208. Could this emphasis on brevity in language be a reason for the Soviets penchant for acronyms? 23. Ibid., 207; Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, op. cit., 155-9. 24. Barbara Clements, Bolshevik Feminist: The Life of Aleksandra Kollontai (Bloomington, IN 1979), 55-81. Kollontai herself did not become a Bolshevik until 1915. 25. A.M. Kollontai, Novaia moral i rabochii klass (Moscow 1918), 29, quoted in Richard Stites, The Womens Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930 (Princeton, NJ 1978), 350. 26. Ibid., 17. 27. L. Trotskii, V borbe za novyi byt, Pravda , 107 (16 May 1923), 1. 28. Trotskii, Literature and Revolution, 254, 255-6, 256. 29. L.D. Trotskii, Slovo russkim rabochim i krestianam o nashikh druziakh i vragakh i o tom, kak uberech i uprochit sovetskuiu respubliki (April 1918), reprinted in L. Trotskii, Sochineniia (Moscow 1926), 1, 17, 185-6. In a similar vein, Trotskii wanted to eliminate personal epithets and insults from everyday discourse in Russia because such things were an inheritance from the times of slavery and oppression [and] imply a contempt for human dignity, both ones own and other peoples. (Trotskii, V borbe za novyi byt, op. cit., 1.) The New Soviet Man, in other words, would be polite. 30. Nikolai Bukharin, Culture in Two Worlds (New York 1934), 26, 27. 31. Bukharin, Filosofiia kulturnogo filistera, op. cit., 3-4. 32. Aleksei Gastev, Shatunovshchina kak metodika, Krasnaia nov, 1, 18 (January-February 1924), 236. 33. Bukharin and Preobrazhensky, ABC of Communism, op. cit., 340. 34. Trinadtsatyi S"ezd RKP(b): stenograficheskii otchet (Moscow 1963), 158. 35. L.D. Trotskii, Terrorizm i kommunizm (Moscow-Leningrad 1925), 63, 64. 36. A. Bogdanov, Revoliutsiia i filosofiia, Obrazovanie, 15, 2 (1906), 56; A. Bogdanov, Ideal vospitaniia, Proletarskaia kultura, 2 (July 1918), 17. Bogdanov

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called his theory of systems tectology. The fullest explanation of it is in his Tektologiia: vseobshchaia organizatsionnaia nauka (Berlin 1922). 37. A. Bogdanov, Nauka ob obshchestvennom soznanii (1914), 3rd edn (Petrograd-Moscow 1923), 5, quoted in S.V. Utechin, Philosophy and Society: Alexander Bogdanov, in Leopold Labedz, ed., Revisionism (New York 1962),
122. 38. A. Bogdanov, Filosofii sovremennogo estestvoispytatelia, Ocherki filosofiia kollektivizma (St Petersburg 1909), 136. 39. Alexander Bogdanov, Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia , edited by Loren Graham and Richard Stites (Bloomington, IN 1984), 60-77. 40. Ibid., 196. The collectivism Bogdanov expressed was evident in the social and cultural experimentation in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. For example, several orchestras were organized expressly to play music without a conductor, and in one commune, established in Moscow by the employees of a library, clothing was collectivized to such an extent that it was considered evidence of petitbourgeois ideology if a member wore his own underwear instead of someone elses. Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, op. cit., 135-40; Klaus Mehnert, Youth in Soviet Russia , (New York 1933), 182-3. 41. Bogdanov, Red Star, op. cit., 80. 42. Bogdanov, Ideal vospitaniia, op. cit., 18. 43. A. Bogdanov, Elementy proletarskoi kultury v razvitii rabochego klassa (Moscow 1920), 79, quoted in Zenovia A. Sochor, Revolution and Culture: The Lenin-Bogdanov Controversy (Ithaca 1988), 137. 44. Bogdanov expressed these notions in great detail in Filosofii sovremennogo estestvoispytatelia, op. cit., 37-142. Soviet philosophers and political theorists of the Khrushchev era stressed this same supposed congruence of individual and collective interests in the descriptions they offered of the New Soviet Man. See, e.g., R.O. Khalfina, O prave lichnoi sobstvennosti v period razvernutogo stroitelstva kommunizma, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo i pravo, 12 (1960), 32, and G. Shakhnazarov, Kommunizm i svoboda lichnosti (Moscow 1960), 95. 45. Quoted in Bertram Wolfe, The Bridge and the Abyss (New York 1967), 60. 46. M. Gorkii, Razrushenie lichnosti, op. cit., 37. 47. M. Gorkii, O tsinizme (1908), reprinted in Gorkii, Sobranie sochinenii,
op.

cit., 24, 18-19.

48. A.M. Kollontai, Problema nravstvennosti s pozitivnoi tochki zreniia, Obrazovanie, 10 (October 1905), 106, quoted in Clements, Bolshevik Feminist, op. cit., 38. 49. A.M. Kollontai, Etika i sotsial-demokratiia (po povodu stati g. Pokrovskogo v no. 4 "Poliarnoi zvezdy"), Obrazovanie, 2 (February 1906), 27. 50. A.M. Kollontai, Prostitutsiia i mery borby s nei (1921), translated in Alexandra Kollontai, Selected Writings (New York 1980), 275. 51. Kollontai, Problema nravstvennosti, 94, quoted in Clements, Bolshevik Feminist, op. cit., 37. 52. A.M. Kollontai, Tezisy o kommunisticheskoi morali v oblasti brachnykh otnoshenii, Kommunistka, 12-13 (May-June 1921), translated in Kollontai, Selected Writings, op. cit., 230. 53. As far as one can tell, Kollontai never specified what kinds of conflicts would be prevented by this harmony of interests, and which by altruism, and why. Nor did she indicate how potential conflicts between individuals would be

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90 prevented, though she may conceivably have believed that, since the interests of one party to a dispute would always correspond to the interests of society more closely than those of the other party, the latter would recognize this a priori and revise its own interests, and in that way prevent a potential conflict from becoming a real one. Whatever her actual thoughts in this regard, Kollontais abhorrence of conflict informed her political choices as well as her philosophy. Desirous throughout her life of independence in her personal and political relationships, she was also so fearful of the loneliness and conflict that might result from achieving it that she often chose to perpetuate her dependence on others, as when she remained in the Party and accepted appointments as an ambassador, even after Stalin had contemptuously dismissed female revolutionaries as herrings with ideas. Clements, Bolshevik Feminist, op. cit., especially 242-72. 54. A. Lunacharsky, Meshchanstvo i individualizm, Ocherki filosofii kollektivizma (St Petersburg 1909), 317. 55. Ibid., 326. 56. A. Lunacharsky, Chto takoe obrazovanie? Rech A.V. Lunacharskogo na otkrytii kursov instruktorov po vneshkolnomu obrazovaniiu (1918), reprinted in Lunacharsky, Mir obnovliaetsia , op. cit., 134. 57. A.V. Lunacharsky, Osnovy positivnoi estetiki, Ocherki realisticheskogo mirovozzreniia (St Petersburg 1905), 142, quoted in George Kline, Changing Attitudes toward the Individual, in Cyril E. Black, ed., The Transformation of Russian Society: Aspects of Social Change Since 1861 (Cambridge, MA 1960), 619. 58. Lunacharsky, Meshchanstvo i individualizm, op. cit., 245, 254. 59. A.V. Lunacharsky, Voprosy morali i M. Meterlink (1904), Etiudy (Moscow 1922), 256, quoted in Kline, Changing Attitudes, op. cit. 619. See also Lunacharsky, Meshchanstvo i individualizm, op. cit., 257-8, 340-1, in which he contrasts the healthy individuality of the proletariat, which is expressed in the individuals willingness to sacrifice his interests to serve those of the compatriots beside him, with the individualism of the meshchanstvo, which is narrow and materialistic, and only perpetuates the servitude in which the masses, under capitalism, find themselves. 60. Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, op. cit., 146-55; Fueloep-Miller, Mind and Face, op. cit., 210-13; Kendall E. Bailes, Alexei Gastev and the Soviet Controversy over Taylorism, 1918-24, Soviet Studies, 29, 3 (July 1977), 373-94; and Zenovia Sochor, Soviet Taylorism Revisited, Soviet Studies, 33, 2 (April 1981), 246-64. In 1935 Ordzhonikidze, as Commissar of Heavy Industry, asked Gastev, who was still the director of the Institute of Labour, to direct the training
of those who would teach workers to be Stakhanovites. Three years later, the Institute and NOT were disbanded and Gastev arrested. He was sent to a labour camp, where he died, probably in 1941. He was rehabilitated in 1956. Kurt Johansson, Aleksej Gastev: Proletarian Bard of the Machine Age (Stockholm 1983), 115. 61. Feodor Vasilievich Gladkov, Cement (London n.d.), 16. 62. Quoted in Fueloep-Miller, Mind and Face, op. cit., 22. 63. Stites, Revolutionary Dreams, op. cit., 160-1; Marjorie Hoover, Meyerhold: The Art of Conscious Theater (Amherst, MA 1974), 91-2; and V.E. Meyerhold, Meyerhold on Theater, edited by Edward Braun (New York 1969), 183-204. 64. Aleksei Gastev, Vosstanie kultury (1923), reprinted in Aleksei Gastev, Poeziia rabochego udara (Moscow 1964), 245; Johansson, Aleksej Gastev, passim;

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Charles Rougle, "Express": The Future According to Gastev, Russian History / Histoire Russe, 11, 2-3 (Summer-Fall 1984), 258-68. 65. Gastev, Poeziia rabochego udara , op. cit., 26; A. Gastev, Sila mashinizma, Zhizn dlia vsekh, 3-4 (1911), 393-4. 66. A. Gastev, O tendentsiiakh proletarskoi kultury, Proletarskaia kultura , 9-10 (June-July 1919), 44, quoted in Bailes, Alexei Gastev, op. cit., 378. 67. A. Gastev, Nashi zadachi, Organizatsiia truda , 1 (March 1921), 14. 68. Gastev, O tendentsiiakh proletarskoi kultury, 44-5, quoted in Bailes, op. cit., Alexei Gastev, 378. 69. A. Gastev, Ekspress, reprinted in Gastev, Poeziia rabochego udara , op. cit., 135-52. 70. Ibid., 150. 71. In his novel, We, Zamiatin depicted the New Soviet Man very nearly as Gastev did, even to the point of substituting numbers for names. The difference, of course, is that Zamiatin rejected what Gastev embraced. Evgeny Zamiatin, We (New York 1924). 72. Nasha platforma v oblasti nauchnoi organizatsii truda, Pravda , 6 (11 January 1923), 2, quoted in Bailes, op. cit., Alexei Gastev, 386. 73. A. Bogdanov, O tendentsiiakh proletarskoi kultury (otvet A. Gastevu), Proletarskaia kultura , 9-10 (June-July 1919), 46-52. 74. Andrei Zhdanov, Doklad t. Zhdanova o zhurnalakh "Zvezda" i "Leningrad", Literaturnaia gazeta , 39 (21 September 1946), 3, quoted in Clark, The Soviet Novel, op. cit., 198. 75. Richard Stites, Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society Since 1900 (New York 1992), 70. 76. Clark, The Soviet Novel, op. cit., 120; Vnimanie cheloveku, Literaturnaia , 26 (10 May 1935), 1. It is undeniable that one of the reasons for the entire gazeta phenomenon of Stakhanovism was to increase industrial productivity and, secondarily, to distract attention from the Terror. But it is also indisputable that Stakhanovism reflected as well Stalins conviction that aspects of the New Soviet Man were already embodied in ordinary Soviet citizens, such as the Stakhanovites, with whom the rest of the population could identify. 77. Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Stakhanovism and the Politics of Productivity in the USSR, 1935-1941 (New York 1988), 64-5. During the period of the First Five Year Plan, from roughly 1928 to 1933, the Soviet government ascribed the economic progress that occurred to the collective virtues of the Soviet population. Quite frequently Soviet society was described as a machine, and the Soviet people as the cogs that enabled it to run. By 1935, however, progress was considered a consequence of the heroism of exceptional individuals. The most exceptional of these individuals was, of course, Stalin himself. See, e.g., Katerina Clark, Little Heroes and Big Deeds: Literature Responds to the First Five Year Plan, in Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928-1931 (Bloomington, IN 1984), 189-206. 78. V.T. Lapin, Stakhanovtsy dvigaiut promyshlennost po puti tekhnicheskogo progressa, Za industrializatsiiu, 244 (22 October 1935), 3. See also I. Gudov, Put stakhanovtsa. Rasskaz o moei zhizni (Moscow 1938), 54, 84. The same spirit of rebelliousness that once prompted Chkalov, in violation of his orders, to fly his airplane under a bridge on the Neva River in Leningrad inspired one of his many hagiographers, after his death, to praise him as one of those originals, who was

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able to free himself from all those who tried to enclose him in the dead-end of old norms, limits, and regulations. Georgiy Baidukov, Russian Lindbergh: The Life of Valery Chkalov (Washington 1991), 54-9; S. Nagorny, Geroi, Literaturnaia gaze, 69 (15 December 1939), 1. ta 79. In 1935 Stalin predicted publicly: Today there are still only a few Stakhanovites, but who can doubt that tomorrow there will be ten times more, and still more in the future.... The Stakhanovite movement creates the conditions for the transition of socialism to communism. Rech tovarishcha Stalina na pervom vsesoiuznom soveshchanii stakhanovtsev, Literaturnaia gazeta , 65 (24 November

1935), 1.
80. A.G. Stakhanov, Rasskaz o moei zhizni (Moscow 1937), 59, quoted in of Productivity op. cit., 150. Siegelbaum, Stakhanovism and the Politics , 81. Rech tovarishcha Stalina, op. cit., 1, 2. In a similar vein, Soviet aviators often called themselves native sons of Stalin and attributed Stalins penchant for changing their routes to parternalistic solicitude. V.P. Chkalov, Nash otets, Veliki letchik nashego vremeni (Moscow 1939), 315, 316. 82. Vera Dunham, In Stalins Time: Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction (New York 1976). 83. Stakhanov and the Stakhanovites were given such things as radios, bicycles, firewood and cows. 84. Rech tovarishcha Stalina, op. cit., 1. 85. A. Cherkasov, Den nachinaetsia ne vostoke, Oktiabr, 7 (1946), 25-7, quoted in Dunham, In Stalins Time, op. cit., 111. Marshall Shatz has pointed out that Stalins Terror, by destroying the intelligentsia and much of the educated elite, made possible the rise to prominence of people like Khrushchev who were only one generation or so removed from the peasantry and whose anti-intellectualism reflected their agrarian roots. (Marshall Shatz, Stalin, The Great Purge, and Russian History: A New Look at the New Class (Pittsburgh n.d.), 14-31.) Although the Khrushchevs who penetrated the Soviet elite under Stalin were not considered New Soviet Men, their anti-intellectualism mirrored that of those, such as the Stakhanovites, who were. The Khrushchevs and Stakhanovites were activists, not given to the contemplation and cerebration typical of an intelligentsia or an educated elite. 86. Jerome M. Gilison, The Soviet Image of Utopia (Baltimore, MD 1975), 101-81. 87. Rosa Luxemburg, The Russian Revolution (Ann Arbor, MI 1972), 69. 88. Quoted in The New York Times (11 December 1991), A 19.

Jay Bergman
is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Vera Zasulich: A Biography (Stanford University Press 1983), and of articles on Russian political and intellectual history.

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