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Intimate Enemies

Intimate Enemies: Demonizing the Bolshevik Opposition, 1918-1928

IGAL HALFIN
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wrcpj
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    Intimate Enemies
    Book Description:

    Intimate Enemiesis a brilliant study of the transformation of Bolshevik Party ideology, language, and power relations during the crucial period leading up to Stalin's seizure of power. Combining extensive research in recently opened Soviet archives with an insightful rereading of intra-Party struggles, Igal Halfin uncovers this evolution in the language of Bolshevism. This language defined the methods for judging true party loyalty-in what Halfin describes as an examination of the 'hermeneutics of the soul,' and became the basis for prosecuting the Party's enemies, particularly the "intimate enemies" within the Party itself. Halfin argues that Bolshevism-which claimed sole access to truth and morality-ultimately demonized its enemies, and became in effect a theology that facilitated a monumental power shift.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7317-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. PROLOGUE. THE FIRST INTIMATE ENEMY
    (pp. 1-17)

    Haled before the Supreme Tribunal in October 1918, Roman Vatslovich Malinovskii was an intimate enemy. While serving as the chairman of the Social Democratic faction in the state Duma, he had spied for the tsarist secret police, the notorious Okhrana.¹ The court described him as a provocateur, a “secret employee who systematically obtained information about the activities of revolutionary groups “with the aim of exposing them at the peak of their activity.”² For the Bolsheviks, Malinovskii had been not only a real traitor, but also the symbol of treason. During the Great Purge, his name was almost interchangeable with those...

  2. INTRODUCTION. INDIVIDUAL TRUTH AND PARTY TRUTH
    (pp. 18-32)

    Could two people be more dissimilar than Malinovskii and Trotsky? The first had stolen, lied, and betrayed his fellow Party members for money; the latter had dedicated his life to returning the Party to the truth. Though in 1918 they looked quite different from one another, provocateurs and oppositionists would become, to all intents and purposes, identical by 1936, the year when the Trotskyists were declared subhuman. As it moves from the relatively amicable intra-Party debates of 1918–1921 to the demonization to which the opposition was subjected in the late 1920s, this book documents in detail the process by...

  3. CHAPTER 1 OPPOSITIONISM AS A MALADY OF THE MIND
    (pp. 33-68)

    During the first years of the Soviet regime, Party congresses, "the brain of the organized proletariat," met annually to set policy and to act out the range of Bolshevism’s fraternal rituals in full regalia.¹ Kamenev, the chairman of the Moscow soviet, called the congresses “the only arena where a politically responsible individual can say what he thinks about how the Party and the country can be helped.”² The right to speak out belonged to any delegate who “is in the Party ranks and suffers the same hardships the Party suffers.”³

    The minutes of the Bolshevik congresses merit close study precisely...

  4. CHAPTER 2 KILLING WITH WORDS
    (pp. 76-120)

    Much as they celebrated the bonds of Party camaraderie, this did not stop the Bolsheviks from criticizing each other, taunting each other, even scorning each other. As we have seen, the minutes of the Party congresses overflow with mutual accusations and harsh words bordering on derision and mockery. Did lasting bruises ever result from such verbal scourging? On the face of it, the answer must be resoundingly negative: since they trusted each other, since their minds and hearts were filled with nostalgic memories from the underground years, the Bolsheviks could not have brought any harm to their comrades.¹ Now that...

  5. CHAPTER 3 HEALING OPPOSITIONIST SOULS
    (pp. 121-168)

    The New Course Discussion (December 1923–January 1924) took place during the last two months of Lenin’s life. At the time, no one believed that Bolshevism could exist without Lenin.¹ One of the many who had come to accept him as the Communist Party’s paramount leader said of his genius that it “was especially evident in his ability to predict how the barely discernible processes would evolve, what prospects and dangers they harbored.”² Whether one considered his solitary determination to see the Bolsheviks seize power in November 1917 or his advocacy of what proved to be an exceedingly farsighted concession...

  6. CHAPTER 4 THE EMERGENCE OF "TROTSKYISM" AND "ZINOVIEVISM"
    (pp. 178-227)

    To judge by the language Soviet leaders used in talking about the opposition, the years 1924–1925 were transitional. Hermeneutical judgments were still fairly lenient during the Second Discussion with Trotsky and the Discussion with Kamenev and Zinoviev. While “opposition” became increasingly imbued with a specific history and essential character, no one had yet suggested a necessary link between the opposition and counterrevolution. Among all these shifting political labels, no matter how loosely an oppositionist identity was constructed, there was always an impetus to medicalize and psychologize errant behavior, to heal, not to purge.

    Oppositionism is in focus in the...

  7. CHAPTER 5 FROM A WEAK BODY TO A WICKED MIND
    (pp. 228-270)

    In the late 1920s, intra-Party struggle escalated further. The most powerful challenge to Stalin’s leadership grew out of the wedding of a pair of former rivals to form the “United Opposition.” Despite the claim in January 1926 of Stalin’s close ally Kaganovich that “the one who wrote ‘Lessons of October’ cannot unite with Zinoviev,” a Trotskyist-Zinovievist Central Committee had begun to hold meetings.¹ The alliance became public when Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev openly expressed regrets about past disagreements—this was a joint plenary session convened in July 1926 by the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission.² The United Opposition...

  8. CHAPTER 6 INQUISITION, COMMUNIST STYLE
    (pp. 284-326)

    After the Fifteenth Party Congress, Party members at the Tomsk Technological Institute had to do a lot of soul-searching. The “ideological health” of the Party cell there had been sorely compromised, and Moscow was obliged to initiate harsh disciplinary actions.

    On April 4, 1928, the new bureau and the representatives of the control commission convened behind closed doors to talk things over. L’vov, a new emissary from the center, scolded the local Party representatives: “You woke up too late, and the Tomsk Control Commission had to go to battle against the opposition practically unaided.” Other speakers took up L’vov’s theme....

  9. EPILOGUE. THE OPPOSITION DEMONIZED
    (pp. 327-332)

    The Bolshevik discourse was permeated by values steeped in eschatology that resonate with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Among these values was the belief in the singularity of truth as well as in a modern version of salvation that, the Bolsheviks thought, could be attained by steering each individual into a conscious accordance with truth. The authority of the Central Committee and the long-standing expectation that the Party Congress would be able to adjudicate disputes cannot be understood outside these institutions’ claims to possess the keys to this unique truth.

    The political and ideological tensions between factions within the Bolshevik party during...