Leon Trotsky, the Cultural Debates, and the Political Struggle in 1923

In: Historical Materialism
Alexander Reznik Department of History, National Research University Higher School of Economics St Petersburg Russia

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This article examines interconnections between politics and culture in the early Soviet era, using Leon Trotsky’s activities in the campaign for a new everyday life (novyi byt) in 1923 as a case-study. Traditionally, scholars pay attention primarily to Trotsky’s writings on literature and art. In contrast, this article shows the important role of Trotsky’s brochure ‘Problems of Everyday Life’ in the development of a new field of political communication that became the space for criticism of different political and cultural aspects of Soviet power and Bolshevik rule. Using archival and press sources, it shows how the campaign was spread both from below and above, and what were the reasons for its failure to become an alternative cultural revolution.

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