In this work we have examined the way in which Machiavelli’s ideas were received, presented and used in Russia. In January 1932 Trotsky described Stalinism as ‘a hodge-podge of the most heterogeneous elements, held together by plain Stalinist ignorance’.1 No one has adequately explored what this amalgam of ideas was. What we have attempted in this book is to explore a more complex set of ideas, in part Marxist, but in part borrowed from other sources and incorporated into the Stalinist scheme of thought. In many respects, Marxism-Leninism left great lacunae with regard to the question of power, the organization of government, the question of state and society. In this we take a contrary approach to Neil Harding on Lenin and Erik van Ree on Stalin, both of whom emphasize the extent to which their subjects were orthodox Marxists.2 We have argued that Bolshevism and Stalinism represented a synthesis of various ideological currents, that shared together certain key characteristics; that Bolshevism and Stalinism were part of a longer tradition of revolutionary thought and practice, which we have labelled ‘revolutionary Machiavellism’.
KeywordsFrench Revolution Permanent System Ancien Regime Longe Tradition Ideological Current
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