Tuesday, April 18, 2006

lost in translation: ethnocentrism in Russian studies

At times, his historical rants read like a freshman Russian studies major who wrote a paper about how Stalin would never have gotten reelect-ed for a third term if Khrushchev made his speech earlier.

This is certain Anna Arutunyan reviewing a couple of books for the Exile. With this sentence she gave me a good chuckle. It's been a while since I first encountered this particular folly; when a Westener tries to explain Soviet political realities based on his/her domestic experience.
Incidentally, Horowitz's list of most dangerous professors features one admirer of Stalin (I'm too lazy to dig up for his name at the moment). I actually read some of his writings and was stunned to discover that his main research technique seemed to be a mere literal reading of Soviet documents.


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