Cover Osteuropa 5-6/2013

In Osteuropa 5-6/2013

Culture of Violence and Communism
Causes and Forms in the Soviet Union

Felix Schnell

Deutsche Fassung


In the Bolshevik Revolution, violence played a major role. The reasons for this lie in the ideology of communism, first and foremost in the movement’s concrete prehistory and social background. For the communist pioneers, violence was an inevitable attendant circumstance of historical upheavals; Lenin raised it to a Manichean friend-or-foe scheme. The Bolshevik party absorbed the existing potential for violence within society; in the Civil War, this hardened into its own culture of violence, which the NKVD in particular embodied. Overcoming this culture of violence was a major achievement of de-Stalinization.

(Osteuropa 5-6/2013, pp. 93–106)