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Stalin and the Struggle for Supremacy in Eurasia

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  • Date Published: August 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107426443

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About the Authors
  • This is a major new study of the successor states that emerged in the wake of the collapse of the great Russian, Habsburg, Iranian, Ottoman and Qing Empires and of the expansionist powers who renewed their struggle over the Eurasian borderlands through to the end of the Second World War. Surveying the great power rivalry between the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for control over the Western and Far Eastern boundaries of Eurasia, Alfred J. Rieber provides a new framework for understanding the evolution of Soviet policy from the Revolution through to the beginning of the Cold War. Paying particular attention to the Soviet Union, the book charts how these powers adopted similar methods to the old ruling elites to expand and consolidate their conquests, ranging from colonisation and deportation to forced assimilation, but applied them with a force that far surpassed the practices of their imperial predecessors.

    • Major new account of the contest for supremacy in Eurasia between Nazi Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union
    • Offers a new framework for Soviet foreign policy from the Russian Revolution to the beginning of the Cold War
    • Reveals how the expansionist powers adopted similar methods to the old ruling elites to expand and consolidate their conquests
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    Awards

    • Shortlisted for the 2016 Pushkin House Prize

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this thorough study, Rieber analyzes the struggle for control of Eurasia's borderlands from the collapse of the Romanov, Habsburg, Ottoman, Qing, and Persian empires through the end of WWII. He focuses on Stalin, emphasizing the ways in which the Soviet leader's foreign policy echoed approaches of his imperial predecessors. Stalin was a 'man of the borderlands', shaped by his experiences growing up in Transcaucasia and building a revolutionary state on the ruins of a multiethnic empire … 'Stalin's pragmatism', writes Rieber, 'was the pragmatism of a Marxist-Leninist tempered by his grasp of the historical foundations of Russia's status as a great power'. Summing up: highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' M. A. Soderstrom, Choice

    'Beautifully written and richly documented … based on many archival materials made available in the post-Soviet era … Those with some knowledge of Soviet domestic and foreign policies will benefit the most from this book, but even those lacking a background in Soviet affairs would still benefit from reading it. It is an extremely timely work providing an understanding of the turbulent relations of Russia and the USSR with its neighbors, including Ukraine and, in that regard, provides an important tool for helping us understand Russian-Ukrainian relations today.' Nathaniel Richmond, The Russian Review

    'This is an ambitious and overarching reinterpretation of Stalin's domestic and foreign policies - or actually the connections between the two - from the revolution and civil war periods through World War II and the dawn of the Cold War … Rieber's book provides some insights and historical background to the current Kremlin's profound and clearly long-standing fear of hostile states on its periphery, and the belief that a ring of friendly buffer states around Russia are vital to the security of the state.' Paul Stronski, Slavic Review

    'Rieber's elaboration of the borderlands thesis in Stalin and the Struggle for Supremacy in Eurasia is a tour de force. The problem is that its brilliance dazzles as well as illuminates.' Geoffrey Roberts, H-Diplo

    'Stalin and the Struggle for Supremacy in Eurasia is a very rich text and readers from many fields and area studies will find useful information to mine.' David Wolff, H-Diplo

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107426443
    • length: 429 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 13 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Stalin: man of the borderlands
    2. Borderlands in Civil War and intervention
    3. The borderland thesis: the West
    4. The borderland thesis: the East
    5. Stalin in command
    6. Borderlands on the eve
    7. Civil wars in the borderlands
    8. War aims: the outer perimeter
    9. War aims: the inner perimeter
    10. Friendly governments in the outer perimeter
    Conclusion: a transient hegemony
    Index.

  • Author

    Alfred J. Rieber, University of Pennsylvania
    Alfred J. Rieber spent thirty years as Professor of History and ten years as Chair at the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Budapest in 1995 to chair and reorganise the History Department at the Central European University. Since then he has taught hundreds of students from the Eurasian borderlands. His first visit to the Soviet Union came in January 1956 followed by his participation in the first year of the cultural exchange at Moscow State University (1958–59). Over the past fifty years, he has continued his scholarly visits and travels throughout Eurasia, going as far east as the Buryat Mongol Republic. His publications include works on Soviet foreign policy, Russian social history and the comparative history of frontiers. His American and European doctoral students have published widely in the history of the Eurasian borderlands. Professor Rieber's work on frontiers has been translated into Russian, Polish and Ukrainian and he has won two teaching awards in the USA and two in Hungary, as well as a Prize from the American Philosophical Society. His scholarship has been supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, St Antony's College, Oxford and the Inter-University Committee on Travel Grants.

    Awards

    • Shortlisted for the 2016 Pushkin House Prize

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