Master of the House


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Stalin and His Inner Circle

Oleg V. Khlevniuk; Translated by Nora Seligman Favorov

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Based on meticulous research in previously  unavailable documents in the Soviet archives, this compelling book illuminates the secret inner mechanisms of power in the Soviet Union during the years when Stalin established his notorious dictatorship. Oleg V. Khlevniuk focuses on the top organ in Soviet Russia’s political hierarchy of the 1930s—the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party—and on the political and interpersonal dynamics that weakened its collective leadership and enabled Stalin’s rise.


Khlevniuk’s unparalleled research challenges existing theories of the workings of the Politburo and uncovers many new findings regarding the nature of alliances among Politburo members, Sergei Kirov’s murder, the implementation of the Great Terror, and much more. The author analyzes Stalin’s mechanisms of generating and retaining power and presents a new understanding, unmatched in texture and depth, of the highest tiers of the Communist Party in a crucial era of Soviet history.


Oleg V. Khlevniuk is senior research fellow at the State Archive of the Russian Federation. He is author of The History of the Gulag and coeditor of Stalin’s Letters to Molotov, 1925–1936 and The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931–36, all published by Yale University Press. He lives in Moscow.

“I have no doubt that this brilliant book will supplant all others as an analytical account of the Stalinist political system in the 1930s.”—Robert Service, St. Antony’s College, Oxford

“This is an extraordinary book, the prequel to Khlevniuk and Gorlizki’s Cold Peace, and an equally important contribution to our understanding of the ‘court politics’ of the Stalin era. It is simply unique, unparalleled, and indispensable to anyone who wants to understand how the Soviet Union was ruled in the 1930s. Khlevniuk is the master of the archives—no one knows them better.”—Ronald Grigor Suny, The University of Michigan

“…those who want an absorbing account of how repression turned to tyranny with a paranoid dictator with limitless power will find it in these pages.” - Tribune

"This book confirms Khlevniuk's status as the leading authority on the highest Party bodies in the Stalin era."--James Harris, Journal of Modern History

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine
ISBN: 9780300110661
Publication Date: December 30, 2008
344 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
The History of the Gulag

From Collectivization to the Great Terror

Oleg Khlevniuk; Translated by Vadim Staklo; Foreword by Rob

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The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931–36

Compiled and edited by R. W. Davies, Oleg Khlevniuk, E. A.

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Stalin's Letters to Molotov


Josef Stalin; Edited by Lars T. Lih, Oleg V.

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New Biography of a Dictator

Oleg V. Khlevniuk; Translated by Nora Seligman Favorov

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Substate Dictatorship

Networks, Loyalty, and Institutional Change in the Soviet Union

Yoram Gorlizki and Oleg Khlevniuk

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Yale-Hoover Series on Authoritarian Regimes
Guns and Rubles

The Defense Industry in the Stalinist State

Edited by Mark Harrison

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The Lost Politburo Transcripts

From Collective Rule to Stalin's Dictatorship

Edited by Paul R. Gregory and Norman Naimark

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Terror by Quota

State Security from Lenin to Stalin (an Archival Study)

Paul R. Gregory

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Scorched Earth

Stalin's Reign of Terror

Jörg Baberowski; Translated by Steven Gilbert, Ivo Komljen,

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Policing Stalin's Socialism

Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953

David R. Shearer

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Propaganda State in Crisis

Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under Stalin, 1927-1941

David Brandenberger

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