The Soviets did not like to give access to Country Email List Soviet-era archives to foreigners and they refused me the consultation. However, after a few months of struggle, I was allowed into the State Archives, considered less politically Country Email List sensitive, to work on the archives of the Lunacharsky ministry (Narkompros) from the 1920s. Those Narkompros materials were absolutely fascinating. Through them I learned about Country Email List Lunacharsky, but above all I began to understand how politics worked in the ussr.
The prevailing idea about the ussr , encapsulated in the Country Email List totalitarian model, held that all policy was formulated in the Politburo and then passed down. But what I discovered in the files was that the Ministry of Education formulated Country Email List policies (just like other ministries, departments of the Central Committee of the Party, etc.) and then tried to put pressure on the Politburo, the government, the Council of Ministers and the people who Country Email List they integrated it so that their policies were approved. Sometimes they were successful and sometimes they were not, but I was seeing a political process that the totalitarian model simply Country Email List did not allow to see.
When you began your historiographical Country Email List studies of Soviet communism, this "totalitarian school" perspective was predominant in Sovietology . However, you took a different stance, focusing on a « story from below » , which served and centered Country Email List on everyday life. What were your criticisms or objections to this paradigm and why did you choose to approach Soviet history from a societal perspective ? My first negative encounters with the "totalitarian model" came from my archival work in the ussr . That was before I went to the United Country Email List States, in the early 1970s. However, when I settled there, the question became more important to me because Soviet studies in the United.