Being Soviet: Identity, Rumour, and Everyday Life Under Stalin 1939-1953

Sheila Fitzpatrick writes:

Young British historian Timothy Johnston focuses on popular opinion, particularly opinion about foreigners and international affairs. His main sources are the reports on ‘popular mood’ regularly compiled by security, police and regional Party officials, along with the official Soviet press. Readers may become irritated by the appearance every few pages of the term ‘bricolage’, signifying Soviet citizens’ sensible habit of taking on board only the bits of official propaganda that made sense to them and ignoring the rest. Still, that’s an improvement on the assumption – common in some earlier scholarship – that brainwashed Soviet citizens believed everything the regime told them.

(LRB 8 March 2012)