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Critical Analysis of a Document Essay example

Decent Essays
Critical Analysis of a Document

‘Lev Kopelev (1912-1997): The Party Faithful?’

The primary document I have chosen to analyse is an extract taken from Lev Kopelev’s book, ‘No Jail For Thought’ written in 1977. In this extract he vividly expresses his views and attitudes held during the time surrounding the communist rise in Russia during the 1930’s and early 40’s. Kopelev was born in Kiev and grew up as a keen believer of communism, later joining the communist movement. A strong mindset was instilled into him early in his years working in the communist party that he must not diverge from the party’s vision of victory at any cost, stating ‘quarrels that served to distract us from our main goal
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On the surface Kopelev’s argument appears to take on a heavy-handed approach in support of the driving forces of communism, whereby he continually defends the seemingly immoral actions of his party as all part of ‘Our great goal…the universal triumph of communism.’ This sense of mercilessness in order to progress, was reflective of the attitudes among many of the time, as Kopelev states ‘With the rest of my generation I firmly believed that the ends justified the means.’ Such hardened lines of thought amongst communists can be much attributed to what was a period of modernisation in Russia in which industry rose and collectivisation of farms was implemented. In order to pave a way for this aggressive process, also known as the 5-point plan intended to industrialise Russia, many social groups were destroyed including Kulaks, bourgeoisie, landowners and merchants (Lovenduski & Woodall 1987). Such drastic action taken under Communist rule resulted in ‘massive purges and widespread executions’ (contemporary worlds). Such atrocities are most evident in Kopelev’s piece in which he claims that it was ‘permissible to lie, to steal, destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people, all those who were hindering our work or could hinder it, everyone who stood in the way.’ Through this hostile style of
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