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Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire: Women and State Formation in the Soviet Far East. By Elena Shulman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xiv plus 260 pp. $79.00.)

Koenker, DP; (2011) Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire: Women and State Formation in the Soviet Far East. By Elena Shulman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xiv plus 260 pp. $79.00.). [Review]. Journal of Social History , 44 (3) pp. 960-962. 10.1353/jsh.2011.0020. Green open access

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Abstract

In 1937, at the height of the Soviet terror, a Communist youth league activist and wife of an official in the Soviet Far East wrote to a central newspaper to invite young women to volunteer to join her to help build socialism on the easternmost frontier of the Soviet Union. In the next three years, over 300,000 women volunteered, and about 25,000 were chosen to lend their skills and labor to the construction of farms, schools, administration, and industry of the Far East. They received the name “Khetagurovites,” after the woman who issued the original call, Valentina Khetagurova. This deeply researched and exquisitely argued book uses the phenomenon of the Khetagurovites to explore a number of key issues in the history of the Soviet Union, and it makes major contributions to our understanding of state-building, empire, gender, and sexuality in the context of the Soviet experiment. Above all, the book successfully punctures arguments about a “great retreat” to a pre-revolutionary domesticity in the 1930s, and instead offers a compelling picture of women who enthusiastically seized the opportunity to test their mettle in difficult conditions and to contribute to the common effort of the construction of socialism.

Type: Article
Title: Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire: Women and State Formation in the Soviet Far East. By Elena Shulman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. xiv plus 260 pp. $79.00.)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1353/jsh.2011.0020
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1353/jsh.2011.0020
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Arts & Humanities, History, Stalinism, The Soviet Union, Communistic regime, Khetagurovites, Socialism, Human rights
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043447
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