Nine Soviet Portraits
The raw material for these vignettes came from hundreds of interviews with Soviet refugees, conducted by the Harvard Refugee Interview Project in 1950-1951. These data were later supported by work at the Harvard Russian Research Center and at the M.I.T. Center for International Studies, and from information from the Soviet press.
These nine Soviet portraits are of role-types of Russians in the middle ranks of Soviet society in the post-war era. Dr. Bauer believes that this is the crucial group to examine in order to appreciate the problems of social control in the Soviet Union. Members of this group respond to a pattern of more limited incentives and personal motives. At the same time, the contributions of these people are of first importance to the functioning of the Soviet system, and the degree of skill required of them is considerable.
Nine Soviet Portraits is a study of how these individuals live in a totalitarian society, of the mechanisms of accommodation which they adopt in an almost impossible situation. This book introduces to the general reader some of the basic social and psychological dynamics of Soviet society.
Not all of the characters or the concepts in this volume will be foreign to the reader. The reader will discover many familiar personalities and situations in these sketches. The Soviet Union is a modern industrial society, and all industrial societies have features in common. This is what makes Nine Soviet Portraits such fascinating reading: it gives compelling insights into the men and women who live behind the Iron Curtain and the social and psychological dynamics which motivate them, and offers an unusual perspective in which to view our own society.
About the Author
Raymond A. Bauer is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
"...an ingenious and successful application of the insights of socialpsychology to the presentation of real life situations in Soviet society....It cuts through the fog of 'pro' and 'anti' propaganda to give a pictureof lives 'as they are lived' under the Soviet system."
—New York Times
"...the book as a whole will help the non-specialist acquire a betterunderstanding of many domestic problems which continue to plague thepost-Stalinist leadership."
"The book should do much to make Soviet studies alive for the beginner, the specialist from another field, and the educated and inquiringlayman."
—American Slavic and East European Review