FROM SOVIETOLOGY TO SOVIET HISTORY:
The article analyses three trends in historiography, on the basis of which occur the essential methodological polemics of Western historians and political scientists in interpreting the Soviet period, i.e. the so-called totalitarian, revisionist, and post-revisionist trends. The aim of the article is not only to present Western Sovietology and different opinions of Western authors but also tries to expand the possible perspectives of Lithuanian Soviet historiography. The article focuses a good deal of attention on highlighting the methodological differences of three historiographical trends. The author stresses that the totalitarian model (Merle Fainsod, Hannah Arendt, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Pipes, etc) did not and does not have the goal of explaining the interaction between ideology, the state, the power structures and society. Soviet society itself also never became an object of these scholars. Communist ideology and the power structures remain the most important objects of analysis within the framework of the Western totalitarian model. Totalitarian theorists also use ideology, as a decisive factor, to explain the collapse of the USSR. In the opinion of Martin Malia, communist ideology was not sustainable in society, did not have any grounds to exist, and was doomed in advance to fail sooner or later. According to such a historian, the entire Soviet period can be considered as a profound ideological error. Thus, after the fall of the erroneous ideology, the empire itself also fell.
|© Lithuanian Institute of History, April 27, 2005|