Author: Pavel Vitek


The book The Birth of Power, focused on history of Russia from 1917 to 1945, was published in the Czech Republic in 2013. This publication, that is a result of the work of the team of Czech authors led by Michal Reiman, was translated into Russian and published in Moscow in 2015.[1]

The voluminous publication brings interesting interpretations of some events and social processes leading Russia from Brest-Litevsk to the victory in WWII that meant the crucial step that the U.S.S.R. took towards world leadership.

One can find there a number of remarkable interpretations (interpretation of the October revolution or reasons and consequences of the terror in 30ies) but at the same time he/she can have some problems with underestimation or skip of some events or consequences. No doubts, e.g., that bigger attention should has been devoted to the so called pact Ribbentrop-Molotov; a couple pages describing what the new U.S.S.R. power status meant for its neighbours and whole world would be more than welcome. It is pity that authors explicitly refused this attempt.

Such consideration at the end of the book would has been probably more successful and appropriate than abortive endeavour to stress alleged substantial change in thinking of new Russian elites: “At the same time, it is also well to notice that abandonment of universalistic ideology of Marxism by contemporary generation of Russians is not only expression of their disillusion caused by its results but also  –together with conversion of major part of this generation to Orthodoxy and patriotism– expression of their resignation to the role of Russia as a global power.”

This conclusion decreases value of otherwise doubtlessly contributive work and implies either a certain incomprehension or a certain unwillingness to understand the essence of whole Russian history in which the imperial idea has remained the crucial fundament of the state; however, ideologies have been changing. Even though, not only current events have provided us with clear evidence for such statement.

[1] REIMAN, Michal – LITERA, Bohuslav – SVOBODA, Karel – KOLENOVSKÁ, Daniela: Zrod velmoci. Dějiny Sovětského svazu 1917-1945. Prague: Karolinum, 2013. 584 s. ISBN 978-80-246-2266-8. 

РЕЙМАН, Михал – ЛИТЕРА, Богуслав – СВОБОДА, Карел: Рождение державы: История Советского Союза с 1917 по 1945 год. Москва: Политическая энциклопедия, 2015.  839с. ISBN 978-5-8243-1934-7.