Robert Dale. Demobilized Veterans in Late Stalinist Leningrad: Soldiers to Civilians. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Brandon Schechter

Abstract


This book provides an intimate portrait of soldiers returning to a key region of Soviet Russia after the Great Patriotic War. The author has mined local archives, press, diaries, and memoirs and found some true gems. He deftly uses individual stories that both encapsulate larger dynamics at play and showcase the diversity of experiences and opinions of demobilized soldiers. The book goes deep into the weeds in describing the situation in Leningrad while also hinting at more general, Russia-wide trends. (The author admits that the situation in the Caucasus or Central Asia lies outside thescope of his study and was likely very different.) While Leningrad occupied a uniqueplace, its fate lay at the crossroads of several major effects of the war on Soviet cities—it was on the frontline for years, was depleted by a combination of evacuation and mass death, and suffered major destruction of its infrastructure.

Keywords


Great Patriotic War; Demobilization; Veterans; Civilian Population; Social Support

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