Provincial Landscapes: Local Dimensions Of Soviet Power 1917-1953
With the exception of new research on Soviet science, historians have largely neglected life in the Soviet Union in the postwar years.1 Access to provincial archives provides us with the opportunity to broaden our field of vision beyond Moscow to shed light on the beleaguered cities far from the locus of power and to examine the process of center-periphery dynamics. Unlike much of the literature from the cold war period that presupposed a monolithic, top-down process of decision making, this chapter emphasizes negotiated decision making, thereby complementing other recent research on the 1945-53 period. In the rubble and chaos of the postwar period, uncertainty plagued many ordinary citizens who hoped for the continuation of wartime liberalization. Some local officials, moreover, took advantage of the chaos in their war-ravaged cities to carve out “a little corner of freedom” in their relationship with the Center.2 Although both groups would ultimately become disappointed, for a brief period after the war local officials were able to exert their influence more broadly. This chapter focuses on the dynamic relationship between municipal leaders in Sevastopol, who claimed to speak in the name of the city’s residents, and central officials in Moscow. The ten years under investigation reveal a startling amount of ebb and flow of authority and directives between center and periphery that resulted in Sevastopol regaining its unique, prerevolutionary identity within the Soviet empire.
Qualls, Karl D. "Local-Outsider Negotiations in Postwar Sevastopol's Reconstruction, 1944-53." In Provincial Landscapes: Local Dimensions of Soviet Power, 1917-1953, edited by Donald J. Raleigh, 276-98. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.