Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin's Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina

CISAC Conference Room
  • Paul Gregory

A founding father of the Soviet Union at the age of twenty nine, Nikolai Bukharin was the editor of Pravda and an intimate Lenin's exile. (Lenin later dubbed him "the favorite of the party.") But after forming an alliance with Stalin to remove Leon Trotsky from power, Bukharin crossed swords with Stalin over their differing visions of the world's first socialist state and paid the ultimate price with his life. Bukharin's wife, Anna Larina, the stepdaughter of a high Bolshevik official, spent much of her life in prison camps and in exile after her husband's execution.

In his most recent book Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin's Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina (2010), Paul Gregory sheds light on how the world's first socialist state went terribly wrong and why it was likely to veer off course through the story of two of Stalin's most prominent victims. Drawn from Hoover Institution archival documents, the story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina begins with the optimism of the socialist revolution and then turns into a dark saga of foreboding and terror as the game changes from political struggle to physical survival. Told for the most part in the words of the participants, it is a story of courage and cowardice, strength and weakness, misplaced idealism, missed opportunities, bungling, and, above all, love.

Paul Gregory holds the Cullen professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin and a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The holder of a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, he is the author or coauthor of nine books and many articles on the Soviet economy, transition economies, comparative economics, and economic demography. He serves on the editorial boards of Comparative Economic Studies, Journal of Comparative Economics, Problems of Post-Communism, and Explorations in Economic History. He was the President of the Association of Comparative Economic Studies in 2007.

Paul Gregory served as an editor of the seven-volume History of Stalin’s Gulag (published jointly by Hoover and the Russian Archival Service), which was awarded the silver human rights award of the Russian Federation in 2006 and  is an editor of the three volume Stenograms of the Politburo of the Communist Party (published jointly by Hoover and the Russian Archival Service). Two of his edited works – Behind the Façade of Stalin’s Command Economy and The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag -- have been published by Hoover Press. His collection of essays entitled Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives was published in 2007. His co-edited work with Norman Naimark, The Lost Politburo Stenograms, was  published by Yale University Press in 2008 as was his most recent work Terror by Quota. Professor Gregory’s current research on Soviet dictatorship and repression is supported by the National Science Foundation and by the Hoover Institution Archives.

This event is co-sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Europe and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.