The Revolution Betrayed
The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going? is a book by the Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 leader Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, published in 1937, analyzing and criticizing Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 and the post-Lenin development in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....


Trotsky wrote the book during his exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...


The book was originally translated into French by Victor Serge
Victor Serge
Victor Serge , born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich , was a Russian revolutionary and writer. Originally an anarchist, he joined the Bolsheviks five months after arriving in Petrograd in January 1919 and later worked for the Comintern as a journalist, editor and translator...

 and its most notable English translation is by Max Eastman
Max Eastman
Max Forrester Eastman was an American writer on literature, philosophy and society, a poet, and a prominent political activist. For many years, Eastman was a supporter of socialism, a leading patron of the Harlem Renaissance and an activist for a number of liberal and radical causes...



The book, as a critique of Stalin, opens by praising the economic advance of the USSR since the death of Lenin- citing growth in electrical power, agricultural output, industry, etc.

The first few chapters examine the situation of the "Zigzags," as Trotsky described them, in the leadership of the Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. Trotsky segues into economic policy, criticizing Stalin and Bukharin's
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

 policy of moving slowly into collectivization and increased privatization of land. Trotsky then discusses labor productivity and criticizes the uselessness of the Stakhanovite
In Soviet history and iconography, a Stakhanovite follows the example of Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, employing hard work or Taylorist efficiencies to over-achieve on the job.- History :...

 movement and "shock brigades."

Trotsky then analyzes the "The Soviet Thermidor
Thermidorian Reaction
The Thermidorian Reaction was a revolt in the French Revolution against the excesses of the Reign of Terror. It was triggered by a vote of the Committee of Public Safety to execute Maximilien Robespierre, Antoine Louis Léon de Saint-Just de Richebourg and several other leading members of the Terror...

," analyzing the triumph of Stalin, the separation of the party from Bolshevism, and the rising bureaucratic stratum. He now discusses everyday life in the Soviet Union, economic inequality and the oppression of the new proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...


From here he discusses foreign policy and the Soviet military: The failure to defeat fascism, the re-institution of ranks and the loss of a militia, and closes by examining the future of the Soviet Union.

The main characteristic of this work is that by using Marxist methods, Trotsky predicted -in 1936- that the USSR would come before a disjuncture: either the toppling of the ruling bureaucracy by means of a political revolution, or capitalist restoration led by the bureaucracy. His prediction was proven mostly correct, as the end of the USSR came when Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

(President of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR) made a deal with his counterparts in Belarus and Ukraine to pull their countries out of the Soviet Union, effectively ending the country. In the next decade, the old bureaucracy (the nomenklatura) became the main beneficiaries of the capitalist restoration as they used their connections to gain ownership of once public enterprises.

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