I went to the USSR for a year of research Phone Number List as a British exchange student, hoping to be allowed to work papers, which were in the Communist Party archives. The Soviets did not like to give access to Soviet-era archives to foreigners and they refused me the consultation. However, after a few months of struggle, I was allowed into the State Phone Number List Archives, considered less politically sensitive, to work on the archives of the ministry from the 1920s. Those materials were absolutely fascinating. Through them I learned about , but above all I began to understand how politics worked in the . The prevailing idea about the , encapsulated in the Phone Number List totalitarian model, held that all policy was formulated in the Politburo and then passed down.
But what I discovered in the files was that the Phone Number List Ministry of Education formulated policies (just like other ministries, departments of the Central Committee of the Party, etc.) and then tried to put pressure on the Phone Number List Politburo, the government, the Council of Ministers and the people who they integrated it so that their policies were approved. Sometimes they were successful and sometimes they were not, but I was seeing a political process that the totalitarian model simply did not allow to see. When you began your historiographical studies of Soviet Phone Number List communism, this "totalitarian school" perspective was predominant in Sovietology .
However, you took a different stance, focusing on a « story from Phone Number List below » , which served and centered on everyday life. What were your criticisms or objections to this paradigm and why did you choose to approach Soviet history from a Phone Number List societal perspective ? My first negative encounters with the "totalitarian model" came from my archival work in the . That was before I Phone Number List went to the United States, in the early 1970s. However, when I settled.