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The Political Power of Bad IdeasNetworks, Institutions, and the Global Prohibition Wave$
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Mark Lawrence Schrad

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391237

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391237.001.0001

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The Surprising Rise and Tenacity of Russian Prohibition

The Surprising Rise and Tenacity of Russian Prohibition

(p.118) Chapter 5 The Surprising Rise and Tenacity of Russian Prohibition
The Political Power of Bad Ideas

Mark Lawrence Schrad (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a brief historical overview — from the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 through the Bol'shevik Revolution of 1917 and into the brutal, autocratic reign of Joseph Stalin, who ultimately repealed prohibition in the Soviet Union — before it addresses the domestic structure of policy decision-making in both late imperial and early Soviet Russia. While it is difficult to imagine a more stark contrast in the political ideology of the ruling classes, the basic structure of policymaking both before and after 1917 exhibits significantly more similarities than differences. The chapter considers the evolution of temperance and prohibitionist sentiments in imperial Russia, and their surprising resilience through the February and October Revolutions of 1917. These disparate threads are woven together into a new interpretation of the Russian experience with prohibition, which embeds consideration of the enormous weight normally given to Tsar Nicholas II within a deeper understanding of the role of autocratic policymaking institutions.

Keywords:   Russia, alcohol prohibition, policymaking, Soviet Union, temperance, prohibitionist

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