However, after a few months of Country Email List struggle, I was allowed into the State Archives, considered less politically sensitive, to work on the archives of the Lunacharsky ministry (Narkompros) from the 1920s. Those Narkompros materials Country Email List were absolutely fascinating. Through them I learned about Lunacharsky, but above all I began to understand how politics worked in the ussr. The prevailing idea about the ussr , encapsulated in the Country Email 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 Country Email 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 Politburo, the Country Email List 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 Country Email List studies of Soviet communism, this "totalitarian school" perspective was predominant in Sovietology .
However, you took a different Country Email List stance, focusing on a « story from 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 societal perspective ? My first negative encounters with the "totalitarian model" came from my archival Country Email List work in the ussr . That was before I went to the United States, in the early 1970s. However, when I settled there, the question became more important to me because Soviet studies in the United Country Email List States were then dominated by political scientists whose favorite model was that of totalitarianism.