Turksib and the Building of Socialism
AUTHOR: Payne, Matthew J.
PUBLISHER: University of Pittsburgh Press
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The Turkestano-Siberian Railroad, or Turksib, was one of the great construction projects of the Soviet Union s First Five-Year Plan. As the major icon to ending the economic "backwardness" of the USSR s minority republics, it stood apart from similar efforts as one of the most potent metaphors for the creation of a unified socialist nation.
Built between December 1926 and January 1931 by nearly 50,000 workers and at a cost of more 161 million rubles, Turksib embodied the Bolsheviks commitment to end ethnic inequality and promote cultural revolution in one the far-flung corners of the old Tsarist Empire, Kazakhstan. Trumpeted as the "forge of the Kazakh proletariat," the railroad was to create a native working class, bringing not only trains to the steppes, but also the Revolution.
In the first in-depth study of this grand project, Matthew Payne explores the transformation of its builders in Turksib s crucible of class war, race riots, state purges, and the brutal struggle of everyday life. In the battle for the souls of the nation s engineers, as well as the racial and ethnic conflicts that swirled, far from Moscow, around Stalin s vast campaign of industrialization, he finds a microcosm of the early Soviet Union."
PUBLICATION DATE: 11/15/2001
CATEGORY: History, Political Science, Social Science, Transportation