Nelson has produced a well written and documented account of Stalin’s rehabilitation in post-Soviet Russia. This work has an extensive bibliography. It would be of interest to scholars interested in the construction of historical memory in Russia and also, more broadly, to readers with a general interest in post-Soviet Russian affairs.
Bringing Stalin Back In will be most useful to students because of its well-written syntheses of English-language scholarship on memory politics in Russia. Nelson’s prose is accessible, and he mixes in personal encounters and writes in detail of his visits to a range of far-flung memorial sites.
In coming to this conclusion, the book effectively overturns its initial premise of a gap between words and deeds, having demonstrated that what Russians (and Russian leaders) say matters in a very important way. Readers interested in learning how Russian public discourse shapes Russian collective memory and Russian public life will find this study a useful primer.