Intimate Enemies

Demonizing the Bolshevik Opposition, 1918-1928

"Intimate Enemies is a bold, highly original reexamination of key events in Bolshevik Party history. Halfin's explanation of the roots of the Great Terror will rank among the most influential ever advanced. He achieves this feat with a unique conceptual lens that fuses cultural history, cultural anthropology, the intellectual history of religion, and prodigious archival research."
Jan Plamper, University of Tübingen

Intimate Enemies is a brilliant study of the transformation of Bolshevik Party ideology, language, and power relations during the crucial period leading up to Stalin's seizure of power. Combining extensive research in recently opened Soviet archives with an insightful rereading of intra-Party struggles, Igal Halfin uncovers this evolution in the language of Bolshevism. This language defined the methods for judging true party loyalty-in what Halfin describes as an examination of the 'hermeneutics of the soul,' and became the basis for prosecuting the Party's enemies, particularly the “intimate enemies” within the Party itself. Halfin argues that Bolshevism-which claimed sole access to truth and morality-ultimately demonized its enemies, and became in effect a theology that facilitated a monumental power shift.

about the author

Igal Halfin

Igal Halfin is senior lecturer in the department of history at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Intimate Enemies: Demonizing the Bolshevik Opposition, 1918-1928; From Darkness to Light: Class, Consciousness, and Salvation in Revolutionary Russia; and Terror in My Soul: Communist Autobiographies on Trial. Halfin is also editor of Language and Revolution: The Making of Modern Political Identities.

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Igal Halfin