Interview with Dr. Paul Gregory

August 18th, 2010

By Trevor Dane

Dr. Paul Gregory is the author of the newly released book Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin’s Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina.  Dr. Gregory was interviewed by Trevor Dane.

About the Book

“A story told to show the horrors of fate, of personal mistreatment and suffering by real people” — from the foreword by Robert Conquest

A founding father of the Soviet Union at the age of 29, Nikolai Bukharin was the editor of Pravda and an intimate [during] Lenin’s exile. (Lenin later dubbed him “the favorite of the party.”) But after forming an alliance with Stalin to remove Leon Trotsky from power, Bukharin crossed swords with Stalin over their differing visions of the world’s first socialist state and paid the ultimate price with his life. Bukharin’s wife, Anna Larina, the stepdaughter of a high Bolshevik official, spent much of her life in prison camps and in exile after her husband’s execution.

In Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin’s Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina, Paul Gregory sheds light on how the world’s first socialist state went terribly wrong and why it was likely to veer off course through the story of two of Stalin’s most prominent victims. Drawn from Hoover Institution archival documents, the story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina begins with the optimism of the socialist revolution and then turns into a dark saga of foreboding and terror as the game changes from political struggle to physical survival. Told for the most part in the words of the participants, it is a story of courage and cowardice, strength and weakness, misplaced idealism, missed opportunities, bungling, and, above all, love.

About the Author

Paul Gregory, a Hoover Institution research fellow, holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, and is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. His most recent book is Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin’s Kremlin: The Story of Nikolai Bukharin and Anna Larina (Hoover Institution Press, 2010).

The book may be purchased from the Hoover Institution Press.

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One Response to “Interview with Dr. Paul Gregory”

  1. Tom Carter |

    Trevor, this is an excellent interview. I’d encourage everyone to listen to it in full. Bukharin, one of the most important figures in the Bolshevik movement, the Revolution, and the institution of the Soviet state, really hasn’t been sufficiently studied or understood. The interview is excellent in many respects, but it was particularly interesting to hear Gregory’s insights into the character of Stalin, the truth about Bukharin’s odd confession and then its retraction, Stalin’s vindictive treatment of Bukharin in the manner of his execution, and the further vengeance that was inflicted on Anna Larina.

    I’ve read a lot about Bukharin, and understanding him goes a long way toward explaining the complexities of that critical period in history. If someone like Bukharin had succeeded Lenin, things might have been radically different. But, as Gregory makes clear at the end of the interview, given the nature of the system, no such outcome was ever possible.

    I also read Anna Larina’s book This I Cannot Forget a long time ago, and it really impressed me. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in Bukharin and that period.

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