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Lars LihA Personal Tribute for Gennady Bordiugov on his 70th Birthday
I have never met Gennady Bordiugov in person, and yet he has been a vital part of my life for a long time now. It all started back in the late 1980s, when I was fascinated by the historical debates generated by perestroika. In fact, I was on assignment from my teachers Robert Tucker and Steve Cohen to track how the NEP period, as historical experience and as political symbol, was used during the perestroika period. Naturally, the articles and books coauthored by Bordiugov and Vladimir Kozlov loomed large. I just now took down my copy of История и конъюнктура from the shelf, in order to make sure I remembered the title correctly.

Looking through Gennady’s bibliography, I am genuinely surprised by how many books are on that list that are really basic to my research. To name just two: the three-volume anthology devoted to Aleksandr Bogdanov, and the collection of private letters from 1917 by Martov and Lunacharsky. The Martov/Lunacharsky collection is on my desk right now, as it is an invaluable source on the political struggles in 1917. Indeed, I see it as my mission to ensure that the new information found in these volumes (and of course many other late Soviet and post-Soviet publications) is properly used by my fellow Western specialists in Soviet history.
Lately my collaboration with Gennady has become more direct. Owing to the good offices of our close mutual friend Steve Cohen, Gennady helped arrange for the translation and publication of my short biography of Lenin for Russian readers. I regard this as one of the high points of my own career, since I can imagine no better audience. After Steve Cohen left us, I contributed what I could to help memorialize Steve, who, like Gennady, was a living bridge between Russian and Western scholarship.
The present troubles have created real barriers to the kind of high-level collaboration between Western and Russian scholars that I associate with the name of Gennady Bordiugov. On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, I salute him for all he has done for me personally and for our shared project of writing an objective yet passionate history of Russia and the Soviet Union. I hope that we historians both East and West can soon overcome any and all of the present difficulties that prevent us from listening to and learning from each other.

Heartfelt thanks, Gennady!
Lars T. Lih, June 2024



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