Stephan Merl. Politische Kommunikation in der Diktatur: Deutschland und die Sowjetunion im Vergleich.
Göttingen, Germany: Wallstein Verlag, 2012. 184 pp.
Stephan Merl, Professor of East European History at Bielefeld University, Germany, is the author of several monographs on the history of collectivization and kolkhoz peasants, as well as essays on the Soviet policy of de-Stalinization, Soviet consumer culture, corruption as a feature of the Soviet system, and Soviet elections. He has now published a new brief study on political communication in dictatorial regimes. In this essay, as he calls it (as the text economizes on footnotes and lacks references to archival documents), the author undertakes a comparative look at Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, on the one hand, and the GDR and the post-Stalin Soviet Union, on the other. The reader should, however, expect not a systematic comparison but rather an analysis based on the Soviet case, which also offers occasional glimpses of German examples.