It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway by David Satter

It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway by David Satter – Russia and the Communist Past – was another book I read for my studies. This is such a lovely book and the author is a journalist, so the style is easy to follow and a delight to read. I highly recommend the book because it is so interesting.

It was a long time ago, and it never happened anyway by David Satter

The argument of the book is that russia didn’t come to terms with its past and the trauma inflicted in the communist period. The argument is so nicely presented and very persuasive. Satter uses stories to highlight his points, stories which are both interesting and representative.

I will share three quotes from the book, which will, hopefully, make you want to get a copy and read it.

“Although many persons began to be rehabilitated, the attitude in Russia was that if someone had been arrested, there must have been a reason.”
– this is particularly striking considering the experience of the purges, where there was a quota to reach, so many of the people who were accused of treason were just there to make up the numbers

“If the Russian Empire was the ‘‘prison of nations,’’ its successor state, the Soviet Union, was often just a prison.”

“Under Stalin, an incautious word could bring ten years in a labor camp. Under Khrushchev, one could still be arrested for telling antiregime jokes. Under Brezhnev, people were no longer arrested for jokes”
– considering the reasons that people get arrested now in russia, it seems they are going through a stalinist revival.

It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway by David Satter

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Yale University Press
Year it was published: 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): russian history
Pages: 400

About the author: David Satter is senior fellow, Hudson Institute, and fellow, Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He was Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times from 1976 to 1982, then a special correspondent on Soviet affairs for the Wall Street Journal.
Website & Social Media Links: –



2 thoughts on “It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway by David Satter”

  • I enjoyed all three quotations you shared. Call me cynical, but I can’t imagine having the attitude expressed in the first one. Even in this country, people are still arrested (and convicted) for crimes they’ve not committed.
    Kelly recently posted…Cozy vs. CosyMy Profile

    • You are right though and many were convicted for crimes they didn’t do. That’s a failure of the system, a very big one too.
      In US & UK & the west, a person is proven guilty or not proven guilty, but none are proven innocent, so this attitude, that someone might have had something to do with the charge against them is not as inconceivable. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but that is understandable. What is surprising is that russians believe someone was guilty of something during the purges, when someone with a relative in Poland was believed to spy for Poland even if they never been there or were communicating with the Polish relative. It had nothing to do with investigation or proving anything. All were victims.

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