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Home АИРО-XXI Новости Умер Роберт Такер

Умер Роберт Такер

Tucker_small29 июля – умер профессор Роберт Такер,
искренний друг и партнер АИРО, со дня её основания.

 

 

 

 

Tucker01

Tucker02
Р. Такер с супругой Евгенией, 1946 г.

Tucker-Khrushchev01

Слева направо: Ю.Жуков (помощник Н.С. Хрущева), Н.С. Хрущев, А. Стивенсон, Р. Такер.

 



Robert C. Tucker, a Scholar of Marx, Stalin and Soviet Affairs, Dies at 92

By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Published: July 31, 2010

Robert C. Tucker, a distinguished Sovietologist whose frustrations in persuading the authorities in Stalin’s Russia to let his new Russian wife accompany him home to the United States gave him crucial and influential insights into the Soviet leader, died Thursday at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 92.

The cause was pneumonia, his wife, Evgeniya, said. Mr. Tucker commanded wide attention with two biographies of Stalin that used psychological interpretations to explain how he had achieved and exercised power. In essence, he described a severely disturbed man who employed clever, often cruel means to defend his neurotic self-conception.

“He believed Stalin was a deeply paranoid personality,” said Stephen F. Cohen, who has written extensively on Soviet affairs. “He was trying to make the world safe for himself.”

In a speech in 1988, George F. Kennan, the diplomat and Russian scholar, called Mr. Tucker “one of the great students of Stalin and Stalinism.” Mr. Kennan said there was a temptation to dismiss figures like Hitler or Stalin as “incomprehensible monstrosities” whose formative lives were beside the point. But Mr. Tucker, he said, marshaled “a seriousness of purpose, an historical insight and a scrupulousness of method” to regard Stalin as a malleable human being shaped by a childhood so harsh that he created, as a defense, an inflated self-image.

In his second Stalin biography, “Stalin in Power: The Revolution From Above: 1928-1941” (1990), Mr. Tucker wrote of Stalin’s severe demands on the exhausted Russian people in the 1930s, saying he “was now at the wheel of the careening car of Soviet industrialization, driven by his inner fantasy about his hero-role in revolutionary history.” If Mr. Tucker was admired for describing Stalin’s victims — and he was — it owed much to his being a victim himself. He had met a vivacious young woman, Evgeniya Pestretsova, at a Tchaikovsky opera a month after he arrived in Moscow in 1944 to work as a translator in the United States Embassy. They went to many more operas, and married in 1946.

At the end of Mr. Tucker’s two-year term of employment, Mrs. Tucker was denied an exit visa. The reason, she was told, was that Russian wives were treated badly abroad. Not until 1953 was she allowed to leave. In the interim, Mr. Tucker found other translating work but felt trapped. As his irritation grew, he developed a theory: In Stalin’s Russia, crazy things like the denied visa happened because the man at the top was unhinged.

It was actually more complicated. Mr. Tucker had read the work of Karen Horney, the neo-Freudian psychoanalyst, and saw her model of neurosis in Stalin’s behavior. He had also been scooping up history books in antiquarian bookstores and, from those readings, theorized that Stalin was willfully recapitulating the impetuous behavior of the czars. When Stalin died on March 5, 1953, Mr. Tucker responded with what he wrote was the most “intense elation” of his life. And sure enough, his wife soon received her visa.

Robert Charles Tucker was born on May 29, 1918, in Kansas City, Mo., where his parents were friends with Harry Truman and his family. He declined to work in his father’s furniture store, where Bess Truman, Mr. Truman’s wife, shopped. Instead, he went to Harvard, where he was working on a Ph.D. in philosophy when the chance came to sign up for an intensive course in the Russian language sponsored by the State Department. That resulted in his two-year job in Moscow.

On Sept. 22, 1953, The New York Times reported that Mr. Tucker and his wife had arrived in New York on the ocean liner America. “The tall, 29-year-old brunette chatted excitedly about the prospects of a bus ride along Fifth Avenue, a trip to Coney Island and a view from the top of the Empire State Building,” The Times said.

Mr. Tucker finished his Ph.D. on the early writings of Marx, worked for the research organization the RAND Corporation and taught at Indiana University, Princeton and elsewhere. In addition to his wife of 64 years, he is survived by his daughter, Liza Tucker; his sister, Marilyn Goldman; and two grandchildren.

In 1958, he returned to Moscow as a translator for Adlai Stevenson, the former Democratic presidential candidate. At the end of Mr. Stevenson’s interview with Nikita S. Khrushchev, Mr. Tucker, after asking if he could speak for himself, told the Soviet leader that his mother-in-law had applied six times for a visa and been denied six times. Mr. Khrushchev said he would look into it. Three weeks later, she had a visa. Mr. Tucker’s essays and books on Marx and Soviet politics are still used in college classrooms, but his Stalin works achieved the broadest readership. The first was “Stalin as Revolutionary 1879-1929: A Study in History and Personality” (1973). Mr. Cohen, who is also a professor at New York University, said that Mr. Tucker’s thesis about Stalin’s importance as an individual was gathering popularity after a period when social scientists and historians minimized “great man” theories.

Mr. Tucker never finished the third book of what was supposed to be his Stalin trilogy. It seems to have fallen victim to writer’s block, torrents of new archival material and declining health.

“I hope I won’t be Stalin’s last victim,” Mr. Tucker said toward the end of his life, “but I think that’s what happened.”

A version of this article appeared in print on August 1, 2010, on page A24 of the New York edition.


w-p

Robert C. Tucker, 92, dies; scholar of Soviet-era politics and history

By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 31, 2010; B04

 

Robert C. Tucker, 92, whose early State Department assignment in Moscow launched a distinguished career as a scholar of Soviet-era politics and history, notably tracing the enduring impact of Joseph Stalin's reign, died July 29 at his home in Princeton, N.J. He had pneumonia.

His death was confirmed by Princeton University, where he was a professor of politics from 1962 to 1984 and the founding director of the university's Russian studies program.

Blair A. Ruble, who directs the Washington-based Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, said that before Soviet archives opened after the collapse of the Communist system in 1991, Dr. Tucker was for decades one of a "very small number of scholars who were able to give an all-encompassing view of the Soviet system."

Virtually no other American-born Sovietologist of Dr. Tucker's generation combined high-level scholarship with his depth of experience living under Stalin's rule, Ruble said.

Dr. Tucker arrived in the Russian capital in 1944. His two-year assignment at the U.S. Embassy stretched into nine years because of his marriage to a Russian he had met at the opera.

Soon after their wedding, in 1946, a Soviet decree prohibited marriage with non-citizens. His wife was denied an exit visa.

Dr. Tucker stayed on, too, overseeing a translation service run cooperatively by the U.S., British and Canadian embassies to monitor the Soviet press. While he later wrote that he was "serving an indefinite sentence in Moscow," his extended time in Russia proved valuable to his career in government and academia.

He befriended George F. Kennan, the second-ranking diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and assisted in research for Kennan's influential cable back to Washington insisting on a persistent and patient containment strategy toward Soviet expansion. Kennan, a leading architect of Cold War policy toward the Soviet Union, held Dr. Tucker in high regard.

Kennan once recalled that Dr. Tucker's years reading Russian periodicals "could scarcely have been a better intellectual preparation for the tasks that he was destined to confront in later life."

"They were, by necessity, analytical exercises," Kennan said, "unique in nature because of the unique purpose they were designed to serve: which was to identify and to distill out of the great masses of this highly propagandistic, ritualistic and repetitive journalistic material the evidences, sometimes artfully disguised, sometimes involuntarily revealed, of the evolution of policy in the mind of a single great and crafty despot and the men closest to him."

Stalin died in 1953, and Dr. Tucker's wife received her visa. The Tuckers left for the United States, where he completed his doctorate in philosophy from Harvard and began his career as a scholar.

He was influenced by the writings of the American psychoanalyst Karen Horney. Her 1950 book "Neurosis and Human Growth," which Dr. Tucker spirited into Moscow in a diplomatic pouch, had a crucial impact on his interpretation of Stalin's destructive mind.

He later wrote that in the 1940s and 1950s, it was almost unheard of to assign a deep psychological reading into Stalin's cult of personality. He said he was laughed at by colleagues when he hypothesized that the regime was an extension of Stalin's paranoia and grandiose sense of self-importance.

One person told him, "Stalin doesn't give a hoot for the cult. He simply countenances it as a useful propaganda tool in Soviet domestic affairs."

Dr. Tucker felt strongly otherwise. "His personality cult must reflect his own monstrously inflated vision of himself as the greatest genius of Russian and world history," he wrote. "It must be an institutionalization of his neurotic character structure."

Dr. Tucker's best-known books, "Stalin as Revolutionary" (1973) and "Stalin in Power" (1990), the second of which required 15 years of research, were regarded by critics as formidable portraits of the Soviet dictator.

In addition to what journalist Harrison Salisbury called Dr. Tucker's "very sure-footed" examination of Stalin's rise to absolute power, the author relied heavily on theories by Horney, Freud and others to explain how Stalin's psyche as a young man gave rise to such destructive behavior as a leader.

Dr. Tucker later said that despite the mass executions Stalin ordered and the cult of personality he engineered, the Soviet leader "stood for a strong, centralized Russian state" that has long held an appeal. Many contemporary Russians, he said in a 1996 interview with public television host Charlie Rose, "see Stalin as he wanted to see himself, as a statist, in belief of Russia as a great power. They find that Stalin is the kind of Stalin that needs to be maintained."

Robert Charles Tucker was born May 29, 1918, in Kansas City, Mo. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1939, he received a master's degree in philosophy from Harvard in 1941 and took intensive Russian-language training before serving in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime precursor to the CIA. He then joined the Foreign Service.

Besides his wife, Evgeniya Pestretsova, survivors include their daughter, Elizabeth "Liza" Tucker of South Pasadena, Calif.; a sister; and two grandchildren.

After serving in Moscow, Dr. Tucker worked in Washington for the Rand Corp. think tank, where his job was to interpret and predict post-Stalin Soviet policy. He received his doctorate from Harvard in 1958, and his dissertation was published in 1961 by Cambridge University Press as "Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx."

His other books included "The Soviet Political Mind" (1963) and "Political Culture and Leadership in Soviet Russia: From Lenin to Gorbachev" (1987). He was editor of "The Marx-Engels Reader" (1973).

Ruble, of the Kennan Center, said Dr. Tucker attracted criticism at times for "humanizing a demon" with his psychological lens. Dr. Tucker said he was no Stalin apologist.

He joked that he spent so much time consumed by studying the Soviet autocrat that his friends called him "Stalin's last victim." He wrote that his initial attraction was "an intellectual fascination with an unusual hypothesis. . . . But the fact is I loathe Stalin, and the better I have come to know him as my biographical subject, the more intense my loathing has grown."

 

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