This dissertation centralizes the concept that the significance of "empires" persists long after their collapse, exerting influence both overtly and subtly, a phenomenon referred to as persistent post-imperial syndrome. This syndrome fosters insular ideologies, xenophobia, and a yearning for past grandeur. However, delving into the origins of these ideologies requires an exploration of historical context and factors that led to the actual decline of empires. Consequently, my research centers on the region of Eastern Europe and Russia, which witnessed the downfall of two empires—the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. This region also stands out due to its involvement in significant social experiments with far-reaching effects on the populace. These experiments encompass the eradication of serfdom, partial liberalization efforts, the ascent of the Bolsheviks during the 1917 Revolution, the enforced industrialization that propelled the Soviet Union into global superpower status, albeit at a tremendous human cost, and the dramatic disintegration of the Soviet Empire (Zhuravskaya et al. 2021, p. 1).
This dissertation is structured into three distinct chapters, consisting of two empirical sections and one theoretical portion. The initial two empirical chapters scrutinize the political economy's impact on the labor market within the domains of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. However, precise demarcations are challenging to establish due to fluid territorial boundaries. The theoretical chapter furnishes a more intricate grasp of the mechanisms facilitating transmission and persistence. This is achieved through a comprehensive theoretical exposition that centers on the shift in regimes from Nazi Germany to the German Democratic Republic—a state closely aligned with the Soviet Union.
In essence, this research endeavors to assess the efficacy of state and strategic decision-making mechanisms in exerting control over specific populations via methods such as forced deportations, state surveillance, and targeted indoctrination. The ultimate objective is to furnish a holistic comprehension of the enduring consequences of empires and the contributing factors to their decline, employing Eastern Europe and Russia as illustrative examples. Throughout my analysis, the figure of Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, known as Stalin, recurs consistently, assuming a pivotal role in each chapter. He emerges as a left-wing extremist and possible informant within the archives of the tsarist secret police, a dictator for whom ethnically motivated violence constituted a rehearsed aspect of governance, and as the mastermind behind the division between East and West Germany.