Soviet Politics: In Perspective
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Soviet Politics in Perspective is a new edition of Richard Sakwas successful textbook Soviet Politics: an introduction. Thoroughly revised and updated it builds on the previous editions comprehensive and accessible exploration of the Soviet system, from its rise in 1919 to its collapse in 1991.
The book is divided into five parts, which focus on key aspects of Soviet politics. They are:
* historical perspectives, beginning with the Tsarist regime on the eve of Revolution, the rise and development of Stalinism, through to the decline of the regime under Brezhnev and his successors and Gorbachev's attempts to revive the system
* institutions of Government, such as the Communist Party, security apparatus, the military, the justice system, local government and participation
* theoretical approaches to Soviet politics, including class and gender politics, the role of ideology and the shift from dissent to pluralism
* key policy areas: the command economy and reform; nationality politics; and foreign and defence policy
* an evaluation of Soviet rule, and reasons for its collapse.
Providing key texts and bibliographies, this book offers the complete history and politics of the Soviet period in a single volume. It will be indispensable to students of Soviet and post-Soviet politics as well as the interested general reader.
increasing national and cultural diversity, either the model had to keep being modified or one remained loyal to the original model, the ‘ideal type’, and measured the distance the Soviet Union deviated from it. The theory of totalitarianism would appear to be riddled with insurmountable weaknesses. However, a solid case can be made in favour of retaining the concept. While its defenders on the whole admit that the model has flaws, they argue that in the absence of anything better it remains the
pursue their own research independent of state direction was never abandoned, despite the depredations of a charlatan like Lysenko. Dunmore and others have shown that under the ferocious though weakening gaze of the dictator in his declining years there were pluralist and bureaucratic elements in Soviet politics, with conflicts over consumer goods and agricultural policy, cultural and foreign policy. The Zhdanov ‘party revivalist’ faction was opposed by Malenkov, who put greater emphasis on state
were forced to concede vast territories containing some of the most valuable industries. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 was bitterly opposed by a group of so-called Left Communists led by Bukharin who asserted that a revolutionary war should be waged to defend Russia and take the revolution to the ‘imperialists’. The peace did not entail a rejection of the Bolshevik commitment to internationalism but it did represent a shift of emphasis to communist nationalism. The defence of the
approach began to be applied from 1969 in Azerbaijan, when as part of a drive against corruption Geidar Aliev, the former head of the KGB in the republic, came to head the party organisation. In 1972 in Georgia the corrupt Brezhnev protégé V.P.Mzhavanadze was replaced by the republic’s minister of the interior, Eduard Shevardnadze. These two leaders revived the ‘permanent purge’, though with a minimum of bloodshed, as key figures were dismissed, some of whom were tried for corruption and other
bodies. The representative function allowed the Supreme Soviet to project the image of mass involvement and the smooth operation of socialist democracy. Deputies were selected to represent the key sectors of society such as workers, peasants, women, minorities and various professions, undermining any serious selective role for elections. The party leadership, especially Central Committee members, were traditionally over-represented. The so-called barometer function allowed deputies to indicate