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The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States

by

The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The West has always had difficulty understanding the Soviet Union. For decades, analyses of America's Cold War foe were clouded by ideological passions and a shear dearth of information. Then came the flood of dramatic revelations under glasnost, followed by the sudden, shocking collapse of the Communist empire. Today, with the stunning secrets of newly opened archives and the excitement of political revolution still fresh in our minds, and we can look back at this remarkable nation and see it whole, see Soviet history as a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. In The Soviet Experiment, Ronald Grigor Suny does just that, in a landmark work that gives us the fullest account yet of the most remarkable story of our century.

With a clear-eyed mastery of the historical issues and literature, Suny combines gripping detail with insightful analysis in a narrative that propels the reader from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. He focuses in particular on four revolutions, each identified with a single individual: the tumultuous year of 1917, when Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik takeover of the tsarist empire; the 1930s, when Joseph Stalin refashioned the economy, the society, and the state; Mikhail Gorbachev's ambitious, and catastrophic, attempt at sweeping reform and revitalization; and the breakup of the Soviet Union led by Boris Yeltsin. Never have we had a more complete, nuanced, and crystal-clear examination of the complex themes running through Soviet history. Suny confidently moves from party debates and personal rivalries, to centuries-old ethnic tensions, to vast economic and social developments. He unravels tangled issues with ease, explaining deeply contradictory policies toward the various Soviet nationalities; Moscow's ambivalence over its own New Economic Policy of the 1920s; and the attempts at reform that followed Stalin's death. Suny's treatment of the Soviet break-up warrants particular attention, as he details precisely how Gorbachev's program unleashed forces that had built up during the previous decades--particularly the nationalism that had been shaped, ironically, by the Soviet structure of ethnically defined republics. Along the way, he offers a fresh telling of familiar as well as little-known events--capturing, for example, the movement of the crowds on the streets of St. Petersburg in the February revolution; Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's much-predicted invasion; or Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding as he pushed the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and then faced down his rivals.

The Soviet Experiment provides a rich, multilayered, seamlessly woven account of one of the great forces of modern history. With dispassionate insight and human detail, Suny has constructed a masterful work.

Synopsis:

The West has always had a difficult time understanding the Soviet Union. For decades Americans have known a Soviet Union clouded by ideological passions and a dearth of information. Today, with the revelations under glasnost and the collapse of the Communist empire, Americans are now able to see the former Soviet Union as a whole, and explore the turbulent tale of a Soviet history that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

One of the eminent Soviet historians of our time, Ronald Grigor Suny takes us on a journey that examines the complex themes of Soviet history from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. He examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores the successor states and the challenges they now face. Combining gripping detail with insightful analysis, Suny focuses on three revolutions: the tumultuous year of 1917 when Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik takeover of the tsarist empire; the 1930s when Joseph Stalin refashioned the economy, the society, and the state; and the 1980s and 1990s when Mikhail Gorbachev's ambitious and catastrophic attempt at sweeping reform and revitalization resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union led by Boris Yeltsin. He unravels issues, explaining "deeply contradictory" policies toward the various Soviet nationalities, including Moscow's ambivalence over its own New Economic Policy of the 1920s and the attempts at reform that followed Stalin's death. He captures familiar as well as little-known events, including the movement of the crowds on the streets of St. Petersburg in the February revolution; Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's much-predicted invasion; and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding as he pushed the disintegration of the Soviet Union and faced down his rivals.

Students and social scientists alike continue to be fascinated by the Soviet experiment and its meaning. The Soviet Experiment recovers the complexities and contradictions of the 70 years of Soviet Power, exploring its real achievements as well as its grotesque failings. Clearly written and well-argued, this narrative is complete with helpful anecdotes and examples that will not only engage students and offer them an opportunity to learn from new material but also afford them the opportunity to form their own opinions by reading the text and looking into the suggested readings. With insight and detail, Suny has constructed a masterful work, providing the fullest account yet of one of the greatest transformations of modern history.

Synopsis:

Now thoroughly revised in its second edition, The Soviet Experiment examines the complex themes of Soviet history, ranging from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. Author Ronald Grigor Suny, one of the most eminent Soviet historians of our time, examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores successor states and the challenges they now face. He captures familiar as well as little-known events--the crowds on the streets during the February Revolution, Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's invasion, and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding--combining gripping detail with insightful analysis.

About the Author

Ronald Grigor Suny is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He was previously Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Utopia and its Discontents

Part I: Crisis and Revolution

1. The Imperial Legacy

Land and People

Autocracy, Nobility, and Bureaucracy

The Coming of Capitalism

The Russian Intelligentsia

Marx, Lenin, and the Case of Russia

Empire and Nation in Tsarist Russia

The Final Crisis of Tsarism

The Tsar's Last War

Suggestions for Further Reading

2. The Double Revolution

The February Revolution and the End of Romanov Rule

Overlapping Revolutions, Dual Power

The Revolution Deepens

On the Road to October

The October Insurrection

Suggestions for Further Reading

3. Socialism and Civil War

On the Road from Democracy to Dictatorship

After October

Socialism, What's in a Name?

Building State Capitalism

Building the State: War, Peace, and Terror

Intervention and the Civil War in the South

Civil War in Siberia and the Volga

Russia on its Own

Waiting for the International Revolution

Where Have All the Workers Gone?

The Peasant Revolution

Why the Bolsheviks Won the Civil War

Suggestions for Further Reading

4. Nationalism and Revolution

South Caucasia

Ukrainians and Belorussians

Poland and the Russo-Polish War

The Baltic Peoples

Finns

Jews

Islam and the Peoples of the East

Nationalist and Class Struggles

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part II: Retreat and Rebuilding

5. Evolution of a Dictatorship

Five Easy Steps

One-Party Government

The Emasculation of the Soviets

The Party/State

Opposition Within the Party

Resistance, Rebellion, and Mutiny

"A Retreat to State Capitalism"

Suggestions for Further Reading

6. Socialism in One Country

The Nationality Question

The General Secretary

Lenin's Mantle

Early Crises of the NEP Economy

Socialism in One Country

The Final Crisis of NEP

Retreat and Retrenchment

Soviet Union Isolated

Continuing Revolution in Asia

The War Scare of 1927

Stalin and the Comintern

Balance and Power

Stalin's Path to Power

Suggestions for Further Reading

7. NEP Society

Cultures and Classes

Workers under State Capitalism

Peasant Russia

Nepmen

The Red Army

The New Soviet Man and Woman

Religious Wars

Building Legitimate Authority

Suggestions for Further Reading

8. Culture Wars

Intelligentsia and Revolution

Fellow-Travelers and Proletarian Writers

Film and Popular Culture

Soviet School Days

Cultural Revolution

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part III: Stalinism

9. The Stalin Revolution

Revolution from Above

War on the Peasants and the Final Opposition

Collectivization and Dekulakization

Famine in Ukraine

The Countryside After the Storm

Suggestions for Further Reading

10. Stalin's Industrial Revolution

Industrialization Stalin-Style

Class War on the "Specialists"

Extension and Centralization

Stalin's Working Class

The New Class of Bosses

The Second Five-Year Plan and Stakhanovism

Making the Socialist City

Suggestions for Further Reading

11. Building Stalinism

Politics and the Party

Retreat

The Great Purges

Suggestions for Further Reading

12. Culture and Society in the Socialist Motherland

Socialist Realism

Going to the Movies with Stalin

Disciplining the Intelligentsia

Women and the Family

Mind, Body, and Soul

Indestructible Union

Suggestions for Further Reading

13. Collective Security and the Soviet State

The Fascist Menace

The Popular Front and Collective Security

War in Europe.

Suggestions for Further Reading

14. The Great Fatherland War

Invasion

From Blitzkrieg to War of Attrition

The Supreme Commander and the Road to Stalingrad

War and Diplomacy, at Home and Abroad

Endgame

Suggestions for Further Reading

15. The Big Chill: The Cold War Begins

Historians Look at the Cold War

Diplomacy and the War Effort

Yalta and its Aftermath

Atomic Diplomacy

A New World Order

The Left in Europe

The Soviets in Eastern Europe

Perceptions and Misperceptions

The Division of Europe

Poland

Czechoslovakia

Yugoslavia

The Finnish Exception

The German Question

Suggestions for Further Reading

16. Late Stalinism at Home and Abroad

From under the Rubble

Reconstructing Hearts and Minds

Stalinizing Eastern Europe

Cold War and Hot War

High Politics in the Kremlin Court

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part IV: Reform and Stagnation

17. From Autocracy to Oligarchy. Khrushchev and the Politics of

Reform

The Several Deaths of Stalin

The Man

The Soviets Enter the Nuclear Age

"Peaceful Coexistence" and its Set-Backs

Khrushchev in Crisis

The "Thaw" and Destalinization

Farm, Factory, and School

Coexistence

Rift with China

Crises in the West

Kennedy and Khrushchev

Khrushchev's Gamble: The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Fall of Khrushchev

Suggestions for Further Reading

18. The Paradoxes of Brezhnev's Long Reign

The Leadership

Meeting the American Challenge: Vietnam

The Defeat of Reforms

Crushing the Prague Spring

Public Opinion and Dissent

Agriculture

Brezhnev Ascendant

Social Changes in the Era of Stagnation

Détente and the Arms Race

Two Crises: Afghanistan and Poland

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part V: Reform and Revolution.

19. Reform and the Road to Revolution.

The Brief Reign of Iurii Andropov

The Briefer Reign of Konstantin Chernenko

The Road to Radical Reform

Glasnost and the Erosion of Authority

The "New Thinking and the End of the Cold War

Politics in a New Idiom

The "Awakening" of Nations

From Reform to Revolution

The Unraveling of the Empire at Home

Surrendering Stalin's Empire

Power to the People

The Final Crisis

Coup and Collapse

Suggestions for Further Reading

20. The Second Russian Republic and the "Near Abroad"

The Shock of Therapy

Constitutional Crisis

Russia, the Near Abroad, and Beyond

The War in Chechnya

Treading Water

The Decline and Abdication

Reviving Russia

The World Outside

Suggestions for Further Reading

Chronology

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195340556
Author:
Suny, Ronald Grigor
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
Suny, Ronald
Author:
null, Ronald
Subject:
Russia (pre & post Soviet Union)
Subject:
History, World | Russia
Subject:
Former Soviet Union
Subject:
History, World | Russia & Former Soviet Union
Subject:
Russia-General Russian History
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
29 illus. and 5 maps
Pages:
608
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9 x 1.3 in 1.788 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Russia » General Russian History
History and Social Science » World History » Russia

The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States New Trade Paper
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Product details 608 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195340556 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The West has always had a difficult time understanding the Soviet Union. For decades Americans have known a Soviet Union clouded by ideological passions and a dearth of information. Today, with the revelations under glasnost and the collapse of the Communist empire, Americans are now able to see the former Soviet Union as a whole, and explore the turbulent tale of a Soviet history that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

One of the eminent Soviet historians of our time, Ronald Grigor Suny takes us on a journey that examines the complex themes of Soviet history from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. He examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores the successor states and the challenges they now face. Combining gripping detail with insightful analysis, Suny focuses on three revolutions: the tumultuous year of 1917 when Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik takeover of the tsarist empire; the 1930s when Joseph Stalin refashioned the economy, the society, and the state; and the 1980s and 1990s when Mikhail Gorbachev's ambitious and catastrophic attempt at sweeping reform and revitalization resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union led by Boris Yeltsin. He unravels issues, explaining "deeply contradictory" policies toward the various Soviet nationalities, including Moscow's ambivalence over its own New Economic Policy of the 1920s and the attempts at reform that followed Stalin's death. He captures familiar as well as little-known events, including the movement of the crowds on the streets of St. Petersburg in the February revolution; Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's much-predicted invasion; and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding as he pushed the disintegration of the Soviet Union and faced down his rivals.

Students and social scientists alike continue to be fascinated by the Soviet experiment and its meaning. The Soviet Experiment recovers the complexities and contradictions of the 70 years of Soviet Power, exploring its real achievements as well as its grotesque failings. Clearly written and well-argued, this narrative is complete with helpful anecdotes and examples that will not only engage students and offer them an opportunity to learn from new material but also afford them the opportunity to form their own opinions by reading the text and looking into the suggested readings. With insight and detail, Suny has constructed a masterful work, providing the fullest account yet of one of the greatest transformations of modern history.

"Synopsis" by , Now thoroughly revised in its second edition, The Soviet Experiment examines the complex themes of Soviet history, ranging from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. Author Ronald Grigor Suny, one of the most eminent Soviet historians of our time, examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores successor states and the challenges they now face. He captures familiar as well as little-known events--the crowds on the streets during the February Revolution, Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's invasion, and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding--combining gripping detail with insightful analysis.
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