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

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1997-11-13
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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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 tosee 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 andexplores 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 theeconomy, 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 thevarious 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 theFebruary 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 andwell-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. Withinsight and detail, Suny has constructed a masterful work, providing the fullest account yet of one of the greatest transformations of modern history.

Author Biography

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

Utopia and Its Discontents
Crisis and Revolution
The Imperial Legacy
Land and People
Autocracy, Nobility, Bureaucracy, and the Church
The Coming of Capitalism
The Russian Intelligentsia
Marx, Lenin, and the Case of Russia
The Final Crisis of Tsarism
The Tsar''s Last War
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
Socialism and Civil War
On the Road from Democracy to Dictatorship
After October
Socialism, What''s in a Name? Building State Capitalism
Founding the New 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
Nationalism and Revolution
Ukrainians and Belorussians
Poland and the Russo-Polish War
The Balitc Peoples
The Finns
The Jews
Islam and the Peoples of the East
Nationalist and Class Struggles
Retreat and Rebuilding
The Evolution of the Dictatorship
Five Easy Steps
One-Party Government
The Weakening of the Soviets
The Party-State
Opposition within the Party
Resistence, Rebellion, and Mutiny
A Retreat to State Capitalism
Socialism in One Country
The Nationality Question
The General Secretary
Lenin''s Mantle
Early Crisis of the NEP Economy
Socialism in One Country
The Final Crisis of NEP
Retreat and Retrenchment
The Soviet Union Isolated
Continuing Revolution in Asia
The War Scare of 1927
Stalin and the Comintern
Balance and Power
Stalin''s Path to Power
NEP Society
Cultures and Classes
Workers under State Capitalism
Peasant Russia
The Nepmen
The Red Army
The New Soviet Man and Woman
Religious Wars
Building Legitimate Authority
Culture Wars
Intelligentsia and Revolution
Fellow-Travelers and Proletarian Writers
Film and Popular Culture
Soviet School Days
Cultural Revolution
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
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
Building Stalinism
Politics and the Party
The Great Purges
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
Collective Security and the Coming of World War II
The Fascist Menace
The Popular Front and Collective Security
Communism versus Fascism
War in Europe
The Great Fatherland WarInvasion
From Blitzkrieg to War of Attrition
The Supreme Commander and the Road to Stalingrad
War and Diplomacy, at Home and Abroad
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
The Finnish Exception
The German Question
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
Reform and Stagnation
From Autocracy to Oligarchy
The Several Deaths of Stalin
The Man
The Soviets Enter the Nuclear Age
Peaceful Coexistence and its Setbacks
Khrushchev in Crisis
Khrushchev and the Politics of Reform
The Thaw and Destalinization
Farm, Factory, and School
The Arms Race
Rift with China
Crises in the West
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