Armageddon Averted

Armageddon Averted : The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

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Description

Stephen Kotkin charts the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the key developments in recent history, and analyzes why it happened. He examines the internal structural, cultural and political reasons for the demise both of the Communist system and of the Union, drawing on memoirs and documents of the senior figures involved, including Ligachev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, as well as on the burgeoning secondary literature. The book puts the Soviet collapse in the context of the global economic changes from the 1970s to the present day, examining why the advent of Siberian oil at a time of shortage elsewhere had profound and long-term effects on the Soviet Union's raison d'etre.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 258 pages
  • 146.1 x 197.4 x 25.7mm | 408.24g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • maps, halftones
  • 0192802453
  • 9780192802453
  • 2,034,366

Table of contents

Preface - two riddles collapsed together; introduction - history's cruel tricks; reviving the dream; the drama of reform; waiting for the end of the world; survival and cannibalism in the rust belt; democracy without liberalism; conclusion - idealism and treason.show more

Review quote

"The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor.... Displays the skill of a dogged reporter and a meticulous archivist...in this brief, lucid study, which draws upon dozens of obscure Kremlin memoirs, provincial records, and interviews with top-level officials and oligarchs."--The New Yorker"This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly"Kotkin has recaptured the mood and feel of the end of the Soviet superpower with provocative profiles of not only Gorbachev but of Yeltsin and other Soviet and Russian leaders. Kotkin's brief but powerful book should be added to any list of 'must reads' on one of the most dramatic events--the fall of the Soviet Union--of the last century."--Robert J. Guttman, Europe"Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, Washington Post Book World"Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor.... Displays the skill of a dogged reporter and a meticulous archivist...in this brief, lucid study, which draws upon dozens of obscure Kremlin memoirs, provincial records, and interviews with top-level officials and oligarchs."--The New Yorker "This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly "Kotkin has recaptured the mood and feel of the end of the Soviet superpower with provocative profiles of not only Gorbachev but of Yeltsin and other Soviet and Russian leaders. Kotkin's brief but powerful book should be added to any list of 'must reads' on one of the most dramatic events--the fall of the Soviet Union--of the last century."--Robert J. Guttman, Europe "Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoirliterature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, Washington Post Book World "Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world in all its corrupt splendor.... Displays the skill of a dogged reporter and a meticulous archivist...in this brief, lucid study, which draws upon dozens of obscure Kremlin memoirs, provincial records, and interviews with top-level officials and oligarchs."--The New Yorker "This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering the self-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialist reform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly "Kotkin has recaptured the mood and feel of the end of the Soviet superpower with provocative profiles of not only Gorbachev but of Yeltsin and other Soviet and Russian leaders. Kotkin's brief but powerful book should be added to any list of 'must reads' on one of the most dramatic events--the fall of the Soviet Union--of the last century."--Robert J. Guttman, Europe "Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the pastdecade, there was after all some wheat, especially memoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, Washington Post Book World "Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, New York Review of Books "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape. Kotkin effectively describes how what was called 'reform' was actually a continuing freefall collapse; he also expertly depicts the lingering networks and habits of the Soviet era, and how they have formed a post-imperial world inall its corrupt splendor.... Displays the skill of a dogged reporter and a meticulous archivist...in this brief, lucid study, which draws upon dozens of obscure Kremlin memoirs, provincial records, and interviews with top-level officials and oligarchs."--The New Yorker"This briskly written, elegantly argued book is a triumph of the art of contemporary history.... Eschewing the fashionable academic focus on social movements, and the related notion that the Soviet downfall was owing to an uncontrollable wave of popular support for democracy--and also countering theself-congratulatory idea that unrelenting ideological and military pressure from the West led to the USSR's demise, Kotkin concentrates instead on Soviet elites, persuasively arguing that the collapse was the outcome of Mikhail Gorbachev's 'pursuit of a romantic dream' of socialistreform."--Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly"Kotkin has recaptured the mood and feel of the end of the Soviet superpower with provocative profiles of not only Gorbachev but of Yeltsin and other Soviet and Russian leaders. Kotkin's brief but powerful book should be added to any list of 'must reads' on one of the most dramatic events--the fallof the Soviet Union--of the last century."--Robert J. Guttman, Europe"Among the quantities of chaff produced about Russia over the past decade, there was after all some wheat, especiallymemoir literature, and Kotkin has gathered it together in what is now our most comprehensive analysis of the Leninist endgame."--Martin Malia, Washington Post Book World"Concise and persuasive.... The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--Robert Cottrell, New York Review of Booksshow more

About Stephen Kotkin

Stephen Kotkin is Director of Russian Studies at Princeton University has written an acclaimed two-volume case study on the rise and fall of Soviet socialism: Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization and Steeltown, USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era.show more

Rating details

393 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 17% (68)
4 44% (172)
3 33% (131)
2 4% (14)
1 2% (8)
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