Russia's Revolution from Above, 1985-2000
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Russia's Revolution from Above, 1985-2000 : Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime

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The fall of the Soviet communist regime in 1991 offers a challenging contrast to other instances of democratic transition and change in the last decades of the twentieth century. The 1991 revolution was neither a peaceful revolution from below as occurred in Czechoslovakia nor a negotiated transition to democracy like those in Poland, Hungary, or Latin America. It was not primarily the result of social modernization, the rise of a new middle class, or of national liberation movements in the non-Russian union republics. Instead, as Gordon Hahn argues, the Russian transformation was a bureaucrat-led, state-based revolution managed by a group of Communist Party functionaries who won control over the Russian Republic (RSFSR) in the mid-1990s.Hahn describes how opportunistic Party and state officials, led by Boris Yeltsin, defected from the Gorbachev camp and proceeded in 1990-91 to dismantle the institutions that bound state and party. These revolutionaries from above seized control of political, economic, natural and human resources, and then separated the party apparatus from state institutions on Russian Republic territory. With the failed August 1991 hard-line coup, Yeltsin banned the Communist Party and decreed that all Union state organs, including the KGB and military were under RSFSR control. In Hahn's account, this mode of revolutionary change from above explains the troubled development of democracy in Russia and the former Soviet republics.Hahn shows how limited mobilization of the masses stunted the development of civil societies and the formation of political parties and trade unions with real grass roots. The result is a weak society unable to nudge the state to concentrate on institutional reforms society needs for the development of a free polity and economy. Russia's Revolution from Above goes far in correcting the historical record and reconceptualizing the Soviet transformation. It should be read by historians, economists, political scientists, and Russia area scholars.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 636 pages
  • 162.1 x 236.7 x 40.9mm | 979.77g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0765800497
  • 9780765800497

Review quote

-[This book] offers a detailed analysis of the politics of the Soviet Union's collapse. He focuses on the struggle for power among the top leaders of the Communist Party apparatus, using archival materials, interviews, and press sources... This is the best account yet available of the micropolitics of the USSR's disintegration... Recommended for all research libraries, upper-division undergraduates and above.- --P. Rutland, Choice -Relying on a wealth of detailed institutional, policy, and elite information, Hahn presents a magisterial study that fills a significant void in our understanding of USSR's destruction. While readers may at times feel overwhelmed.... readers are presented with a conceptual approach that can be useful for appreciating ongoing institutional changes and oftern subtle elite maneuverings in the post-Soviet era.- --John P. Willerton, University of Arizona -This is a big book in all respects, weighty both in size and scholarship. The core is a meticulous analysis of the perestroika period of the Soviet Union (1985-91). Followed by a concluding general chapter that applies the earlier analysis to post-Communist Russia (1992-2000). The work is based on years of painstaking analysis, considerable archival research, and numerous interviews.- --The Russian Review -This is an important book with a number of substantive strengths.- --Slavic Review "[This book] offers a detailed analysis of the politics of the Soviet Union's collapse. He focuses on the struggle for power among the top leaders of the Communist Party apparatus, using archival materials, interviews, and press sources... This is the best account yet available of the micropolitics of the USSR's disintegration... Recommended for all research libraries, upper-division undergraduates and above." --P. Rutland, Choice "Relying on a wealth of detailed institutional, policy, and elite information, Hahn presents a magisterial study that fills a significant void in our understanding of USSR's destruction. While readers may at times feel overwhelmed.... readers are presented with a conceptual approach that can be useful for appreciating ongoing institutional changes and oftern subtle elite maneuverings in the post-Soviet era." --John P. Willerton, University of Arizona "This is a big book in all respects, weighty both in size and scholarship. The core is a meticulous analysis of the perestroika period of the Soviet Union (1985-91). Followed by a concluding general chapter that applies the earlier analysis to post-Communist Russia (1992-2000). The work is based on years of painstaking analysis, considerable archival research, and numerous interviews." --The Russian Review "This is an important book with a number of substantive strengths." --Slavic Review "[This book] offers a detailed analysis of the politics of the Soviet Union's collapse. He focuses on the struggle for power among the top leaders of the Communist Party apparatus, using archival materials, interviews, and press sources... This is the best account yet available of the micropolitics of the USSR's disintegration... Recommended for all research libraries, upper-division undergraduates and above." --P. Rutland, Choice "Relying on a wealth of detailed institutional, policy, and elite information, Hahn presents a magisterial study that fills a significant void in our understanding of USSR's destruction. While readers may at times feel overwhelmed.... readers are presented with a conceptual approach that can be useful for appreciating ongoing institutional changes and oftern subtle elite maneuverings in the post-Soviet era." --John P. Willerton, University of Arizona "This is a big book in all respects, weighty both in size and scholarship. The core is a meticulous analysis of the perestroika period of the Soviet Union (1985-91). Followed by a concluding general chapter that applies the earlier analysis to post-Communist Russia (1992-2000). The work is based on years of painstaking analysis, considerable archival research, and numerous interviews." --The Russian Review "This is an important book with a number of substantive strengths." --Slavic Review
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