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Russia S Unfinished Revolution

Author: Michael McFaul
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801456967
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For centuries, dictators ruled Russia. Tsars and Communist Party chiefs were in charge for so long some analysts claimed Russians had a cultural predisposition for authoritarian leaders. Yet, as a result of reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, new political institutions have emerged that now require election of political leaders and rule by constitutional procedures. Michael McFaul—described by the New York Times as "one of the leading Russia experts in the United States"—traces Russia's tumultuous political history from Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985 through the 1999 resignation of Boris Yeltsin in favor of Vladimir Putin. McFaul divides his account of the post-Soviet country into three periods: the Gorbachev era (1985-1991), the First Russian Republic (1991–1993), and the Second Russian Republic (1993–present). The first two were, he believes, failures—failed institutional emergence or failed transitions to democracy. By contrast, new democratic institutions did emerge in the third era, though not the institutions of a liberal democracy. McFaul contends that any explanation for Russia's successes in shifting to democracy must also account for its failures. The Russian/Soviet case, he says, reveals the importance of forging social pacts; the efforts of Russian elites to form alliances failed, leading to two violent confrontations and a protracted transition from communism to democracy. McFaul spent a great deal of time in Moscow in the 1990s and witnessed firsthand many of the events he describes. This experience, combined with frequent visits since and unparalleled access to senior Russian policymakers and politicians, has resulted in an astonishingly well-informed account. Russia's Unfinished Revolution is a comprehensive history of Russia during this crucial period.

Collapse Of An Empire

Author: Yegor Gaidar
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
ISBN: 9780815731153
Size: 54.10 MB
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"My goal is to show the reader that the Soviet political and economic system was unstable by its very nature. It was just a question of when and how it would collapse...." —From the Introduction to Collapse of an Empire The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word—a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable. In this important new book, Gaidar clearly illustrates why Russian nostalgia for empire is dangerous and ill-fated: "Dreams of returning to another era are illusory. Attempts to do so will lead to defeat." Gaidar uses world history, the Soviet experience, and economic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against this tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own economic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market. The Soviets had used revenues from energy sales to prop up struggling sectors such as agriculture, which was so thoroughly ravaged by hyperindustrialization that the Soviet Union became a net importer of food. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, that revenue stream diminished, and dependent sectors suffered heavily. Although strategies requiring austerity or sacrifice can be politically difficult, Russia needs to prepare for such downturns and restrain spending during prosperous times. Collapse of an Empire shows why it is imperative to fix the roof before it starts to rain, and why sometimes the past should be left in the past.

Armageddon Averted

Author: Stephen Kotkin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199743841
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Featuring extensive revisions to the text as well as a new introduction and epilogue--bringing the book completely up to date on the tumultuous politics of the previous decade and the long-term implications of the Soviet collapse--this compact, original, and engaging book offers the definitive account of one of the great historical events of the last fifty years. Combining historical and geopolitical analysis with an absorbing narrative, Kotkin draws upon extensive research, including memoirs by dozens of insiders and senior figures, to illuminate the factors that led to the demise of Communism and the USSR. The new edition puts the collapse in the context of the global economic and political changes from the 1970s to the present day. Kotkin creates a compelling profile of post Soviet Russia and he reminds us, with chilling immediacy, of what could not have been predicted--that the world's largest police state, with several million troops, a doomsday arsenal, and an appalling record of violence, would liquidate itself with barely a whimper. Throughout the book, Kotkin also paints vivid portraits of key personalities. Using recently released archive materials, for example, he offers a fascinating picture of Gorbachev, describing this virtuoso tactician and resolutely committed reformer as "flabbergasted by the fact that his socialist renewal was leading to the system's liquidation"--and more or less going along with it. At once authoritative and provocative, Armageddon Averted illuminates the collapse of the Soviet Union, revealing how "principled restraint and scheming self-interest brought a deadly system to meek dissolution." Acclaim for the First Edition: "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape." --The New Yorker "A triumph of the art of contemporary history. In fewer than 200 pagesKotkin elucidates the implosion of the Soviet empire--the most important and startling series of international events of the past fifty years--and clearly spells out why, thanks almost entirely to the 'principal restraint' of the Soviet leadership, that collapse didn't result in a cataclysmic war, as all experts had long forecasted." -The Atlantic Monthly "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." --The New York Review of Books

Russian Politics And Society

Author: Richard Sakwa
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113412015X
Size: 65.64 MB
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Having been fully revised and updated to reflect the considerable changes in Russia over the last decade, the fourth edition of this classic text builds on the strengths of the previous editions to provide a comprehensive and sophisticated analysis on Russian politics and society. New to this edition: extended coverage of electoral laws, party development and regional politics new chapter on the ‘phoney democracy’ period, 1991-93 historical evaluation of Yeltsin’s leadership full coverage of Putin’s presidency discussion of the development of civil society and the problems of democratic consolidation latest developments in the Chechnya conflict more on foreign policy issues the re-introduction of the Russian Constitution as an appendix an updated Select Bibliography more focus on the challenges facing Russia in the twenty-first century. Written in an accessible and lively style, this book is packed with detailed information on the central debates and issues in Russia’s difficult transformation. This makes it the best available textbook on the subject and is essential reading for all those concerned with the fate of Russia, and with the future of international society.

Russian Foreign Policy In The Twenty First Century And The Shadow Of The Past

Author: Robert Legvold
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023114122X
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Because the turbulent trajectory of Russia's foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union echoes previous moments of social and political transformation, history offers a special vantage point from which to judge the current course of events. In this book, a mix of leading historians and political scientists examines the foreign policy of contemporary Russia over four centuries of history. The authors explain the impact of empire and its loss, the interweaving of domestic and foreign impulses, long-standing approaches to national security, and the effect of globalization over time. Contributors focus on the underlying patterns that have marked Russian foreign policy and that persist today. These patterns are driven by the country's political makeup, geographical circumstances, economic strivings, unsettled position in the larger international setting, and, above all, its tortured effort to resolve issues of national identity. The argument here is not that the Russia of Putin and his successors must remain trapped by these historical patterns but that history allows for an assessment of how much or how little has changed in Russia's approach to the outside world and creates a foundation for identifying what must change if Russia is to evolve. A truly unique collection, this volume utilizes history to shed crucial light on Russia's complex, occasionally inscrutable relationship with the world. In so doing, it raises the broader issue of the relationship of history to the study of contemporary foreign policy and how these two enterprises might be better joined.

Kremlin Rising

Author: Peter Baker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743281799
Size: 23.14 MB
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In the tradition of Hedrick Smith's The Russians, Robert G. Kaiser's Russia: The People and the Power, and David Remnick's Lenin's Tomb comes an eloquent and eye-opening chronicle of Vladimir Putin's Russia, from this generation's leading Moscow correspondents. With the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia launched itself on a fitful transition to Western-style democracy. But a decade later, Boris Yeltsin's handpicked successor, Vladimir Putin, a childhood hooligan turned KGB officer who rose from nowhere determined to restore the order of the Soviet past, resolved to bring an end to the revolution. Kremlin Rising goes behind the scenes of contemporary Russia to reveal the culmination of Project Putin, the secret plot to reconsolidate power in the Kremlin. During their four years as Moscow bureau chiefs for The Washington Post, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser witnessed firsthand the methodical campaign to reverse the post-Soviet revolution and transform Russia back into an authoritarian state. Their gripping narrative moves from the unlikely rise of Putin through the key moments of his tenure that re-centralized power into his hands, from his decision to take over Russia's only independent television network to the Moscow theater siege of 2002 to the "managed democracy" elections of 2003 and 2004 to the horrific slaughter of Beslan's schoolchildren in 2004, recounting a four-year period that has changed the direction of modern Russia. But the authors also go beyond the politics to draw a moving and vivid portrait of the Russian people they encountered -- both those who have prospered and those barely surviving -- and show how the political flux has shaped individual lives. Opening a window to a country on the brink, where behind the gleaming new shopping malls all things Soviet are chic again and even high school students wonder if Lenin was right after all, Kremlin Rising features the personal stories of Russians at all levels of society, including frightened army deserters, an imprisoned oil billionaire, Chechen villagers, a trendy Moscow restaurant king, a reluctant underwear salesman, and anguished AIDS patients in Siberia. With shrewd reporting and unprecedented access to Putin's insiders, Kremlin Rising offers both unsettling new revelations about Russia's leader and a compelling inside look at life in the land that he is building. As the first major book on Russia in years, it is an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of the country and promises to shape the debate about Russia, its uncertain future, and its relationship with the United States.

Political Construction Sites

Author: Pal Kolsto
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 0429977859
Size: 80.67 MB
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The dissolution of the Soviet Union has provided scholars with tremendously rich material for the study of comparative nation building. Not since the decolonization of Africa in the 1960s have so many new states been established in one stroke in one region. The post-Soviet states, moreover, have all the necessary prerequisites for fruitful comparison: a number of similarities, but also significant differences in terms of size, culture, and recent history. In order to survive in the long run, modern states normally must have a population that possesses some sense of unity. Its citizens must adhere to some common values and common allegiance towards the same state institutions and symbols. This does not means that all inhabitants must necessarily share the same culture, but they should at least regard themselves as members of the same nation. Strategies to foster this kind of common nationhood in a population are usually referred to as 'nation building'. After a decade of post-Soviet nation building certain patterns are emerging, and not always the most obvious ones. Some states seem to manage well against high odds, while others appear to be disintegrating or sinking slowly into oblivion. To a remarkable degree the former Soviet republics have chosen different models for their nation building. This book examines the preconditions for these endeavors, the goals the state leaders are aiming at, and the means they employ to reach them. }

Democracy Promotion As Us Foreign Policy

Author: Nicolas Bouchet
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135011176
Size: 22.85 MB
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The role of democracy promotion in US foreign policy has increased considerably in the last three decades, booming especially in the immediate years after the end of the Cold War. The rise of democracy promotion originated in a long historical tradition that saw exporting American political values as instrumental in securing US security and economic interests, an idea which was expressed freely once Cold War strategic constraints disappeared. Under Bill Clinton, there was an explicit attempt to do so by reframing American strategy in terms of ‘democratic enlargement’ and this book assesses the strategic use of democracy promotion in US foreign policy and its different outcomes during his presidency. Offering a comprehensive, global review of American democracy engagement with different regions of the world and key countries during a whole presidency, this book assesses how far the US has benefited from democracy promotion. It evaluates the instrumental value of democracy promotion for America by seeing whether the Clinton administration’s efforts in this field, and their varying impacts to democratization abroad, were matched by progress in securing US strategic goals defined under enlargement, in particular reducing international conflicts and spreading economic liberalization around the world. The book explores how democracy became central to US post-Cold War strategy, how the Clinton administration developed the concept of democratic enlargement and tried to implement it, and why it remained influential on foreign policy throughout Clinton’s presidency. With an analysis of the legacy of Clinton’s democracy promotion and its relevance to the subsequent policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, this book is essential reading for students and scholars interested in Foreign Policy, American History and Security Studies.

From Cold War To Hot Peace

Author: Michael McFaul
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544716256
Size: 41.15 MB
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From one of America’s leading scholars of Russia who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration, a revelatory, inside account of U.S.-Russia relations from 1989 to the present In 2008, when Michael McFaul was asked to leave his perch at Stanford and join an unlikely presidential campaign, he had no idea that he would find himself at the beating heart of one of today’s most contentious and consequential international relationships. As President Barack Obama’s adviser on Russian affairs, McFaul helped craft the United States’ policy known as “reset” that fostered new and unprecedented collaboration between the two countries. And then, as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, he had a front-row seat when this fleeting, hopeful moment crumbled with Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. This riveting inside account combines history and memoir to tell the full story of U.S.-Russia relations from the fall of the Soviet Union to the new rise of the hostile, paranoid Russian president. From the first days of McFaul’s ambassadorship, the Kremlin actively sought to discredit and undermine him, hassling him with tactics that included dispatching protesters to his front gates, slandering him on state media, and tightly surveilling him, his staff, and his family. From Cold War to Hot Peace is an essential account of the most consequential global confrontation of our time.