Afghanistan: The Soviet Union's Last War

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The last war of the Soviet superpower was played out against the backdrop of dramatic change within the USSR. This study is the first to adopt a broad perspective to identify the impact and implications of the Afghan war on Russian politics and society. It draws extensively upon official and unofficial sources, as well as the afganets veterans themselves, to illustrate the way the war fed into a wide range of other processes, from the retreat from globalism in foreign policy to the rise of grassroots political activism. The central thesis of the book is that the war must be seen in the context of the fall of the USSR and the rise of the new Russia. It did not bury Brezhnevism and then Gorbachevism, though it certainly helped. But the experience of Afghanistan played its part in the evolution of post-Soviet Russia's foreign and security policies. When Boris Yeltsin appointed his first defence minister he picked an afganets, and the 1993 Military Doctrine called on the lessons of Afghanistan in quelling unrest within and on Russia's borders.
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Editorial Reviews

Argues that the Afghanistan war must be seen in the context of, and as a major contributor to, the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of the new Russia. Drawing from official and unofficial Soviet and Russian sources and the perspectives of the veterans of the war and the families of victims, shows how the war dovetailed into ongoing processes such as the retreat from globalism in foreign policy and the rise of grassroots political activism. Distributed by ISBS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714645674
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Series: War and History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
1 Introduction: Invasion 1
Pt. 1 The Veterans
2 The Experience of War 25
3 Coming Home: Children of the War 45
Pt. 2 The Victims of the War
4 Broken Bodies, Broken Minds 67
5 Parents, Workmates, Neighbours, Lovers 84
Pt. 3 The War and Society
6 Veteran Society 103
7 Afgantsy and Politics 120
8 The War and Politics: Impact 139
9 The War and Politics: Consequences 155
Pt. 4 The War and the Professional Soldiers
10 The Afghan Brotherhood 171
11 The Art of War 190
12 Russia's Next Wars 207
13 Anatomy of a Small War 223
Select Bibliography 234
Index 239
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