Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin / Edition 1

Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin / Edition 1

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by Michael McFaul
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801439000

ISBN-13: 9780801439001

Pub. Date: 08/28/2001

Publisher: Cornell University Press

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

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801439001
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
08/28/2001
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

1. The Revolutionary Transition from Communism to Democracy: A Model

PART 1. THE GORBACHEV ERA, 1985–1991
2. Gorbachev's Design for Reforming Soviet Political Institutions
3. The End of the Soviet Union

PART 2. THE FIRST RUSSIAN REPUBLIC, 1991–1993
4. Institutional Design in the First Russian Republic
5. The Failure of the First Russian Republic

PART 3. THE EMERGENCE OF THE SECOND RUSSIAN REPUBLIC, 1993–1996
6. Designing the Political Institutions of the Second Republic
7. Transitional Constitutionalism
8. Transitional Electoralism

PART IV. THE FUTURE OF RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY
9. The Quality of Russian Democracy
10. The Stability of Partial Democracy

Index

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Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The subtitle title of the book, 'political change from Gorbachev to Putin', defines what you expect to find between it's pages. Only that's not what's covered. McFaul covers the Gorbechev years, as well as Yeltsen's presidency -- but only until 1996. There is virtually nothing after 1996. I would expect that Putin's coverage would be light, given a publication date of 2001, but to skip over Yeltsen's final years is simply neglegent.

By giving only a few sentances to the 'Shares for Rubles' program, he skips over the criminal neglegance and fraud that occured. This behavior had strong impacts on the Russian economy, which directly caused the crash of their economy in 1998. This crash is skipped over completely -- possibly because at the time, as a reporter, McFaul was cheering Anatoly Chubais the mastermind and archetect behind the economic reforms. (If Chubais attempted to do what he did in the US, he would be spending a lot of time behind bars.) In short, it looks like McFaul is skipping over the time period when his journalism was (effectively) cheering on the corruption.

The complete failure of the economy (which -- to reiterate -- was skipped over completely), combined with the treatment of the oligarchs (also skipped over) directly led shaped the Russian perception of democracy and the free market. These factors also directly effected the conclusions at the end of his book, but he presents no explination as to why the results are so bad -- probably because the explination would involve covering the ground he choose to skip over. To skip over these major milestones is unforgivable for an author who is attempting to track the political and economic reforms in Russia.

He also skips over such minor events as the civil war in Serbia and the Second Chechan War (also a civil war, this one against Russia!).

On the positive side, he does give a lot of good information, and there are a lot of references to look up additional data. I would recommend this book for someone researching Russia up to, but not after, Yeltsen's re-election. And even then, it helps to have an idea of the issues he doesn't talk about.

Guest More than 1 year ago
The subtitle title of the book, 'political change from Gorbachev to Putin', defines what you expect to find between it's pages. Only that's not what's covered. McFaul covers the Gorbechev years, as well as Yeltsen's presidency -- but only until 1996. There is virtually nothing after 1996. I would expect that Putin's coverage would be light, given a publication date of 2001, but to skip over Yeltsen's final years is simply neglegent.

By giving only a few sentances to the 'Shares for Rubles' program, he skips over the criminal neglegance and fraud that occured. This behavior had strong impacts on the Russian economy, which directly caused the crash of their economy in 1998. This crash is skipped over completely -- possibly because at the time, as a reporter, McFaul was cheering Anatoly Chubais the mastermind and archetect behind the economic reforms. (If Chubais attempted to do what he did in the US, he would be spending a lot of time behind bars.) In short, it looks like McFaul is skipping over the time period when his journalism was (effectively) cheering on the corruption.

The complete failure of the economy (which -- to reiterate -- was skipped over completely), combined with the treatment of the oligarchs (also skipped over) directly led shaped the Russian perception of democracy and the free market. These factors also directly effected the conclusions at the end of his book, but he presents no explination as to why the results are so bad -- probably because the explination would involve covering the ground he choose to skip over. To skip over these major milestones is unforgivable for an author who is attempting to track the political and economic reforms in Russia.

On the positive side, he does give a lot of good information, and there are a lot of references to look up additional data. I would recommend this book for someone researching Russia up to, but not after, Yeltsen's re-election. And even then, it helps to have an idea of the issues he doesn't talk about.