The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States / Edition 2

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Now thoroughly revised in its second edition, The Soviet Experiment examines the complex themes of Soviet history, ranging from the last tsar of the Russian empire to the first president of the Russian republic. Author Ronald Grigor Suny, one of the most eminent Soviet historians of our time, examines the legacies left by former Soviet leaders and explores successor states and the challenges they now face. He captures familiar as well as little-known events—the crowds on the streets during the February Revolution, Stalin's collapse into a near-catatonic state after Hitler's invasion, and Yeltsin's political maneuvering and public grandstanding—combining gripping detail with insightful analysis.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Suny (political science, Univ. of Chicago; Looking Toward Ararat, Indiana Univ., 1993) is a highly regarded scholar of the late Soviet Union. His present work, a textbook survey of that country's "turbulent tale," charts the "traumatic and painful transformations" of Russia from decrepit tsarist autocracy to post-Soviet chaos, corruption, and uncertainty. Suny's tone is judicious, and his judgment that the Soviet experiment's great achievement of "rough modernization of a backward, agrarian society," which produced nonetheless an incompletely modernized society for the 1980s and 1990s, is well supported. He is particularly good on World War II, its cost, and its impact. Each chapter has suggestions for further readings, with a chronology of dates at the end. This is and should remain a valuable reference text.Robert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195340556
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 167,975
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Grigor Suny is Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History and Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Structure of Soviet History: Essays and Documents (OUP, 2003) and A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (OUP, 2001).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Utopia and its Discontents

Part I: Crisis and Revolution

1. The Imperial Legacy

Land and People
Autocracy, Nobility, and Bureaucracy
The Coming of Capitalism
The Russian Intelligentsia
Marx, Lenin, and the Case of Russia
Empire and Nation in Tsarist Russia
The Final Crisis of Tsarism
The Tsar's Last War
Suggestions for Further Reading

2. The Double Revolution

The February Revolution and the End of Romanov Rule
Overlapping Revolutions, Dual Power
The Revolution Deepens
On the Road to October
The October Insurrection
Suggestions for Further Reading

3. Socialism and Civil War

On the Road from Democracy to Dictatorship
After October
Socialism, What's in a Name?
Building State Capitalism
Building the State: War, Peace, and Terror
Intervention and the Civil War in the South
Civil War in Siberia and the Volga
Russia on its Own
Waiting for the International Revolution
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
The Peasant Revolution
Why the Bolsheviks Won the Civil War
Suggestions for Further Reading

4. Nationalism and Revolution

South Caucasia
Ukrainians and Belorussians
Poland and the Russo-Polish War
The Baltic Peoples
Islam and the Peoples of the East
Nationalist and Class Struggles
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part II: Retreat and Rebuilding

5. Evolution of a Dictatorship

Five Easy Steps
One-Party Government
The Emasculation of the Soviets
The Party/State
Opposition Within the Party
Resistance, Rebellion, and Mutiny
"A Retreat to State Capitalism"
Suggestions for Further Reading

6. Socialism in One Country

The Nationality Question
The General Secretary
Lenin's Mantle
Early Crises of the NEP Economy
Socialism in One Country
The Final Crisis of NEP
Retreat and Retrenchment
Soviet Union Isolated
Continuing Revolution in Asia
The War Scare of 1927
Stalin and the Comintern
Balance and Power
Stalin's Path to Power
Suggestions for Further Reading

7. NEP Society

Cultures and Classes
Workers under State Capitalism
Peasant Russia
The Red Army
The New Soviet Man and Woman
Religious Wars
Building Legitimate Authority
Suggestions for Further Reading

8. Culture Wars

Intelligentsia and Revolution
Fellow-Travelers and Proletarian Writers
Film and Popular Culture
Soviet School Days
Cultural Revolution
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part III: Stalinism

9. The Stalin Revolution

Revolution from Above
War on the Peasants and the Final Opposition
Collectivization and Dekulakization
Famine in Ukraine
The Countryside After the Storm
Suggestions for Further Reading

10. Stalin's Industrial Revolution

Industrialization Stalin-Style
Class War on the "Specialists"
Extension and Centralization
Stalin's Working Class
The New Class of Bosses
The Second Five-Year Plan and Stakhanovism
Making the Socialist City
Suggestions for Further Reading

11. Building Stalinism

Politics and the Party
The Great Purges
Suggestions for Further Reading

12. Culture and Society in the Socialist Motherland

Socialist Realism
Going to the Movies with Stalin
Disciplining the Intelligentsia
Women and the Family
Mind, Body, and Soul
Indestructible Union
Suggestions for Further Reading

13. Collective Security and the Soviet State

The Fascist Menace
The Popular Front and Collective Security
War in Europe.
Suggestions for Further Reading

14. The Great Fatherland War

From Blitzkrieg to War of Attrition
The Supreme Commander and the Road to Stalingrad
War and Diplomacy, at Home and Abroad
Suggestions for Further Reading

15. The Big Chill: The Cold War Begins

Historians Look at the Cold War
Diplomacy and the War Effort
Yalta and its Aftermath
Atomic Diplomacy
A New World Order

The Left in Europe
The Soviets in Eastern Europe
Perceptions and Misperceptions
The Division of Europe
The Finnish Exception
The German Question
Suggestions for Further Reading

16. Late Stalinism at Home and Abroad

From under the Rubble
Reconstructing Hearts and Minds
Stalinizing Eastern Europe
Cold War and Hot War
High Politics in the Kremlin Court
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part IV: Reform and Stagnation

17. From Autocracy to Oligarchy. Khrushchev and the Politics of

The Several Deaths of Stalin
The Man
The Soviets Enter the Nuclear Age
"Peaceful Coexistence" and its Set-Backs
Khrushchev in Crisis
The "Thaw" and Destalinization
Farm, Factory, and School
Rift with China
Crises in the West
Kennedy and Khrushchev
Khrushchev's Gamble: The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Fall of Khrushchev
Suggestions for Further Reading

18. The Paradoxes of Brezhnev's Long Reign

The Leadership
Meeting the American Challenge: Vietnam
The Defeat of Reforms
Crushing the Prague Spring
Public Opinion and Dissent
Brezhnev Ascendant
Social Changes in the Era of Stagnation
Détente and the Arms Race
Two Crises: Afghanistan and Poland
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part V: Reform and Revolution.

19. Reform and the Road to Revolution.

The Brief Reign of Iurii Andropov
The Briefer Reign of Konstantin Chernenko
The Road to Radical Reform
Glasnost and the Erosion of Authority
The "New Thinking and the End of the Cold War
Politics in a New Idiom
The "Awakening" of Nations
From Reform to Revolution
The Unraveling of the Empire at Home
Surrendering Stalin's Empire
Power to the People
The Final Crisis
Coup and Collapse
Suggestions for Further Reading

20. The Second Russian Republic and the "Near Abroad"

The Shock of Therapy
Constitutional Crisis
Russia, the Near Abroad, and Beyond
The War in Chechnya
Treading Water
The Decline and Abdication
Reviving Russia
The World Outside

Suggestions for Further Reading

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