The Politics of Transition: Shaping a Post-Soviet Future

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The Soviet system has undergone a dramatic transformation: from communist monopoly to multiparty politics, from Marxism to competing values, from centralisation to fragmentation, and from state ownership to a mixed economy. This book, by three of the West's leading scholars of Soviet and post-Soviet affairs, traces the politics of transition in the late 1980s and early 1990s from its origins to its uncertain post-communist future. The authors analyse the full impact of transition on official and popular values, central and local political institutions, post-Soviet republics, the CPSU and the parties which replaced it, and political participation. A final chapter considers the problematic nature of this form of 'democracy from above'. Detailed but clearly and accessibly written, The politics of transition provides an ideal guide to the changes that have been taking place in the politics of the newly independent nations that together constitute a sixth of the world's land surface.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three Sovietologists collaborate on a detailed look at the transformation and ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union, concentrating on the years 1988-1991. Though the book suffers somewhat from its general avoidance of the Yeltsin era and the struggles of newly independent republics, it is an informative academic resource, drawing significantly on the newly vigorous Soviet press. Exploring the decline of Marxism, the authors note that, due to a rapidly declining living standard, Russians were far less optimistic than their Eastern European counterparts that a post-communist economic system would help them materially. The authors analyze the Soviet electoral system, including innovative proposals to make elections more competitive, such as proportional representation of ethnic minorities, and trace the burgeoning civil and political society, including trade unions, popular fronts and new attention to public opinion. The authors warn that ``democracy from above,'' created by legislative enactment, cannot succeed until the entire society grows a new democratic culture of politics. White teaches at the University of Glasgow, Gill at the University of Sydney and Slider at the University of South Florida. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
" informative, academic resource, drawing significantly on the newly vigorous Soviet press." Publishers Weekly

"The clear and concise exposition makes this volume accessible to students as well as scholars. It is an excellent introduction for any scholar unfamiliar with this period. It may be appropriate for advanced undergraduates in a course giving close attention to this period of profound change. Because each essay can stand alone, both teachers and scholars will find this volume valuable as a quick introduction, reference and refresher on each of its topics." Philip G. Roeder, Slavic Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521440943
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Beyond Marxism 1
2 Reforming the electoral system 20
3 Structures of government 39
4 The Presidency and central government 60
5 From union to independence 79
6 Patterns of republic and local politics 98
7 The withering away of the party 117
8 The emergence of competitive politics 140
9 The politics of economic interests 164
10 Public opinion and the political process 178
11 Letters and political communication 193
12 The Soviet transition and 'democracy from above' 212
Index 274
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