Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev's Reformers


"As intimate a portrait of Soviet politics, culture, and economics as we are likely to see."—Kirkus Reviews

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"As intimate a portrait of Soviet politics, culture, and economics as we are likely to see."—Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

“Voices of Glasnost will be referred to for years to come as a guide to the zesty personalities of the latest Russian revolution.”
New York Times Book Review
“A sharp challenge to both those who think that nothing has changed in the Soviet Union and to those who think that everything has.”
Washington Post Book World
“Much is said here that is admirable, thought-provoking, even poignant. . . . A complex portrait of a group of unusual people.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Stands above the heap of recent Gorbyiana. . . . Contains a spectacularly lucid introduction by Stephen Cohen. . . . The 14 interviews themselves are of permanent interest.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 14 Perestroishchiki interviewed here by Cohen ( Sovieticus ), director of Russian studies at Princeton, and Nation editor Heuvel are an impressive lot: three are members of the Central Committee, one (Aleksandr Yakovlev) of the Politburo, nine are elected representatives to the new Congress of People's Deputies. Although drawn from different fields--the bureaucracy, the sciences, journalism, the arts--and holding varying viewpoints specific to their vested interests, these spokespeople (only one woman is included, a sociologist), speak with one voice on the grave need for reform and their guarded optimism for the ultimate forging of a humane, workable Soviet Socialism. Articulate, candid, some lively, others ponderous, they respond to probing questions about glasnost and censorship, the Russian economy (economic reform, they agree, is more difficult to accomplish than political reform), conservativism among the no men klat ura , ap par at chiks and workers. About foreign relations, especially, their postures have the ring of authenticity, as when Central Committee member George Arbatov states, `` . . . to continue the Cold War the U.S. will need a partner. We won't be that partner.'' And when poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko defends himself against Western criticism of his ``conformity'' under Brezhnev with the observation that ``I'm not God. Nobody is God--not even God,'' one is amused at his cheek and trusts his integrity. Photos not seen by PW . ( Oct.)
Library Journal
Usually a book-length collection of interviews is unpromising fare, but this work is exceptional. The officials and intellectuals who have spearheaded Gorbachev's attempt to reform Soviet society have much to say. Prodded by sharp questions, they show how different their conception of democracy is from our own: a historian--a ``radical supporter'' of perestroika--indicts censorship and calls for unfettered scholarship but wonders why historians must ``reach conclusions that contradict the party line,'' and a sociologist who calls for intellectual dissent opposes creation of a rival party. ``There are various kinds of democracy,'' another reformer points out. Whether a Soviet variant can be imposed from above is the great question of our age. Recommended for informed general readers and specialists.-- Mark C. Carnes, Barnard Coll., Columbia
Fourteen Soviet public figures talk about their personal and political struggles to change the Soviet system. No bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393307351
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/17/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Lexile: 1050L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen F. Cohen is director of Russian studies at Princeton University and a regular commentator on network television.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is the author of many articles on Soviet affairs.

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