In The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, Metta Spencer recounts the political and military changes that have occurred in Russia up to mid-2010. Using hundreds of interviews she conducted with officials, dissidents, and liberal intellectuals, she describes the various groups, forces, and individuals that worked to liberalize the totalitarian Soviet Union and its fellow nations behind the Iron Curtain, and which ultimately brought about the dissolution of those repressive governments. Spencer identifies four political orientations to describe Soviet society: 'Sheep,' ordinary citizens who accepted the undemocratic regime they lived in without challenging it; 'Dinosaurs,' hard-line Communist officials; 'Termites,' including Mikhail Gorbachev and his advisers and government; and 'Barking Dogs,' a few hundred dissidents who made 'a lot of noise' protesting, hoping to awaken a grass-roots demand for democracy. The strange rivalry between the Termites and Barking Dogs would ultimately doom perestroika. Spencer's research dispels the widely-held perception that US President Ronald Reagan 'won' the Cold War by standing firm until the Soviet Union 'blinked first.' There are vitally important lessons to be learned from the Soviet period, about how to assist citizens of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes around the world. The irony is that transnational civil society organizations, major sources of the progress in Soviet Russia, are still needed today in authoritarian Russia, under Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, for totalitarianism remains a potential social trap. In The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, Metta Spencer suggests new ways of building urgently-needed social capital in today's Russia, where democracy has yet to flourish.
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About the Author
Metta Spencer is editor-in-chief of Peace magazine and professor emeritus of sociology at University of Toronto. To learn more about the author and her research, please visit http://russianpeaceanddemocracy.com/
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Termites and Barking Dogs
Chapter 2: Social Capital and Ideology
Chapter 3: Two Scientists, Two Paths
Chapter 4: Foreign Communists
Chapter 5: Three Freelance Diplomats
Chapter 6: A Civil Society: Elite Bears and Doves
Chapter 7: Scientists and Weaponeers
Chapter 8: In the Hands of Experts
Chapter 9: Do Peace and Democracy Work?
Chapter 10: The Soviet Peace Movement at the Time of the Coup
Chapter 11: The End and the Beginning
Chapter 12: From Below and Sideways
Chapter 13: Social Traps? Toward an Explanation of Totalitarianism
Chapter 14: Quest? What Quest?
Chapter 15: Conclusion