Russian politics and society, 3rd ed.

Author (Person)
Publication Date 2002
ISBN 0-415-22752-6 (Hbk); 0-415-22753-4 (Pbk)
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Book abstract:

Recognised as one of the most comprehensive and indispensable guides to contemporary Russian politics since it was first published in 1983, this third edition provides a thoroughly updated and expanded text to include the end of Yeltsin's government and his replacement by Vladimir Putin.

Organised in six parts: Part I discusses the dissolution of the system of Soviet communism and goes on to cover the rise of Russia and it's role in the breakdown of Soviet communism. Post-communist Russia and the challenges faced by the old institutions in adapting to the new environment examined in Part II. Similarities with the 1917 Bolshevik revolution are drawn - a period of disorientation and disorder followed and in the post communist period there was an almost palpable retreat of government. This breakdown in central authority allowed the republics in Russia to assert their sovereignty and to resist federal interference in their affairs. This and other problems arising from the interplay of federalism, regionalism and nationalism are dealt with in Part III.. The rapid move to a market economy presented huge challenges to society as the old order of elite factions was eroded by the rise of commercialism which spread through the media and education as discussed in Part IV. Russia's reduced status in the league of world powers is perceived more strongly by Western observers than by Russian leaders who seem determined to assert Russia's role as a world power situated as it is on the Euro-Asian divide and holding strategic importance as the world's second largest nuclear power. These and related issues of foreign policies are covered in Part V. Farewell Communism - Hello democracy with all the dilemmas accompanying that transition are the focus of discussion in Part VI and the journey will be a long one for Russia which has taken the first steps towards establishment of democracy.

The work will be of particular interest and assistance to students of Russian politics and international affairs.

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

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