SOVIET UNION 2000: Reform or Revolution by Walter Laqueur

SOVIET UNION 2000: Reform or Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Future scenarios in Soviet domestic politics, civil-military relations, and foreign policy, presented in essays by Laqueur (The Long Road to Freedom, 1989, etc.) and other leading specialists. Although this volume has been packaged as an apocalyptic potboiler, the serious student of the Soviet Union will be delighted to discover within its pages the most sober and informed tour d'horizon of Soviet politics since Seweryn Bialer's Stalin's Successors (1980). The contributors (including Laqueur, John Erickson, Paul A. Goble, and Edward Luttwak) make the case that success or catastrophe in the extreme is an unlikely outcome of perestroika--a theme suggesting both that the power of the US to influence the situation is limited and that fears of a fully restructured Russia are misplaced. In two keynote essays, Laqueur argues that the Soviet reform process is likely to be protracted over decades or even generations, since the inertia of Soviet society, its anticapitalist yearnings for equality, and fear of freedom itself are stubborn obstacles to change that only time can erode. Laqueur suggests that for some issues--the satisfaction of nationalist aspirations, the development of a new source of legitimacy beyond Marxism-Leninism--there simply are no solutions for any Soviet government, except to wait for a major, unpredictable convulsion to shock the inert masses out of their cynicism and apathy. A valuable, timely, and concise book that confronts the tough questions journalistic accounts usually avoid.

Pub Date: July 3rd, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's