THE LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM: Russia and Glasnost by Walter Laqueur

THE LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM: Russia and Glasnost

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Laqueur, a Soviet watcher for nearly a half century, now takes a close-up look at glasnost--and adds to an already impressive legacy of books including The Age of Terrorism, A History of Zionism, and Weimar. Laqueur takes the long historical view, going back to 19th-century Russia and finding the roots of glasnost in such works as Gogol's comedy The Revisor--a hard look at corruption, mendacity, and servility in Russian society. The author also minimizes the current effusion over glasnost, stating that "the furthest limits of glasnost have been reached." He criticizes western naivetÇ, which sees glasnost as almost an acceptance of western ways; rather, he states, glasnost "does not aim at basic, structural changes in the Soviet system and has nothing to do with the aims of Soviet foreign policy." Instead, it is aimed, he argues, at making the Soviet system work better and more efficiently than it has, which might in the end only reinforce a severe competition between the Soviet system and capitalism. Based on his own personal visits lo post-glasnost Russia, Laqueur concludes that the country still has a long way to go toward true political and cultural freedom; he is thus far less optimistic than some other commentators, such as Marshall Goldman (Gorbachev's Challenge, 1987). A cautious approach that evinces little hope for a truly open Russia. As Laqueur concludes, "More dramatic and far-reaching progress would be a near miracle. . ."

Pub Date: April 27th, 1989
ISBN: 684-19030-3
Publisher: Scribner
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