Democracy from Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution

Synopsis

This book presents a fresh view of Russian political change in the Gorbachev and early post-Soviet periods not by examining perestroika and glasnost in and of themselves, but by investigating the autonomous political organizations that responded to liberalization. Extensive study of these political groups, in Moscow and several provincial cities, has led Steven Fish to conclude that they were shaped to a far greater degree by the nature of the Soviet state than by socioeconomic modernization, political culture, native psychology, or Russian historical tradition. He proposes a novel and theoretically sophisticated approach to understanding social movements, political party formation, regime change and democratization in general. An intelligent, subtle, first-hand account of the years after Gorbachev opened the door with perestroika.--Foreign Affairs An original and provocative study.... Drawing on his scrupulous analysis of group-formation in a number of Russian cities, ... Fish re- evaluates received views about the Soviet system.--Robert Shannan Peckham, New Statesman & Society A smart book that speaks to the concerns not only of area specialists but to students of democratic transition around the world.--Philip G. Roeder, Political Science Quarterly