Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era as Witnessed by His Chief of Staff

Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era as Witnessed by His Chief of Staff

Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era as Witnessed by His Chief of Staff

Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era as Witnessed by His Chief of Staff

Synopsis

"In Ten Years That Shook the World, Valery Boldin, a key Gorbachev aide, gives us a ringside seat to one of history's momentous developments - the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union - as well as a glimpse of the top-secret world behind the Iron Curtain. Here is a fascinating new perspective on the events, personalities, and forces involved in the ending of the cold war. Valery Boldin joined Gorbachev's staff in 1981 as an adviser on agricultural questions at a time when Gorbachev was still a lowly bureaucrat. But as Gorbachev's star rose, so did Boldin's. He soon became Gorbachev's right-hand man, first on the Central Committee and eventually as Chief of Staff. He witnessed at first hand the geritocracy that ruled the USSR during the days of Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko, and was thus in an ideal position to observe the combination of baroque maneuvering and genuine vision that propelled Gorbachev to the top. Present at the creation of perestroika - indeed, he was responsible for drafting key speeches and memoranda - Boldin sat in on many of the most fateful meetings of the era, dealing with the secret murder of Polish officers at Katyn, the Chernobyl disaster, the Afghan war, the secession of the Baltic republics, and the eventual disintegration of the Soviet economy and state. This book tells the story of all those events, portraying each of the key figures of the period both as private persons and as public personalities. But above all, this is the saga of Gorbachev himself (and Raisa): supremely intelligent, courageous, and, in the early years at least, visionary - but also personally ambitious, vain, and at times mean-spirited and disloyal to colleagues and subordinates. Boldin remained a progressive communist loyalist to the end, and he finally broke with his master in the vain hope that the Union could be saved." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The concluding pages of Ten Years That Shook the World were written at a time when the Soviet Union was being stripped not only of its Socialist system but of its very statehood. Not for many centuries had our country endured events as dramatic as those of the preceding eighteen months. World wars, revolutions, and the military and economic confrontation between two powerful blocs had been unable to cause the collapse and dismemberment of that great power. The Soviet Union was destroyed by an explosion from within, carried out by a small, influential group of party, state, and opposition leaders who, though originally propounding noble slogans, sought to enhance the power of the country by reforming all spheres of society on the basis of Socialist principles. Power struggles and personal ambitions caused them, however, to sacrifice the interests of the state and the people, and to lead the country to collapse and bloodshed.

I feel it is my moral duty to tell of these events, as I am one of the few people in Mikhail Gorbachev's entourage who are familiar with the distinctive traits of his character, the way his goals were transformed, the driving forces that paved the way for changes in the structure of society and then carried out those changes, as well as many details of events as they unfolded. This book discusses the conditions that fostered the collapse of the Soviet Union: the development of the country, including its economy, from 1981 to 1991; the growing crisis in the . . .

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