This study examines the process by which the seemingly impossible in 1987--the disintegration of the Soviet state--became the seemingly inevitable by 1991. It provides an original interpretation of not only the Soviet collapse, but also of the phenomenon of nationalism more generally. Probing the role of nationalist action as both cause and effect, Beissinger utilizes extensive event data and detailed case studies from across the U.S.S.R. during its final years to elicit the shifting relationship between pre-existing structural conditions, institutional constraints, and event-generated influences in the massive nationalist explosions that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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