Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000

Synopsis

Featuring extensive revisions to the text as well as a new introduction and epilogue--bringing the book completely up to date on the tumultuous politics of the previous decade and the long-term implications of the Soviet collapse--this compact, original, and engaging book offers the definitive account of one of the great historical events of the last fifty years.

Combining historical and geopolitical analysis with an absorbing narrative, Kotkin draws upon extensive research, including memoirs by dozens of insiders and senior figures, to illuminate the factors that led to the demise of Communism and the USSR. The new edition puts the collapse in the context of the global economic and political changes from the 1970s to the present day. Kotkin creates a compelling profile of post Soviet Russia and he reminds us, with chilling immediacy, of what could not have been predicted--that the world's largest police state, with several million troops, a doomsday arsenal, and an appalling record of violence, would liquidate itself with barely a whimper. Throughout the book, Kotkin also paints vivid portraits of key personalities. Using recently released archive materials, for example, he offers a fascinating picture of Gorbachev, describing this virtuoso tactician and resolutely committed reformer as "flabbergasted by the fact that his socialist renewal was leading to the system's liquidation"--and more or less going along with it.

At once authoritative and provocative, Armageddon Averted illuminates the collapse of the Soviet Union, revealing how "principled restraint and scheming self-interest brought a deadly system to meek dissolution." 

Excerpt

Reviewing the history of international relations in the
modern era, which might be considered to extend
from the middle of the seventeenth century to the
present, I find it hard to think of any event more
strange and startling, and at first glance more inex
plicable, than the sudden and total disintegration
and disappearance from the international scene …
of the great power known successively as the Russian
Empire and then the Soviet Union.

(George F. Kennan, 1995)

The problems that the Soviet leaders have to solve
simply have no solutions … However, the Soviet
leaders are not going to commit political suicide.

(Vladimir Bukovsky, 1989)

Virtually everyone seems to think the Soviet Union was collapsing before 1985. They are wrong. Most people also think the Soviet collapse ended in 1991. Wrong again. These points . . .

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