Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present

Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present

Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present

Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present

Synopsis

Presenting a brief account of Russian and Soviet history from ancient Kievan Rus to the first five years of the new, democratic Russia, this treatment pays equal attention to the early and modern periods.

Excerpt

Events have again outpaced earlier revisions of this book made in 1990 and 1994. Developments in Russia, particularly the political ups and downs of Boris Yeltsin, the reformers' struggle to improve everyday life while reining in "crony capitalism's" worst excesses, the tussle between the West and Russia over NATO expansion, and ongoing changes in Russia's social and cultural life, prompted me completely to rewrite Chapter 15, which covers the period since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In that chapter of the third edition I had sought to provide brief, capsule treatments of each of the fifteen successor states to the USSR. Now their separate histories are sufficiently unfolded and complex that I decided to focus Chapter 15 on Russia alone, treating the other fourteen states only as neighbors and as key elements in Russian foreign policy.

For this edition I also rewrote a few sections of Chapter 14 on the Gorbachev "revolution," attempting to incorporate new evidence and interpretations. Overall, however, I decided that the earlier account had so far withstood the test of time and required no changes in its major conclusions about the man and the era.

Throughout the book I corrected a few errors brought to my attention by students and colleagues. I also revised and added new books to the suggestions for "Further Reading" at the ends of chapters.

As in previous editions, my goal remains to provide students and general readers a clear, concise treatment of the dramatic history of this significant region and its long-suffering and talented peoples.

John M. Thompson . . .

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