The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

By Alexander Dallin; Gail W. Lapidus | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE
FIRST EDITION

This book was inspired by a conversation with Frederick Praeger, then publisher of Westview Press, that began with his apparently innocent question about how Soviet specialists taught the contemporary history of the Soviet Union when all standard textbooks had been overtaken by recent events. It was only a short jump from agreement that a collection of new materials was needed to the idea that we should undertake the task of assembling it—testimony to Fred's enthusiasm and powers of persuasion. We are very grateful for all the work and wise counsel of Susan McEachern, Beverly LeSuer, and their staff at Westview Press. As usual, the book's development turned out to be more complicated and time-consuming than we had thought—in part because we were shooting at a moving target.

Our thanks go to all the authors, editors, and publishers of books and journals who gave permission to reproduce the titles included here. Some pieces, mercifully, were in the public domain. Special thanks go to those who updated their papers for this collection and to those journals that seem to have made themselves indispensable by carrying a large number of seminal pieces central to intellectual debates among Sovietologists.

In a number of instances we have been obliged to reproduce only selections from longer articles, papers, or books. This reflects no judgment regarding any shortcomings of these works but merely an awareness of the limitations of available space. Some of the cuts and omissions were indeed painful to make. And— because we do indicate the source from which our text was taken—we would urge all those who would like to consider the fuller, uncut argument and documentation to consult the original text. We would have loved to include a number of other interesting pieces, but there simply was no room. The rule we tended to follow was to make selections in such a way as to give the reader a fair sampling of diverse opinions—both American and Soviet—as well as the more important contributions to the public debate.

Perfectionists will (properly) complain that this book uses several different citation styles and systems of transliteration from Cyrillic to Latin characters. The general rule we followed was to keep the pieces reproduced in this volume as close as possible to the original. As a result readers will find the same person spelled Yeltsin, Eltsin, and Yel'tsin in different articles. Only in the most outrageous cases have we felt free to alter the spelling or citation form used. Likewise, one conse

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