The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

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

PART 8
Reflections

Once they were over, the Gorbachev years were bound to invite not only recrimination and bitterness among some but also jubilation and a sense of liberation and promise among others. They also raised serious questions about both the causes and the consequences of the collapse.

Looking back over those years, some of the key participants reflected on what had gone wrong with perestroika. Edvard Shevardnadze and Yegor Ligachev came to this question from opposite political perspectives, but what they shared was the belief that it could have worked (though they meant different things by "it") had it not been for the wrong policies pursued. In essence, they both faulted Gorbachev for his political strategy—for one, it was too hesitant, for the other, too radical.

There is the broader question of whether a liberalization of the Soviet system could have worked under any circumstances. Different observers in the Soviet elite blamed the failure of the whole enterprise on particular features—failure to reform the federal system, failure to reform or split the Communist Party, failure to carry out a fundamental economic reform, failure to oust key officials of the old regime. Others stressed the resistance, even sabotage, by entrenched officials, officers, and managers.

But could the system have been reformed at all? There were those who firmly denied it. Most explicitly and systematically, Martin Malia insisted that the Soviet system needed to be demolished before a new order could be built to replace it: The Bolshevik system could not be transformed in piecemeal fashion because it had been born with an evil "genetic code" from the start.

Others rejected this argument and posited instead more complex and contingent schemes to explain the system's collapse. Some gave particular weight to individual variables, such as the progressive spread of corruption or the impact of economic stagnation; others stressed the cumulative impact of a number of interacting factors from the erosion of ideological commitment to the effects of social change. Some focused on the unintended consequences of Gorbachev's own policies as decisive in bringing about the collapse, given the unreconciled contradictions inherent in glasnost and democratization from above.

The question of whether internal causes were crucial or whether the external environment played an important part was also addressed by foreign observers. And although some credited the United States—more specifically, the military buildup un

-647-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 725

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.