Russian Politics and Society

By Richard Sakwa | Go to book overview

Part I

The fall of communism and the rebirth of Russia

In this part we will examine two associated but nevertheless distinct processes. The first is the dissolution of the system of Soviet communism. We will provide a brief overview of the trajectory of Soviet politics, both noting its achievements and identifying some of its main failings, before examining the rise of Russia and its role in the breakdown of Soviet communism. In the second chapter, the focus will be on the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The emphasis shifts from issues of political organisation to the very shape of the state itself. The USSR was established in 1922 as an equal union of allegedly sovereign republics to give political form to the diversity of the new republic's peoples and nations. The system worked as long as there was a force standing outside the ethno-federal framework; and this force was the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (VKP(b)), renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) at the Nineteenth Party Congress in 1952. With the launching of perestroika (restructuring) by the new General Secretary of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1985, the Party gradually lost its integrative capacity as its own internal coherence dissolved, precipitating the disintegration of the state that it had overseen by the end of 1991. The dynamics of the relationship between dissolution and disintegration and the role of Russia in both is our central concern in this part.

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Russian Politics and Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures ix
  • Tables x
  • Preface to the Third Edition xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Note on Style, Spelling and Transliteration xiv
  • Glossary of Acronyms, Acrostics and Terms xv
  • Part I - The Fall of Communism and the Rebirth of Russia 1
  • 1: Soviet Communism and Its Dissolution 3
  • 2: The Disintegration of the Ussr 27
  • Part II - Political Institutions and Processes 43
  • 3: The New Constitutional Order 45
  • 4: Law and Society 72
  • 5: The Executive 98
  • 6: The Legislature 125
  • 7: Electoral Politics 140
  • 8: Party Development 172
  • Part III - Federalism, Regionalism and Nationalism 201
  • 9: Federalism and the State 203
  • 10: Regional and Local Politics 224
  • 11: National Identity and State-Building 254
  • Part IV - Economy and Society 277
  • 12: Marketising the Economy 279
  • 13: Society and Social Movements 305
  • 14: Cultural Transformation 331
  • Part V - Foreign Policies 347
  • 15: Foreign Policy 349
  • 16: Commonwealth, Community and Fragmentation 375
  • 17: Defence and Security Policy 396
  • Part VI - Dilemmas of Democratisation 423
  • 18: Problems of Transition 425
  • 19: Pluralism, Elites, Regime and Leadership 445
  • 20: Democracy in Russia 463
  • Notes 475
  • Select Bibliography 524
  • Index 527
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