Simon Franses, Jackie Lyman and Tim Parsloe
World affairs make the Soviet Union a focal point of interest. With this in mind, the primary aim of this book is to provide a readable analysis of current developments written by people with a broad knowledge of the Soviet system. In order to give a comprehensive picture, contributions dealing with both domestic and foreign policy have been included. Furthermore, recent events, for example the death of Brezhnev, the poor agricultural performance, deteriorating relations between East and West, and the growth of the nuclear arsenal, have led the contributors to give an informed indication of what they see as likely to happen in the remainder of the 1980s. As a result, we feel that the book will be of benefit to a wide range of readers, including business and commercial circles, as well as students.
The book has emerged from a series of seminars organised by students and held at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. The series was planned in June 1980 and commenced with a seminar given by George Schöpflin on Soviet-East European relations (Chapter 8) in January 1981. The series extended through to May 1982, when Alec Nove spoke on Soviet agriculture (Chapter 5).
The seminars attracted members of the public and journalists, as well as students from the whole of the University of London, and were deemed of sufficient interest to warrant publication. Unfortunately, limited space has meant that some topics covered in the seminars have not been reproduced here. Nevertheless, we feel that a broad spectrum of subjects has been included. Obviously, the lecture style has been modified to a certain degree to avoid overlaps and give a thematic continuity to the book. All the contributions were received between February and July 1982.
Throughout the project, much of the organisation and work has been undertaken by students. A great deal has been learned, particularly from the members of the School staff. We hope this will encourage other students to pursue similar projects.
Finally, there are a number of people whose help and hard work have proved invaluable to the success of this book; the first and foremost