A History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Putin

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9780141011219: A History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Putin

This is a comprehensive overview of twentieth-century Russian history that treats the years from 1917 to 2000 as a single period and analyses the peculiar mixture of political, economic and social ingredients that made up the Soviet compound. It takes the reader from the age of communist rule to the changes that occurred in 1991 and the more uncertain world of Yeltsin and Putin.

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Review:

From the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 to the collapse of communism in 1991, from Lenin to Yeltsin, the history of Russia in the 20th century is a complex, tumultuous story of social, geographic, and political upheaval. Robert Service, a professor at the University of London's School of Slavonic and Eastern European studies, closely looks at this period in A History of Twentieth-Century Russia. Starting with the armed revolution between 1918 and 1921, Service examines the influence of Leninist philosophy on the Bolshevik movement, while at the same time analyzing the complex social dynamics taking place in the background. His intention is to understand the ingredients of "The Soviet Compound"--the synthesis of social and political Leninist techniques--and how it perpetuated the Soviet state for more than half a century.

Service is also keen to debunk the theory that it was merely fear and intimidation that explains the endurance of the state. He cites welfare reforms, education, and significant economic progress as a unifying force that brought a share of betterment into Russian society. Students of Russian history will find this book informative and surprisingly powerful, in particular, Service's narrative on the causes of the Soviet collapse, which he believes Gorbachev's radical social reforms brought about by inadvertently opening the door for dramatic change to take place. --Jeremy Storey

From the Back Cover:

In his fresh and lively survey of recent Russian history, Robert Service spans the whole era from the rise of communism in the first decade of this century to the aftermath of its collapse in 1991. It is far more than a comprehensive summary of the established facts, and provides an introduction to the results of Western and Russian research.-Economist

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