Russia's Bitter Path to Modernity: A History of the Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras

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9780826413505: Russia's Bitter Path to Modernity: A History of the Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras
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Will it follow the model of the Western capitalist democracies, as those who applied the economic shock therapy of the early 90s hoped, or will it chose its own distinct path of development? In this history of Russia from 1917 to the present, Alexander Chubarov teases out certain themes developed in his previous book on tsarist Russia (The Fragile Empire). One of the key factors to Russia's distinctiveness is its halfway location in the center of the Eurasian landmass. This lends an inevitability to the traditional cultural schism between Westernizing reformers and Slavophiles. Neither approach, says Chubarov, will work on its own. Chubarov offers ""a balanced view, abstaining from narrow, ideologically biased assessments,"" and examines the triumphs (yes) and failures of Russia's Soviet development ""within Russia's own cultural and historical context."" Without ever minimizing the brutalities of the Soviet period-the state terror, the collectivizations, the labor camps, the deportations of whole peoples-Chubarov demonstrates much continuity between tsarist and Soviet Russia, with the latter often repeating the former's mistakes. Russia, says Chubarov, cannot turn its back on its Soviet experience. Far from being a blind alley or ""aberrant phase,"" the Soviet period was an organic part of Russia history and ""was largely successful in turning Russia and most of the other Soviet republics into modern states.

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In this history of Russia from 1917 to the present, Chubarov teases out themes developed in his previous book on tsarist Russia, "The Fragile Empire" (Continuum, 2000). One of the key factors in Russia's distinctiveness is its halfway location in the centre of the Eurasian landmass. This lends an inevitability to the traditional cultural schism between Westernizing reformers and Slavophiles. Neither approach, says Chubarov, will work on its own. Without ever minimizing the brutalities of the Soviet period - State terror, the collectivizations, the labour camps, the deportations of whole peoples - Chubarov demonstrates much continuity between tsarist and Soviet Russia, with the latter often repeating the former's mistakes. Russia, says Chubarov, cannot turn its back on its Soviet experience. Far from being a blind alley or "abstract phase", the Soviet period was an organic part of Russia's history and "was largely successful in turning Russia and most of the other Soviet republics into modern states".

Review:

"This book has many outstanding virtues. It is a model of clarity, explaining complex issues in an accessible way while not losing a sense of the complexity of the problems. It provides a wealth of information and analysis focusing on Russia's ambivalent modernisation. Its judgments are balanced and provide thoughtful analysis of Russia's troubled twentieth century. Questions are helpfully placed in historical and comparative context. This book should be on the shelf of every student of contemporary politics and history."
Professor Richard Sakwa, Department of Politics and International Relations, Rutherford Collge, The University of Kent at Canterbury, author of Russian Politics and Society, Gorbachev and His Reforms, Soviet Politics: An Introduction, and Soviet Communists in Power.

"This book is in some ways a sequel to the author's A Fragile Empire: A History of Imperial Russia. In the present work, Alexander Chubarov (s Senior Lecturer at Coventry University) is primarily concerned with modernization and goes so far as to say that "the true essence of the Soviet period of Russian history was modernization in the broad sense of the word, including industrialization, urbanization, and secularization of popular mentality" (9). The book is divided into three parts, titled "The Background," "The Socialist Experiment" (from 1917 to 1985), and "From Reform Socialism to Deformed Capitalism" (1985 to mid 2001). The last part makes up more than one third of the book and is especially valuable....This work is a broadly conceived scholarly work. It is a history of policies and institutions, coupled with an extended analysis, rather than a history of the Russian people. It is well organized, clearly written, and at times insightful....Along the way, Chubarov devotes major attention to political and economic issues, including among his twenty-one chapters ones on political culture, Soviet ideology, the Soviet political system, and Soviet nationalities. Besidse endnotes and a useful index, there are twenty-five pages of bibliographic entries, both in English and Russian, and Chubarov seems equally familiar with valuable works in both languages....In summary, Chubarov has offered a valuable analysis of certain aspects of twentieth century Russian history, attempting to view it within a modernizing and, at times, comparative perspective. Disagreements about some of his judgements are inevitable, but his presentation of an original perspective is a gain for scholarly discourse."
Canadian Slavonic Papers, March-June 2002

"well-organized, clearly written....Chubarov has offered a valuable analysis of certain aspects of twentieth-century Russian history, attempting to view it within a modernizing and, at times, comparative perspective....his presentation of an original perspective is a gain for scholarly discourse."
Walter Moss, Canadian Slavonic Papers, March-June 2002

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2002. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this history of Russia from 1917 to the present, Chubarov teases out themes developed in his previous book on tsarist Russia, "The Fragile Empire" (Continuum, 2000). One of the key factors in Russia's distinctiveness is its halfway location in the centre of the Eurasian landmass. This lends an inevitability to the traditional cultural schism between Westernizing reformers and Slavophiles. Neither approach, says Chubarov, will work on its own. Without ever minimizing the brutalities of the Soviet period - State terror, the collectivizations, the labour camps, the deportations of whole peoples - Chubarov demonstrates much continuity between tsarist and Soviet Russia, with the latter often repeating the former's mistakes. Russia, says Chubarov, cannot turn its back on its Soviet experience. Far from being a blind alley or "abstract phase", the Soviet period was an organic part of Russia's history and "was largely successful in turning Russia and most of the other Soviet republics into modern states". Seller Inventory # LHB9780826413505

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