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Dilemmas of Change in Soviet Politics

Genres: History
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Columbia University Press, New York, United States
Published: 31st Oct 1969
Dimensions: w 140mm h 200mm
ISBN-10: 0231033109
ISBN-13: 9780231033107
Barcode No: 9780231033107

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Kirkus US
The editor's devotion to intelligence work provides one context for this book, and his notoriety as a Vietnam hawk may cast doubt on his perspicacity; in any case, this is a significant anthology. It begins with Brzezinski's response to the Garder-Tatu debate over the Soviet future - collapse or peaceful evolution? In turn, contributors including Schlesinger Jr., Conquest, Fainsod and Joseph Clark criticize Brzezinski's conclusions (mainly for overestimating both disintegration and evolutionary potential). The nature and severity of social conflicts in the Soviet Union are quite delicately probed (especially by Boris Meissner) in comparison with earlier simplistic terror-plus-bureaucracy models of Soviet society. Next question: how much time and brains the Party rulers have, and how much objective room exists for "change Within the system"? Forecasts encompass popular revolution, "muddling" evolution, new kinds of nationalist oligarchy; most of the writers see a trend from "totalitarian" to "authoritarian" government. The mass of Soviet workers is generally treated in a somewhat offhand, abstract way, while the stabilizing effects of living-standard advances are sometimes underrated. Only a few contributors deal with world politics' impact or Eastern European relations. Analyses of the Soviet economy (with exceptions) tend to sink to the cavalier level of "collectivization has failed." On the other hand, the accounts of the Khrushchev era display a sharp grasp of both economic and sociopolitical developments. If rarely profound, the essays are clever and concise and useful, especially for classroom purposes. (Kirkus Reviews)