The Rise of the Russian Democrats
The Causes and Consequences of the Elite Revolution. Studies of Communism in Transition
The fall of the Soviet system was hailed in the West as a triumph of liberal and democratic ideals, but this euphoria was to be short lived. The Rise of the Russian Democrats traces the pro-Western democracy movement's development in Moscow and Leningrad from 1987 to 1991 and seeks to explain its eventual loss of direction, inspiration and popularity.
Studying the democratic revolution from its grassroots, Judith Devlin focuses on how a civil society emerged in Moscow and Leningrad through the development of political clubs and associations. Their relation to the reform politics of the party leadership is addressed in her authoritative and insightful analysis. Arguing that the movement's origins contributed to its ultimate decline, the author explains how the intelligentsia's leadership of the popular democratic movement was usurped by new politicians who emerged from the lower echelons of the Soviet management system. It was these new politicians who were able to play the key role in the transition to post-communism, shaping the new institutions and focusing political activity and debate.
The Rise of the Russian Democrats attempts to characterise the original inspiration, strengths and weaknesses of the democratic movement in order to explain political culture after the 1991 coup. As an exploration of the reasons for the slow and superficial nature of democratization in Russia, this book is of practical, as well as academic, interest for students, researchers, journalists and policymakers.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`Devlin's book can be strongly recommended as an excellent account of the seeds that were sown for democracy in Russia during the late Soviet period, and in particular for its portrayal of the important role played by the intelligentsia.' -- Peter Shearman, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies `Well researched and documented. Recommended for general readers and upper-division undergraduates through faculty.' -- J.S. Zacek, Choice `This concise and well-written work provides an analysis of the democratic movement in Russia since perestroika. . . Assessing the strengths, weaknesses and ultimate impact of the democratic movement, Devlin delivers a convincing contribution to the literature dealing with the political landscape of post-Communist Russia.' -- Journal of Peace Research `. . . this is an excellent book and a significant contribution to literature on the emergence of the Russian democratic movement.' -- Peter Lentini, Europe-Asia Studies `This is a closely argued book based on excellent evidence and research, and it deserves to be widely known and used in institutions of further and higher education.' -- John Wigley, Talking Politics `. . . the book deserves a place in the library for the detail it includes about the democratic movement and should serve as a good introduction to the topic for students.' -- Neil Robinson, Slavonica