For hundreds of years, dictators have ruled Russia. Do they still? In the late 1980s, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev launched a series of political reforms that eventually allowed for competitive elections, the emergence of an independent press, the formation of political parties, and the sprouting of civil society. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these proto-democratic institutions endured in an independent Russia.
The third volume of The Cambridge History of Russia provides an authoritative political, intellectual, social and cultural history of the trials and triumphs of Russia and the Soviet Union during the twentieth century. It encompasses not only the ethnically Russian part of the country but also the non-Russian peoples of the tsarist and Soviet multinational states and of the post-Soviet republics. Beginning with the revolutions of the early twentieth century, chapters move through the 1920s to the Stalinist 1930s, World War II, the post-Stalin years and the decline and collapse of the USSR.
Twice in the winter of 1999-2000, citizens of the Russian Federation flocked to their neighborhood voting stations and scratched their ballots in an atmosphere of uncertainty, rancor, and fear. This book is a tale of these two elections - one for the 450-seat Duma, the other for President.
Russia, once seen as America's greatest adversary, is now viewed by the United States as a potential partner. This book traces the evolution of American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union, and later Russia, during the tumultuous and uncertain period following the end of the cold war. It examines how American policymakers -- particularly in the executive branch -- coped with the opportunities and challenges presented by the new Russia.
Who is Vladimir Putin?
Since the rise to power in Russia of this obscure bureaucrat and former KGB agent in the fall of 1999, two groups in the West have answered this question very differently.
George W. Bush wants Americans and the world to believe that the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime two months ago represented a defeat for tyranny and a victory for liberty. No one has devoted more words to framing regime change in Iraq in these terms than the president.
To most analysts of international affairs, whether based in London, Moscow or Washington, President Vladimir Putin's behavior during the run up to the U.S.-led war in Iraq was very predictable. From a classic realpolitik perspective, Putin behaved rationally. Russia had concrete interests in the preservation of the status quo in Iraq, and U.S. military intervention threatened those interests.
When the bronze statue of Saddam Hussein crashed to the ground more than a week ago, the image joined a long series of unforgettable mental pictures marking the end of tyrannical rule. In much of the former colonial world, the retiring of a European flag followed by the hoisting of a new flag of independence captured the moment. And more recently, the chiseling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the crane uprooting secret-police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky's statue in Moscow in 1991 served as near-perfect metaphors for the collapse of the Soviet empire.
Protesters who marched around the world last week were wrong to assume that American inaction against Iraq will make their children safer or the Iraqi people better off. (Wouldn't it be nice if the Iraqi people could express their opinion about their country's future rather than having to listen to George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein or street protesters speak on their behalf?) The protesters were right, however, to question whether war against Iraq will produce more security at home and real freedom for the Iraqi people.
STANFORD -- In May 1988, President Reagan traveled to Moscow for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. When he became president, Reagan had called the Soviet Union the "evil empire," but at the time of his historic trip its leader was a personal friend. Reagan didn't allow his friendship with Gorbachev to overshadow his human rights agenda. Speaking in Helsinki two days before entering the Soviet Union, Reagan proclaimed: "There is no true international security without respect for human rights....
For most of the 1990s, American foreign policymakers, analysts of Russia in the United States, and leaders of American nongovernmental organizations have pointed to generational change as the beacon of hope for Russia. Because it was believed that the transition from communism to capitalism and democracy would require a "short-term" decline in the well-being of Russian society--and that the older generations would suffer the most during the transitional period--all hope was placed on the young people.
For centuries, dictators ruled Russia. Tsars and Communist Party chiefs were in charge for so long some analysts claimed Russians had a cultural predisposition for authoritarian leaders. Yet, as a result of reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, new political institutions have emerged that now require election of political leaders and rule by constitutional procedures. Michael McFaul traces Russia's tumultuous political history from Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985 through the 1999 resignation of Boris Yeltsin in favor of Vladimir Putin.
Russia's first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been simultaneously tumultuous and transformative. For most of the 1990s the Russian economy was in free fall, the legal system in absentia, and the majority of citizens engaged primarily in survival efforts. Not surprisingly, the former superpower also struggled to adapt to its greatly diminished means and status.
The celebration in Prague should have been more raucous. The most successful alliance in world history has extended to corners of Europe unimaginable just a few years ago. The military capacity gained for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from expansion is minimal but the political returns will be fantastic. More than any other institution, NATO has helped make Europe democratic, peaceful and whole.
President George W. Bush has demonstrated impressive flexibility in reshaping his approach to foreign policy to deal with the new international challenges brought to the fore by the terrorist attacks.
To make his case, [Bush] has a powerful historical experience to draw upon: the end of the Cold War. Regime change in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union fundamentally enhanced American national security. If Iraq possessed Russia's nuclear arsenal today, the United States would be in grave danger. Two decades ago we feared this same arsenal in the hands of the Kremlin. Today we do not. The reason we do not is that the regime in Russia has become more democratic and market-oriented and therefore also more Western- oriented.
PALO ALTO, CALIF.
A year ago, a group of terrorists from Saudi Arabia and Egypt attacked the United States using box cutters as their weapons and citing extremist versions of Islamic fundamentalism as their cause.
Today, the Bush administration and Congress are focused almost solely on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, with almost no reference whatsoever to his ideology.