A significant political figure in twentieth-century Russia, Alexander Yakovlev was the intellectual force behind the processes of perestroika (reconstruction) and glasnost (openness) that liberated the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from Communist rule between 1989 and 1991. Yet, until now, not a single full-scale biography has been devoted to him. In his study of the unsung hero, Richard Pipes seeks to rectify this lacuna and give Yakovlev his historical due.Yakovlev's life provides a unique instance of a leading figure in the Soviet government who evolved from a dedicated Communist and Stalinist into an equally ardent foe of everything the Leninist-Stalinist regime stood for. He quit government service in 1991 and lived until 2005, becoming toward the end of his life a classical western liberal who shared none of the traditional Russian values. Pipes's illuminating study consists of two parts: a biography of Yakovlev and Pipes's translation of two important articles by Yakovlev. It will appeal to specialists and students of Soviet and post-Soviet studies, government officials involved with foreign policy, and general readers interested in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union.
From the Russian revolutions of 1917 to the end of the Civil War in 1920, Woodrow Wilson's administration sought to oppose the Bolsheviks in a variety of covert ways. Drawing on previously unavailable American and Russian archival material, David Foglesong chronicles both sides of this secret war and reveals a new dimension to the first years of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry. Foglesong explores the evolution of Wilson's ambivalent attitudes toward socialism and revolution before 1917 and analyzes the social and cultural origins of American anti-Bolshevism. Constrained by his espousal of the principle of self-determination, by idealistic public sentiment, and by congressional restrictions, Wilson had to rely on secretive methods to affect the course of the Russian Civil War. The administration provided covert financial and military aid to anti-Bolshevik forces, established clandestine spy networks, concealed the purposes of limited military expeditions to northern Russia and Siberia, and delivered ostensibly humanitarian assistance to soldiers fighting to overthrow the Soviet government. In turn, the Soviets developed and secretly funded a propaganda campaign in the United States designed to mobilize public opposition to anti-Bolshevik activity, promote American-Soviet economic ties, and win diplomatic recognition from Washington.
If you were an independent, adventurous, liberated American woman in the 1920s or 1930s where might you have sought escape from the constraints and compromises of bourgeois living? Paris and the Left Bank quickly come to mind. But would you have ever thought of Russia and the wilds of Siberia? This choice was not as unusual as it seems now. As Julia L. Mickenberg uncovers in American Girls in Red Russia, there is a forgotten counterpoint to the story of the Lost Generation: beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russian revolutionary ideology attracted many women, including suffragists, reformers, educators, journalists, and artists, as well as curious travelers. Some were famous, like Isadora Duncan or Lillian Hellman; some were committed radicals, though more were just intrigued by the "Soviet experiment." But all came to Russia in search of social arrangements that would be more equitable, just, and satisfying. And most in the end were disillusioned, some by the mundane realities, others by horrifying truths.
Mickenberg reveals the complex motives that drew American women to Russia as they sought models for a revolutionary new era in which women would be not merely independent of men, but also equal builders of a new society. Soviet women, after all, earned the right to vote in 1917, and they also had abortion rights, property rights, the right to divorce, maternity benefits, and state-supported childcare. Even women from Soviet national minorities--many recently unveiled--became public figures, as African American and Jewish women noted. Yet as Mickenberg's collective biography shows, Russia turned out to be as much a grim commune as a utopia of freedom, replete with economic, social, and sexual inequities.
American Girls in Red Russia recounts the experiences of women who saved starving children from the Russian famine, worked on rural communes in Siberia, wrote for Moscow or New York newspapers, or performed on Soviet stages. Mickenberg finally tells these forgotten stories, full of hope and grave disappointments.
In The American YMCA and Russian Culture, Matthew Lee Miller explores the impact of the philanthropic activities of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) on Russians during the late imperial and early Soviet periods. The YMCA, the largest American service organization, initiated its intense engagement with Russians in 1900. During the First World War, the Association organized assistance for prisoners of war, and after the emigration of many Russians to central and western Europe, founded the YMCA Press and supported the St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris. Miller demonstrates that the YMCA contributed to the preservation, expansion, and enrichment of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It therefore played a major role in preserving an important part of pre-revolutionary Russian culture in Western Europe during the Soviet period until the repatriation of this culture following the collapse of the USSR. The research is based on the YMCA's archival records, Moscow and Paris archives, and memoirs of both Russian and American participants. This is the first comprehensive discussion of an extraordinary period of interaction between American and Russian cultures. It also presents a rare example of fruitful interconfessional cooperation by Protestant and Orthodox Christians.
American-Soviet Cultural Diplomacy: The Bolshoi Ballet's American Premiere is the first full-length examination of a Soviet cultural diplomatic effort. Following the signing of an American-Soviet cultural exchange agreement in the late 1950s, Soviet officials resolved to utilize the Bolshoi Ballet's planned 1959 American tour to awe audiences with Soviet choreographers' great accomplishments and Soviet performers' superb abilities. Relying on extensive research, Cadra Peterson McDaniel examines whether the objectives behind Soviet cultural exchange and the specific aims of the Bolshoi Ballet's 1959 American tour provided evidence of a thaw in American-Soviet relations. Interwoven throughout this study is an examination of the Soviets' competing efforts to create ballets encapsulating Communist ideas while simultaneously reinterpreting pre-revolutionary ballets so that these works were ideologically acceptable. McDaniel investigates the rationale behind the creation of the Bolshoi's repertoire and the Soviet leadership's objectives and interpretation of the tour's success as well as American response to the tour. The repertoire included the four ballets, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, and The Stone Flower, and two Highlights Programs, which included excerpts from various pre- and post-revolutionary ballets, operas, and dance suites. How the Americans and the Soviets understood the Bolshoi's success provides insight into how each side conceptualized the role of the arts in society and in political transformation. American-Soviet Cultural Diplomacy: The Bolshoi Ballet's American Premiere demonstrates the ballet's role in Soviet foreign policy, a shift to "artful warfare," and thus emphasizes the significance of studying cultural exchange as a key aspect of Soviet foreign policy and analyzes the continued importance of the arts in twenty-first century Russian politics.
American Soviet Cultural Diplomacy: The Bolshoi Ballet s American Premiere is the first full-length examination of a Soviet cultural diplomatic effort. Following the signing of an American-Soviet cultural exchange agreement in the late 1950s, Soviet offic
The conflict in Chechnya was the first war journalist Asne Seierstad covered. Now 10 years later, she returns to Chechnya and discovers that though the world's attention has moved on, the tragedy has continued, killing 10 to 15 per cent of the population and leaving a brutalised society - with a particular toll on its children - in its wake.
Featuring extensive revisions to the text as well as a new introduction and epilogue--bringing the book completely up to date on the tumultuous politics of the previous decade and the long-term implications of the Soviet collapse--this compact, original, and engaging book offers the definitive account of one of the great historical events of the last fifty years.Combining historical and geopolitical analysis with an absorbing narrative, Kotkin draws upon extensive research, including memoirs by dozens of insiders and senior figures, to illuminate the factors that led to the demise of Communism and the USSR. The new edition puts the collapse in the context of the global economic and political changes from the 1970s to the present day. Kotkin creates a compelling profile of post Soviet Russia and he reminds us, with chilling immediacy, of what could not have been predicted--that the world's largest police state, with several million troops, a doomsday arsenal, and an appalling record of violence, would liquidate itself with barely a whimper. Throughout the book, Kotkin also paints vivid portraits of key personalities. Using recently released archive materials, for example, he offers a fascinating picture of Gorbachev, describing this virtuoso tactician and resolutely committed reformer as "flabbergasted by the fact that his socialist renewal was leading to the system's liquidation"--and more or less going along with it. At once authoritative and provocative, Armageddon Averted illuminates the collapse of the Soviet Union, revealing how "principled restraint and scheming self-interest brought a deadly system to meek dissolution." Acclaim for the First Edition: "The clearest picture we have to date of the post-Soviet landscape."
--The New Yorker "A triumph of the art of contemporary history. In fewer than 200 pagesKotkin elucidates the implosion of the Soviet empire--the most important and startling series of international events of the past fifty years--and clearly spells out why, thanks almost entirely to the 'principal restraint' of the Soviet leadership, that collapse didn't result in a cataclysmic war, as all experts had long forecasted."
-The Atlantic Monthly "Concise and persuasive The mystery, for Kotkin, is not so much why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."
--The New York Review of Books
The German offensive on Stalingrad was originally intended to secure the Wehrmacht's flanks, but it stalled dramatically in the face of Stalin's order: "Not a Step Back " The Soviets' resulting tenacious defense of the city led to urban warfare for which the Germans were totally unprepared, depriving them of their accustomed maneuverability, overwhelming artillery fire, and air support--and setting the stage for debacle.Armageddon in Stalingrad continues David Glantz and Jonathan House's bold new look at this most iconic military campaign of the Eastern Front and Hitler's first great strategic defeat. While the first volume in their trilogy described battles that took the German army to the gates of Stalingrad, this next one focuses on the inferno of combat that decimated the city itself. Previous accounts of the battle are far less accurate, having relied on Soviet military memoirs plagued by error and cloaked in secrecy. Glantz and House have plumbed previously unexploited sources--including the archives of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) and the records of the Soviet 62nd and German Sixth Armies--to provide unprecedented detail and fresh interpretations of this apocalyptic campaign. They allow the authors to reconstruct the fighting hour by hour, street by street, and even building by building and reveal how Soviet defenders established killing zones throughout the city and repeatedly ambushed German spearheads. The authors set these accounts of action within the contexts of decisions made by Hitler and Stalin, their high commands, and generals on the ground and of the larger war on the Eastern Front. They show the Germans weaker than has been supposed, losing what had become a war of attrition that forced them to employ fewer and greener troops to make up for earlier losses and to conduct war on an ever-lengthening logistics line. Written with the narrative force of a great war novel, this new volume supersedes all previous accounts and forms the centerpiece of the Stalingrad Trilogy, with the upcoming final volume focusing on the Red Army's counteroffensive.
In the Soviet Union, bribery was a skill with its own practices and culture. James Heinzen's innovative and compelling study examines corruption under Stalin's dictatorship in the wake of World War II, focusing on bribery as an enduring and important presence in many areas of Soviet life. Based on extensive research in recently declassified Soviet archives, The Art of the Bribe offers revealing insights into the Soviet state, its system of law and repression, and everyday life during the years of postwar Stalinism.