The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky's history of the USSR's nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.
What makes Kalinovsky's intense account both timely and important is its focus not on motives for initiating the conflict but on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing war. Why did the USSR linger for so long, given that key elites recognized the blunder of the mission shortly after the initial deployment?
Newly available archival material, supplemented by interviews with major actors, allows Kalinovsky to reconstruct the fierce debates among Soviet diplomats, KGB officials, the Red Army, and top Politburo figures. The fear that withdrawal would diminish the USSR's status as leader of the Third World is palpable in these disagreements, as are the competing interests of Afghan factions and the Soviet Union's superpower rival in the West. This book challenges many widely held views about the actual costs of the conflict to the Soviet leadership, and its findings illuminate the Cold War context of a military engagement that went very wrong, for much too long.
Russia's 18th-century drive toward modernity and empire under the two "greats" - Peter I and Catherine II - is captured in this work by one of Russia's outstanding young historians. The author develops three themes: Russia's relationship to the West; the transformation of "Holy Russia" into a multinational empire; and the effects of efforts to modernize Russia selectively along Western lines. Writing in a clear, crisp style, Kamenskii enlivens the narrative with observations from contemporary literary figures and political commentators that point up the lasting significance of the events he describes.
Patterned after Professor Tucker's highly successful anthology The Marx-Engels Reader, this book includes those words necessary for an introduction to Lenin's revolutionary thought. Selections, where possible, are presented in their fullest form, and 'The State and Revolution' and 'Left-Wing Communism' in their entirety.
The idea of a Lenin renaissance might well provoke an outburst of sarcastic laughter. Marx is OK, but Lenin? Doesn't he stand for the big catastrophe which left its mark on the entire twentieth-century?Lenin, however, deserves wider consideration than this, and his writings of 1917 are testament to a formidable political figure. They reveal his ability to grasp the significance of an extraordinary moment in history. Everything is here, from Lenin-the-ingenious-revolutionary-strategist to Lenin-of-the-enacted-utopia. To use Kierkegaard's phrase, what we can glimpse in these writings is Lenin-in-becoming: not yet Lenin-the-Soviet-institution, but Lenin thrown into an open, contingent situation. In Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj iek locates the 1917 writings in their historical context, while his afterword tackles the key question of whether Lenin can be reinvented in our era of "cultural capitalism." iek is convinced that, whatever the discussion--the forthcoming crisis of capitalism, the possibility of a redemptive violence, the falsity of liberal tolerance--Lenin's time has come again.
When Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party led the first successful workers revolution in history, they were under no illusions that their work was finished with the overthrow of capitalism in Russia. As the fledgling workers' state was gripped by a civil war, the revolution's leaders remained steadfast in their commitment to spreading their successes across all of Europe.
Tony Cliff (1917-2000) spent his life developing revolutionary Marxism against Stalinism. From his early days as a revolutionary in British-occupied Palestine to the high points of struggle in post-war Britain, Cliff worked to restore lost ideas and traditions and fan the flames of resistance.
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian. After his father, a paperhanger and upholsterer, died of cholera, five-year-old Gorky was taken to live with his grandfather, a polecat-faced tyrant who would regularly beat him unconscious, and with his grandmother, a tender mountain of a woman and a wonderful storyteller, who would kneel beside their bed (with Gorky inside it pretending to be asleep) and give God her views on the day's happenings, down to the last fascinating details. She was, in fact, Gorky's closest friend and the epic heroine of a book swarming with characters and with the sensations of a curious and often frightened little boy.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is well known: the expansionist Communists overwhelmed a poor country as a means of reaching a warm-water port on the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen upset their plans, holding on with little more than natural fighting skills, until CIA agents came to the rescue with American arms. Humiliated in battle, the Soviets hastily retreated. It is a great story-but it never happened.In this brilliant, myth-busting account, Rodric Braithwaite, the former British ambassador to Moscow, challenges much of what we know about the Soviets in Afghanistan. He provides an inside look at this little-understood episode, using first-hand accounts and piercing analysis to show the war as it was fought and experienced by the Russians. The invasion was a defensive response to a chaotic situation in the Soviets' immediate neighbor. They intended to establish a stable, friendly government, secure the major towns, and train the police and armed forces before making a rapid exit. But the mission escalated, as did casualties. Braithwaite does not paint the occupation as a Russian triumph. To the contrary, he illustrates the searing effect of the brutal conflict on soldiers, their families, and the broader public, as returning veterans struggled to regain their footing back home. Now available in paperback, Braithwaite carries readers through these complex and momentous events, capturing those violent and tragic days as no one has done before.
"During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a Romanov monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little known to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study."
--Leon Trotsky, from History of the Russian Revolution
--C. L. R. James Justly celebrated as a towering, vivid, historically vital work."
--China Mi ville, October "In Trotsky all passions were aroused, but his thought remained calm and his vision clear.... His involvement in the struggle, far from blurring his sight, sharpens it.... The History is his crowning work, both in scale and power and as the fullest expression of his ideas on revolution. As an account of a revolution, given by one of its chief actors, it stands unique in world literature."
Russian playwright and historian Radzinsky mines sources never before available to create a fascinating portrait of the monarch, and a minute-by-minute account of his terrifying last days. Updated For The Paperback Edition, From the Trade Paperback edition.