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Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000 By Stephen Kotkin,

  • Title: Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000
  • Author: Stephen Kotkin
  • ISBN: 9780195168945
  • Page: 286
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the Cold War era that dominated the second half of the twentieth century, nobody envisaged that the collapse of the Soviet Union would come from within, still less that it would happen meekly, without global conflagration In this brilliantly compact, original, engaging book, Stephen Kotkin shows that the Soviet collapse resulted not from military competition but, ironiIn the Cold War era that dominated the second half of the twentieth century, nobody envisaged that the collapse of the Soviet Union would come from within, still less that it would happen meekly, without global conflagration In this brilliantly compact, original, engaging book, Stephen Kotkin shows that the Soviet collapse resulted not from military competition but, ironically, from the dynamism of Communist ideology, the long held dream for socialism with a human face The neo liberal reforms in post Soviet Russia never took place, nor could they have, given the Soviet era inheritance in the social, political, and economic landscape Kotkin takes us deep into post Stalin Soviet society and institutions, into the everyday hopes and secret political intrigues that affected 285 million people, before and after 1991 He conveys the high drama of a superpower falling apart while armed to the teeth with millions of loyal troops and tens of thousands of weapons of mass destruction Armageddon Averted vividly demonstrates the overriding importance of history, individual ambition, geopolitics, and institutions, and deftly draws out contemporary Russia s contradictory predicament.
    Armageddon Averted The Soviet Collapse In the Cold War era that dominated the second half of the twentieth century nobody envisaged that the collapse of the Soviet Union would come from within still less that it would happen meekly with

    One thought on “Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000”

    1. This is the most bittersweet, most astonishing story in history, I think, so I m compelled to read books about it, telling me the same story which I already know, again and again.I don t want to repeat the same things I said in my reviews of Revolution 1989 by Viktor Sebestyen or Down with Big Brother by Michael Dobbs So I ll be brief, as this excellent no nonsense book by Stephen Kotkin is.Why do I think this is such a towering, Shakespearian tragedy Well it s the almost completely peaceful tha [...]

    2. Perhaps not the most gripping narrative on the fall of the Soviet Union the author is an academic , Kotkin s book nonetheless merits reading because it advances an important thesis about the causes of the collapse namely, that the Soviet Union could probably have survived, albeit as an increasingly poor and dysfunctional nation cf North Korea , if Gorbachev had not fatally undermined it The last General Secretary believed, as Kotkin notes and as Gorbachev himself admitted at the time in the drea [...]

    3. Kotkin treats the fall of the Soviet Union as a genuine civilizational collapse, perhaps akin to the fall of the Roman empire than a typical modern revolution leading merely from one form of government to another Kotkin thinks this collapse explains why the aftermath of the Cold War was so unsatisfying for all parties involved, and why Russia itself unraveled so definitively after 1991 There are many sketches and anecdotes here, but the most interesting portrait by far is of Mikhail Gorbachev W [...]

    4. Very readable account that is focused almost entirely on Russia I had hoped for on the other republics Kotkin is perhaps too keen to avoid the idiocies of right THE EVIL EMPIRE CAN NEVER REFORM AND MUST BE DESTROYED and left AMERICAN ECONOMISTS LED DIRECTLY TO RUSSIAN OLIGARCHY , and so ends up with the strange position that whenever the USSR ended, it had to lead to massive theft and suffering You can t blame anyone not evil Russkies, not evil neoliberals for what happened Now, okay, I don t w [...]

    5. What it is a synthesis of secondary literature and the author s reflections on the dissolution of the Soviet Union, beginning in the 1970s malaise through 2000.What it argues the Soviet Union died from the rise of a young generation, the Khrushchev generation, who attempted to apply reforms away from the Stalinist heavy industry model Because of WWII, there never really was a generation between the old Stalinist guard and the young generation Gorbachev The specific implosion of the Soviet Union [...]

    6. A really fascinating exploration of why the USSR imploded with such little mayhem than it had the potential to unleash When compared to the brutal conflict that arose when Yugoslavia dissolved, the collapse of the Soviet Empire was rather mild Sure civil wars broke out in a number of places and economic ruin ensued, but the Soviet state had the military means and where with all to have created cataclysmic strife when Gorbachev s attempts at reform went off the rails Kotkin makes a revisionist ta [...]

    7. An interesting and in depth analysis of the events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the decline and fall of the Communist utopian dream Kotkin s writing is refreshingly light and easy to comprehend, uncluttered by the tedium which so often haunts the pages of historically erudite political reviews.Kotkin traverses the historical entity which was the USSR, from its initial formation well into it s post socialist period He captures well the essence of the idealism as well as the [...]

    8. Very well written but still nothing than a synthesis of secondary literature and some of the Kotkin s notes on the dissolution of the USSR Liked the book but expected a little 3 too little, 4 too much, gave it 4 as I like Kotkin s works in general

    9. As the title suggests, what Kotkin is interested in with this book is the question of why, when the Communism was in collapse, did not the USSR begin World War Three to defend it His answer will surprise some he says that Communism was still quite sustainable at the end of the 1980s, with no need for sweeping reform, but chose to commit suicide for largely ideological reasons The real reasons for Perestroika and Glasnost were not economic necessity or because of large scale popular resistance, b [...]

    10. United States conservatives would point to Reagan s military arms buildup which the Soviet Union could not keep pace with, while liberal capitalists believed in the inherent unfeasibility of a nonmarket system Contrary to these suppositions, Stephen Kotkin s Armageddon Averted, paints a picture of a behemoth, bureaucratic state resting atop a superannuated industrial infrastructure Yet he maintains that if the Soviet elite had so chosen, they could have sustained it decades longer.Instead, the i [...]

    11. I was concerned that this would either be very dry, very dated, or both, but it was neither One of the readable analyses of history that I have read, with a common sense approach to the causes and philosophies that drove the actors Managed to explain so many of the underlying causes of the collapse of the USSR that are not appreciated when it is cast as Democracy vs Communism To some extent, the victory over Hitler led to the eventual fall of Communism, just because of the sheer numbers of the [...]

    12. This is not a book for the casual reader interested in current affairs The author summarizes the thirty year collapse of the Soviet Union and emergence of post Soviet Russia in just two hundred pages, but there is an expectation that the reader is familiar with Russian and Soviet history, especially the institutions of government, as well as the workings of both micro and macro economics That being said, it is an insightful look at this era of Russian history and if nothing else, further dispels [...]

    13. This is less a history and of an extended essay on what caused the fall of the Soviet Union Kotkin s thesis is that it was reform what done it Communism is incompatible with liberalism, so the moment Gorbachev opened the door with perestroika and glasnost, the frame collapsed and brought down the whole house with it It s an interesting thesis that makes sense than the typical American, Reagan scared them to death, view, but Kotkin severely downplays the importance of Solidarity, Afghanistan an [...]

    14. excellent concise book on the soviet collapse inflexible industry, corruption, parallel structures of power gov t party , increased power of the republics, increased consumer demands of the masses, and Gorbachev all contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union However, he traces the origin all the way back to the oil shock of the early 70s Although the oil shock created economic problems in the west, private industry can lay off employees without repercussion but a socialist state not onlys t [...]

    15. Great overview of how the reform of the Soviet Union turned into its dissolution The role of the US in carrying out this process is not completely understood by the population as a whole By ensuring cheap oil through much of the 1980s, Moscow lost a critical source of revenue to fund its 1970s adventurism Then when the edifice collapsed, Washington claimed that it was the military arms race While the west did try and export democratic values in the aftermath, as the author demonstrates absence o [...]

    16. A good overview of the Soviet collapse Kotkin argues that the Soviet collapse began in the 1970s and that the massive economic problems of the new Russian Federation was an inevitable result of the Soviet economy, in particular the old, obsolete industrial base and equipment He manages to tell this quite complex story in a short, engaging form The title is however a bit misleading, as Kotkin barely explains his hypothesis that we were lucky that the Soviet collapse was a relatively one and didn [...]

    17. Decent enough, I suppose, if you know nothing on the subject, but overall not a very satisfying work Kotkin passes over with a limpid head toss much of the criticism of the international economic institutions and US financial aid to Russia during the 1990s in favor of an approach which highlights rightly the institutional sickness and malaise of the late Soviet system This was unnecessary for his analysis which could have neatly combined both Has some good economic insights onto the Soviet post [...]

    18. I found it largely disappointing The title is misleading, it fails to explain why the collapse of the Soviet Union would have led to armageddon, or how or why it was averted It is a good overview of the period with a strong bias No credit is given given to the democrats for bringing about change and the path to disunion should have been obvious to all as it was simply inevitable I just took away another star thinking about it.

    19. Unfortunately, this book is summed up in its first chapter Plugging through to the end is worth it, though, there are tidbits and stories that flesh out the experience What makes this worth the read is that the story doesn t end with the collapse of the U.S.S.R it goes forward and explains the troubles Russia still faced in the future It s insightful, well written and full of good information.

    20. This is a very perceptive short summary of the collapse of the Soviet Union The author has quite an insightful analysis of the subject However, the book lacks concrete examples, personalities and incidents, so that the subject remains curiously abstract He attributes of the collapse, in part, to the ideological optimism of the actors about the possibility of a humanistic socialism.Hubristic world powers, present company included, had best take warning

    21. Good book for someone unfamiliar with the Soviet Union but considering how many students entering college today were born after the fall of the Union perhaps this should be widely read as to give people a basic overview of the events and actors The book just is a little too light for anyone that s read something like A history of 20th Century Russia by Robert Service, but I suppose it is fair to say this book is not trying to tell the same story.

    22. An in depth look into the reasons behind the fall of the Soviet Union and the situation of Russia after the fall The author s thesis is a new perspective and well supported, it definitely gave me a better understanding of Russia today I would recommend it for anyone interested in Russian current events or the history of the Soviet Union.

    23. A good introduction to this period from a very high level perspective The reception of this period is still evolving, especially when this book was written before Putin s recent aggression in the Ukraine But this certainly puts the evolution of present day Russia in some perspective for me Very interested to read Kotkin s bio in Stalin

    24. Wish it went in depth on particular policies and definitely on the foreign relations piece in the 70s and 80s Also, the discussion of the Soviet s fall and the ascension of Yeltsin was a bit convoluted Overall, an okay read, especially if you want a quick read on later Soviet political and economic history.

    25. Sovietology for the 21st century While making some valid and intriguing oints here and there, for most of the book the author gives vent to his dislike of socialism Not just soviet socialism, mind, but any form of socialism Plus, he can t hide his intense dislike of Russia I would have given it just the one star, but it s rather well written so it gets two stars from me

    26. Interesting look at the collapse of the Soviet Union through actions and ideologies separate from the United States and the Cold War However, a bit too much stock is put on the internal collapse and no credit is given external world events.

    27. A good book but I felt it was only half the length it should have been The discussion of the collapse of the Soviet Union was quite brief and felt like a summary Funnily enough, the best part of the book was the post collapse chapter, while the last chapter felt unnecessary.

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