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

By Stephen Kotkin

Review

"The clearest photo we need to date of the post-Soviet landscape."--The New Yorker

"A triumph of the paintings of up to date historical past. In fewer than two hundred pages, Kotkin elucidates the implosion of the Soviet empire--the most crucial and startling sequence of overseas occasions of the previous fifty years--and basically spells out why, thank you virtually solely to the 'principal restraint' of the Soviet management, that cave in did not bring about a cataclysmic warfare, as all specialists had lengthy forecasted."-The Atlantic Monthly

"Concise and persuasive The secret, for Kotkin, isn't quite a bit why the Soviet Union collapsed as why it did so with so little collateral damage."--The long island evaluation of Books

About the Author

Stephen Kotkin is Professor of ecu and Asian heritage at Princeton collage, the place he additionally directs the Russian-Eurasian reports application. he's the writer of 9 books.

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Additional info for Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000: Soviet Collapse Since 1970

Sample text

In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, “tour buses idle outside the moldering steel mills,” wrote a New York Times Magazine reporter in 1996. ”7 Monuments to misfortune soon pockmarked the entire industrial landscape of the West. The increases in oil prices in the 1970s had crystallized larger trends. ”8 Kissinger had in mind the geopolitical balance of power and the new centrality of international economics that complicated diplomacy. So-called stagflation—high unemployment (stagnation) plus inflation—confounded America’s leading economists, and Watergate paralyzed and disgraced Washington.

In the 1990s, export earnings from energy sources would continue—extending the elite’s post-1973 oil debauch. Rather than supporting a huge military buildup and a sprawling empire, however, the oil (and gas) money would go into private offshore bank accounts and hideaways on the Spanish and French Rivieras. Russia’s economic debacle embodied a delayed end, on a bigger scale and slightly camouflaged by oil flows, to an entire industrial epoch, of which it too formed a part, and whose demise had been clearly visible twenty years before in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, Sheffield and England’s North, and America’s Midwest.

In the 1990s, the overthrow of socialist planning would lay bare a far greater challenge of massive enterprise restructuring. Post-Communist Russia would inherit, and grandly privatize, history’s largest ever assemblage of obsolete equipment. Socialism’s politically driven economy proved very good—too good—at putting up a rust belt; and, unlike a market economy, socialism proved very bad at taking its rust belt down. What had once been a source of the Soviet Union’s strength and legitimization would become, when Russia rejoined the world economy, an enormous energy-consuming, value-subtracting burden, and ultimately, an invitation to scavenge and plunder.

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