Historical Narratives in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet by T. Sherlock

By T. Sherlock

Developing a causal hyperlink among historic discourse and political swap, this crucial publication describes the function of old discourse in constructing, retaining, or destroying elite and mass political identities in Soviet and post-Soviet area.

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Additional info for Historical Narratives in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia: Destroying the Settled Past, Creating an Uncertain Future

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In other words, historical glasnost was to advance a within-system reform that would make the one-party system more efficient. The general secretary proved to be mistaken, but his miscalculation rested on a rational basis. The chapter begins with an assessment of Gorbachev’s motives for reexamining Soviet history and identifies the expansion of his reform coalition as the most important factor, followed by a desire on the part of the leadership to restore systemic self-knowledge. The analysis then turns to why the official reformers believed that they could control historical glasnost despite a number of important political hazards.

Gorbachev’s stance may be traced to several factors, each of which was tied to the reformers’ recognition that the official rendition of Soviet history weakened their ability to resolve the steering crisis of the Soviet state. Weighing the expected benefits and costs, Gorbachev calculated that historical glasnost could be controlled and that the negative by-products of reopening the past would be offset by its positive results. In other words, historical glasnost was to advance a within-system reform that would make the one-party system more efficient.

Much the same condition confronted the official reformers due to the party’s doctrinaire approach to Marxism-Leninism and its attending historical myths. In all political systems, myths, values, and beliefs form a “mobilization of bias” that allows entrenched interests to block challenges to the prevailing allocation of values. 22 Before perestroika, the level of bias in the Soviet system against reallocating privileges and resources was profoundly greater than in liberal democracies or authoritarian (as opposed to totalitarian) regimes.

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