"Collection of lucid and astute essays, written by a knowledgeable and original scholar."
From the Publisher
How could Gorbachev and his advisers have misjudged the condition of the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s? How unrealistic was their sense of what the Soviet bloc represented at that time? How did the leaders of the Soviet state perceive the problem of the nationalities in the USSR and their relations with their East European allies? Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union offers an insightful new perspective on these and other questions surrounding the decline and fall of the Soviet system.
This book chronicles the final two decades in the history of the Soviet Union and presents a story that is often lost in the standard interpretations of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Although there were numerous reasons for the collapse of communism, it did not happenas it may have seemed to someovernight. Indeed, says renowned scholar Roman Szporluk, the root causes go back even earlier than 1917. To understand why the USSR broke up the way it did, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the two most important nations of the USSRRussia and Ukraineduring the Soviet period and before, as well as the parallel but interrelated processes of nation formation in both states. Szporluk details a number of often-overlooked factors leading to the USSRs fall: how the processes of Russian identity formation were not completed by the time of the communist takeover in 1917, the unification of Ukraine in 19391945, and the Soviet period failing to find a resolution of the question of Russian-Ukrainian relations. The present-day conflict in the Caucasus, he asserts, is a sign that the old problems remain.
Without claiming that the collapse of communism or the breakup of the Soviet Union was "caused" by any one factor, Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union makes an insightful and original contribution to the discussion surrounding one of the most significant political events of the twentieth century.
Roman Szporluk is a professor of history and the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. Szporluks previous books include The Political Thought of Thomas G. Masaryk and Communism and Nationalism: Karl Marx versus Friedrich List.