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Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0817995423
ISBN-10: 0817995420
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The volume thus offers a remarkable time machine through which to explore the evolution of scholarship on nationality questions in the Soviet Union."

"The essays by a distinguished scholar of eastern Europe represent a lifetime of thinking about the USSR/Russian colossus."

"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 happen—as it may have seemed to some—overnight. 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 USSR—Russia and Ukraine—during 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 USSR’s 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 1939–1945, 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. Szporluk’s previous books include The Political Thought of Thomas G. Masaryk and Communism and Nationalism: Karl Marx versus Friedrich List.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817995420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817995423
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,018,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Bohdan Vitvitsky on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an uncommonly fine set of essays. Their subjects are some of the more important contemporary and historical connections and relationships in Eastern Europe, and the essays leave the reader's understanding of that part of the world much enriched. Among the connections and relationships Szporluk explores are: Ukraine-Russia; Poland-Ukraine; Russia-Poland; and Czarist Russia-the USSR. The essays, wirtten over the last 25 or 30 years, are marked by: an encyclopedic familiarity with all of the types of literature that have bearing on his subjects; a healthy respect for facts--particularly some that were long obscure to most observers--and where they lead (in the sense of not treating facts as mere fodder to be crammed into some favorite theoretical framework); and, a highly thoughtful and perceptive analysis that interrelates facts with facts, and facts with theory. If you're interested in Eastern Europe, a book not to be missed.
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By jenn5 on September 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the reason a scant handful of reviewers here do not appreciate this book, saying that it says nothing new, is because Mr. Szporluk himself is the founder of the way modern historians and political scientists view and analyze Eastern Europe. If this book reads familiar, it is because Mr. Szporluk's theories are the foundation upon which other work has been based. A brilliant readand a keystone in Eastern European history.
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By A Customer on September 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Szporluk's intelligent analysis of the final decades of the Soviet Union and the relationship of Russia and Ukraine is a must reading for any Eastern European history enthusiast. Cryptic innuendos can't diminish the importance of this book.
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