Paperback - 768 pages (January 1, 2001)
The demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 left Boris Yeltsin with a fundamental
choice about how to transform Russia's economy and society-a "bottom-up"
civic-democratic revolution with the participation of the country's populist
forces, or a "free-market" revolution from above that involved an alliance
between the Yeltsin camp and the nomenklatura, the powerful bureaucrats and
factory managers left over from the Soviet era.
Yeltsin's choice of the latter course brought on an economic collapse almost
twice as severe as that of America's Great Depression, and it also subverted
prospects for a popularly responsive government and a constructive political
The authors here present a boldly original analysis of the collapse of the
Soviet Union and the birth of the Russian state. The keys to understanding
these events, they argue, are the prescriptions of Western
"transitologists," the International Monetary Fund, and advocates of
economic "shock therapy." These prescriptions allowed the nomenklatura and
the financial "oligarchs" to acquire Russia's industrial and natural
resources and to heavily influence the country's political destiny.
In this sweeping interpretation, the authors skillfully place the
contemporary Russian experience in the context of history, political and
social theory, and Russia's place in the international system.