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By Robert D. English

An interesting "intellectual portrait" of a iteration of Soviet reformers, this publication can also be a desirable case research of the way rules can swap the process historical past. In such a lot analyses of the chilly War's finish the ideological points of Gorbachev's "new considering" are taken care of mostly as incidental to the wider concerns of energy -- as gloss on what used to be basically a retreat pressured via difficulty and decline. Robert English makes a tremendous contribution by means of demonstrating that Gorbachev's overseas coverage was once in truth the results of an highbrow revolution. English analyzes the increase of a liberal policy-academic elite and its impression at the chilly War's finish. English labored within the records of the USSR international Ministry and in addition won entry to the constrained collections of top foreign-policy institutes. He additionally performed approximately four hundred interviews with Soviet intellectuals and coverage makers -- from Khrushchev- and Brezhnev-era Politburo individuals to Perestroika-era notables corresponding to Eduard Shevardnadze and Gorbachev himself. English lines the increase of a "Westernizing" worldview from the post-Stalin years, via a gaggle of liberals within the late1960s--70s, to a circle of shut advisers who spurred Gorbachev's such a lot radical reforms.

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Additional info for Russia and the Idea of the West:Gorbachev, Intellectuals and the End of the Cold War

Sample text

Trained in isolation from foreign ideas and cultures, they began professional life in a cauldron of terror predicated on ceaseless Western plots. They knew only an outside world of capitalist exploitation and aggression. ”5 Thus, while building on isolationist, antiWestern currents from both the recent Bolshevik and the distant tsarist past, Stalinism raised both to unprecedented heights in forging the hostile-isolationist identity. A generation that came of age in the civil war, and made their careers under Stalin, dominated the political-intellectual elite through the mid 1980s.

40 And while official policy could shift rapidly—from confrontation to “peaceful coexistence” abroad, and from harsh “War Communism” to the liberal New Economic Policy (NEP) at home—the years of revolution and war left a deep impression. In many Party and intellectual quarters, Marxist internationalism was supplanted by an increasingly anti-Western Russian nationalism. ”41 Save the legacy of Russia’s early revolutionaries, he found little to admire in a history of oppression and backwardness. 43 Stalin, even before the revolution, offered a different view.

For the old intelligentsia who offered their services to the regime, it was a natural continuation of old Russia. For the overwhelming masses of people who did not accept the new ideology or adopted it only superficially . . the new state was likewise . . 88 But the Russia of the intelligentsia was very different from that of the masses. And the attitudes of the latter, by dint of sheer numbers, were a growing force in the Party. These “half-peasants, halfworkers [brought with them] a bunch of rural .

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