This book examines the development of the Russian economy from tsarist times to the present through the lens of the oil industry. It considers the role of the state, business-state relations, foreign participation, enterprise performance and technology. Besides providing much rich detail on the changing nature of the oil industry, the book also puts forward important conclusions, including the fact that in the late nineteenth century private enterprise rather than the state was the principal driver of economic development, and that after the collapse of the Soviet Union incumbent managers were more effective in running their companies than financier entrants, whose main concern was short-term gain.
Taking the Soviet collapse - the most cataclysmic event of the recent past - as a case study, this text engages students in the exercise of historical analysis, interpretation and explanation. In exploring the question posed by the title, the author introduces and applies such organizing concepts as great power conflict, imperial decline, revolution, ethnic conflict, colonialism, economic development, totalitarian ideology, and transition to democracy in a most accessible way. Questions and controversies, and extracts from documentary and literary sources, anchor the text at key points. This book is intended for use in history and political science courses on the Soviet Union or more generally on the 20th century.
Author: Chris Miller
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2016-10-13
For half a century the Soviet economy was inefficient but stable. In the late 1980s, to the surprise of nearly everyone, it suddenly collapsed. Why did this happen? And what role did Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's economic reforms play in the country's dissolution? In this groundbreaking study, Chris Miller shows that Gorbachev and his allies tried to learn from the great success story of transitions from socialism to capitalism, Deng Xiaoping's China. Why, then, were efforts to revitalize Soviet socialism so much less successful than in China? Making use of never-before-studied documents from the Soviet politburo and other archives, Miller argues that the difference between the Soviet Union and China--and the ultimate cause of the Soviet collapse--was not economics but politics. The Soviet government was divided by bitter conflict, and Gorbachev, the ostensible Soviet autocrat, was unable to outmaneuver the interest groups that were threatened by his economic reforms. Miller's analysis settles long-standing debates about the politics and economics of perestroika, transforming our understanding of the causes of the Soviet Union's rapid demise.
Author: Philip Hanson
Release Date: 2014-09-11
Why did the Soviet economic system fall apart? Did the economy simply overreach itself through military spending? Was it the centrally-planned character of Soviet socialism that was at fault? Or did a potentially viable mechanism come apart in Gorbachev's clumsy hands? Does its failure mean that true socialism is never economically viable? The economic dimension is at the very heart of the Russian story in the twentieth century. Economic issues were the cornerstone of soviet ideology and the soviet system, and economic issues brought the whole system crashing down in 1989-91. This book is a record of what happened, and it is also an analysis of the failure of Soviet economics as a concept.
Author: Seweryn Bialer
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 1982-04-30
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the ways in which the structure and process of Soviet politics have been transformed since Stalin's death, and particularly during the years of the Brezhnev regime. In explaining the Soviet Union's political stability, the author analyzes the Soviet combination of harsh authoritarian rule with political flexibility in the treatment of its citizens, and he describes the social processes that contribute to this stability. He also analyzes the Soviet perception of the current international situation and discusses trends in Soviet foreign policy, including the imbalance between military power on the one hand and political, economic, ideological, and cultural resources on the other. Professor Bialer explains the Soviet concept of détente and explores the difference between Soviet and American perceptions of this process. A major part of the work is devoted to an examination of the imminent succession of the Soviet leadership. The book gives a profile of the new generation of potential leaders and identifies the characteristics that make them different form those whom they will replace. The Soviet leadership, while embroiled in its succession struggle, will have to make difficult decisions concerning the allocation of national resources and overall changes in management, planning, and incentives. Professor Bialer concludes by analyzing the kinds of economic reform that could make the problems manageable and the conditions under which the new Soviet leadership will need to institute reforms.
Author: Anders Åslund
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2007-10-26
Genre: Political Science
The Russian revolution, collapse of the Soviet Union, and Russia's ensuing transformation belong to the greatest dramas of our time. Revolutions are usually messy and emotional affairs, challenging much of the conventional wisdom, and Russia's experience is no exception. This book focuses on the transformation from Soviet Russia to Russia as a market economy, and explores why the country has failed to transform into a democracy. It examines the period from 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet Union's Secretary General of the Communist Party, to the present Russia of Vladimir Putin. Åslund provides a broad overview of Russia's economic change, highlighting the most important issues and their subsequent resolutions, including Russia's inability to sort out the ruble zone during its revolution, several failed coups, and the financial crash of August 1998.