History is always full of surprises as it unfolds before us. The Soviet Union, for decades a seemingly frozen monolith of totalitarian rigidity and paranoid bellicosity, suddenly finds itself under a leader in the person of Mikhail Gorbachev who calls for "radical restructuring," openness," and even a "revolution." Outsiders justly wonder if this means a new era of reform, or whether the nature of the Soviet system and its historical roots makes real change impossible. This book is based on a series of articles that the author wrote during the first two years after Gorbachev assumed the Soviet leadership in March 1985.
Preface -- Barriers to Change -- The Foundations of Stalinism -- Lenin, Stalin, and the Military Model of Socialism -- Stalinism and Russian Political Culture -- Bases for Reform -- The Intelligentsia and the Failure of Reform: Khrushchev -- The Political System and the Generational Revolution -- The Intelligentsia and the Success of Reform: From Brezhnev to Gorbachev -- The Revolutionary Legacy