Latest in "USSR - 20"

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    Published in: oDR
    A good infection – remembering Bookaid
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    Written by: Susan Richards All articles by Susan Richards

    Against the backdrop of Soviet disintegration, a grassroots campaign was launched from Britain to send hundreds of thousands of books to libraries across Russia and its ex-colonies. As Bookaid celebrates its twentieth anniversary, two of its organisers, Susan Richards and Ekaterina Genieva, consider a venture that still has resonance today – the struggle to establish civil society across the territory of the old Soviet empire. 

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    Published in: oDR
    Averting a new NATO-Russian arms race
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    Written by: Hall Gardner All articles by Hall Gardner

    Angered by the decision to push NATO eastwards and the prospect of other post-Soviet states soon joining the alliance, Russia has become engaged in a game of high-risk brinkmanship with the US. A swift ‘resetting of the reset' is needed if dangerous rivalries are to be prevented from spiralling out of control, says Hall Gardner.

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    Published in: oDR
    Is Georgian 'modernisation' leading the country to serfdom?
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    Written by: Vakhtang Komakhidze All articles by Vakhtang Komakhidze

    The 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia was portrayed as a beacon of hope for democracy and progress in the region. Far from developing society towards a free market, however, the current government has retrenched and its policies and programmes are redolent of a planned economy. This can only end badly, says Vakhtang Komakhidze

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    Published in: oDR
    The free city of Moscow: reflections on Russia’s protest movement
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    Written by: Alexei Levinson All articles by Alexei Levinson

    It is easy to write off the events of the last few months as a predictable prelude to bureaucratic revanchism. But the unanticipated protest movement also brought about a significant change, writes Alexei Levinson. This was the sense that Russians can now become members of an internalised free society. They are unlikely to give up this feeling any time soon. 

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    Published in: oDR
    Four Russias: rethinking the post-Soviet map
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    Written by: Natalia Zubarevich All articles by Natalia Zubarevich

    Russia has traditionally been conceptualised as a single entity, albeit divided into many regions, but is this approach appropriate given the country's stratified population? Natalia Zubarevich argues that for a better understanding of Russia and where it is going we need to think not geographically, but arithmetically.

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    Published in: oDR
    Russian politics: the burden of national myths
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    Written by: Mykola Riabchuk All articles by Mykola Riabchuk

    National myths have always played an important part in Russian politics, from 15th-century ‘Moscow as the 3rd Rome’ to Soviet, and now Russian, views of USSR/Russia’s role in the region. The power of the myths is such that a putative opposition government could well end up as no more than a clone of Putin and his regime, says Mykola Riabchuk

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    Published in: oDR
    Let history be judged: the lesson of Perm-36
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    Written by: Susanne Sternthal All articles by Susanne Sternthal

    The collapse of the USSR in 1991 led to historical reconsideration, but unlike in Germany or South Africa, there has been no 'truth and reconciliation' process in Russia, and many of its most shameful chapters are yet to be properly confronted. A museum set up at one of the most notorious Gulag camps attempts to redress the balance, reports Susanne Sternthal.

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    Published in: oDR
    Window weapons: forgotten Soviet war posters
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    Written by: Clementine Cecil All articles by Clementine Cecil

    Hidden from view for decades, two large caches of Soviet wartime posters have recently emerged from the archives of the Chicago Art Institute and British Communist Party. Clementine Cecil reviews the striking, beautiful and often belligerent collections.

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    Published in: oDR
    Latvia's unnoticed revolution: analysing the elections
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    Written by: Andrew Wilson All articles by Andrew Wilson

    Latvia has been plagued by both deep recession and fractious relations with its large Russian-speaking minority. But with the economy now recovering fast, Andrew Wilson believes the country is creeping under the radar and off the well-worn postcommunist map.

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    Published in: oDR
    The voice of experience: Mintimer Shaimiyev in conversation
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    Written by: Oleg Pavlov All articles by Oleg Pavlov

    Mintimer Shaimiyev served in the government of Tatarstan during Soviet times (1969-91) and was subsequently President of the republic for nearly 20 years. Oleg Pavlov talked to him about the past, the present and the future of his republic, and of Russia.

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    Published in: oDR
    The dog days of the Soviet Union (3): the plot fails
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    Written by: Rodric Braithwaite All articles by Rodric Braithwaite

    The 1991 coup attempt completely disintegrates with the tragic deaths of three young men and the continuing irresistible rise of Boris Yeltsin. openDemocracy Russia presents the last 2 entries of Rodric Braithwaite’s diary.

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    Published in: oDR
    The dog days of the Soviet Union: the coup
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    Written by: Rodric Braithwaite All articles by Rodric Braithwaite

    The (unsuccessful) coup d’état in August 1991 eventually brought about the end of the USSR. Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador at the time. He kept a diary and has kindly allowed openDemocracy Russia to publish the entries for those eventful 5 days.

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    Published in: oDR
    On the eve of collapse: encounters in a changing Russia
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    Written by: Susan Richards All articles by Susan Richards

    Next week marks the twentieth anniversary of the August 1991 coup attempt. While this proved a dramatic final nail in the Soviet coffin, many more fundamental changes — the breaking down of information walls and the dissipation of fear — occurred in the months and years leading up to then. Susan Richards, oD Russia’s founder editor, spent much of this time traveling around Russia, talking to ordinary Russians about their lives. We reproduce two accounts here.

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    Published in: oDR
    A meeting with Andrei Konchalovsky: Part II
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    Written by: Prof. Ian Christie All articles by Prof. Ian Christie

    Director Andrei Konchalovksy and film critic Professor Ian Christie continue a fascinating conversation. In this second part: censorship, the Communists, corruption and civilisation. Part one can be found here

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    Published in: oDR
    The true Andropov: a response to Andrei Konchalovsky
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    Written by: Irina Borogan All articles by Irina Borogan

    In the opinion of film director Andrei Konchalovsky the true herald of liberal reform in the Soviet Union was Yury Andropov, not Mikhail Gorbachev. Irina Borogan asks if this is the same Andropov who headed the KGB through two of its darkest decades, who crushed dissidents by incarcerating them in psychiatric wards, and who Putin's propaganda machine has recently attempted to rehabilitate.

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    Published in: oDR
    Gorbachev: the wrong man for Andropov’s reforms
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    Written by: Andrei Konchalovsky All articles by Andrei Konchalovsky

    Gorbachev is hailed for doing away with Soviet totalitarianism, yet his predecessor Andropov was the man actually responsible for preparing liberal reform some twenty years earlier. With Gorbachev hopelessly unaware of the forces he was unleashing, failure was inevitable, argues Andrei Konchalovsky

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    Published in: oDR
    Gorbachev: history will be a fairer judge
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    Written by: Lilia Shevtsova All articles by Lilia Shevtsova

    Many great statesmen have shaped the course of recent history: Churchill, de Gaulle, Thatcher, Kohl, Reagan, Havel and Wałęsa among them. But only one leader – Mikhail Gorbachev – determined the long-term history of the global order. Swept away by the wave he himself had unleashed, his life after the Kremlin was accompanied by loneliness, hostility and lack of understanding. It may be some time before he gets the recognition he deserves, suggests Lilia Shevtsova.

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