By Robert English
American organization for the development of Slavic experiences: Marshall Shulman Prize 2001; An exciting ''intellectual portrait'' of a new release of Soviet reformers, this e-book is usually a desirable case learn of the way rules can swap the process historical past. In so much analyses of the chilly War?s finish the ideological facets of Gorbachev?s ''new thinking'' are taken care of principally as incidental to the wider concerns of energy -as gloss on what was once basically a retreat compelled via concern and decline. Robert English makes an incredible contribution by means of demonstrating that Gorbachev?s overseas coverage was once in reality the results of an highbrow revolution. English analyzes the increase of a liberal policy-academic elite and its effect at the chilly War?s finish. English labored within the information of the USSR international Ministry and likewise received entry to the constrained collections of best foreign-policy institutes. He additionally performed approximately four hundred interviews with Soviet intellectuals and coverage makers -from Khrushchev- and Brezhnev-era Politburo participants to Perestroika-era notables akin to Eduard Shevardnadze and Gorbachev himself. English strains the increase of a ''Westernizing'' worldview from the post-Stalin years, via a gaggle of liberals within the late1960s70s, to a circle of shut advisers who spurred Gorbachev?s such a lot radical reforms.
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86 Political control was not the issue, for the Party’s command was firm. Neither was the restoration of capitalism Bukharin’s main concern, for he himself was now the main exponent of NEP. Rather it was the return of old attitudes and beliefs. ”87 A 32 The Origins and Nature of Old Thinking duel of cultures was now under way, one fought over the central issue of how the new Soviet state was understood—its relation to the old empire, and its place in the world. For the old intelligentsia who offered their services to the regime, it was a natural continuation of old Russia.
A striking example of this symbiosis is seen in a lecture, given by a former tsarist general, at the Soviet General Staff College. Since Peter the Great, he argued, the Russian empire has been irresistibly drawn toward . . the Indian Ocean. And Russian expansion . . has always been blocked by the British. [We fought] in Persia and Central Asia . . but the British Empire stood always behind our adversaries. The victories 37 The Origins and Nature of Old Thinking of Russian armies in the Balkans were frustrated by British intrigue.
Their faith in European revolution was so strong that little thought was given to how a socialist state might interact with capitalist neighbors. Leon Trotsky, the first Bolshevik commissar of foreign affairs, reflected this optimism in his comment that “all there is to do here is to publish the secret treaties. ”39 But instead of revolution abroad, war came at home. With Russia’s collapse, Germany occupied Ukraine and threatened the heart of the new Soviet state. Then in early 1918, even as the Bolsheviks swallowed the bitter Brest peace, there began a civil war that would last three bloody years and include the Western allies’ intervention.