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Crisis And Plenty: The Politics Of Soviet Energy Under Brezhnev And Gorbachev
By Thane Gustafson
Princeton University Press, 1989, 362 pp.
This is more than a statistical survey of the state of the Soviet energy industry over the past decade or so, although it is well supplied with technical data. It is a first-rate study in political economy, weighing difficulties that are systemic against those involving choices by leadership, and relating energy policy to the broader question of reform. Under perestroika as under Brezhnevian stagnation, rather than pressing conservation, rationing demand and containing costs, the government has tried to meet an incipient crisis by expanding the supply of hydrocarbons-an enormous increase in gas production has provided the easiest answer without solving any basic problems.
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