What Is Asia To Us? Russia's Asian Heartland Yesterday And Today

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What Is Asia To Us? Russia's Asian Heartland Yesterday And Today

By Milan Hauner
Unwin Hyman, 1990
264 pp. $44.45
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The great merit of this book, written by a historian, is to remind us of the physical, geographic and demographic problems that face any regime-tsarist or communist-trying to govern both European and Asiatic Russia. There are severe limitations on communication between Russia and Siberia, and the middle zone of the Soviet Union is predominantly non-Russian with 50 million Ukrainians and 50 million Muslims in the southern republics. Gorbachev thus has a serious problem simply keeping together, much less integrating, a country that is both European and Asian-particularly when the economy is crumbling. This volume puts the problem of Soviet policy in Asia in a rich historical and geographic perspective that is rare in the works of most contemporary policy specialists.

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