Published first in French in 1987, this book has even greater immediacy and relevance today. To understand what the disintegration of the imperial Soviet state means, one must understand what the creation was in the first place. No one has posed this history in a form more useful for that purpose than Carrere d'Encausse. While specialists will quarrel with some of its parts, none should dispute the strength, lucidity and pungency of her argument.
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