Notable commentators attempt to explain the sudden collapse of the Soviet system. Many explanations are offered, from the effectiveness of the West's policies to the ineffectiveness of the regime's economic policies; from the effects of modernization to those of Gorbachev himself. The symposium's main purpose, however, is to expose the reasons why Sovietology so utterly failed to predict the end. The "Sins of the Scholars," as one section of the issue is entitled, tend to be those of the branch of Sovietology from which nearly all of these authors dissent--the branch that had rejected the totalitarian model as a way of understanding the post-Stalin Soviet Union. Despite the one-sidedness of the verdict, these essays are thought-provoking and sharply argued.
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