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Capsule Review

The Tragedy of Russia's Reforms: Market Bolshevism Against Democracy

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The Tragedy of Russia's Reforms: Market Bolshevism Against Democracy

The Tragedy of Russia's Reforms: Market Bolshevism Against Democracy
By Peter Reddaway and Dmitri Glinski
U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2001, 746 pp. $55.00 Purchase

Reddaway and Glinksi deliver a savage frontal assault on former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, the young reformers on whom he leaned, and the Western politicians, advisers, and agencies complicit in the misery they are said to have wrought. "Market Bolshevism" refers to Western-style capitalism imposed from above without regard for Russian values, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies. Not only did Yeltsin and his favorites sacrifice democratic process to "authoritarian modernization," but the corrupted and painful effects of their economic reform despoiled the very idea of democracy in the popular mind. Critics will say that the authors both underestimate the underlying realities that burden any reform strategy in Russia and overestimate the decisiveness of personalities and their fallible choices. Be that as it may, Reddaway and his Russian co-author bring more detail to this story than anyone has done before. They also offer a thought-provoking assessment of relevant social science theory and the frameworks that other scholars have used to explain the Russian case.

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