Moshe Lewin is one of the leading scholars of Soviet history in the United States, currently professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include The Gorbachev Phenomenon, Lenin’s Last Struggle, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, and The Making of the Soviet System. Dissent co- editor Mitchell Cohen interviewed him recently.
Cohen: Was there an inherent contradiction in perestroika? Restructuring, but especially decentralizing, almost naturally had to bring forth the problem of nationalism and threaten a breakup of the Soviet Union.
Lewin: You are right, but decentralizing is not the correct word because a country like the USSR could not really be decentralized w...
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