The Riddle of Russian Reform

The Riddle of Russian Reform

Communist Russia, though oppressive and secretive, was an open book compared to the murky contradictions and competing ideological illusions that mark the new Russia. The country is far more open than it was, but it makes less sense. Furthermore, Westerners’ misguided assumptions about Russia, and the self-deceptions they project upon it, make the country seem more of a riddle than it really is.

Much nonsense has been disseminated in recent months about the background of the Yeltsin government’s reforms and the alternatives to them. Reform in Russia after the 1991 putsch, as I see it, was a politically motivated lurch toward extreme positions in politics, in nationality relations, and in economics, based on democratization, decolonization, and desocialization. This phase is now being followed by a little acknowledged retreat from reform, to one extent or another, in each of these areas.

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Lima