Rethinking the Soviet Collapse. Sovietology, the Death of Communism and the New Russia
London: Pinter, 1998
The Marxian Concept of Capital and the Soviet Experience
Westport: Praeger, 1994
Capitalism and Class Struggle in the USSR. AMarxist Theory
Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997Reviewed by
Marxism and the Russian Question in the Wake of the Soviet Collapse
The owl of Minerva, Hegel famously suggested, ies out at dusk bringing with itwisdom. If it were this simple, the world would be brimming with enlightenment asto the nature of the former Soviet bloc, for it is difcult to imagine a darker dusk thanthat which overcame it between 1989 and 1991. In the absence of a fundamentaloverthrow from below, the disintegration of the Soviet Union will probably go downas the most spectacular peacetime collapse of any great power in history. As MichaelCox expresses it in his essay ‘Whatever Happened to the USSR’, within two years theSoviet Union had disappeared as an imagined alternative to Western capitalism, as athreat to the West, as an empire and as a functioning example of supposedly plannedeconomy. Faced with this, the mainstream body of Sovietologists were thrown intodisarray and threatened with speedy redundancy. Now what Cox calls a ‘much deridedand somewhat demoralised group (p. 13)’, they were swept aside as gangs of maraudingWestern ‘carpetbaggers’ (the term used by Richard Portes) could be seen in Moscowand the other capitals of the former Soviet bloc hawking market prescriptions forsuccess.
Yet, within a few years, these too had failed, perhaps even more spectacularly.If the leaders of the old Russia drove it to stagnation, then the leaders of the newRussia, and their army of Western advisers, have presided over a collapse withoutparallel in peacetime world economic history. Today, what is left of Russia lies prostratewith an output per head less than half of what it was a decade ago.
, volume 10:4 (317–362)©Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2002Also available online –www.brill.nl