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Week 20: Gorbachev's Revolution

Questions for discussion:

What impact did the policies of glasnost’ and perestroika have on Soviet society? Which social problems did this new openness reveal? How did memories of the past shape attitudes to the future?

Set reading (to be prepared for class discussion):

Nancy Ries, Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation During Perestroika (Cornell University Press, 1997). Chapter 1, ‘The World of Russian Talk in the Time of Perestroika’, pp. 15-41. Scan available here.

Kathleen E. Smith, Remembering Stalin’s Victims: Popular Memory and the End of the USSR (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009). Chapter 5, ‘From Petitioners to Protesters’, pp. 78-104. Scan available on Moodle.

Selected further reading:

Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). E-book.

Michael Cox (ed.), Rethinking the Soviet Collapse: Sovietology, the Death of Communism and the New Russia (London: Pinter, 1998).

Geoffrey Hosking, The Awakening of the Soviet Union (London: Mandarin, 1991).

Alena Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchanges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Steven Lee Solnick, Stealing the State: Control and Collapse in Soviet Institutions (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1999). E-book.

Alexei Yurchak, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press, 2013). E-book.