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The Rise of the Russian Democrats : The Causes and Consequences of the Elite Revolution

The Rise of the Russian Democrats : The Causes and Consequences of the Elite Revolution

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The fall of the Soviet system was hailed in the West as a triumph of liberal and democratic ideals, but this euphoria was to be short lived. The Rise of the Russian Democrats traces the pro-Western democracy movement's development in Moscow and Leningrad from 1987 to 1991 and seeks to explain its eventual loss of direction, inspiration and popularity.

Studying the democratic revolution from its grassroots, Judith Devlin focuses on how a civil society emerged in Moscow and Leningrad through the development of political clubs and associations. Their relation to the reform politics of the party leadership is addressed in her authoritative and insightful analysis. Arguing that the movement's origins contributed to its ultimate decline, the author explains how the intelligentsia's leadership of the popular democratic movement was usurped by new politicians who emerged from the lower echelons of the Soviet management system. It was these new politicians who were able to play the key role in the transition to post-communism, shaping the new institutions and focusing political activity and debate.

The Rise of the Russian Democrats attempts to characterise the original inspiration, strengths and weaknesses of the democratic movement in order to explain political culture after the 1991 coup. As an exploration of the reasons for the slow and superficial nature of democratization in Russia, this book is of practical, as well as academic, interest for students, researchers, journalists and policymakers.

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