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The didn't collapse of its own accord myth, bleh. Neither did the French empire, right? To their credit, the Russians didn't fight to keep it (with the glaring exception of Chechnya). But there is no question that the  Baltic and Caucasian republics wanted out. It is probable that the Ukrainians did as well at that point. Cohen's playing the same shtick that Niall Fergusson does with the British Empire here.

He also knows better than to offer the grossly simplistic (at best) analogy of 1917 and 1991.

I do not think it is coincidental that Cohen (and Wallerstein) are both people quite sympathetic to Bolshevism, circa 1917. Cohen's book on Bukharin, which made his reputation, while very good, plays the good Bolsheviks vs. Stalin who hijacked the noble project meme to the hilt. Cohen's dream of a socialist state run by a single party, ideally with popular support, if not, well, false consciousness and all that, died, and he can't quite get over it.  

by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 04:07:56 PM EST

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