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[The Russian] believe instead, and for good reason, that three "subjective" factors broke it up: the way Gorbachev carried out his political and economic reforms; a power struggle in which Yeltsin overthrew the Soviet state in order to get rid of its president, Gorbachev; and property-seizing Soviet bureaucratic elites, the nomenklatura, who were more interested in "privatizing" the state's enormous wealth in 1991 than in defending it.

Exactly. It's exactly what they say. I usually add Brezhnev's far too long reign, and a far too great allocation of resources to an unwinnable space and military race with the US - to which they agree.

Thanks for this very useful diary, redstar. We will never have enough of those. Unfortunately, I am not sure the average West European analysis is any more accurate than the average American's.

What still has to be written is how the oligarchs actually seized those Soviet assets. I have seen "coupons", which were distributed at the time to everyone, representing shares of those national assets, which of course now have no value.

by balbuz on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 03:47:17 PM EST

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