Lessons from the Soviet Collapse
Last year, a special issue of the National Interest attempted the beginnings of an autopsy on the Soviet system. Now, with the appearance of Martin Malia’s The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-19911 and Richard Pipes’s Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime2 the great reappraisal—not only of the Soviet system itself, but of the implications of its rise, consolidation, and eventual collapse for the political culture of the West—is fully under way.
For all their similarities, the books by Pipes and Malia are very different. Pipes, in a sequel to his The Russian Revolution (1990), presents us with a rather detailed narrative history of 1918-23, based on elaborate research. In some parts, such as the account of the Civil War or of Lenin’s relations with Stalin, his narrative has the drama of a novel or of military history.
About the Author