Review on the Gorbachev Phenomenon: a Historical Interpretation by Moshe Lewin

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The Gorbachev Phenomenon: A historical interpretation By Moshe Lewin Moshe Lewin, a historian of the Soviet Union, wrote The Gorbachev Phenomenon. The Gorbachev Phenomenon is often referred to as the period between the late 1910’s to present (1988 when the book was published) that corresponds to the growth of the Soviet Union from an undeveloped agricultural society to an urban industrial power. Moshe focuses on social changes and the impacts that occur therein affecting the population’s demographics. Russia entered into World War One in 1914 with largest military force on the face of the earth. However, size did not seem to matter because of the poor weapons technology and incompetent leadership. Russia met this feat with failure, losing 1.7 million soldiers and leaving 3.9 million more wounded. Russia and its leadership were in shambles, and the Tsar Nicholas II began to lose strength in his reputation. In 1917 Russia was an economically backwards country; there was a promising yet feeble parliament and uneasy peasant workers. The main reason for change in Russia came with the beginnings of the Soviet Union through riots and demonstrations in Petrograd, later to be known as St. Petersburg. On the 15th of March the Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated his position. This fall of the Tsar, gave rise to the idea of socialism and the idea of a world revolution. As contemporary Russia was forming, the people began to change. The population became more culturally diverse and well educated, which was a spark for the government to reform. With the increasing education and urbanization of the population came desires and aspirations which the government was forced to provide outlets to appease the general will. Due to the affect of western observers have had on the view of the Soviet system there has been a consensus that Soviet…...

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