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The New Russia

Mikhail Gorbachev, Arch Tait (Translated by)
ISBN: 978-1-5095-0387-2
400 pages
May 2016, Polity
The New Russia (1509503870) cover image

Description

After years of rapprochement, the relationship between Russia and the West is more strained now than it has been in the past 25 years. Putin’s motives, his reasons for seeking confrontation with the West, remain for many a mystery. Not for Mikhail Gorbachev. In this new work, Russia’s elder statesman draws on his wealth of knowledge and experience to reveal the development of Putin’s regime and the intentions behind it. He argues that Putin has significantly diminished the achievements of perestroika and is part of an over-centralized system that presents a precarious future for Russia. Faced with this, Gorbachev advocates a radical reform of politics and a new fostering of pluralism and social democracy.

Gorbachev’s insightful analysis moves beyond internal politics to address wider problems in the region, including the Ukraine conflict, as well as the global challenges of poverty and climate change. Above all else, he insists that solutions are to be found by returning to the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation which was so instrumental in ending the Cold War. 

This book represents the summation of Gorbachev’s thinking on the course that Russia has taken since 1991 and stands as a testament to one of the greatest and most influential statesmen of the twentieth century.
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Table of Contents

  • Table of contents
  • To my readers
  • Preface: Perestroika and the future
  • Trying to bury me
  • I After Perestroika
  • The 1990s: Defending Perestroika
  • My last day in the Kremlin
  • A new beginning, without presidential immunity
  • Shock therapy
  • The search for a scapegoat, threats
  • The Gorbachev Foundation: its first reports
  • December 1991: politics and morality
  • Salvation in work
  • Attempts to ‘destabilize’ me
  • The ‘Trial of the CPSU’
  • First results of shock therapy
  • A year after the coup
  • My stance
  • The slide towards social catastrophe
  • On the brink of crisis
  • Fateful decisions, fateful days
  • A state of emergency is not the way to stability
  • Defects of the new Constitution
  • 1994 gets off to a bad start
  • Economists advise but the government is not listening
  • Nikita Khrushchev: lessons in courage and lessons from mistakes
  • The Union could have been saved
  • The economy: what now?
  • Meetings in the regions
  • Chechnya: a war that could have been avoided
  • 1995: 10 years of Perestroika
  • The intelligentsia
  • Government and society
  • The need for an alternative
  • Breaking through the conspiracy of silence
  • Letters relating to the 1996 presidential election campaign
  • Discrediting elections
  • The final years of the millennium
  • The Gorbachev Foundation’s ‘First Five-Year Plan’
  • The elections fail to bring stability
  • The storm breaks in 1998
  • How to come out of the crisis?
  • Letters of support
  • Raisa Gorbacheva
  • II Whither Russia?
  • Putin: the beginning
  • The new president: hopes, problems, fears
  • What is Glasnost?
  • The heavy burden of the presidency
  • My social-democratic choice
  • Russia needs social democracy
  • Issues and more issues
  • The zero years of the 2000s?
  • The Yukos affair
  • A party of new bureaucrats
  • A second presidential term: what for?
  • A new direction, or more of the same?
  • Full of contradictions: the first decade of the new millennium
  • New elections
  • Democracy in distress
  • Operation Successor
  • Ideas and people
  • Saakashvili’s adventure and the West: my reaction
  • Ordeal by global crisis
  • Defending the credo of Perestroika
  • Disturbing trends
  • My eightieth birthday
  • Russian politics in a quandary
  • A new Era of Stagnation?
  • The presidential ‘reshuffle’ and the Duma elections
  • For fair elections!
  • Society awakens
  • A decision to tighten the screws
  • Some letters of support in recent years
  • The need for dialogue between the government and society
  • III Today’s uneasy world
  • The relevance of New Thinking
  • Challenges of globalization
  • The challenge of security
  • Ban the bomb!
  • Consequences of NATO expansion
  • The world after 9/11
  • Poverty is a political problem
  • Responding to the environmental challenge
  • The water crisis
  • The threat of climate change
  • We need a new model of development
  • Meetings in America: George Shultz and Ronald Reagan
  • Partners should be equal
  • The role of the United States in the world
  • ‘America needs its own Perestroika’
  • The election of Obama
  • The future of Europe
  • Germany
  • On a solid foundation
  • Major figures in European politics
  • Looking East: China
  • Russia and Japan
  • A Simmering Region: Egypt and Syria
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • History Is Not Fated
  • Conclusion
  • Reflections of an optimist
  • Index
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Author Information

Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union, serving as General Secretary of the Communist Part from 1985 to 1991. Since then, he has maintained an active role in world affairs through the Gorbachev Foundation, a non-profit think tank which promotes democracy and humanitarian initiatives globally.
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Reviews

"This is a reminder of how vast was [Gorbachev's] achievement in allowing in the light of freedom. Where his contemporary, Nelson Mandela, was great beyond the whites' deserts in building a post-apartheid nation, Mr Gorbachev was great beyond the deserts of the Soviet Union (and perhaps even of the west, which could barely understand or trust him) in proposing a way for the despotic world to aspire to democratic governance, freely organised civil society and rule of law. That he failed, he keenly knows. Our best hope is that his ideas, in time, succeed."
Financial Times

"There are not many good books on new Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev s The New Russia is probably the best book in many years. It is packed with knowledge, analysis, and new perspective on Russia."
Washington Book Review

"Compelling An important book for understanding the shape of the world today."
Choice

"He has produced a reflection full of an earnest desire that former enemies understand each other and find common ground in a febrile world. This is a reminder of how vast his achievement was in allowing in the light of freedom."
Financial Times

"Mikhail Gorbachev, with his prodigious intellect, vast experience, and powers of perception, gives us his views spanning from his time in office to the present day. As he says, 'Life teaches you more than any teacher,' and we all can learn by reading this account of his extraordinary life."
—George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States

"Gorbachev was on the right side of history. One day the Russian people will recognize that they have as much reason to be grateful to him as do the rest of us. This important book explains why."
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary of the United Kingdom

"Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev recounts his reaction to events over the past quarter century, from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation, to the revival of Cold-War-like confrontation with the West and the return of authoritarian governance in Russia itself. Gorbachev deplores the fact that Russia has deviated from the path to democracy that was the aim of his perestroika, but also points out that U.S. and Western policies have contributed to the current Cold War atmosphere. Gorbachev’s The New Russia is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand why the 'Europe Whole and Free' that Gorbachev and his Western partners tried to create still eludes us. His suggestions for a return to East-West cooperation and for a resumption of democratic reform in Russia itself are timely and much needed."
Jack F. Matlock, former United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia

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