The Post-Communist World in the Twenty-First Century presents studies by senior scholars and practitioners that are highly relevant to contemporary political challenges. The democratic vision that accompanied the collapse of communist regimes in the Soviet Union and East Central Europe has been replaced by a range of authoritarian, semi-authoritarian and democratic regimes, and growing division between Western and Russian influence. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to renewed tensions and international crisis. China, which presents major challenges to the US, Europe, and the global order, has emerged as a critical actor in the international conflict. The need to understand the internal dynamics and international behavior of communist and authoritarian regimes is more urgent at this time. The expertise provided by the volume’s contributors is especially timely, offering new insights into the past and contemporary politics of these states, the agendas driving their behavior, regimes’ domestic strengths and weaknesses, and the role of leaders’ differing perceptions in exacerbating international conflict. Practitioners demonstrate how such knowledge can inform effective policy and ameliorative efforts.
Barbara Ann Chotiner is professor emerita of political science at The University of Alabama.
Linda J. Cook is professor emerita of political science and Slavic studies at Brown University.
Foreword: To Bialer’s Successors: How the Soviet Past Informs the Post-Soviet Present by Jack Snyder
Introduction: Seweryn Bialer: Scholar, Teacher, Mentor by Linda J. Cook
Part I: The Study of Leaders and Leadership in Domestic and International Politics
Chapter 1: Haunted: Cold War Ghosts and the United States in an Era of Disruption by Bruce Parrott
Chapter 2: The Russo-Georgian War and the Turn to Great Power Rivalry by Thomas Sherlock and Andrew Sherlock
Chapter 3: Trapped on the Eve of War, 1941: Stalin and His Generals Failing Separately and Together by Cynthia Roberts
Chapter 4: Recovering Institutional Authenticity: Redeveloping the Central Organs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1953-64, and Effects by Barbara Ann Chotiner
Chapter 5: Populism in Power? Discourses of Leadership in Putin’s Russia, 2000-2020 by Andrea Chandler
Chapter 6: Avoiding the Succession Trap: Leadership Change in Survivor Communist Regimes by Gerald M. Easter
Chapter 7: Russia and Post-Soviet Political Institutions: An Evolutionary Comparison of Regime Types by Mikael Sandberg
Part II: The Realms of Policy and Practice
Chapter 8: East European Public Health and the Cold War: In Search of Circulation by Susan Gross Solomon
Chapter 9: Food Security and Stability in Contemporary Russia by Stephen Wegren
Chapter 10: Applied Sovietology: Refugee Claims from the Post-Soviet Space by Peter H. Solomon Jr.
Chapter 11: The Tenacity of Conscience in the Face of Global Upheaval by Kate Schecter
Chapter 12: Studying under Professor Seweryn Bialer: Recollections and Lessons Gleaned for Career in Diploma by Michael S. Klecheski
Seweryn Bialer would be proud. His distinguished former students have produced a posthumous Festschrift that is intellectually coherent, rigorous in its scholarship, novel in its interpretations, and yet highly readable. The chapters cover a wide range of topics in the domestic and foreign policies of Russia, post-communist states, and authoritarian regimes more generally. A welcome contribution is made by chapters that focus on the careers of Bialer's students who did not enter academia, but instead worked in the diplomatic and NGO realms. Also welcome are stimulating chapters that focus on issues of public health and legal questions that are not usually discussed in books on "high" politics. Specialists will learn a great deal from this stimulating volume.
The Post-Communist World in the Twenty-First Century consists of provocative essays by distinguished former students of the great Sovietologist Seweryn Bialer. Touching as they do on different aspects of Soviet and post-Soviet life, together the essays faithfully reflect Bialer’s wide range of interests and expertise, the perceptiveness and creativity of his scholarship, his ability to bring the lessons of the past to bear on the problems of the present and the future, and his capacity for using both history and the social sciences to analyze the issues that mattered most for Russia and the rest of the world.
This book is a wonderful tribute to one of the most important scholars of the Soviet system. Weaving together significant historical, political, and social analysis, it provides insights into a range of topics bearing on current debates including military doctrine, political succession, Russia’s relations with the West, populism, the nature of elite politics, public health, food security, and refugees. And it provides those of us who did not have the good fortune to study directly with Dr. Seweryn Bialer a deeper understanding of his importance to his students and colleagues.
This volume takes on the critical issues of leadership and transformation in Russia from World War II to the present by viewing it through the lens of the evolution of leadership in the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet space. It looks at how critical policy issues—including food security and refugee claims—have been dealt with in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space. This volume fills what have been vast gaps in our understanding of this crucial area, and it is a fitting tribute by leading scholars to one of key unsung mentors who helped shape this field of scholarship.
In the first chapter, Bruce Parrott analyzes political—international and domestic—dimensions of the Cold War, providing a precise and comprehensive array of sources and evidence, particularly important now, when we often hear grandiose conclusions politically palatable to one side or the other. This book is unusual in its commitment to examine ‘grand strategy’ and go beyond: to the granular life and tensions of everyday life, such as equality and justice in the legal system, inter-ethnic relations, domestic violence, for these, too are part of the system, even if leaders often fail to see them from their perches in the Kremlin. Leadership decisions on the Cold War fail all of us if they rush to conclusions based on obsolete or incomplete information. This book is both wide-ranging and solidly grounded: Barbara Ann Chotiner’s and Linda Cook’s fitting tribute to the late Professor Seweryn Bialer. These are the well-written sources we shall turn to in times of great moment. We cannot afford to adopt superficial or bombastic arguments, when this must-read book shows a landscape far more sophisticated and complex and, at the same time, fraught with real-world outcomes.
The Post-Communist World in the Twenty-First Century: How the Past Informs the Present is a comprehensive and impressive collection of essays linking the Soviet past to the contemporary period. The team of authors assembled by Cook and Chotiner represents some of the most experienced and creative analysts of the Soviet system and the post-communist world. This authoritative collection is a must read for those who want to know more about the complex ways in which the communist past informs and influences the leadership decisions and policies of the present.
In this impressive and wide-ranging volume, students of Seweryn Bialer explore the continuing importance of his work on leadership, war, and policymaking in the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia. These closely argued and deeply researched essays not only pay respect to a giant of the study of Soviet politics, they also combine personal and political reflections to inform ongoing academic and policy debates in the style that Bialer practiced so well. A remarkable volume dedicated to a remarkable scholar.