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La Perestroika

Harold Perkin

24 January 1991
The Second Socialist Revolution: An Alternative Soviet Strategy 
by Tatyana Zaslavskaya, translated by Susan Davies.
Tauris, 241 pp., £19.95, February 1990, 1 85043 151 5
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... Venzher. Her research on the income structure of collective farms opened her eyes to the poverty and inefficiency of Russian agriculture. It attracted the attention of another critical academic, AbelAganbegyan, now famous as one of the leaders of the radicals on Gorbachev’s flank, who in 1963 recruited her to his Institute of Economics in Novosibirsk, soon to be known as a hotbed of loyal ...
27 September 1990
Moving the Mountain: Inside the Perestroika Revolution 
by Abel Aganbegyan, translated by Helen Szamuely.
Bantam, 248 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 593 01818 4
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Gorbachev’s Struggle for Economic Reform: The Soviet Reform Process 
by Anders Aslund.
Pinter, 219 pp., £35, May 1989, 0 86187 008 5
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... throws in the towel, as it has done elsewhere. It has had its chance, in the five and a half years since Gorbachev’s election, and is deemed, perhaps even by Gorbachev himself, to have failed. AbelAganbegyan is himself very much part of the first, failed wave of economic reform. He was of critical importance because, with his then associate Tatyana Zaslavskaya, he produced a series of reports ...
25 July 1991
... that the doomed capitalist world was outstripping the world of which he was the leader in almost every sphere. He had read, and had already accepted intellectually, the reports of such economists as AbelAganbegyan, whose studies were circulated only among academics and written in a kind of code: but that code said that the Soviet Union was failing. The programme which the Party will put before the ...
25 October 1990
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Chatto CounterBlast Special, 154 pp., £5.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3725 8
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... The growth shown by official figures was increasingly a mirage. It overstated income by understating price rises. Services, the most rapidly growing part of most Western economies, stagnated. As AbelAganbegyan said, in one of the first honest appraisals from within the Soviet Union: ‘In the period 1981-2, there was practically no economic growth. Unprecedented stagnation and crisis occurred ...

America comes to the USSR

J. Hoberman: The 1950s’ Soviet Dream

6 January 2011
Red Plenty: Industry! Progress! Abundance! Inside the 1950s’ Soviet Dream 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 434 pp., £16.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22523 1
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... to reason? Why can’t anyone? Khrushchev and Kantorovich aside, Red Plenty’s most frequently recurring figure is Kantorovich’s young acolyte Emil Shaidullin (inspired by the Armenian economist AbelAganbegyan), who comes of age during the Thaw, embraces economic reform – in part as a career move – and is cruelly disillusioned. Sitting pretty in the apparat, Emil is introduced to Kantorovich ...
28 May 1992
... Spring, and partly because the antitovarniki (those opposed to any kind of commodity relations) could secure Brezhnev’s ear with the argument that Kosygin’s reforms would dilute their power base. Aganbegyan, Gorbachev’s economic adviser, who was associated with Kosygin’s reforms, says in Moving the Mountain that ‘by the early Seventies the authorities had slipped into a kind of administrative ...

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