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Praise Hayek and pass the ammunition

John Lloyd, 24 February 1994

The Fate of Marxism in Russia 
by Alexander Yakovlev, translated by Catherine Fitzpatrick.
Yale, 250 pp., £19.95, October 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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Politics and Society in Russia 
by Richard Sakwa.
Routledge, 518 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 415 09540 9
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... life which its leaders advocate, and of which there are some signs? The answers Richard Sakwa and Alexander Yakovlev give to these questions are discouraging, even where they are not meant to be. The shift in the politics of Russia which followed the December elections is very marked; it is also, as usual, murky. On one level, the result traumatised the ...


John Lloyd: In Moscow, 12 September 1991

... that they died needlessly, foolishly, is reviled. But they did. Trying to get to a briefing with Alexander Yakovlev the next day, I found my car diverted from the central area and ended up in a jam near Dzerzhinsky Square. Crowds were streaming past, dancing with excitement. Leaving the car, I followed them. As I came round the corner of the Lubyanka ...

Year One

John Lloyd, 30 January 1992

Boris Yeltsin 
by John Morrison.
Penguin, 303 pp., £8.99, November 1991, 0 14 017062 6
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The August Coup: The Truth and its Lessons 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
HarperCollins, 127 pp., £13.99, October 1991, 9780002550444
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The future belongs to freedom 
by Eduard Shevardnadze.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 256 pp., £15, September 1991, 1 85619 105 2
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Bear-Hunting with the Politburo 
by A. Craig Copetas.
Simon and Schuster, 271 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 671 70313 7
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The Accidental Proletariat: Workers, Politics and Crisis in Gorbachev’s Russia 
by Walter Connor.
Princeton, 374 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 691 07787 8
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... and made it impossible to conduct politics through it. Gorbachev – and with him Shevardnadze and Alexander Yakovlev, the foremost reformers since 1985 – have seemed unable to express their thoughts in public except by means of high-sounding generalisations. Shevardnadze’s The future belongs to freedom is another instance of the same tendency. They ...


Eric Hobsbawm: An Assembly of Ghosts, 21 April 2005

... from the East had been long-time dissidents. Sakharov’s widow, Elena Bonner, stands out, as does Alexander Yakovlev, once Gorbachev’s closest ally, who now denounces everything about the Soviet era. Most are people with a lifetime of loyal and successful service to their regimes behind them, whose world has gone for ever. Nobody talks ...
Ablaze: The Story of Chernobyl 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 478 pp., £16.99, May 1993, 0 436 40963 1
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... specialist’ and mostly that is to the good. The disadvantage is a certain carelessness: Alexander Yakovlev, whom Read correctly identifies as the most liberal member of Gorbachev’s Politburo, was not made director of State TV and Radio – that was Yegor Yakovlev, formerly editor of Moscow News. More ...


Peter Pomerantsev: What fascists?, 19 June 2014

... default of Putinism, inherited from the late Soviet period: ‘Perestroika came much too late,’ Alexander Yakovlev, one of Gorbachev’s mentors, remembered. ‘The years of social stagnation almost killed social idealism … sowing cynicism, disbelief and social lassitude.’ In the 1990s this attitude was strengthened by reforms that weren’t ...


John Lloyd: The Russian reformers’ new party, 15 July 1999

... because they have produced so few rewards for the many and so much corrupt wealth for the few. Alexander Yakovlev, the great liberalising force of the Gorbachev years, thanks to his brief in the Politburo – Ideology – took the podium first. His limp is one of the rare memories nowadays of the Great Patriotic War. The Communists and nationalists ...

Is the Soviet Union over?

John Lloyd, 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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... Yeltsin’s renunciation of his Party membership at the 28th Party Congress in July. Alexander Tsipko, deputy director of the Institute of the World Socialist System, told me in August that over a two-week period all of his colleagues at this prestigious institute handed in their cards – even its prominent director, Dr Oleg Bogomolov, a former ...


John Barber, 29 October 1987

Socialism, Peace and Democracy: Writings, Speeches and Reports 
by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Zwan, 210 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 1 85305 011 3
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by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 314 pp., £5.95, May 1987, 0 631 15880 4
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The Sixth Continent: Russia and Mikhail Gorbachov 
by Mark Frankland.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 241 12122 1
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Shadows and Whispers: Power Politics inside the Kremlin from Brezhnev to Gorbachev 
by Dusko Doder.
Harrap, 349 pp., £12.95, July 1987, 0 245 54577 8
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Pravda: Inside the Soviet News Machine 
by Angus Roxburgh.
Gollancz, 285 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 575 03734 2
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Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR from 1917 to the Present 
by Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich.
Hutchinson, 877 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 09 155620 1
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... years or decades. They include Anna Akhmatova’s Rekviem (written during and about the Purges), Alexander Tvardovsky’s long-suppressed By Right of Memory, dealing with collectivisation, Anatoly Zhigulin’s cycle of poems about his time in Stalinist prisons and camps, poems by long ignored émigrés or opponents such as Nikolai Gumilyev, Georgy ...

What happened to Gorbachev

John Lloyd, 7 March 1991

Gorbachev: The Making of the Man who Shook the World 
by Gail Sheehy.
Heinemann, 468 pp., £16.99, December 1990, 0 434 69518 1
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Gorbachev: Heretic in the Kremlin 
by Dusko Doder and Louise Branson.
Macdonald, 430 pp., £14.95, December 1990, 0 356 19760 3
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The Nationalities Question in the Soviet Union 
edited by Graham Smith.
Longman, 389 pp., £22.50, January 1991, 0 582 03953 3
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... Those whom Alksnis most criticised – Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Foreign Minister; Yegor Yakovlev, formerly Gorbachev’s closest aide in the Politburo; Vadim Bakatin, the relatively liberal former Interior Minister – have all been replaced. It is no longer the case, however, that such people are simply unpersoned, consigned for ever to pensioner ...

Big Man Walking

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev’s Dispensation, 14 December 2017

Gorbachev: His Life and Times 
by William Taubman.
Simon and Schuster, 880 pp., £25, September 2017, 978 1 4711 4796 8
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... stay with the Gorbachevs in Stavropol. Mlynář had by now become a bold advocate of what, under Alexander Dubček, would be named ‘socialism with a human face’. He had been in Moscow pleading for understanding of the coming changes, and Gorbachev listened, fascinated, to the plans for democratisation. But he said to Mlynář: ‘In your country all that ...

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