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Long live Shevardnadze

Don Cook, 22 June 1989

by Andrei Gromyko, translated by Harold Shukman.
Hutchinson, 365 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 09 173808 3
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Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy 
by Anders Stephanson.
Harvard, 424 pp., $35, April 1989, 0 674 50265 5
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... as largely self-serving. All this is changing on direct orders from the top. About a year ago, Eduard Shevardnadze, Gromyko’s successor at the Soviet Foreign Ministry, assembled his entire staff to listen to a remarkable in-house address, lasting several hours, in which he blasted Soviet foreign policy for the mistakes of its past all the way back ...

Moscow’s New Elite

Ian Davidson, 19 June 1986

Gorbachev: The Path to Power 
by Christian Schmidt-Häuer.
Tauris, 218 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 1 85043 015 2
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by Zhores Medvedev.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 631 14782 9
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The Soviet Union: The Incomplete Super-Power 
by Paul Dibb.
Macmillan, 320 pp., £27.50, February 1986, 0 333 36281 0
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... the party ideologue, Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Prime Minister, Viktor Chebrikov, head of the KGB, Eduard Shevardnadze, the Foreign Minster, and so on. At all events, it may be unwise, and must be premature, to assume that Gorbachev is and will remain the unchallenged one-man ruler of Russia. On the contrary, his first 12 months demonstrated with greater ...

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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... 30 days to get to grips with the dissolution of the Union. 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 ...

Why Georgia matters

John Lloyd, 19 November 1992

... world, the Georgian ‘story’ blips in and out of the schedules, usually with some mention of Eduard Shevardnadze, for the past month the elected head of Georgia’s Parliament. In the scale of what matters to those who believe foreign affairs matter to their lives, Georgia seems minor: self-contained, complex, resistant to solutions. The argument ...
Zinky Boys: The Record of a Lost Soviet Generation 
by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Julia Whitby and Robin Whitby.
Chatto, 192 pp., £9.99, January 1992, 0 7011 3838 6
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... stage another putsch to prevent a final dissolution: no one can tell, not even those who, like Eduard Shevardnadze, issue twice-weekly warnings of such an event. A decision to stage a coup could be taken – or shirked – at any time. My own view is that the putative putschists are deterred by the thought of what to do on Day Two, though it may be ...

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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... Communist Party, 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 ...

They’re just not ready

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev Betrayed, 7 January 2010

Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment 
by Stephen Kotkin, with Jan Gross.
Modern Library, 240 pp., $24, October 2009, 978 0 679 64276 3
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Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire 
by Victor Sebestyen.
Weidenfeld, 451 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 85223 0
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There Is No Freedom without Bread: 1989 and the Civil War that Brought Down Communism 
by Constantine Pleshakov.
Farrar, Straus, 289 pp., $26, November 2009, 978 0 374 28902 7
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1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe 
by Mary Elise Sarotte.
Princeton, 321 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 691 14306 4
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... Bring back the ‘Brezhnev Doctrine’ of military intervention – and at America’s suggestion? Eduard Shevardnadze, Baker’s Soviet opposite number and friend, laughed and said the idea was not sinister ‘but merely stupid’. The story, well told in his book by Constantine Pleshakov, shows yet again how reluctant American policy-makers were to see ...

The Party’s over

John Lloyd, 25 July 1991

... to be written, but it has come too late, as such programmes always do. The Party is falling apart. Eduard Shevardnadze has left it and founded a new Movement for Democratic Reform. The senior figures among the nomenklatura spend much of their time trying to convert influence to property before the first goes and the second comes on the market. As the end ...

Ruslan’s Rise

John Lloyd, 8 April 1993

The Struggle for Russia: Power and Change in the Democratic Revolution 
by Ruslan Khasbulatov, translated by Richard Sakwa.
Routledge, 256 pp., £19.99, April 1993, 0 415 09292 2
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... that the publication of his book coincides with a renewed upheaval in Moscow – one which, as Eduard Shevardnadze, the Georgian leader, put it on the day Yeltsin announced Presidential rule, smells like a coming civil war. This will no doubt stimulate sales of a book which might otherwise have joined the ranks of dull memoirs by Russian political ...

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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... the South Ossetians and the Abkhazians – in Georgia, for example, has brought the government of Eduard Shevardnadze to its knees and forced him to sign a treaty with Russia which, in effect, spells the end of independence. Throughout Central Asia, the Russian Army is the national force and the ultimate guarantor of regimes which meet with Russian ...

How to Make a Market

John Lloyd, 10 November 1994

Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev and the Mirage of Democracy 
by Jonathan Steele.
Faber, 288 pp., £17.50, March 1994, 0 571 16368 8
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Post-Communist Societies in Transition 
by John Gray.
Social Market Foundation, 45 pp., £8, February 1994, 1 874097 30 5
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... it jacked up prices by vast amounts – the price of bread has risen almost 300-fold. Eduard Shevardnadze, the head of the Georgian Parliament, went on TV to apologise but at the same time insisted that ‘the sources which will help our country should be the IMF and the donors associated with it.’ And the IMF, he continued, ‘will not ...

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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... Brezhnevism of the old leftist Yegor Ligachev and the unillusioned social democracy of Eduard Shevardnadze and Alexander Yakovlev. But now – and this is another reason for calling the period ‘crucial’ – the semblance of a united front is no longer sustainable, nor is it seriously sustained. Ligachev criticises Gorbachev for betraying ...

Comrades in Monetarism

John Lloyd, 28 May 1992

... Institute of the Economy. Others included Alexander Shokhin, who had been economic adviser to Eduard Shevardnadze while the latter was foreign minister; Anatoly Chubais, economic adviser to Anatoly Sobchak, the mayor of St Petersburg; Konstantin Kagalovsky, who set up an Institute of the Market with backing from the neo-liberal Institute of Economic ...

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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... He was right about that. There was a smell of burning in the Moscow air, and in December 1990 Eduard Shevardnadze, the Georgian leader who had become Gorbachev’s foreign minister, suddenly resigned. ‘A dictatorship is coming. I declare this with total responsibility. No one knows what kind of dictatorship it will be.’ Gorbachev, who had been ...

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