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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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The Grand Surprise and Soviet Studies

The Grand Surprise and Soviet Studies

(p.410) Chapter 36 The Grand Surprise and Soviet Studies
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

The academic pursuit known as “Sovietology” failed to predict the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union in 1991. Sovietology is the specialized study of the Soviet Union from the standpoint of history, economics, geography, political science, and occasionally sociology and anthropology. From the perspective of political science, Sovietology focuses on leadership politics and behavior. The much-maligned totalitarian model was not simply a creation of Cold War propaganda. Totalitarianism was invoked by anti-Stalin Marxists such as Leon Trotsky and Rudolf Hilferding to distinguish Stalinism from socialism. Soviet studies helped to defuse the politicians' hysteria about Communist expansion with empirical knowledge of the system's past and current problems. Communism is generally seen as a utopian experiment founded on the Machiavellian theory of Marxism-Leninism.

Keywords:   socialism, Sovietology, Communism, Soviet Union, political science, totalitarian model, Leon Trotsky, Stalinism, Marxism-Leninism

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