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Revolutionary Passage: From Soviet Union to Post-Soviet Russia, 1985–2000 and How Russia Is Not Ruled: Reflections on Russian Political Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2006

Venelin I. Ganev
Affiliation:
Miami University of Ohio

Extract

Revolutionary Passage: From Soviet Union to Post-Soviet Russia, 1985–2000. By Marc Garcelon. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005. 313p. $23.95.

How Russia Is Not Ruled: Reflections on Russian Political Development. By Allen C. Lynch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 276p. $70 cloth, $24.99 paper.

Even a casual reader of the literature on postcommunist Russia will quickly realize that scholars who study that country face two main challenges. The first is doing research in a place where the course of events is hard to reconstruct, information is distorted or concealed, and relations of power are opaque. The second is to resist the temptation to make evidence from Russia fit preexisting intellectual agendas. Of these two challenges, the latter seems more formidable—even scholarly projects that enrich our factual knowledge may be led astray by the ambition to cast one's findings as a confirmation of pet grand theories. Lamentably, Marc Garcelon's book brings this quandary into sharp relief; reassuringly, Allen C. Lynch's book proves that it may be avoided.

Type
BOOK REVIEWS: COMPARATIVE POLITICS
Copyright
© 2006 American Political Science Association

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