An Empire’s New Clothes: The End of Russia’s Liberal Dream by Bruce Clark was published by Vintage Paperbacks in 1995.
This book is a both a personal and political account of events in Russia immediately before and after the 1991 coup which brought down Soviet rule. It correctly anticipated that the fall of communism would not usher in a liberal, emollient Russia but rather an assertive player on the international stage which dealt harshly with domestic dissent. At the time it was written, most Western observers wondered whether Russia would either succeed economically and join the international trading system, slide back to communism or simply disintegrate. The book rightly anticipates a quite different possibility: that the Russian state would regain coherence, take what it needed from Western technology and management technique, and use the resulting success to challenge the West geopolitically. It takes a detailed look at the micro-civil war on Moscow’s streets in October 1993, an episode which affected the author personally, and argues that far from being a narrow victory for democracy, this was a stage in the reconstitution of an authoritarian state. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, called it an excellent book and Mark Frankland of the Observer described as one of the best accounts of Russia’s difficult post-communist years.
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