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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The future of Soviet domestic reform : an analysis of three sovietologists' views Bruyneel, Stephen Alan


This thesis had two related purposes: to compare, contrast and critique three scholars' views of the Soviet domestic reform process, and to use these analyses as the means by which to examine the emerging Soviet domestic reform program. The arguments of Stephen F. Cohen, Timothy J. Colton and Richard Pipes served as the primary subject matter of this thesis, with their individual views determined by a critical analysis of the writing which each has recently done on this subject. Investigated in particular was each individuals' interpretation of the reform process, its component parts and the kind of change that was expected to be involved in any new domestic reforms. The final chapter dealing with the contemporary Soviet situation relied upon as much primary source material as possible in an attempt to provide an accurate picture of the state of affairs within the country at this time. The results of my analysis indicate that Richard Pipes' interpretations and conclusions do not receive much support from either Soviet history or the contemporary situation within the country. His one dimensional view of Soviet elite interests and his "crisis/reform" theory of Soviet reform were found to be generally unsubstantiated. Stephen Cohen's arguments, on the other hand, received a good deal of support, especially with regards to his emphasis on the probability of moderate change and the existence of reformist and conservative constituencies within the Soviet Union, constituencies which do appear to have been involved in the domestic reform process. At the same time, however, the terminology which he employed to describe the reform process was found to be somewhat problematic. Timothy Colton's arguments, finally, were also found to have a good deal of efficacy, especially with respect to his view of the country's new generation of political leadership and the role that it would play in the reform process. In conclusion, the new domestic reform program itself was found to be indicative of generally moderate economic and political change, change that was embraced for the moat part by a good segment of the new leadership, but which had found significant resistance at the lower levels of the bureaucracy and among the working class.

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