In his introduction, Alexander V. Obolonsky notes that Russian history and life are full of paradoxes, most of them sad. Why, he asks, have the Russians, who possess enormous natural, human, and intellectual resources and a great literary and ...
scientific heritage, proven unable to realize their great potential? Obolonsky has undertaken the formidable task of reinterpreting Russian history from the Time of Troubles and the reign of Ivan the Terrible to perestroika, glasnost, and the dismantling of the Soviet system. Through a careful reconsideration of Russia's past, he seeks to assess the social and political realities that will shape the future. Obolonsky structures his analytic narrative around two concepts_a system in which individuals are viewed as "cogs" functioning for the sake of the whole, and a liberal person-centered paradigm in which society seeks to promote the development of the individual. In doing so, he challenges standard interpretations regarding Russia, the USSR, the role of political leaders, and the Russian people. Students of Russian history, politics, and culture, and those interested in the broader issues of twentieth-century society, will find this informative magnum opus insightful and thought-provoking.