Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis

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Harvard University Press, Sep 30, 1998 - Political Science - 939 pages
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Once the hub of the tsarist state, later Brezhnev's "model Communist city"--home of the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral--Moscow is for many the quintessence of everything Russian. Timothy Colton's sweeping biography of this city at the center of Soviet life reveals what such a position has meant to Moscow and ultimately to Russia itself.

Linchpin of the Soviet system and exemplar of its ideology, Moscow was nonetheless instrumental in the Soviet Union's demise. It was in this metropolis of nine million people that Boris Yeltsin, during two frustrating years as the city's party boss, began his move away from Communist orthodoxy. Colton charts the general course of events that led to this move, tracing the political and social developments that have given the city its modern character. He shows how the monolith of Soviet power broke down in the process of metropolitan governance, where the constraints of censorship and party oversight could not keep up with proliferating points of view, haphazard integration, and recurrent deviation from approved rules and goals. Everything that goes into making a city--from town planning, housing, and retail services to environmental and architectural concerns--figures in Colton's account of what makes Moscow unique. He shows us how these aspects of the city's organization, and the actions of leaders and elite groups within them, coordinated or conflicted with the overall power structure and policy imperatives of the Soviet Union. Against this background, Colton explores the growth of the anti-Communist revolution in Moscow politics, as well as fledgling attempts to establish democratic institutions and a market economy.

As it answers persistent questions about Soviet political history, this lavishly illustrated volume may also point the way to understanding Russia's future.


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Moscow: governing the socialist metropolis

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This political history of Moscow, from a distinguished Harvard Sovietologist, pays equal attention to the city's fate in each of the main phases of 20th-century Russsian/Soviet history: before the ... Read full review


Frontier Town into Metropolis
Red Moscow
From Reurbanization to Hyperurbanization
Stalins Moscow
The Limits of DeStalinization
The Politics of Basic Needs and of Urban Amenity
The Mold Shattered
Toward a PostSocialist Metropolis
The Population of Moscow
Appendix C
Appendix D

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About the author (1998)

Timothy J. Colton is the Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies, and the Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Harvard University.

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