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Stephen Kotkin in Armageddon Averted The Soviet Collapse takes upon himself the responsibility to answer the question of how and why did the Soviet Union collapse and simply cease to exist He presents the arguments that the collapse was at the fault of Mikhail Gorbachev and his idea of socialist reform The story is written in the setting of the first ten years of the Russian makeover I felt that this book was very different from most of the other Russian books we have read so far because Kotkin is an American writer writing about an unfamiliar topic and system The first few chapters of Kotkins book concern the reasons behind why the reform was carried out He also clears up some myths about the Soviet Union Virtually everyone seems to think the Soviet Union was collapsing before 1985 They are wrong Most people also think the Soviet collapse ended in 1991 Wrong again Kotkin 1 After that he begins with the oil crisis near the beginning of the 1970s Major Siberian oil discoveries came into play in the 1970s giving the Soviets a huge amount of oil just as world prices were beginning to take off When in October 1973 the Arabs and Israelis suddenly went to war for the fourth time Arab states including the previously reluctant Saudis announced a decision to roll out the oil weapon After so many years such talk seemed like crying wolf This time however the Arab nations made good the threat Kotkin 10 During this time since Russia was a major oil producer they did not have much to do with the crisis In turn Kotkin explains they were never really required to restructure their industrial market and they have been suffering ever since Kotkin does not explain things such as the space race the Olympics or the hockey game but reading through the first few chapters I got a sense of the competition
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