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Soviet Marxism’s Obituary?

Robert Service looks at how Gorbachev’s revolution has left an open agenda for Soviet historians. (History Today)

“Soviet Marxism’s death has officially been certified after recent world-shaking events. Mikhail Gorbachev avoided Marxist-Leninist doctrines in his draft party programme in July. Those who plotted the abortive coup against him in August sought to reverse the trend. As the price for Gorbachev’s return to office, Boris Yeltsin secured his consent to the dissolution of the Communist Party and the disintegration of the USSR as a unitary state.

Pictures of Lenin were removed from the Congress of People’s Deputies in September. Nothing more graphically illustrates the end of a state ideology…

Debates on Marxism are encased in the discussions about Lenin. Polemical thrust is followed by counter-thrust, and the interlinked themes of Lenin, the Soviet past and Marxist ideology have an urgency of interest for the general public which is scarcely conceivable in the West.”

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