A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia

Alexander N. Yakovlev; Translated from the Russian by Anthony Austin; Foreword by Paul Hollander

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Alexander N. Yakovlev played a unique role in the transformation of the Soviet Union that led to its collapse in 1991. It was he who developed the concept of perestroika and persuaded Gorbachev to pursue it, despite the cataclysmic though deeply desired changes he knew would ensue. Since the disappearance of the Soviet Union, Yakovlev has devoted himself to understanding its tragic history. This book is the outcome of ten years of research and a lifetime of reflection on the evils of the system of which he was a part and which shaped the country he loves.

Through his privileged access to the Presidential Archives and other state and Party archives, Yakovlev is able to put Soviet history into a unique perspective: like Churchill, he was both participant and witness. Indicting the Soviet system from its inception, Yakovlev focuses chapter by chapter on different groups of victims. In all, the author estimates that 60 million citizens were killed during the Soviet years and millions more died of starvation. His book brings into sharper focus than ever before the facts and events of the Soviet Union’s legacy of terror.

Alexander N. Yakovlev is president of the International Democracy Foundation in Moscow and chair of Russia’s Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repression. He was Soviet ambassador to Canada from 1973 to 1983, then returned to the Soviet Union to become the main architect of perestroika under Gorbachev.

“A profoundly moving and powerfully documented indictment of Lenin’s and Stalin’s crimes, written by a man of conscience who served on the Politburo in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Perhaps after reading it, Putin will wonder whether it is still appropriate to be honoring near the Kremlin Lenin’s embalmed corpse!”—Zbigniew Brzezinski

"The quest for truth and justice erupts with explosive force in [Yakovlev’s] book A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia."—David Pryce-Jones, National Review

"A searing book. . . . Yakovlev . . . is something of a newfound hero to Western conservatives."—Bill Keller, New York Times

"If anyone wants to understand Stalin’s murder of more than 20m innocents and of the truth, this book tells it plainly and fascinatingly: in its moving and unpretentious way, it stands alongside the work of titans such as Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam, Yevgenia Ginzburg, Roy Medvedev, Dmitri Vokogonov, Milovan Djilas and Robert Conquest as among the best 250 pages you will ever read on Stalin."—Simon Sebag Montefiore, Sunday Times

"Well documented. . . . [Yakovlev] provides a systematic and keenly insightful analysis of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet system up to its collapse. . . . This is a book that deserves to be widely read."—Aurel Braun, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"No single individual played a greater role than Yakovlev, the father of glasnost and perestroika, in prying open formerly inaccessible Soviet files and publicizing their contents. . . . A Century of Violence, knowledgeably translated by Anthony Austin, is exceptional not only for its wealth of evidence but for its concise, forceful presentation. . . . [A] masterful book."—Anatole Shub, The New Leader

“Yakovlev has not written a calm, scholarly analysis, but a fierce, raging indictment of the Soviet system beginning with Lenin and encompassing Stalin as well as Khrushchev. Yakovlev’s book reveals the terrible price in suffering paid by the Russian people—60 million lives.”—Virginia Quarterly Review
ISBN: 9780300087604
Publication Date: September 10, 2002
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4