Afghanistan: The Soviet Union's Last War

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9780714682426: Afghanistan: The Soviet Union's Last War

The Soviet Union's last war was played out against the backdrop of dramatic change within the USSR. This is the first book to study the impact of the war on Russian politics and society. Based on extensive use of Soviet official and unofficial sources, as well as work with Afghan veterans, it illustrates the way the war fed into a wide range of other processes, from the rise of grassroots political activism to the retreat from globalism in foreign policy.

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The last war of the Soviet superpower was played out against the backdrop of dramatic change within the USSR. This study is the first to adopt a broad perspective to identify the impact and implications of the Afghan war on Russian politics and society. It draws extensively upon official and unofficial sources, as well as the afganets veterans themselves, to illustrate the way the war fed into a wide range of other processes, from the retreat from globalism in foreign policy to the rise of grassroots political activism. The central thesis of the book is that the war must be seen in the context of the fall of the USSR and the rise of the new Russia. It did not bury Brezhnevism and then Gorbachevism, though it certainly helped. But the experience of Afghanistan played its part in the evolution of post-Soviet Russia's foreign and security policies. When Boris Yeltsin appointed his first defence minister he picked an afganets, and the 1993 Military Doctrine called on the lessons of Afghanistan in quelling unrest within and on Russia's borders.

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