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Description - Russia in Search of Itself by James H. Billington

In the turbulent decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union, conditions have worsened considerably for many Russians, and a wide-ranging debate has raged over the nature and destiny of their country. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress and a noted expert on Russia, examines the efforts of a proud but troubled nation to find a post-Soviet identity. The agenda has not been controlled from the top-down and center-out as in Russia's past. Nor has it been set by any intellectual giant such as Sakharov or Solzhenitsyn. Billington describes the contentious discussion occurring all over Russia and across the political spectrum. He finds conflicts raging among individuals as much as between organized groups and finds a deep underlying tension between the Russians' attempts to legitimize their new, nominally democratic identity, and their efforts to craft a new version of their old authoritarian tradition. After showing how the problem of Russian identity was framed in the past, Billington asks whether Russians will now look more to the West for a place in the common European home, or to the East for a new, Eurasian identity.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801879760
ISBN-10: 0801879760
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 140mm x 23mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Woodrow Wilson Center Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 19-Mar-2004
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - James H. Billington

James H. Billington has been the Librarian of Congress since 1987. The originator and guiding force of two major Russian-American bipartisan initiatives in Congress in the 1990s-Meeting of the Frontiers, a bilingual, online educational library; and the Open World Program, which has brought more than 7,500 emerging young Russian leaders to America-he also founded the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in 1974 as director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. A foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he is the author of five books on Russia, including, most recently, Russia Transformed and The Face of Russia.

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