chapter  12
12 Pages

Reforms Alternatives in History

WithVladimir Shlapentokh

Indeed, at each moment in the historical process, almost all societies have several alternatives for the future. The range of these alternatives depends on the rigidity of the structure. The alternative approach allows us to look for processes in society that could have led it toward recovery from its various chronic diseases—or toward a different outcome. Russia has a long history of reforms with different outcomes. Contrary to the pre-revolutionary reforms, most reforms in the Soviet Union were of a preventive nature. The individual characteristics of politicians, and particularly the leader of the country, are often strong determinants of future developments. The impact of Stalin's reforms on the Soviet regime is a controversial subject, even among some pro-Communist historians. By the end of the 1960s the leadership seemingly had abandoned the idea of reforms; this term was even deleted from the political vocabulary.