2 Pages


WithVladimir Shlapentokh

The concept of the Soviet Union as a normal totalitarian society is important for the analysis of post-Communist Russia. The interpretation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as a normal society is important not only to the study of post-Communist Russia but of many other countries as well. This definition is a powerful argument in favor of the civilizational approach in social science advanced by prominent scholars such as Arnold Toynbee and Samuel Huntington. However, despite all the wishful thinking of Western experts like Francis Fukuyama, only a tiny minority of countries in the world meet the requirements of the liberal model: a competitive market, effective democracy, and the observation of law in society. A sober social analysis demands that scholars avoid their personal values as much as possible in their examination of the specific structures of a given society that account for its ability to function and reproduce over a long period of time.