At a moment when history’s revenge seems to have fallen on the Soviet Union, unleashing economic havoc and political disintegration, it is appropriate to examine anew the monstrosity known as “fully developed socialism.” Even if perestroika fails, the society that emerges from the current upheaval will surely depart radically from what we have come to think of as the “classical” Soviet paradigm. At the least, the new Soviet society will be free from Communist ideology. Whatever happens, there is little likelihood that Marxism-Leninism will soon be revived in Russia. The loss of this ideology will necessarily affect the individual and collective psyche and, although it remains far from certain that the nation will embrace democracy, some familiar bugbears, such as “class struggle” and “egalitarianism,” will surely be laid to rest.

Andrei Sinyavsky’s new book,...


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