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This exam asks you to use your readings and knowledge to respond to a premise.
Here is the Premise:
We cannot understand the history of Soviet society in 1917-1991 if we look only at the regime's oppressive features. To understand the history of Soviet society we also must examine reasons why millions of people supported Communist rule (or at the very least chose to make accommodations to it). Moreover, if we want to understand why Communist rule collapsed, we must recognize that by the mid-1980s the "Soviet system" had lost virtually all popular legitimacy. It lost legitimacy because the Soviet system had been designed to transform Russia from a backward peasant society into a well-educated urban society. Once the Soviet system had succeeded in creating a well-educated, urban society, it was by its very nature was incapable of meeting the "new" society's needs and aspirations.
Here is the Exam Question, which is composed of two parts:
First, based upon the book Armageddon Averted, would Stephen
Kotkin agree with the argument articulated in the above premise?
Explain why you think that he would agree or disagree, based upon
evidence drawn from Armageddon Averted.
Second, based upon all of our readings this semester, do YOU agree with the argument articulated in the above premise? Explain why or why not, based upon evidence drawn from all of these books.
You must answer both parts of the question. Your
paper must be typed, double-spaced and follow the mandatory paper form. It
must make use of endnote citations. See the directions in the on-line