[Reading] ➶ Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire By David Remnick – Dailytradenews.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

  1. says:

    If you are a hard line communist apparatchik about to launch a coup d tat against those who libel World Socialism and defame the noble memory of Stalin then here is some advice plan your coup well and don t confuse planning with plotting.This is plotting the traitor Yeltsin will be arrested and held accountable for his crimes Yanev will replace him as President of a new USSR, its historic glory restored.This is planning Yeltsin will be arrested at his Dacha in Vnukovo at 04 00 hours on 19 August by a contingent of five trusted soldiers of the Felix Dzerhinsky division, dispatched from the Nemchinovka barracks at 03 33 travelling south west on the road to Krasnoznamensk.The August 1991 coup by soviet hardliners was very well plotted, but wholly lacking in planning.Why wasn t the Russian Parliament building, the White House, sealed and surrounded to prevent the Russian democratic parliamentarians from taking refuge in it, copying the techniques of democratic supporters in Vilnius only a few months before How did Yeltsin drive past whole brigades of tanks to make his last stand there Why were practically none of the people on the arrest list actually arrested Here is some advice lock up the drinks cabinet Being zapoi the Russian word for several days of drunkenness when one withdraws from society seemed to be a requirement for high office in a restored Soviet State If the plotters had sobered up enough to issue some half decent emergency decrees and order a few summary executions they would have probably succeeded.Of Yanayev, made President of Russia by the plotters He was a vain man of small intelligence, a womanizer, and a drunk I m not sure it is possible to describe just how hard it is to acquire a reputation as a drunk in Russia My Thai friend told me that there were so many coups in the country because Thailand has a food surplus Demonstrators on the barricades are never quite hungry enough to decisively overthrow the state at the end of the day they can go back home and eat This seems to explain the deteriorating quality of the Russian coup over the seventy odd years from 1917 to 1991 The plotters lived a life of privilege, of Zils, Dachas and caviar They just weren t hungry enough.Gorbachov started channeling Shakespeare around 1985 Like Lear he had a vision of a harmonious state, failing to foresee how vested interests and human rivalry would make it impossible like Hamlet he is suspicious and not as innocent as he seems but is also vacillating and indecisive at key junctures like Macbeth he believes he is bigger than the situation, headed for a greater destiny When the curtain closes he is reviled by all sides and lucky to be alive.The audience to this play is kept in a state of high dramatic tension Gorbachov is blind to his friends of forty years changing to enemies, oblivious as they cut him off from rivals who, in truth, are the only people he can trust For God s sake Gorbachov, the butler did it Of course the Head of the KGB is plotting your downfall It isn t the State Minster for Woman s Issues that s going to knife you in the back for heaven s sake.This is a great book, well deserving of its Pulitzer Prize The tension grows leading up to the final section with details of the coup.If this was a thriller it would all be too thrilling But as a work of non fiction, reality intrudes with all its messy reality Events are driven by dumb luck, ambition, personal grudges and that key to understanding all human endeavors routine incompetence Even so some outstanding characters worthy of the finest novelist appear on its pages saints Sakharov villains Ligachev buffoons Yanayev tragic heroes Gorbachov, Yeltsin.The events of August 1991 in Russia have faded into memory Things could have gone much worse for Russia and the world that summer But as observers saw at the time once these events were over and done with Russia s future remained very uncertain, as it still remains today.

  2. says:

    Society is sick of history It is too mucy with us Arseny Roginsky, quoted in David Remnick, Lenin s TombWhile Remnick was writing for the Washington Post in Moscow, my family was living in Izmir, Turkey and then in Bitburg, Germany We got the opportunity to travel to Moscow shortly after the August, 1991 the beginning of my Senior year Coup It was a strange period So much changed so fast I was trading my Levi jeans in St Petersburg and Moscow for Communist flags, Army medals, busts of Lenin It was only as I got older that I realized both how crazy the USSR Russia was during that time and how blessed the Washington Post was to have David Remnick writing home about it.I ve read other books by Remnick The Bridge The Life and Rise of Barack Obama and King of the World Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero, and parts of Reporting Writings from The New Yorker The New Yorker is where I discovered and fell in love with his prose So, with Remnick, I was reading backwards It was time I read what is perhaps his greatest work Lenin s Tomb is a comprehensive look at the last years of the Soviet Union from the election of Gorbachev with occasional backward glances at Khrushchev, etc It was nice to get information about Andrei Sakharov I knew only broad aspects of his story, and still need to read and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn I know about him, but need to read of his work.Some of this isn t dated No That is the wrong word It is history, and by definition all history is dated, but the book ends with a lot of potential energy It is sad to see that a lot of the potential for Russia s democracy has been lost into the authoritarianism of Putin It is also scary to read quotes from Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and unabaashed neofacists who won 8 million votes in 1991, and hear words that could easily have been spoken by Donald Trump Nations and regimes are never as solid as we think Often the corruption that exists for years, like a cavity, eats away at the insitutions until they become empty husks and everything colapses Perhaps, that is one lesson WE in the United States and Europe should learn from the Soviet Union s collapse in the early 90s Perhaps, it is too late.Some of my random pieces by Remnick related to Russia Notes From Underground Review of John McPhee s The Ransom of Russian ArtThe Historical Truth Telling of Arseny RoginskyTrump, Putin, and the New Cold War

  3. says:

    just incredible this is, without a doubt, one of the best books I ve ever read I don t have any deep interest in Soviet Russian history, but Remnick s writing is mesmerizing And clever plus it contains one of the best lines I ve ever read I m not sure it is possible to describe just how hard it is to acquire a reputation as a drunk in Russia.

  4. says:

    Having to put this one on hold for awhile, as while I was loving the book wasn t I wasn t happy with the audio version as this is one that needs to be read in order to underline and get the best from the book and my Library trying to source a copy for me as they don t have one in stock Terrific read so far and really hoping I get my hands on a hard copy soon.

  5. says:

    This book, an account of the collapse of the Soviet Union published in 1993, humbled me in many ways First and foremost, it s hard to come to terms with how uniformed I was during the time of periostrika I had no idea of how Gorbachev lost his way during the transition, and Boris Yeltsin s leading role in it From watching them on the U.S news I thought Yeltsin was just kind of a drunk and a boob, and Gorbachev, a noble man Regardless of his behavior while Russia s elected leader, Yeltson was a brave and impressive activist for change.And the author David Remnick s power of reportage and writing talent is equally humbling I had no prior interest in the subject material I picked up this book in my mother s bedroom and opened it without intending to read Anyone who can get an initially unmotivated reader to be wondering what happens next in a 500 page book on contemporary Russian history is a masterful story teller For me, with the exception of some impatience I felt toward the end, this was a page turner No wonder Reminick s head at the New Yorker I don t know whether Remnick has followed up on the aftermath but it d would be intriguing to learn his take on modern moscow When I visited a journalist friend there in 2008, the impression that lingered with me is that capitalism is a razor sharp double edged sword.

  6. says:

    I was about 100 pages into LENIN S TOMB before I realized what this book was I had it in my head that it would be a traditional top down story about perestroika, glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union, a fly on the wall story in the corridors of power What Remnick is after is arguably ambitious and interesting he s trying to chart the changing of attitudes that precipitated the collapse of the Soviet state in 1991 Perhaps I should have taken a clue from Remnick s THE BRIDGE, which adopts a similar structure to explore the significance of Obama s 2008 election His approach has a loose narrative through line but is generally kaleidoscopic, traveling from miners strikes in central Asia to nationalist protests in the Balkans, from the swaggering millionaires who used arbitrage opportunities left by poor central planning to profit handsomely to the aging Stalinists who see the decline of collectivism in the same way that American evangelicals see the rise of gay marriage It is best in presenting a series of memorable moments in the passage from one regime to another young Communists in Leningrad cheering for Gordon Gecko in an official screening of WALL STREET Miss KGB , a beauty queen who does photo ops for the secret police to sell a pro perestroika message she reminded me of the CIA twitter feed and the self pity of Party officials who for the first time have to deal with angry calls from constituents about garbage collection and potholes.Remnick s thesis is that perestroika enabled a rare moment where the general population of Russia could engage with its history, and where attempts to dislodge the truth about the Soviet state were of general concern With his focus on memory and atrocity, Remnick often reminded me of the documentary THE ACT OF KILLING about the atrocities that accompanied Suharto s rise to power LENIN S TOMB often has a similarly searing quality to it.If I have a complaint and perhaps this is unfair, for a book written in 1993 it s that the kaleidoscopic quality makes it a little hard to see causality The book s strongest portion concerns the August 1991 coup, which is a straightforward story involving many of the figures already profiled in the book that demonstrates Remnick s thesis about the changing attitudes Although as I m writing this, I m not sure why I felt as if Remnick not being strong on the narrative was a failing THE PROMISE OF THE NEW SOUTH is one of my favorite history books of all time, and that s pure kaleidoscope Perhaps it s that Remnick is trying to show a process of change, but his style sometimes obscures that process I picked up this book because I ve been thinking about Russia a lot lately, and I thought it would help me understand that country a bit I feel as if it certainly did so, and I would recommend it.

  7. says:

    My and I were driving to Columbus, OH in 2007 for a work seminar for her new job We heard about Boris Yeltsin s death on NPR The palace coup, Yeltsin s dancing on TV and the two Chechnyean wars occupied the next stretch of our drive I found this book in a shop in Columbus a few days later and snatched it on the spot.Remnick approaches his subject with an even hand There is no Western arrogance about matters When he discovers fault, he reports it.I remember when Yeltsin resigned I was going to a fancy soiree w some friends for New Years don t ask There was no way in 1999 one could predict the steely constictions of the Putin Imperium Remnick s book offers a sober nudge to all predictions concerning Russian politics The same can be said for political animals from almost every other land as well.

  8. says:

    This is history told with verve We see how the corruption and repression of the Communist Party led to its downfall We witness the Soviet Union disintegrate We are there as it happens with interviews of participants from striking coal miners and political prisoners to top officials and leading dissidents Particularly fascinating is the portrayal of Gorbachev as the tragic transitional figure with one foot in the future and one foot that could never leave the past He starts down the road to change, but cannot envision where that road will lead Overtaken and cast aside by the democratic forces he unleashes, the reformer who broke the chains of Bolshevism ends up disillusioned and bitter Remnick shows how history itself is an agent of change The turning point was facing the truth of Soviet history Tightly controlled since Stalin s consolidation of power in 1928, Russians were fed a mythological version touting the greatness of the Party and its tyrannical leaders Young students were indoctrinated through The Short Course text taught in all Soviet schools Disagreement was severely punished In 1956 Khrushchev denounced Stalin and his purges in his Secret Speech given only to the Party Congress The truth began to leak out amidst Khrushchev s thaw But when Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev in 1964, the Soviet Union entered a neo Stalinist era of renewed repression Russia was deeply divided The right wing, Stalin s defenders, had their identities intertwined with his and his mythological history The millions murdered and imprisoned had been enemies of the state, disruptors of the order and deniers of the greatness of Russia On the left were the dissidents, the minorities, the oppressed, the families of the victims They knew the truth, but it took great courage to speak out against the belligerent right with the KGB on their side The key was the control of history As the Stalinist s lost it, their dominance eroded Gorbachev grew up in simple circumstances His academic success earned him admission to law school at Moscow State University, where unlike other courses of study, students were exposed to traditional Western thought from Roman law to the US Constitution He and many supporters led double lives maintaining Party loyalty while instigating change Gorbachev survived and prospered by keeping his thoughts to himself until the right time A clever politician, he carefully orchestrated his television and media image Gorbachev took over in 1985, with his policy of glasnost, Russia began to come to terms with its past In 1986 he allowed Andrei Sakharov to return to Moscow from internal exile in Gorky The physicist turned dissident spoke out with influential moral authority Gorbachev s speech in 1987 on the 70th anniversary of the October revolution, while praising the Party, recounted Stalin s crimes By 1989 many previously forbidden books were becoming publicly available including Solzhenitsyn s The Gulag Archipelago and Pasternak s Dr Zhivago The Communist Party was a mafia Corruption and bribery were the norm Everyone participated from the lowest service worker to the very top of the party Jobs and perks were controlled by the Party The Party elite lived in beautiful dachas with access to the finest Western goods Leaders in some regions lived like kings in their fiefdoms But most Soviet citizens lived in or near poverty Everyday items taken for granted in the West were not affordable for most people and those available were of vastly inferior quality Workers toiled in primitive conditions in factories that spewed pollution sickening the residents Farms were so badly managed they barely functioned at all Working in the mines was the worst Soap wasn t even available to wash with Mine waste made lakes so toxic that they dissolved bones Not surprisingly, miners were the first to strike in 1989 This was the beginning of the end Eastern Europe was in turmoil and the Baltic States would soon lead the collapse of the Soviet Union itself Just as Khrushchev could not take the next step after denouncing Stalin in his Secret Speech, so too could Gorbachev only go so far in his perestroika While for party reform he was against true democracy with multiple parties While delegitimizing Stalin, he held onto the myth of Lenin Despite Sakharov s warning to Gorbachev that the only viable course was to come completely over to the side of the dissidents, Gorbachev straddled, moving ahead blindly with no plan The old guard fought him tooth and nail, but they too would not prevail As the truth came out, everyone saw that Lenin and the Party was culpable of horrendous crimes against society Gorbachev, unwilling to go that far, would also be swept aside As things unfolded he became conservative.In March 1990, the first elections allowing new parties were held New times also meant a new breed of young entrepreneurs began set up shop Some were wildly successful, ignoring the law, and became rich Crime, including protection rackets, followed Crime, once the sole province of the Party, was now open to everyone Young Russians fell in love with American pop culture, the music, the Hollywood stars, even baseball and then there was McDonalds Things were changing fast The 1990 Mayday parade in Moscow showed how far the dissidents had come In the regular parade the usual communist propaganda slogans were gone and in the parade that followed dissidents openly criticized the party and extolled freedom for the Soviet Republics Gorbachev put on a good face, but clearly was upset On October 16, 1990, one day after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Gorbachev rejected the 500 Day Plan to dismantle the old order and initiate capitalism This step back to forestall an attempt at counter revolution by the right wing and KGB would not work In December 1990, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigned saying a new dictatorship was coming The first politically independent newspaper, Nezavisimaya Gazeta , began and openly criticized the Party Gorbachev defended the Party and increasingly became its hostage In January 1991, tanks rolled into Lithuania in a botched attempt to depose the government which had declared its independence Gorbachev was now completely discredited as a reform leader In June 1991 Yeltsin, who had outmaneuvered the hardliners by changing the law to call for direct election of the Russian President, was elected President of Russia Yeltsin could now challenge Gorbachev, the President of the rapidly imploding Soviet Union.In August 1991, the old guard, many of whom Gorbachev trusted, led an ill fated coup attempt Poor planning and lack of the brutal will of their Bolshevik antecedents led to failure Many in the military and other high positions would not carry out their orders The conspirators put Gorbachev under house arrest announcing that the Committee was now in charge Yeltsin acted decisively With thousands of supporters he barricaded himself in the Russian White House As the days wore on it became apparent the Committee lacked the resolve and the support to carry out its coup Yeltsin prevailed and became a hero of Russia Gorbachev lost respect as he was shown to be na ve about those around him Even after the coup attempt was over, Gorbachev wanted to stick to reform through the now entirely discredited Communist Party He still didn t get it Yeltsin forced the dissolution of the Party and Gorbachev soon found himself out of a job, unwanted and unloved by the democratic forces he refused to embrace and hated by the old guard whose demise he had led While honored in the West, one cannot ignore Gorbachev s duplicity throughout his years as Party General Secretary and Soviet President He did nothing to help the working class while he lived in opulence He talked democracy but approved many of the repressive tactics used to squash it Gorbachev began the process of democratization but it took a man he had denounced, Yeltsin, to finish it Sadly Yeltsin too would prove ineffective and today Putin, Yeltsin s chosen successor, leads Russia ever further from democracy Lenin s Tomb ends in 1991, a time of hope that unfortunately is yet to be realized.

  9. says:

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  10. says:

    Lenin s Tomb by David Remnick is one of those books that makes you want to tell no, command your friends, Stop whatever you re reading and pick up this book The story Remnick s report about the fall of the Soviet Empire begins with the nightmare of the Stalinist Era I had heard horror stories about Stalin But I had no idea just how bad it was Compared to Stalinist Russia, the Third Reich sounds as harmless as a knitting party Estimates range from 40 to 60 million Lenin s Tomb is powerful because Remnick rarely traffics in such large numbers Instead, his attention are drawn to the families whose fathers were dragged into the night by the KGB Several only learned that their family members had died when receiving letters returned from a gulag marked, deceased or in one case, Cannot deliver recipient moved to cemetery The style Lenin s Tomb is in the tradition of the New Journalism that emerged during the 1960s and 70s By contrast, in traditional journalism the journalist was invisible But the New Journalists think Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, Truman Capote are present in their work Remnick shows up frequently in his book He mentions that he and his wife attend dinner with Russian friends, attend protests in Red Square, etc The effect is morally profound You can feel Remnick s outrage and despondency while he reports the horrors of the Soviet regime One of the most chilling moments of the 624 pg book occurs when Remnick himself a Jew interviews anti Semites who blame the Jews for all of the troubles of the Soviets they are either oblivious to the fact that he is Jewish or perhaps worse they simply don t care.I cannot recommend this book highly enough It earned its 1994 Pulitzer and its plentiful accolades Though readers should be warned This book gave me nightmares How could human beings treat other human beings this way and on such a sprawling scale Week old newspapers seemed valuable during Stalin s regime That reality is deeply disturbing Remnick s story is brutal but his vision isn t nihilistic He is a deeply moral writer who celebrates the lives of bravery of men like Andrei Sakharov and Alexander Men who stood as witnesses against the regime.

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Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire download Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, read online Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, kindle ebook Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire bbe579d69ccc In The Tradition Of John Reed S Classic Ten Days That Shook The World, This Bestselling Account Of The Collapse Of The Soviet Union Combines The Global Vision Of The Best Historical Scholarship With The Immediacy Of Eyewitness Journalism A Moving Illumination Remnick Is The Witness For Us All Wall Street Journal