Sickle and Ruble: Conservative Modernization in the USSR
Russia has not “fallen out of the history” in the 20th century. This century has been the time of a long overdue historical leap for our country: it was modernized and transformed from an agrarian and rural to an industrial and urban state. The Soviet era modernization was a “conservative”, “instrumental” one: to hammer it added a sickle, but it relied on outdated social mechanisms and conserved them, which did not facilitate the development of modern institutions of market economy and political democracy, and therefore it remained incomplete.
That is the main idea of Anatoly Vishnevsky. A well-known Russian sociologist and demographer offers his own interpretation of the lessons of the recent past, reflects on the social history of the Soviet Union as the stalled conservative modernization project, and cautions against its repetition.