This book is a must read for every socialist! The authors, Thomas Kenny and Roger Keeran, explain the internal and external pressures that caused the so-called collapse of the Soviet Union. After enduring relentless imperialist invasions, sabotage, boycott and psychological warfare, the USSR finally succumbed when the growing black market within its borders created a new petty bourgeois class that backed Gorbachev’s “reforms” from the top.
Also, while not revealed in the book, after extensive research by the Prole Center research team, it has come to light that Alexander Yakovlev, Gorbachev’s chief advisor on glasnost and perestroika, was very likely a CIA penetration agent – an agent of influence. He could have been either a witting or unwitting asset of U.S. intelligence.
In the book, in the epilogue, the authors downplay a bit the effect of the CIA on the USSR’s “collapse,” but mention that their conclusions might be quite different if it were proven that either Gorbachev or Yakovlev were CIA agents. Well, I think we have evidence to strongly suggest that Yakovlev was indeed a CIA asset. It comes from remarks made by Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during a Congressional hearing in 2007. The guy who dropped dime on Valerie Plame has now also done the same for Yakovlev. The transcript of the hearing comes from the Harvard Kennedy School website. Here is the link and the piece where Armitage spills the beans while boasting of U.S. success employing “smart power” during the Cold War:
ARMITAGE: Well, indeed. I think we probably didn’t get off to the right foot in the Cold War. But, you know, we did apply smart power.
And let me give you an example — I was being facetious about the Chou En-lai French Revolution comment. But one of the advisers to Gorbachev was a fellow by the name of Yakovlev — he’s the fellow who came up with the term perestroika.
He actually, back in the bad days of the Cold War, when we were tightly constraining the number of Soviet citizens who might come here, he actually studied at Columbia. And he studied under a professor who taught him about pluralism.
And Yakovlev went back to the then-Soviet Union with an idea that pluralism could work. And 20 years later, he was the adviser. So it took a while to realize that investment, but we realized that investment [emphasis mine].