Soviet Union

The Unwomanly Face of War

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The author is a Nobel Prize winner who documents the experience of women that served in the Soviet Army in the Second World War, based on hundreds of interviews she carried out in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

One million women served in the Soviet Army and she spoke to women who worked in every possible role and geographical area, including sappers, nurses, surgeons, foot soldiers, air force captains, pilots, tank drivers, partisans and snipers.Originally heavily censored, it was first published in 1985, and this is the first time it has been available in English.

Ukraine: Torn apart by Imperialism

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Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the rising tensions between east and west, marks an era of heightened competition between rival imperial powers, argues Rob Ferguson.

Russia, the US and the European powers are facing their greatest clash since the Cold War. Following the overthrow of Ukrainian president Yanukovich, the new pro-Western government in Kiev turned to seal a partnership with the EU and Russia annexed Crimea, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet and its route to the Mediterranean.

Tensions are spreading to other "buffer" states on Russia's southern borders. Barack Obama has called on EU leaders to increase their military spending.

Why read State Capitalism in Russia?

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Many people still associate socialism and especially Marx's version of socialism with the brutal Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.

Tony Cliff's book State Capitalism in Russia has enabled us to explain why the horrific crimes committed by the Stalinist regime had nothing to do with socialism. Instead Cliff argued that Russia under Stalin's rule became a particular form of capitalist society, state capitalism, locked into competition with its rivals in the West.

Kyrgyzstan: at the impasse of imperialism

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The government brought to power by the 2005 Tulip Revolution was itself deposed by a popular uprising last month. This is the latest crisis for the "colour coded" revolutions of the former Soviet Bloc states and signifies another challenge to US expansionism in the region, argues Tim Nelson

State capitalism - the theory that fuels the practice

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With the fall of the Berlin Wall, many on the left concluded that socialism had failed. Others of us saw these countries as state capitalist and an integral part of the world system. This theory has renewed relevance today

When I joined the Socialist Review Group, the precursor of the Socialist Workers Party, back in 1961, our opponents on the left called us the "state caps" - short for "state capitalists". This was not because we were in favour of state capitalism (although rumour had it that one of our members had joined for that reason). It was because we rejected the notion that the USSR, China and the Eastern European states were in some way socialist or workers' states.

1989-2009: celebrations muted by the disappointments of the present

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What happened to the illusions that free market capitalism would bring democracy, social justice and equality to the societies of Eastern Europe? Mike Haynes reports

British tourists are commonplace in the former Soviet bloc today. Cheap flights take you to Prague or Budapest. You can spend a weekend in the Baltic states or even make it to Moscow and St Petersburg. The beer is cheap. For stag nights and last minute flings the prostitutes are numerous and cheap. It is easy to combine a visit to some of the finest sights with some of the worst. And many do. Out of sight, out of mind.

In Western Europe migrants from these countries are common. We meet them every day working in bars and hotels, on the farms and in the factories. Supermarkets in

1989-2009: the revolutions that brought down Stalinism

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Mass social movements swept across Eastern Europe 20 years ago, toppling repressive Stalinist regimes that had claimed to be socialist. Mark L Thomas introduces our coverage of the anniversary as he remembers the tumultuous events of 1989

As 1989 began, the one-party states that littered Eastern Europe seemed impregnable, as by and large they had done for the previous four and half decades. Yet by the end of the year, one after another, they had been swept away or were rapidly heading that way. By Christmas Day 1989, when the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was tried and executed followed a dramatic uprising (all beamed across the world on television), everything had changed utterly.

Double edged 'democracy'

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The people of Poland demanded democracy in 1989 - but 20 years on the economy is still controlled by a tiny elite.

Anniversaries do not always bring people the joy they expect. Last month was meant to have seen a celebration by Poland's rulers outside the shipyards in the city of Gdansk. It was to commemorate political changes in Poland and Hungary in the summer of 1989, which saw the first free elections for more than 40 years.

Blue Velvet

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The post-Soviet world is still waiting for the promised freedom and democracy.

Fifteen years ago, East and West Germans proved the pessimists wrong. With a mixture of joy and relief, they pulled down the Berlin Wall, and with it the edifice of the Soviet empire. Stalinist tyranny, which had seemed so immovable, disintegrated. It was the most rapid transformation of Europe since the First World War.

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