State and Class the Russian Revolution

David Armstrong

in Revolution and World Order

Published in print June 1993 | ISBN: 9780198275282
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598739 | DOI:
 State and Class the Russian Revolution

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International society in the nineteenth century witnessed the assertion of special rights for great powers and some strengthening of the Westphalian bases of international order in the Concert of Europe. The system collapsed with the First World War and faced its strongest challenge to date from the Russian Revolution. The ideological challenge of Marxism and the Russian Revolution stemmed from its claim that class was the motive force of history and that the Communist Party possessed a unique insight into the laws of history. However, revolutionary internationalism in Soviet foreign policy was soon accompanied by more cautious policies, amounting to a partial socialization. This process reached a peak under Mikhail Gorbachev who brought to a crisis point the central paradox of the Soviet state: that its legitimacy rested upon its claim to be the ‘socialist fatherland’ but it could not avoid an identity as an orthodox state.

Keywords: Communism; Concert of Europe; First World War; foreign policy; Mikhail Gorbachev; internationalism; Marxism; Russian Revolution; socialization; Soviet Union

Chapter.  18033 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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