For truth and dignity: Russia's 1987–91 revolution and its future
Bradley Lecture Series

Video

Post-Event Summary
In the first lecture of the 2012–2013 Bradley Lecture Series on Monday evening, Leon Aron of AEI discussed the non-violent revolution that resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union, emphasizing that the revolution's moral underpinnings were the principal cause of the country's dissolution. Aron described the communist regime's demise as a "secular reformation" that began when powerless Soviet citizens started to question the omnipotence of the state.

These historians, philosophers, literary critics and other "troubadours of glasnost," said Aron, were first and foremost moralists who spoke and wrote about the quest for dignity, truth and the moral renewal of the modern Soviet citizen.  He claimed that in today's Russian protest movement, the protesters do not have merely tangible demands for honest elections, lower corruption and better roads, but also call for dignity, honor, conscience and free will. He likewise suggested that the glasnost revolution extends beyond its Russian roots to authoritarian countries around the world

Aron concluded his speech with a tale of an Iranian journalist who asked if he could publish a censored version of an essay written by Aron about Russia's 1987–1991 moral revolution. The Iranian government subsequently shut down the magazine in which the essay was published, Aron explained, which indicates that authoritarian regimes recognize the threat posed to their survival by moral awakenings.

--Katherine Earle

Event Description
In this Bradley Lecture, Leon Aron, author of “Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991,” will explain the collapse of the Soviet Union as a moral revolution prompted by Russian citizens’ quest for dignity in truth, democratic citizenship and political and economic liberty. Aron will discuss how these moral underpinnings can be found in contemporary anti-authoritarian movements as well, including in the Arab Spring and in current movements in Russia, China and Iran.

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About the Author

 

Leon
Aron
  • Leon Aron is Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of three books and over 300 articles and essays. Since 1999, he has written Russian Outlook, a quarterly essay on economic, political, social and cultural aspects of Russia’s post-Soviet transition, published by the Institute. He is the author of the first full-scale scholarly biography of Boris Yeltsin, Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life (St. Martin’s Press, 2000); Russia’s Revolution: Essays 1989-2006 (AEI Press, 2007); and, most recently, Roads to the Temple: Memory, Truth, Ideas and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991 (Yale University Press, 2012).


    Dr. Aron earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University, has taught a graduate seminar at Georgetown University, and was awarded the Peace Fellowship at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has co-edited and contributed the opening chapter to The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy, published by the U.S. Institute of Peace in 1994 and contributed an opening chapter to The New Russian Foreign Policy (Council on Foreign Relations, 1998).


    Dr. Aron has contributed numerous essays and articles to newspapers andmagazines, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, theWall Street Journal Foreign Policy, The NewRepublic, Weekly Standard, Commentary, New York Times Book Review, the TimesLiterary Supplement. A frequent guest of television and radio talkshows, he has commented on Russian affairs for, among others, 60 Minutes,The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, CNN International,C-Span, and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Talk of theNation.”


    From 1990 to 2004, he was a permanent discussant at the Voice of America’s radio and television show Gliadya iz Ameriki (“Looking from America”), which was broadcast to Russia every week.


    Follow Leon Aron on Twitter.

  • Phone: 202-862-5898
    Email: laron@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Katherine Earle
    Phone: 202-862-5872
    Email: katherine.earle@aei.org

 

Karlyn
Bowman
  • Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, NAFTA and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
  • Phone: 2028625910
    Email: kbowman@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 2028625917
    Email: andrew.rugg@aei.org

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