The Age of the Unthinkable

The Age of the Unthinkable

Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It

Joshua Cooper Ramo

These elites were a very small percentage of the Soviet population. But, Kotz and Weir found in their discussions, the nomenklatura decided, once Gorbachev began reforming a system that had protected their rights and privileges, they had more to gain by letting the USSR fracture than by holding it together. If you were sitting on top of the empire when it fell down, the nomenklatura logic went, you would surely be in the best place to pick up the pieces. This was a cold, selfish decision. It was also, fatally, one that Gorbachev hadn’t anticipated in full. “The ultimate explanation for the surprisingly peaceful and sudden demise of the Soviet system,” Weir and Kotz wrote, “was that it was abandoned by most of its own elite.”

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