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Explaining 1989 - Soviet Imperial Breakdown and Structural Stasis

Chris Armbruster


August 25, 2005

A new hypothesis for explaining the world historical event of 1989 is proposed: The Soviet imperial association was immobilised by a structural stasis. Structural stasis was the condition that made Soviet imperial breakdown possible. As the leadership sought to mobilise the imperial association in the late 1980s the breakdown became increasingly likely. Once the resort to violence was heavily constrained and the imperial association lost control over borders and space the breakdown became inevitable. The hypothesis is theoretically well grounded in a Weberian theory of domination, which is elaborated to include indicators of illegitimate domination. Methodologically the hypothesis is bolstered by the most advanced models of social and cultural change available, which are developed to account for structural and cultural conditioning as well as probability and contingency. Theory, methodology and model foster an explanatory understanding. It is anticipated that this new hypothesis will prevail over alternative political, economic, military and cultural explanations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Soviet empire, 1989, structural stasis, historical explanation, historical contingency, communist party, nomenklatura, terror, workers' councils, rationalisation

JEL Classification: H77, J50, K42, N01, P21, P31

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Date posted: August 31, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Armbruster, Chris, Explaining 1989 - Soviet Imperial Breakdown and Structural Stasis (August 25, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=790524 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.790524

Contact Information

Chris Armbruster (Contact Author)
EDUDATA FUND ( email )
Lessingstrasse 55
Berlin, 13158
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