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скромное обаяние рецензента [Jun. 28th, 2016|02:17 pm]
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Когда читаешь позитивную рецензию, написанную человеком, который знает тебя два десятилетия, относится к тебе с явной симпатией и поддерживает во многих начинаниях, трудно отделаться от впечатления, что все хорошие слова в твой адрес исходят в первую очередь из стремления сказать тебе что-то приятное, а, возможно, вполне заслуженной критике именно поэтому места в рецензии не нашлось. Да, я знаю, что в данном случае дела обстоят иначе, и все же "отделаться" так и не удается (отчасти в силу обаяния рецензента):

"Gel'man, Vladimir. Authoritarian Russia: Analyzing Post-Soviet Regime Changes. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. xvi + 208 pp. $25.95. ISBN 978-0-8229-6368-4.

Vladimir Gel'man is one of the most astute observers of Russia’s political development. In this excellent monograph he has analyzed Russia’s post-Communist regimes, bringing together thorough research with a broad synthesis of recent theoretical work on authoritarianism. The product is a valuable statement of Russia’s political situation, offering both sobering analysis of the Putin elite and some hope for the future.
Gel'man is particularly articulate in arguing that Russia’s current authoritarian regime is not a product of the country’s culture or genetic fate. Russian authoritarianism derives from “power maximization by politicians who faced few constraints,” and who managed to “poison” political institutions. This disaster began in the Gorbachev era. Gel'man cites public opinion research showing that Russians were not much different from East Europeans in their attitudes toward democracy, but the elite has fostered (probably temporary) shifts in public attitudes.
After introducing the project in an introductory chapter, Gel'man delves into theory in chapter 2, identifying “pessimists,” “optimists,” and “realists.” Labeling one’s own views as realism is a much-used technique to claim the high ground, but in this case it is based on solid evidence. Gel'man covers the familiar history of the Yeltsin and Putin years in chapters 3 and 4, debunking convenient myths that the outcomes were inevitable. Russian elites were far more important than the Russian soul in producing undemocratic outcomes. He identifies eight “critical junctures” when “democratic elements were deliberately and successfully utilized for antidemocratic purposes” (pp. 13–14). Chapter 5 focuses on regime survival in the face of the election protests in 2011–12, and the turn to adventurism by invading Ukraine in 2014. The challenges these events post for regime survival are analyzed in the final chapter.
For this reviewer, the book has three important implications. First, Fukuyama was correct that there is no ideological alternative to democracy. A wealthy elite deploying nationalism to legitimize power is not an ideological alternative, and is always vulnerable. Second, Russia now has levels of inequality that make even the increasingly stratified United States and China look less awful. This frames the third implication: It is not likely that Russia will experience a “bank run” by elites abandoning the regime like the one in the USSR after 1987. A small elite controlling much of the nation’s valuable assets will not give up wealth and power because it is the right thing to do. This means that, at least in the short term, the end of the regime is likely to be ugly.
Despite his sobering analysis, Gel'man concludes on an optimistic note, pointing out that in many countries the path to democracy was not a straight line. He is certain that “Russia will indeed be a free country. The question is exactly when and how this will happen, as well as what the costs of Russia’s path to freedom will be” (p. 154). Gel'man’s careful analysis demonstrates both why democracy is still possible in Russia and how much Putin has raised the costs of getting there.

Harley Balzer, Georgetown University" (Russian Review, 2016, vol.75, N3)

В идеале, конечно, лучше, когда рецензенты и рецензируемые не знакомы друг с другом или, по крайней мере, относятся друг к другу нейтрально как в профессиональном, так и в человеческом отношении. Но в реальности "узок круг этих революционеров, страшно далеки они от народа", и редакторам не так легко найти незнакомых и/или нейтральных авторов и рецензентов.

Написав этот пост, я и сам углублюсь в чтение книги хорошо знакомого мне автора, на которую предстоит писать рецензию. Будущее покажет, окажется ли она столь же хвалебной - даром, что мне не присуща и десятая доля обаяния, которое продемонстрировал мой рецензент :)