Soviet civilisation represented a combination of Marxist— Leninist ideology and Russian realities, but, as we have seen, this ‘civilisation’ was deeply fragmented and no sustained synthesis created a fundamentally new reality with adequate social roots. Even though Russia was the heartland of the Soviet order, even here a gulf gradually widened between Soviet communist ideas and practices and an increasingly influential notion of ‘Russia’, existing apart and aside from the communist experiment; and indeed increasingly portrayed as much a victim of the communist experiment as, say, Estonia or Poland. As with the fall of communism in eastern Europe, discussion over the date when the Russian communist system moved into ‘negative viability’ continues. Some would start from the very beginning.
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