In Modern Tsars and Princes Jeremy Lester offers a highly informative account of political life in Russia since the fall of Communism, as ultra-nationalist, nostalgic Communists, Westerners and administrative Centrists seek to control the destinies of a deeply troubled society and state.
Lester looks beneath the clash between Yeltsin and the Duma, the decision to intervene in Chechnya, and the personalities of such figures as Zhirinovsky, to identify the struggle for hegemony between rival social forces and political projects. The volatility of some institutions and the endurance of others mean that the conventional categories used in so much writing about Russia fail to grasp what is really happening today. Lester surveys Russia’s new power structures and the political forces which strive to control them. He assesses the impetus to authoritarian solutions in a country where civil society has only just begun to acquire elements of autonomy, and explains how Russophiles, liberals, Communists and Centrists each seek to construct a new ‘historical bloc’ capable of controlling the state. Lester also considers the fate of Russia’s bewildered working class and the prospects for the emergence of a new left.
Based on extensive primary research, Modern Tsars and Princes develops an original analytical framework to furnish a compelling account of a complex and crucial event, the birth of the new Russian state.