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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Economic and Political Reform in China and the Former Soviet Union


The contrast between the two cases is well known: China’s economic reforms were stunningly successful whereas those of Gorbachev failed. Moreover, his political reforms set in motion forces that he could not control, eventually bringing about the unintended end to communist rule and the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Why this difference? Numerous variables are at issue. This paper focuses on the policies, strategies, and values of reformers and on opportunities to carry out economic reforms, which favored China but not the SU.

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