Moscow’s Heavy Shadow: The Violent Collapse of the USSR

Book Talk
Central Asia and Caucasus Seminar
Event Format

Recent conflicts, from the war in Ukraine to Azerbaijan’s reconquest of Nagorno-Karabakh, have created a sense that violence has begun to encompass the former USSR. But what if this violence had been there since the collapse itself - since 1991 and the years immediately prior? Using the case study of Tajikistan and its descent into bloody civil war in the early 1990s, Isaac McKean Scarborough in his new book "Moscow’s Heavy Shadow" suggests that we return violence to the nascence of the Soviet collapse. When late-Soviet economic and political reforms were implemented in Tajikistan after 1985, they led to economic recession, social upheaval, and ultimately political chaos. Nascent populist politicians seized the opportunity to fight for power, leading by May 1992 to open warfare and endemic violence that lasted for years. Since the beginning, this book argues that war has accompanied the extended Soviet collapse, much as it continues to do so today.

Please use this code 09BCARD to receive a 30% discount on the book when you buy it on the Cornell University Press website. 

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