This initiative integrates the archival and research functions of the Hoover Institution. Through archival acquisition, research, and publication, Hoover fellows, archivists, and other scholars study and analyze the end and aftermath of communism, in addition to analyzing and documenting how collectivist societies make the transition to free and representative government and private enterprise. As such, their work serves to establish a true and lasting record of the failures of collectivism.
Using the formerly secret Soviet State and Communist Party Archives in Moscow and at the Hoover Institution, Hoover fellow Paul Gregory wrote the landmark volume The Political Economy of Stalinism: Evidence from the Soviet Secret Archives, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004. In it, Gregory describes the creation and operation of the Soviet administrative-command system, whose prime architect was Stalin, and pinpoints the reason for the failure of the system. He notes that, once Gorbachev gave enterprises their freedom, the system had no direction from either a plan or a market and that the system imploded. Gregory believes that, if repeated today, this same “experiment” would retain its basic contradictions and inherent flaws and that the economic results would again prove inferior.
Much has been written about the Gulag as an institution of penal slavery inflicted on millions and as the ultimate symbol of Soviet terror, but until the Hoover Press published in 2003 The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag, there had been little scholarly analysis of the Soviet Gulag as an economic, social, and political institution, primarily owing to a lack of data. Edited by Hoover fellows Paul Gregory and Valery Lazarev, this collection presents the results of years of research by Western and Russian scholars and paints an extraordinary portrait of a major aspect of the Soviet approach to economic achievement. Hoover fellow Robert Conquest contributed to the volume in addition to Gregory and Lazarev.
Anticipating a new dawn of freedom and democracy after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russians could hardly have foreseen the reality of their future a decade later: a country impoverished and controlled at every level by criminals. Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State, written by Hoover fellow David Satter and published by Yale University Press in 2003, tells the story of the 1990s reform period in Russia using the experiences of individual citizens. With insights derived from more than twenty years of writing and reporting on Russia, Satter considers why individuals there have historically counted for so little and offers an illuminating analysis of how Russia’s post-Soviet fate was decided in the vast moral vacuum that communism left in its wake.
In Between Dictatorship and Democracy: Russian Post-Communist Political Reform, Hoover fellow Michael McFaul, Nikolai Petrov, Andrei Ryabov, and their collaborators examine the current government of Russia in an effort to answer fundamental questions about the nature of Russian politics. For example, they discuss whether the series of reforms launched by Russian leaders in the past two decades — purportedly aimed at moving the country toward democracy — have taken hold and, if not, the kind of political regime that will be sustained in post-Soviet Russia. They also examine how Vladimir Putin’s rise to power influenced the country’s course. The book was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2004.
Michael McFaul also wrote, with Timothy Colton, Popular Choice and Managed Democracy: The Russian Elections of 1999 and 2000, published by the Brookings Institution Press in 2003. The book is a tale of two elections — one for the 450-seat Duma, the other for president — in which, twice in one winter, citizens of the Russian Federation flocked to their neighborhood voting stations and marked their ballots in an atmosphere of uncertainty, rancor, and fear. Considered by many the best analysis to date on Vladimir Putin’s politics, the book demonstrates key trends in an extinct superpower, a troubled country in whose stability, modernization, and openness to the international community the West still has a huge stake.
In From Predation to Prosperity: How to Move from Socialism to Markets, Hoover fellows Michael Bernstam and Alvin Rabushka examine three issues central to the Russian economy: Why did the purported market reforms, arguably the boldest in history, end up in one of the greatest peacetime contractions? Why, in addition, has Russia lived from one default to another — in fact, has lived off defaults? And how can Russia be uplifted from contraction and defaults to economic growth and prosperity? The authors answer these questions and propose policy recommendations designed to lead Russia out of its economic woes. As each chapter is written, it is released on a special topical website, www.russiaeconomy.org.
Under the auspices of its Iran Democracy Project, the Hoover Institution has hosted three conferences, all of which were organized by Hoover fellows Larry Diamond and Abbas Milani. The first, “The Politics and Governance in a Changing Iran,” took place in November 2003. The focus was an examination of the prospects and conditions for peaceful political reform in Iran. Hoover fellows Michael McFaul and Guity Nashat participated in addition to Diamond and Milani.
The second occurred in May 2004. Entitled “Politics, Society, and Economy in a Changing Iran,” it addressed whether Iran is ready to become a democracy. In addition to Diamond, Milani, and McFaul, Hoover fellow George Shultz was a conference participant. Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi was the keynote speaker.
The most recent conference took place in November 2004. Entitled “Iran’s Nuclear Program: International Implications and U.S. Foreign Policy Options,” panelists addressed Iran’s technical nuclear capabilities, the domestic politics of Iran’s nuclear program, and the international political implications of Iran’s nuclear quest. Hoover fellow Sidney Drell participated in addition to Diamond, McFaul, and Milani.
Abbas Milani is also the author of two recent books on Iran. The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution is the biography of a central figure in the historic struggle between modernity and tradition in Iran. Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Modernity in Iran challenges the hitherto accepted theory that modernity and its related concepts of democracy and freedom are Western in essence. The books were published by Mage Publications in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Combining scholarship from a range of disciplines, the collection of essays in Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800, edited by Hoover fellow Guity Nashat and Lois Beck, provides a comprehensive examination of the role of women in Iranian society and culture, from pre-Islamic times to 1800. Sweeping away modern myths and challenging common assumptions about women in Iran and Islam, the contributors show that women have had significant influence in almost every area of Iranian life. The book was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2004.