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It is widely believed that the demise of the Soviet system was caused by the collapse of the economy accompanied by public demand that socialism should be abandoned. This text provides a different interpretation, arguing that the ruling party-state elite of the USSR itself moved to dismantle the Soviet system as a means to increase wealth and power. Examining the evolution of the Soviet economic and political system from 1917 to the present, the book discusses the beginnings of economic decline in 1975; Gorbachev's efforts to democratize and decentralize and how these led to changes in the economy and political structure; the complex political battle through which the coalition favouring capitalism took power; the flaws in economic policies of 1992 intended to rapidly build capitalism; the trend towards authoritarian government in Russia; and the surprising resurgence of Communism. Research includes interviews with over fifty former Soviet government and Communist party leaders, policy advisors, new private businessmen, trade union leaders and intellectuals.