Blending first hand accounts of grassroots politics with an original theory of social relations under communism, this book seeks to explain one of the seminal events of this century: the rebirth of politics in Russia amid the collapse of the USSR. The authors trace the process from the pre-political period of dissident activity, through perestroika and the appearance of political groups and publications, elections, the formation of political parties and mass movements, counter-revolution and coup d’etat, the victory of democratic forces and the organization of a Russian state; to the struggle of power in the post-communist epoch, the violent end of the first republic and the contentious relations engulfing its successor. By focusing on the popular forces which accomplished Russia’s political rebirth, rather than the reforms of the Soviet establishment, this book offers an original perspective on this critical period. Contents: Part I. The Pre-Political Context: 1. Politics and communism: figure and ground; 2. Regime and opposition in the pre-political period; Part II. Perestroika and the Return of Political Life: 3. Perestroika: renewal, transition or transformation; 4. Glasnost, mass media and the emergence of political society; 5. The informal movement: politics on the margins of the Soviet order; 6. National elections and mass politics; Part III. Politics and Revolution: 7. The politics of opposition; 8. The 1990 elections and the politics of national liberation; 9. Parties in movement: the articulation of Russian political society at the close of the Soviet period; 10. Restoration and revolution; Part IV. Ground Up: Politics in Post-Communist Russia: 11. Reform, reaction and rebellion: the calamity of the first republic; 12. Neither democracy nor dictatorship.