Many people, too numerous to name, have helped me in writing this book. Over the past years, I have been fortunate to discuss the issues treated here with Soviet workers in different branches and from different cities and towns. Among these, I probably learnt the most from Serezha Agapov, an autoworker and a good friend. Although we disagree on many things, we share the view that an active working class is the key to a genuinely democratic transformation of the Soviet Union and the only social force capable of blocking the "revolution from above" that is being attempted by the new/old élites. Although our acquaintance has been brief, I have also learnt much from Aleksandr Sergeev, a miner and one of the clearest minds in the Independent Miners' Union.
My discussions with Soviet intellectuals have generally been less fruitful. But fortunately, there were important exceptions. Three people to whom I owe a particular debt are economists Yurii Sukhotin, Viktor Dement'ev and the late Viktor Bogachev. The generous help they afforded me in coming to grips with the complex and quickly evolving political economic reality has been invaluable. Possibly even more important has been the moral support I have received from the knowledge that there are socialists among the Soviet intelligentsia who believe, and can convincingly argue, that socialism is a realistic indeed, the realistic alternative for the Soviet Union. I have also benefited greatly from discussions with Nikolai Preobrazhenskii, Aleksandr Buzgalin, Andrei Kolganov, Vadim Rogovin, and Lena Gordeeva. Of course, I alone bear responsibility for the views expressed in this book.
Among the people who have commented on various parts of this book, I would like to thank in particular Allen Fenichel, Leo Panitch, Dave Melnychuk, and Andrea Levy.
Most of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Sonia, my wife, who has graciously tolerated my extended absences from the household over the past years while I was doing research for this book.
This research was funded by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Canada Scholarship.