Abstract

In the early part of the twentieth century, the small group of revolutionaries who became the Russian Bolsheviks developed an alternative theory of civil society. Burke, Tocqueville, and even Russian intellectuals believed that civil society was fundamental to democracy; Lenin believed that the destruction of civil society was crucial to totalitarian dictatorship. But by attempting to control every aspect of society, totalitarian regimes would eventually turn every aspect of society into a potential source of dissent, as in the cases of Czechoslovakia and Poland. Yet in many other societies heavily influenced by Soviet ideology—those in Belarus, Central Asia, China, Cuba, parts of Africa, and much of the Arab world—those in power remain attached to the old Bolshevik idea that independent civic institutions are a threat to the state.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 21-27
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-19
Open Access
No
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