Soviet Citizen Participation on the Eve of Democratization

Donna L. Bahry, Brian D. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


We reassess the debate over Soviet citizen politics in the USSR during the Brezhnev era. We argue the need for a more complex model of citizen participation in the USSR before Gorbachev if we are to have an accurate baseline for evaluating changes in regime-society relations. We examine the connections between individual attitudes and individual behavior and show that political participation under the “old regime” was not nearly as one-dimensional and devoid of effect as many previous researchers (and current Soviet leaders) have described it. Many forms of political participation in the Soviet Union before Gorbachev did not fit the stereotype of a psychologically disengaged citizenry driven to participate only by coercion, a desire to conform, or a quest for particularized benefits from public officials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-847
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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