Professor Argentieri Reviews Serhii Plokhii

On August 14, 2016, Political Science Professor Federigo Argentieri published a lengthy review of Harvard historian Serhii Plokhii’s recent book The Last Empire – The Final Days of the Soviet Union  in “La Lettura,” the weekly cultural supplement of Italy’s main daily Corriere della Sera.

Twenty five years ago, the sudden, unexpected, yet almost entirely peaceful collapse of the USSR was the result of multiple factors, including the unresolved power dichotomy between Soviet president Gorbachev and Russian president Yeltsin, along with their respective relations with the Bush Sr. administration. The role of Ukraine’s refusal to support the survival of the crumbling Union has generally been overlooked, and this is precisely the point made by Plokhii: ultimately it was Ukraine, with its unshakable desire for independence, that emptied all efforts to keep the USSR together.