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New Left Review I/108, March-April 1978

Ernest Mandel

On the Nature of the Soviet State

The sixtieth anniversary of the Russian revolution was celebrated this year. [*] This interview with Ernest Mandel was conducted by Denis Berger for Critique Communiste No. 18–19, November–December 1977, a special issue commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It is translated here with thanks. It was also the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed, which analysed the Soviet Union as a degenerate workers’ state. Many historic events have occurred during the past four decades. We have seen the maintenance and relative stabilization of the Soviet bureaucracy, and the emergence—in a variety of historical conditions—of other bureaucratic régimes. What, then, is the validity of Trotsky’s analysis forty years on? How has the Trotskyist movement added to it, and how has the theory stood up to the test of events?

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