The interaction between Sovietology and comparative politics has been a continuing subject of discussion and controversy for both area studies specialists and social scientists. The break-up of the Soviet Union has in many respects both changed and intensified this debate. Drawing on an analysis of Western scholars' writings on these questions, the author argues that the post-Soviet moment provides an opportunity to better integrate comparative theories and methods into research on the Soviet successor states. Specifically, the introduction of explicit empirical comparisons between the Soviet system and other kinds of states would be useful to gain insight into the problems of communist, post-communist, and non-communist systems alike, perhaps revealing contemporary political dilemmas that transcend regime type.

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