Leon Aron, Resident Scholar & Director of Russian Studies
Dr. Aron's forthcoming book, "Roads to the Temple," addresses the alleged-mystery of the Soviet collapse. Using published Russian writings of the late 1980s, the book offers the first history-of-ideas approach to the upheaval, arguing that the "collapse" was actually a successful, values-based revolt against state-owned morality and state ownership of economy and politics. This anti-Communist uprising was inspired and shaped by ideas and ideals that led to a national revulsion over the regime's immorality and a desire for national moral renewal based on political and economic liberty. Thus this book is not only a product of innovative scholarship–it is also inspirational in its message that moral virtue is inextricably linked to economic and political freedom. Upon the book's publication, Dr. Aron will organize a conference on the role of morality and values in revolutions, particularly in the latest Russian revolution, the "Arab Spring" revolts in the Middle East, and potential uprisings in China and Iran. The Institute will live-stream the event, post online its video and an interview with Dr. Aron, and disseminate the book's ideas through an advertising and dissemination campaign. Dr. Aron will also pen four related op-eds, post book excerpts on pro-reform websites, lead a seminar at AEI's Summer Institute, and deliver three lectures or panel presentations discussing Russia's values-based revolution and lessons for the present day. The book's messages are as important today as 20 years ago and have the potential to multiply the project's impact far beyond academia. The rejection of the regime's immorality and the desire to lead honorable, dignified lives as citizens and human beings again have become the rallying cries of anti-authoritarian revolutions that have swept across the Middle East. The Foundation's support would help AEI disseminate this message, inspiring leaders of current anti-authoritarian regimes that a values-based revolt can succeed.