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Soviet Imperialism

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Post 09 Jan 2014, 13:49
How did people in the USSR feel about soviet imperialism?
I understand that they were taught that imperialism was a bad thing and something that only capitalist nations engaged in. But the USSR was just as bad as the West and I accept that there either was an official explanation that explained why what they were doing was a) not imperialism and b) was a good thing. Or else it simply was not mentioned. But, what did the man and woman in the street think about it?
Post 09 Jan 2014, 21:45
Soviet Union was never imperialist. Social-imperialism is a retarded concept designed to justify Beijing trying to replace Moscow.
Post 09 Jan 2014, 22:36
Did the Soviet Union benefit that much from its “satellites?” Considering how much money, material, weapons, and expertise the Soviet Union poured into other socialist nations, I am not sure if the Soviets got a good return on investment.

In any event, I don’t see Soviet foreign policy as being imperialistic in the same sense that the old European powers were with their colonies. Perhaps you could compare Soviet foreign policy to U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War in that each side preferred to have allies instead of direct imperial rule over overseas territories.
Post 09 Jan 2014, 22:49
There were similar such "joint ventures" in other countries and their purpose was generating extra profits for the USSR and taking control over the most important monopolies in E. Europe and thus subjugating the economies of these countries.
The USSR certainly exploited people's democracies after the war. Which was one of the reasons for, f.ex., the Tito-Stalin split in 1948.

Considering how much money, material, weapons, and expertise the Soviet Union poured into other socialist nations, I am not sure if the Soviets got a good return on investment.

Most people's democracies were more developed than the USSR or at least not much behind it.
Post 10 Jan 2014, 04:12

Thank you for the information. But what about Soviet aid to non-European socialist regimes and movements such as Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Afghanistan and other countries outside of Europe? Did the Soviets really exploit these countries? Did they receive more than they invested?

I honestly do not know, but I have encountered some arguments that aid to socialist states was a drain on the Soviet economy and one of the factors behind the stagnation of the Soviet economy. It is basically part of the greater argument which states that trying to keep up with the United States was a major drain on the Soviet economy and one of the reasons for the collapse of the USSR.
Post 10 Jan 2014, 10:40
Here's an example of how they assisted the developing oil economy of Syria to become a major supplier without interfering with internal affairs. I am sure there are other examples of technicians and specialists helping develop other parts of the global economy for mutual benefit.

pp. 142-3 of Klinghoffer "The Soviet Union and International Oil Politics" 1977 Columbia University Press, New York wrote:
Syria was traditionally a net importer of oil, but with Soviet help it became self-sufficient and is now a net exporter. Soviet oil sales to Syria began in the mid-fifties, and by 1959 Syria was 58.5 percent dependent on Soviet oil supplies. Soviet deliveries continued, but by 1971 they had fallen to an infinitesmal level as Syrian oil production had increased. In 1972, Syria began to sell crude oil to the Soviet Union, supplying 315,000 tons in 1972 and 247,000 in 1973. Some of this oil was marketed by the Soviets in Western Europe.

The Soviet Union assisted in the development of the Syrian oil industry, with the aim of reducing Western economic control. At the same time, socialism was encouraged. Oil enterprises in Syria and the IPC pipeline are now state-owned (1977). In 1957, the Soviet Union agreed to drill test wells, provide equipment, and train Syrian technicians while Czechoslovakia contracted to build the Homs refinery. In 1959, the Soviets found oil at Karachuk and some new deposits at Suwaidiyah,and in 1964 they agreed to build oil storage tanks in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia and Homs. In 1965, they contracted to develop the Suwaidiyah oil fields and production began in 1968. By 1971, there were 200 Soviet oil experts in Syria, and Soviet involvement has remained at a high level. Syrian-Soviet oil relations have grown alongside the very close political ties between these two states, and Soviet oil assistance to the Syrians is based more on good will than on any desire by the Soviets to import Syrian oil. The amount purchased by the Soviet Union is minimal and unnecessary but, for the Syrians, Soviet aid in transporting and marketing oil is of much greater importance."---
Post 10 Jan 2014, 11:25
The Soviets learnt, to their detriment, that the costs of an empire eventually outweigh the benefits. Now the European powers learnt that too and got rid of theirs. I’m not sure how convincing the argument that, it’s can’t be imperialism because it cost the soviets more than they recouped. Hmmmm, I’m sure you would not let the imperialist powers use that argument, if they could prove the same.
But export of capital is imperialism at its highest stage, at least that is what Lenin said, so lending countries money is imperialism.
Post 10 Jan 2014, 13:19
Frankly, I don't give a rat's arse about what Lenin said! What are you saying?
The export of capital investments that make a profit return solely for the investors in the country of the capital's origin, levied by lower wages and costs, perhaps also lesser labour regulations, is imperialist, and that is how international capital operates. To argue that the Soviet Union operated like this is simply ridiculous.
Post 10 Jan 2014, 20:05
The conditions under which the 'Soviet Empire' came to be must be taken into consideration. Speaking frankly the only countries that suffered in some sense from Soviet political imperialism were in Eastern Europe; this was the result of the onset of the Cold War, where Stalin replied to increasing hostility to Leftist forces in the West and to the Soviet Union with support for the gradual imposition of ML regimes throughout Eastern Europe. Outside of Eastern Europe, there was little the Soviets could do to force countries to take a certain path of political and socioeconomic development, due to the limits of their political and military power projection abilities, and the lack of economic carrot and stick mechanics used by Western imperialist states in the post-colonial world.

Even in Eastern Europe it should be remembered that there were countries that could break away (Albania, Romania) or create their own distinct versions of socialism (Hungary's Goulash socialism comes to mind). The Eastern European leadership's general rejection of the counterrevolutionary reforms in the USSR also shows the level to which they sought political independence from harmful policy. It is true that without Soviet support, and because of both external and internal pressures, the Eastern Bloc quickly collapsed. It is difficult to have imagined any other outcome, given that these states were surrounded by all sides by forces passively and actively 'encouraging' reform and counterrevolution.

As for the argument that the Soviets were economically exploiting Eastern Europe, there is a grain of truth in this only in the early post-war period, where the USSR extracted economic reparations from countries that had participated in the invasion of the USSR. By the 1960s the USSR was subsidizing East European economies economically and militarily. Even in the case of Romania, a country that was once a prosperous net oil exporter, and a headache to Soviet geostrategists, the USSR was began subsidizing the economy from the mid-1970s on (though to a lesser extent than the rest of the Eastern Bloc, for obvious political reasons). When it comes to the rest of the world, one of the Soviets' main goals was to do all they could to throw a wrench in the core-periphery system of exploitation. It is for this reason that the majority of Soviet economic aid went to building up heavy industry, and to improving nations' capacity to refine the natural resources they had into finished or semi-finished products.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 13:55
Yet it was clear that the populations of Eastern Europe did not want the Soviets there! As once the soviet tanks and soldiers left, what did the population do? Rise up and overthrow the regimes that were imposed upon them. So only threw might could the soviets keep those regimes within their control. Sure sounds like imperialism to me. You can’t claim they were good for the population as 90% of those ruled were unhappy with the situation.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 14:40
Uhm, the formerly Soviet army withdrew from Warsaw Pact states in 1992-1993, sorry kiddo.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 14:46
Nah, enough were withdrawn to embolden the population of those states to over throw their grotesque leaders.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 14:58
Do you have any evidence for this claim or are you just talking out of your ass?
Post 13 Jan 2014, 15:07
Ja, the USSR had removed enough of its military, but left some behind, I agree and that was disbanded in the years you give. But there was a mass withdrawal beginning in 1989 from Eastern Europe.
They posed no threat to those protesters, once the Warsaw pact regimes realised that they could not count on their support they realised the game was up!
Their only option was to open fire and massacre the 10 000s of protestors out in the streets. Wisely they choose to step down.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 15:10
So you're talking out of your ass, got it. Toot-toot!
Post 13 Jan 2014, 15:28
Then if I got that wrong and the workers of Eastern Europe rose up and openly defied their oppressors then I can only salute their courage and increase my love for them.
What I should have said was that once the regimes of Eastern Europe, could no longer rely on the intervention of the Soviet army, collapsed in the face of popular pressure, fuelled by years of oppression.
The ruling classes of say, East Germany, who have never hidden how ruthless they were in the past, even they realised that short of a bloodbath, they had to hand over power to the masses. It was either that or they would have ended up hanging from a lamppost.
Post 13 Jan 2014, 15:51
Nice Hollywood ending there. Who are you going to cast as the Champion of Freedom™ then, Steve Buscemi?
Post 20 Jan 2014, 13:06
Erichs_Pastry_Chef wrote:
Nice Hollywood ending there. Who are you going to cast as the Champion of Freedom™ then, Steve Buscemi?

Maybe I should hire some writers and directors from the old USSR, heck they knew all about happy endings. It was obligatory to have one in socialist realism and as Barry Norman would say “why not”. Who wants to leave the cinema depressed?
I fancy casting Tom Selleck as Lech Walesa. Both have cool moustaches.
Post 20 Jan 2014, 16:11
Yami, you don't know what the frag you're talking about when it comes to Soviet cinema, so kindly shut the frag up about it. You don't even have a good excuse nowadays. This isn't the 1980s, when Americans only heard about Soviet society in Wendy's commercials; this is the 21st century, with dozens of films available, subtitled and free on YouTube. Having a difference of opinion is one thing, talking out of your ass, as Kirov put it, is something else.
Post 20 Jan 2014, 21:26
Though you have to admit that Soviet movies weren't even close to honestly portraying negative aspects of the society compared to f. ex. Hollywood.
The first films about the GULAG didn't appear, i think, till the late 80s. In the US you have several semi-decent films about, say, those 1992 LA riots alone.
Say what you want about "chernukha", artistically it's of little worth but it's the first time in the history of Soviet cinema that such negative sides of life in the USSR were shown in movies in such a manner. That's still better than the Stalinist days where "life has become better and more cheerful" was the slogan of the day in music, films and literature with horrible crimes and the denunciation mania going on at the same time. It's a sign of maturity to be open about whatever that is wrong with your society.
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