U.S.S.R. and communism historical discussion.
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Soviet cogitations: 455
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Nov 2010, 01:24
Post 02 Feb 2011, 22:20
In what way was India connected to the soviet union and to what extend was it socialist ?
I heard that some provinces were ruled by the communist party and that the soviet union helped alot with building up the country . I also met an Indian nightshop owner who fluently spoke russian and told me that he had studied in moscow
We need to make revolution so our kids wont grow up in corporate prostitution
Sky was the limit. Then the communists came!
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Soviet cogitations: 4953
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Post 02 Feb 2011, 22:35
Unless things have changed recently, I believe the Communist Party is in power in several states in India right now. I've never gone to the trouble to find out if they are anything more than social democrats calling themselves communists though. There is also a Maoist insurgency in India. It's growing in strength in rural areas.

I don't know a whole lot about the relationship with the USSR so I'll leave that for someone else to comment on. I think India joined the non-aligned movement and later sided with the USSR to the extent it did out of pragmatism. Tensions with China and Pakistan would have helped this along.
Soviet cogitations: 1533
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Party Member
Post 02 Feb 2011, 23:20
India was part of the non-aligned movement and had always maintained good relations with the Soviets, partially as a response to the Sino-Soviet split. The first significant event would take place during the Sino-Indian War of 1962, when the Soviets as well as the U.S. lent their support to India. The highpoint of Sino-Indian relations would occur during the Gandhi/Brezhnev era. India and the Soviets signed a treaty in 1971 which would make way for closer military cooperation.
We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
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Soviet cogitations: 2880
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Nov 2005, 17:55
Party Bureaucrat
Post 06 Feb 2011, 07:43
Throughout the first 40 years of India's history, India's ties to the USSR were quite close, reaching its height in the 1970s with the Treaty mentioned above. Overall, it can be said that the relationship between the two nations was quite exemplary, as both nations supported each others' controversial actions on the world stage, and the Soviet Union gave India much economic assistance (credit with limited terms, seed financing for public sector enterprises and universities), technology (power plant and factory construction, planes, tanks, tactical weapons), training programs for workers, etc. while respecting India's autonomy with respect to foreign policy. India, while nominally a non-aligned nation, generally leaned towards supporting the USSR. The close relationship made sense, considering the USSR and India were large multiethnic entities fighting centuries of underdevelopment, adversity, and imperialism, and they shared a common mistrust of the West.

At first, the relationship was distant, as Zhdanov's view of the world firmly placed India as a British/American outpost. Relations grew much warmer after Zhdanov died, and really kicked off after each respective leader visited the other nation around 1955, with economic assistance to India's public sector growing enormously; however, until 1971, the relationship was officially neutral. India, after all, was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and did not intend to cut off its contacts with the West, and the USSR's main partner in Asia was still China (whose hostility toward India was not known until 1962). During India's border wars in the 60s, the USSR maintained a stance of neutrality, as an honest broker, first in the 1962 war with China and then in the 1965 war with Pakistan, although it helped on both occasions. The 1971 treaty sealed the deal officially, with the USSR becoming India's largest trading partner.

As for the socialist connection, it gets a little complicated. India's independence movement did not officially have wider goals beyond removing British political control, but the vanguard of the movement had socialists and Soviet sympathizers among its ranks, notably India's 1st Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Having attended Cambridge during the rise of the Fabian movement, and later having attending Comintern-sponsored anti-imperialist conferences in Europe and attending the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution in Moscow in 1927, Nehru had a clear admiration of the Soviet Union, its revolution, its affirmative action policies, and its rapid economic development. Consequently, as Prime Minister, he sought to emulate the Five-Year Plans, establish labor laws and practices to maintain full employment, address the National Question using methods similar to Joseph Stalin's (linguistic autonomy in states, affirmative action for schedule tribes and castes) and generally maintain personal connections with Soviet technocrats. I believe it was Nehru who coined the term "commanding heights of the economy", claiming that this should be nationalized and be in the hands of the public. However, Nehru had to contend with powerful capitalist interests in his ruling Congress Party, lingering dependence on the West, and strong religious institutions that he did not have any resolve to break, so ultimately Nehru's course for India lay in a mixed economy. The biggest affront to socialism he made was to allow the continuation of the License Raj from the era of British rule, which allowed private enterprises to consolidate in the hands of a few wealthy families (the Tatas, the Birlas, etc.), turning India into a chaotic mutation of the Japanese or South Korean economic systems. Shastri and Indira Gandhi continued this system, and it wasn't until Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1988 that India liberalized its economy and shifted rightward and Westward. The impending collapse of the USSR put an end to Indian half-socialism, leaving India prostrate in front of the IMF in 1991, resulting in India becoming the Dickensian society it is today.

The mainstream Communist Party of India was historically strong, but had to contend with the natural strength of the Congress Party as the party that won independence and claimed Nehru and Indira Gandhi as its leaders. Given Congress' original leftward lean, the USSR generally supported Congress, and on many occasions asked the CPI to support Congress in the interest of wider Indo-Soviet relations, but on other occasions the CPI provided needed opposition to steer Congress towards socialism. Ironically, while Nehru was alive, the CPI was a thorn on his side, but today, the CPI is the only mainstream party upholding Nehru's legacy. The CPI did have a crisis of identity after the war with China and after the Sino-Soviet split, splitting into the CPI (Marxist) and CPI (Marxist-Leninst). CPI (M) had and still has strong influence in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, and Tripura. They are certainly still in power in Kerala (and Tripura, I believe), but they lost significant in West Bengal after a dispute in 2007 over issues of land acquisition from farmers to construct a Tata automobile plant. The CPI parties were crucial to the ruling Congress-dominated coalition in the Center (called the UPA or United Progressive Alliance) between 2004 and 2007, but with the US-India nuclear deal, the CPI parties left the coalition, and failed to get the vote of no confidence against current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, so they are not as strong at the moment.

"History is a set of lies agreed upon."
--Napoleon Bonaparte
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