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Soviet Imperialism

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Soviet Imperialism


The informal term "Soviet Empire" is used by critics of the Soviet Union to refer to that country's perceived imperialist foreign policy during the Cold War. These nations were independent countries with separate governments that set their own policies, but those policies had to remain within certain limits decided by the Soviet Union. Failure to stay within the limits could result in military intervention by the Warsaw Pact. Countries in this situation are often called satellite states. This arrangement was always unofficial.

Though the Soviet Union was not ruled by an emperor and declared itself anti-imperialist, critics[1][2] argue that it exhibited tendencies common to historic empires. Some scholars hold that the Soviet Union was a hybrid entity containing elements common to both multinational empires and nation states.[1] It has also been argued that the USSR practiced colonialism as did other imperial powers.[3]

Influence

The Soviet Empire is considered to have included the following:[4][5]

Soviet Union The Soviet Union and its satellite states

These countries were the closest allies of the Soviet Union. They were members of the Comecon, a Soviet-led economic community founded in 1949. In addition, the ones located in Eastern Europe were also members of the Warsaw Pact. They were sometimes called the Eastern bloc in English and were widely viewed as Soviet satellite states.

 North Korea was a Soviet ally,[6] but always followed a highly isolationist foreign policy and therefore it did not join the Comecon or any other international organization of communist states.

Soviet involvement in the Third World

Some countries in the Third World had pro-Soviet governments during the Cold War. In the political terminology of the Soviet Union, these were "countries moving along the socialist road of development", as opposed to the more advanced "countries of developed socialism", which were mostly located in Eastern Europe, but also included Vietnam and Cuba. Most received some aid, either military or economic, from the Soviet Union, and were influenced by it to varying degrees. Sometimes, their support for the Soviet Union eventually stopped, for various reasons; in some cases the pro-Soviet government lost power, in other cases the pro-Soviet forces were overthrown by military coups promoted by the United States (such as in Chile and Brazil), in some cases the pro-Soviet forces gained power by military aid from the Soviet Union (such as in Vietnam), while in other cases the same government remained in power but ended its alliance with the Soviet Union.


Some of these countries were not communist states. They are marked in italic.

Communist states opposed to the Soviet Union

Some communist states were openly opposed to the Soviet Union and many of its policies. Though their forms of government may have been similar, they were completely sovereign from the USSR and held only formal ties. Relations were often tense, sometimes even to the point of armed conflict.

See also

References

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