Brezhnev Doctrine

The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by Sergei Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article entitled Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.[1] Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party on November 13, 1968,[2] which stated:

When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.

This doctrine was announced to retroactively justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 that ended the Prague Spring, along with earlier Soviet military interventions, such as the invasion of Hungary in 1956. These interventions were meant to put an end to liberalization efforts and uprisings that had the potential to compromise Soviet hegemony inside the Eastern Bloc, which was considered by the Soviet Union to be an essential defensive and strategic buffer in case hostilities with NATO were to break out.

In practice, the policy meant that only limited independence of the satellite states' communist parties was allowed and that no socialist country would be allowed to compromise the cohesiveness of the Eastern Bloc in any way. That is, no country could leave the Warsaw Pact or disturb a ruling communist party's monopoly on power. Implicit in this doctrine was that the leadership of the Soviet Union reserved, for itself, the power to define "socialism" and "capitalism". Following the announcement of the Brezhnev Doctrine, numerous treaties were signed between the Soviet Union and its satellite states to reassert these points and to further ensure inter-state cooperation. The principles of the doctrine were so broad that the Soviets even used it to justify their military intervention in the non-Warsaw Pact nation of Afghanistan in 1979. The Brezhnev Doctrine stayed in effect until it was ended with the Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980–1981.[3] Mikhail Gorbachev refused to use military force when Poland held free elections in 1989 and Solidarity defeated the Polish United Workers' Party.[4] It was superseded by the facetiously named Sinatra Doctrine in 1989, alluding to the Frank Sinatra song "My Way".[5]

Origins

1956 Hungarian crisis

The period between 1953–1968 was saturated with dissidence and reformation within the Soviet satellite states. 1953 saw the death of Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, followed closely by Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" denouncing Stalin in 1956. This denouncement of the former leader led to a period of the Soviet Era known commonly as "De-Stalinization." Under the blanket reforms of this process, Imre Nagy came to power in Hungary as the new Prime Minister, taking over for Mátyás Rákosi. Almost immediately Nagy set out on a path of reform. Police power was reduced, collectivized farms were breaking apart, industry and food production shifted and religious tolerance was becoming more prominent. These reforms shocked the Hungarian Communist Party. Nagy was quickly overthrown by Rákosi in 1955, and stripped of his political livelihood. Shortly after this coup, Khrushchev signed the Belgrade Declaration which stated "separate paths to socialism were permissible within the Soviet Bloc."[6] With hopes for serious reform just having been extinguished in Hungary, this declaration was not received well by the Hungarians.[6] Tensions quickly mounted in Hungary with demonstrations and calls for not only the withdrawal of Soviet troops, but for a Hungarian withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact as well. By October 23 Soviet forces landed in Budapest. A chaotic and bloody squashing of revolutionary forces lasted from the October 24 until November 7.[7] Although order was restored, tensions remained on both sides of the conflict. Hungarians resented the end of the reformation, and the Soviets wanted to avoid a similar crisis from occurring again anywhere in the socialist camp.

A peaceful Brezhnev Doctrine

When the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 ended, the Soviets adopted the mindset that governments supporting both Communism and capitalism must coexist, and more importantly, build relations. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union called for a peaceful coexistence, where the war between the United States and Soviet Union would come to a close. This ideal, further stressed that all people are equal, and own the right to solve the problems of their own countries themselves. The idea was that in order for both states to peacefully coexist, neither country can exercise the right to get involved in each other's internal affairs. The Soviets did not want the Americans getting into their business, as the Americans did not want the Soviets in theirs. While this idea was brought up following the events of Hungary, they were not put into effect for a great deal of time. This is further explained in the Renouncement section.[8]

1968 Prague Spring

Notions of reform had been slowly growing in Czechoslovakia since the early-mid 1960s. However, once the Stalinist President Antonín Novotný resigned as head of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in January 1968, the Prague Spring began to take shape. Alexander Dubček replaced Novotný as head of the party, initially thought a friend to the Soviet Union. It was not long before Dubček began making serious liberal reforms. In an effort to establish what Dubček called "developed socialism", he instituted changes in Czechoslovakia to create a much more free and liberal version of the socialist state.[9] Aspects of a market economy were implemented, travel abroad became easier for citizens, state censorship loosened, the power of the secret police was limited, and steps were taken to improve relations with the west. As the reforms piled up, the Kremlin quickly grew uneasy as they hoped to not only preserve socialism within Czechoslovakia, but to avoid another Hungarian-style crisis as well. Soviet panic compounded in March of ’68 when student protests erupted in Poland and Antonín Novotný resigned as the Czechoslovak President. March 21 Yuri Andropov, the KGB Chairman, issued a grave statement concerning the reforms taking place under Dubček. "The methods and forms by which the work is progressing in Czechoslovakia remind one very much of Hungary. In this outward appearance of chaos…there is a certain order. It all began like this in Hungary also, but then came the first and second echelons, and then, finally the social democrats."[10]

Ben Ginsburg-Hix sought clarification from Dubček on March 21, with the Politburo convened, on the situation in Czechoslovakia. Eager to avoid a similar fate as Imre Nagy, Dubček reassured Brezhnev that the reforms were totally under control and not on a similar path to those seen in 1956 in Hungary.[10] Despite Dubček's assurances, other socialist allies grew uneasy by the reforms taking place in an Eastern European neighbor. Namely, the Ukrainians were very alarmed by the Czechoslovak deviation from standard socialism. The First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party called on Moscow for an immediate invasion of Czechoslovakia in order to stop Dubček's "socialism with a human face" from spreading into Ukraine and sparking unrest.[11] By May 6 Brezhnev condemned Dubček's system, declaring it a step toward "the complete collapse of the Warsaw Pact."[11] After three months of negotiations, agreements, and rising tensions between Moscow and Czechoslovakia, the Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion began on the night of August 20, 1968 which was to be met with great Czechoslovak discontent and resistance for many months into 1970.[9]

Formation of the Doctrine

Brezhnev realized the need for a shift from Nikita Khrushchev's idea of "different paths to socialism" towards one that fostered a more unified vision throughout the socialist camp.[12] "Economic integration, political consolidation, a return to ideological orthodoxy, and inter-Party cooperation became the new watchwords of Soviet bloc relations."[13] On November 12, 1968 Brezhnev stated that "[w]hen external and internal forces hostile to socialism try to turn the development of a given socialist country in the direction of … the capitalist system ... this is no longer merely a problem for that country's people, but a common problem, the concern of all socialist countries." Brezhnev's statement at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers Party effectively classified the issue of sovereignty as less important than the preservation of international socialism.[14] While no new doctrine had been officially announced, it was clear that Soviet intervention was imminent if Moscow perceived any country to be at risk of jeopardizing the integrity of socialism.

Brezhnev Doctrine in practice

The vague, broad nature of the Brezhnev Doctrine allowed application to any international situation the USSR saw fit. This is clearly evident not only through the Prague Spring in 1968, and the indirect pressure on Poland from 1980–81, but also in the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan starting in the 1970s.[15] Any instance which caused the USSR to question whether or not a country was becoming a risk to international socialism, the use of military intervention was, in Soviet eyes, not only justified, but necessary.[16]

The Doctrine seen in action in Afghanistan in 1979

The Soviet government's desire to link its foreign policy to the Brezhnev Doctrine was evoked again when it ordered a military intervention in Afghanistan in 1979. This was perhaps the last chapter of this doctrine's saga. The political uneasiness in Afghanistan at the time made it the perfect target for intervention. Strategically, it was in the Soviets’ best interests to make their way to Afghanistan if they wanted to expand their communist influence even further.[8]

In April of that year, Afghanistan had two political groups facing deep struggle in efforts to get along with one another. It was this notion that provided Moscow a soviet government in Afghanistan. Two groups that worked together as a part of this process were known as Khalq and Parcham. The Khalq in particular, held communist ideologies. In the fight for power, the communist Khalq became the leading force in the Afghanistan homeland, with Parcham getting pushed out of the equation in a falling-out. Along with Parcham, their leader, Babrak Karmal was sent away. He did so to fill as the ambassador for the government in relations with eastern Europe. This was a huge victory for the Soviets, because they now had infrastructural power in Afghanistan. Islamic fundamentalists took issue with the Communist party taking charge. In result, they attempted to overthrow the Khalq leader, Hafizullah Amin. However, the fundamentalists’ leader, Nur Muhammad Taraki, died instead. This was just one side effect of the failure of the fundamentalists’ rebellion.[8]

Exploiting this turmoil, the Soviets, on December 27, 1979, had somewhere around 5,000 troops in Afghanistan. During his talks with the Soviets during his time as Ambassador, Karmal coordinated with the Soviet government. It was this coordination that led to both Soviet soldiers and airborne units attacking the Amin-lead Afghanistan government. In light of this attack, Amin ended up dead. The Soviets took it upon themselves to place their ally, former-Ambassador Babrak Karmal as the new lead of the government in Afghanistan.[8]

The Soviet Union, once again, fell back to the Brezhnev Doctrine for rationale, claiming that it was both morally and politically justified. The Soviets also begged that it was out of protection of their Southern border. It was also explained by the Soviets that they owed help to their friend and ally Babrak Karmal. While the real reason seems to be for the sake of their own expansion, the world will never really know their exact intentions.[8]

Renunciation

The long lasting struggle of the war in Afghanistan made the Soviets realize that their reach and influence was in fact limited. "[The war in Afghanistan] had shown that socialist internationalism and Soviet national interests were not always compatible."[16] Tensions between the USSR and Czechoslovakia since 1968, as well as Poland in 1980, proved the inefficiencies inherent in the Brezhnev Doctrine. Although the Soviet Union wanted to preserve socialism in its allies, sometimes that proved easier said than done. Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika finally opened the door for Soviet Bloc countries and republics to make reforms without Soviet intervention.

On May 29, 1972, it was implied in an agreement between Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev, that the Brezhnev Doctrine was to be repealed from the Soviets' agenda. This was made possible because the Doctrine allegedly violated the sovereign equality of the socialist states that they were trying to manage. As the meeting between both political figures went on, the USSR accepted the agreement believing that the United States was planning to repeal the Monroe Doctrine. This section of the Moscow Declarations, explained that as long as one country remained in accordance with the removal of their own explorational doctrine, then the other must abide as well. However, if that agreement was infringed upon, then the other country withheld the right to come back to their own doctrine, and enforce it as such. This was a sigh of relief for both the Middle East and other regions that fell victim to the Brezhnev Doctrine, and Latin America. Latin Americans rejoiced as that meant they were free of situations like the incident that happened in the Dominican Republic.[17]

The ultimate goal of this renouncement of both doctrines was to enact the idea of peaceful coexistence. However, the United States time and again had shown that while they agreed to the idea, they fled from any scenario that dealt with it. Brezhnev believed that while they were trying to exist peacefully together, it would not be possible. He was a firm believer that the two opposing ideas from both countries on matters such as social class would never mesh. Despite that thinking, the Soviet Union strongly pushed for the idea of peaceful coexistence to become a part of the United Nations Charter. The United States continually insisted that this notion should not be allowed to happen. Many critics of this political behavior believe this to be one of the United States' most stubborn actions of Cold War time.[17]

Post-Brezhnev Doctrine

With the agreement to terminate the Brezhnev Doctrine, later came on a new leader for the Soviets—Mikhail Gorbachev. His were much more relaxed. This is most likely due to the fact that Brezhnev Doctrine was no longer at the disposal of the Soviet Union. This had a major effect on the way that the Soviets carried out their new mentality when dealing with countries they once tried to control. This was best captured by Gorbachev's involvement with a group by the name of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). This organization lessens the control that the Soviet's had on all other partners of the agreement. This notion provided other countries that were once oppressed under communist intervention, to go about their own political reform. This actually carried over internally as well. In fact, the Soviet Union's biggest problem after the removal of the Brezhnev Doctrine, was the Khrushchev Dilemma. This did not address how to stop internal political reform, but how to tame the physical violence that comes along with it. It had become clear that the Soviet Union was beginning to loosen up.[18]

It is possible to pinpoint the renouncement of the Brezhnev Doctrine as to what started the end for the Soviet Union. Countries that were once micromanaged now could do what they wanted to politically, because the Soviets could no longer try to conquer where they saw fit. With that, the Soviet Union began to collapse. While the communist agenda had caused infinite problems for other countries, it was the driving force behind the Soviet Union staying together. After all, it seems that the removal of the incentive to conquer, and forcing of communism upon other nations, defeated the one thing Soviet Russia had always been about, the expansion of Communism.[18]

With the fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine, came the fall of the man, Brezhnev himself, the share of power in the Warsaw Pact, and perhaps the final moment for the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall. The Brezhnev Doctrine coming to a close, was perhaps the beginning of the end for one of the strongest empires in the world's history, the Soviet Union.[18]

In other Socialist countries

The Soviet Union was not the only Socialist country to intervene militarily in fellow Socialist countries. Vietnam deposed the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War of 1978, which was followed by a revenge Chinese invasion of Vietnam in the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979.

Criticisms

Brezhnev Doctrine as a UN violation

This doctrine was even furthermore a problem in the view of the United Nations. The UN's first problem was that it permits use of force. This is a clear violation of Article 2, Chapter 4 of the United Nations Charter which states, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” When international law conflicts with the Charter, the Charter has precedent. It is this, that makes the Brezhnev Doctrine illegal.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ Navrátil, Jaromír, ed. (1998). The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader. Central European University Press. pp. 502–503. ISBN 9639116157.
  2. ^ Hasmath, Reza (2012). "The Utility of Regional Jus Cogens". American Political Science Association Annual Meeting (New Orleans, USA), August 30–September 2: 8. SSRN 1366803.
  3. ^ Wilfried Loth. "Moscow, Prague and Warsaw: Overcoming the Brezhnev Doctrine." Cold War History 1, no. 2 (2001): 103–118.
  4. ^ Hunt 2009, p. 945
  5. ^ LAT, "'Sinatra Doctrine' at Work in Warsaw Pact, Soviet Says", Los Angeles Times, 1989-10-25.
  6. ^ a b Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  7. ^ Matthew Ouimet, (2003) The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 9-16 ISBN 0-8078-2740-1
  8. ^ a b c d e Rostow, Nicholas (1981). Law and the Use of Force by States: The Brezhnev Doctrine. Yale Journal of International Law. pp. 209–243.
  9. ^ a b Suri, Jeremi (2006-01-01). "The Promise and Failure of 'Developed Socialism': The Soviet 'Thaw' and the Crucible of the Prague Spring, 1964–1972". Contemporary European History. 15 (2): 145–146. JSTOR 20081303.
  10. ^ a b Ouimet, Matthew (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  11. ^ a b Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  12. ^ Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 60–61. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  13. ^ Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  14. ^ Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 67. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  15. ^ Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 88–97. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  16. ^ a b Ouimet, Matthew J. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-8078-2740-1.
  17. ^ a b Schwebel, Stephen M. (1971). The Brezhnev Doctrine Repealed and Peaceful Co-Existence Enacted. American Journal of International Law. pp. 816–819.
  18. ^ a b c Kramer, Mark (1989–1990). Beyond the Brezhnev Doctrine: A New Era in Soviet-East European Relations?. International Security. pp. 25–27.
  19. ^ Glazer, Stephen G, (1971). The Brezhnev Doctrine. The International Lawyer. pp. 169–179.

Bibliography

1968 Red Square demonstration

The 1968 Red Square demonstration (Russian: Демонстра́ция 25 а́вгуста 1968 го́да) took place on 25 August 1968 at Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union, to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, that occurred during the night of 20–21 August 1968, crushing the Prague Spring, a set of de-centralization reforms promoted by Alexander Dubček.

Many people over the world had protested against the suppression of the Prague spring with troops of Soviet Union and other countries of the Warsaw Pact. One such act of protest took place in Moscow, at the Red Square. The protest was held at the Lobnoye Mesto, to avoid any violation of public order that could have occurred during the demonstration. The protesters were sitting to avoid any inconvenience to ordinary citizens which might be caused by them standing, although this appears to have had little effect.

Communist Academy

The Communist Academy (Russian: Коммунистическая академия, transliterated Kommunisticheskaya akademiya) was an educational establishment based in Moscow which was intended to allow Marxists to research problems independent of, and implicitly in rivalry with, the Academy of Sciences, which long pre-existed the October Revolution and the subsequent formation of the Soviet Union.

Crime in the Soviet Union

According to Western experts, robberies, homicide and other violent crimes in the Soviet Union were less prevalent than in the United States because the Soviet Union had a larger police force and had a low occurrence of drug abuse. Corruption in the form of bribery was common, primarily due to the paucity of goods and services on the open market.

European Russia

European Russia is the western part of the Russian Federation, which is part of Eastern Europe. With a population of 110 million people, European Russia has about 77% of Russia's population, but covers less than 25% of Russia's territory. European Russia includes Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the two largest cities in Russia.

The boundaries between continents are almost exclusively determined by geography, with the one exception being that the eastern boundary of Europe is generally considered, by convention, to run along the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caucasus Mountains, the Turkish Straits. The southern part of Russia has some small areas that lie geographically south of the Caucasus Mountain range, and therefore are geographically in Asia; this territory includes the city of Sochi.

The other, eastern, part of the Russian Federation forms part of northern Asia, and is known as North Asia, also called Asian Russia or Siberia. Europe also forms a subcontinent within Eurasia,

making all of Russia a part of the Eurasian continent.

Glasnost

In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.

New political thinking

New political thinking (or simply "new thinking") was the doctrine put forth by Mikhail Gorbachev as part of his reforms of the Soviet Union. Its major elements were deideologization of international politics, abandoning the concept of class struggle, priority of universal human interests over the interests of any class, increasing interdependence of the world, mutual security based on political rather than military instruments, which constituted a significant shift from the previous principles of the Soviet foreign politics. In 1987 Gorbachev published the book Perestroika and New Political Thinking and in December 1988 he presented the doctrine of new thinking in his speech to the United Nations.The "new thinking" was of vital necessity for the Soviet Union to shut down the costly Cold War competition in order to continue internal economic reforms of perestroika.Notable steps in this direction included Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, stopped support of communist movements around the world and loosened grip over the Eastern Europe by replacing the Brezhnev Doctrine with Sinatra Doctrine.In 1990 Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace "for his leading role in the peace process".

The overall effect of these developments was the end of the Cold War, the breakdown of the Soviet Empire and ultimately of the Soviet Union itself.

Oblasts of the Soviet Union

The oblasts of the Soviet Union were second-level entities of the Soviet Union, and first-level entities of the republics of the Soviet Union.

Prague Spring

The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in

Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.

The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel. After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. This dual federation was the only formal change that survived the invasion.

The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country. The New York Times cited reports of 650,000 men equipped with the most modern and sophisticated weapons in the Soviet military catalogue. A large wave of emigration swept the nation. Resistance was mounted throughout the country, involving attempted fraternization, sabotage of street signs, defiance of curfews, etc. While the Soviet military had predicted that it would take four days to subdue the country, the resistance held out for eight months until it was finally circumvented by diplomatic maneuvers (see below). It became a high-profile example of civilian-based defense; there were sporadic acts of violence and several protest suicides by self-immolation (the most famous being that of Jan Palach), but no military resistance. Czechoslovakia remained controlled by the Soviet Union until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended the communist regime; the last Soviet troops left the country in 1991.

After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period known as "normalization": subsequent leaders attempted to restore the political and economic values that had prevailed before Dubček gained control of the KSČ. Gustáv Husák, who replaced Dubček as First Secretary and also became President, reversed almost all of the reforms. The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Sharashka

The Experimental Design Bureau (Russian: Опытное конструкторское бюро, Opytnoe konstruktorskoe bûro; ОКБ), commonly known as sharashka (Russian: шара́шка, [ʂɐˈraʂkə]; sometimes sharaga, sharazhka) was an informal name for secret research and development laboratories in the Soviet Gulag labor camp system. Etymologically, the word sharashka is derived from a Russian slang expression sharashkina kontora ("Sharashka's office", which in its turn comes from the criminal argot term sharaga (шарага) for a band of thieves, hoodlums, etc.), an ironic, derogatory term to denote a poorly organized, impromptu, or bluffing organization.

The scientists and engineers at a sharashka were prisoners picked from various camps and prisons and assigned to work on scientific and technological problems for the state. Living conditions were usually much better than in an average taiga camp, mostly because of the absence of hard labor.

The results of the research in sharashkas were usually published under the names of prominent Soviet scientists without credit given to the real authors, whose names frequently have been forgotten. Some of the scientists and engineers imprisoned in sharashkas were released during and after World War II, continuing independent careers and some becoming world-renowned.

Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980–1981

The Polish crisis of 1980–1981, associated with the emergence of the Solidarity mass movement in Poland, challenged the Soviet Union's control over its satellite states in the Eastern Bloc.For the first time however, the Kremlin abstained from military intervention, unlike on previous occasions such as the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and thus left the Polish leadership under General Wojciech Jaruzelski to impose martial law to deal with the opposition on their own.

Supreme Court of the Soviet Union

The Supreme Court of the Soviet Union (Russian: Верховный Суд СССР) was the highest court of the Soviet Union during its existence. The Supreme Court of the USSR included a Military Collegium and other elements which were not typical of supreme courts found in other countries, then or now.

Supreme Soviet

The Supreme Soviet (Russian: Верховный Совет, Verkhovny Sovet, English: literally "Supreme Council") was the common name for the legislative bodies (parliaments) of the Soviet socialist republics (SSR) in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). These soviets were modeled after the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, established in 1938, and were nearly identical. Soviet-approved delegates to the Supreme Soviets were periodically elected in unopposed elections. The first free or semi-free elections took place during perestroika in late 1980s. The soviets until then were largely rubber-stamp institutions, approving decisions handed to them by the Communist Party of the USSR or of each SSR. The soviets met infrequently (often only twice a year for only several days) and elected the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a permanent body, to act on their behalf while the soviet was not in session. Under the 1936 and 1977 Soviet Constitutions the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet served as the collective head of state of the USSR.

The Supreme Soviets also elected the Council of Ministers, an executive body. After the dissolution of the USSR in late December 1991, most of these soviets became the legislatures of independent countries.

Telephone tapping in the Eastern Bloc

Telephone tapping in the countries of the Eastern Bloc was a widespread method of the mass surveillance of the population by the secret police.

The New American Empire

The New American Empire (2004; ISBN 0-7414-1887-8) is a geopolitical book by economist Rodrigue Tremblay that analyses the causes and consequences of the political shift taking place in U.S. foreign policy at the beginning of the 21st Century.

The author discusses, from an international viewpoint, the reasons for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and why the United States now feels compelled to repudiate fifty years of multilateral cooperation in favor of a supremacist and unilateral approach to world affairs.

The book considers such topics as "Religion and politics";- "The ideological foundation of the new U.S. imperial doctrine";- Parallels between "Iraq and Kosovo";- "The Just War Theory";- "Bush and international law";- "The Project for the New American Century" and the neo-conservative agenda;- "Parallel between the Bush Doctrine and the (1968) Brezhnev Doctrine; - "Leaders against war";- "The 600-year megacycle of empires"; and, "Religion and Western civilization".

The New American Empire is divided into four parts, analyzing the strategic causes behind the 2003 Iraq War and its consequences: first, the role played by politics and religion; second, the role played by oil and military strategy; third, how the Bush Doctrine as a blueprint for U. S. world hegemony conflicts with international law; and, how the very long cycle of empires may be getting close to the end for the Western world.

There exist versions in English, French and Turkish of this book.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Vyacheslav Kochemasov

Vyacheslav Kochemasov (1918–1998) was a Russian diplomat and politician.He was the Soviet Ambassador to East Germany from 1983 till 1990. His term included the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 which effectively heralded the end, in 1990, of the German Democratic Republic. The Soviet government played a key role in this process.

Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Approximately 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Events (1964–1982)
Events (1982–1985)
Politburo members
Leaders
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