How Russia Decides to Go Nuclear
Deciphering the Way Moscow Handles Its Ultimate Weapon
There is hardly any doubt that the Soviet leadership has adopted a more flexible and more moderate foreign policy, especially vis-à-vis the Western powers. Some people already speak in terms of an "opening to the West." This change was apparently made in early 1969 and has been reflected, among other things, in the treaty between West Germany and the U.S.S.R. in August 1971; in the Berlin agreement of 1971; in President Nixon's trip to Moscow and the Soviet-American agreement signed there in May 1972; lastly and most clearly in the recent trips of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev to West Germany and to the United States. The agreements which have been concluded make it clear that this is not only a new, but a long-term policy. Moreover, the tone in which the Soviet press speaks about the West is much too moderate to be overlooked.
Any judgment or analysis of this new phase in Soviet foreign policy is hardly possible without considering the background of domestic affairs in the U.S.S.R. At first glance the situation seems curious, or even paradoxical: the moderation and flexibility which have characterized Soviet foreign policy since 1969 have had no echo in domestic affairs. The harsh internal policy which has affected all decisive aspects of Soviet society since Khrushchev's downfall has become even harsher in the last few years. This contrast between a more flexible and more moderate foreign policy vis-à-vis the West on the one hand, and a harsh internal policy on the other, has become a distinctive trait of the present Soviet system. A brief outline of the internal developments since Khrushchev's downfall and the present domestic situation in the U.S.S.R. indicates the possible causes which have motivated the Soviet leaders to adopt a more moderate policy toward the West, and the objectives which they seek to attain.
The internal development in the Soviet Union since Stalin's death has been characterized by one fundamental problem: the bureaucratic, dictatorial system inherited from Stalin is more and more of a brake on the further development of the U.S.S.R. The deep contradiction between the obsolete power structure and the new conditions, needs and goals of an expanding industrial society can no longer be overlooked. The necessity of broad reforms which would liberalize, democratize and break up antiquated power structures in order to adapt the system to the new demands of a modern society is (at least in part) recognized by some elements in the Soviet elite. What is needed is to give managers, engineers and scientists more freedom of action, to free the economy and science from the fetters of bureaucratic, Party and ideological tutelage, and to make the transition to a more modern, rational, elastic and liberal structure. This implies not only overcoming the remaining terroristic aspects of the system, but also departing from the Party's right to interfere anywhere and at any time. Terror must be replaced by the rule of law; decrees from above must be complemented from below by the collaboration and initiative of society.
All attempts to institute such reform ran-and run-up against the strong opposition of bureaucratic authoritarian groups, especially in the Party apparatus and secret police, which cling to their power and privileges and whose sole political goals consist of maintaining as much Stalinism as possible and of opposing all reforms, even the most modest.
This conflict between the necessary reforms and the power interests of the bureaucratic apparatus became especially clear in the 11-year period of de-Stalinization-1953 to 1964. If we exclude foreign policy and the power politics of that period, and limit ourselves to the basic issues in domestic affairs, it is indisputable that during these 11 years at least an attempt was made by means of a series of reforms from above to modernize and adapt the system to the problems of the Soviet Union's expanding industrial economy.
The power of the feared state security service was curbed. Hundreds of thousands of people were released from labor camps and many innocent people whom Stalin had labeled "enemies of the people" and shot were rehabilitated. The Party's control in the cultural sphere was relaxed to some degree, although not completely, producing what is known as "the thaw." Some doctrines which Stalin had proclaimed to justify his system of terror, such as "capitalist encirclement" and the "sharpening of class struggle during the period of the construction of socialism," were replaced by new doctrines which were indicative of reforms: "socialist legality," "overcoming the cult of personality," "the state of the whole people," "the Party of the whole people."
A harsh, although in some ways incomplete, condemnation of Stalin and his methods of rule was made by Khrushchev, especially in his "secret speech" at the 20th Party Congress in February 1956, and to a still greater degree at the 22nd Party Congress in October 1961. Khrushchev's condemnation was supposed to separate him from the Stalinist past and to politically prepare Soviet citizens, including Party members and functionaries, for further reforms. The announcement of a "rotation system" in October 1961, which stipulated that functionaries on all levels of the Party and state apparatuses would be replaced at regular intervals by new people, was the first attempt to loosen the calcified hierarchies of the Party and state. Finally, shortly before his downfall, Khrushchev was moving toward an economic reform which would have overcome the detailed, bureaucratic, centralized planning system; achieved a new balance between the interests of the entire state and the need to grant autonomy to individual enterprises; and allowed economic incentives to play a greater role in industry.
However, Khrushchev's de-Stalinization, conceived as a "transformation from above," ended in failure. This was largely due to the methods and style of leadership with which Khrushchev wanted to carry out his program. His mania for new experiments, his hectic and often poorly prepared reorganizations, his new "campaigns," his over-optimistic and even nearly utopian targets, his hurriedly prepared plans which were often announced without any prior agreement with the other members of the Party Presidium, frequently led to terrible confusion and aroused against him even those people who, under different circumstances, would have supported him.
Another factor was equally important: de-Stalinization-achieved by means of limited reforms from above-involved too many contradictions and, above all, was too limited to be successful. Although these reforms were not enough to solve the pressing problems of the Soviet system and to stimulate new, progressive forces in Soviet society, they were too extreme for the authoritarian, Stalinist groups, especially in the Party, secret police and to some degree in the army. These were the people who wanted to stop the de-Stalinization, to return to a harder line and to the traditions of the Stalinist era, and who played a decisive role in the downfall of Nikita Khrushchev.
The first and relatively least important change which was made after Khrushchev's downfall in October 1964 was in the style of leadership. Khrushchev's mania for hectic reorganizations and his nearly utopian goals were immediately condemned. The new government, led by Brezhnev and Kosygin (who at that time were equals) promised that in the future it would soberly analyze all deficiencies, concentrating its efforts on specific tasks.
Khrushchev's over-optimistic plans, including his promise to surpass the United States in the near future in per capita production and to attain the final stage of a Communist society by 1980, faded into the background. This departure from Khrushchev's notion of the U.S.S.R.'s future was a clear sign that the leaders believed-and still do-that this goal cannot be quickly reached.
This style of leadership-more realistic, more objective and more oriented to the present-has remained unchanged and is typical for the entire post-Khrushchev period. Sober, bureaucratic power-politicians have taken the place of the spontaneous, hectic and lively man of the people.
However, the question of which political course would be followed after Khrushchev's downfall proved to be much more problematic and important. A tug-of-war took place during the first few months, from approximately October 1964 until the spring of 1965, between those who wanted to adopt a harder policy and return to the traditions of the Stalin era and those (especially in the state and economic bureaucracies and in the moderate wing of the Party) who were inclined to continue the de-Stalinization reforms, although in a calmer, more objective manner, as though under the slogan of "Khrushchevism without Khrushchev."
The de-Stalinization did in fact continue more calmly during the first few months after Khrushchev's downfall. But this approach suddenly ended in the spring of 1965 and a shift was made to a harsher policy. The conservative forces in the Party, armed forces and secret police apparently feared that de-Stalinization could go too far and that the Kremlin leaders might lose control of it. It is also likely that the armed forces opposed any extreme criticism of Stalin's role as commander-in-chief during World War II for the sake of preserving pride in the armed forces and a sense of tradition among the soldiers. These "hawks" in domestic politics succeeded in making the spring of 1965 a turning point.
Criticism of Stalin was first reduced and then almost completely eliminated. In April 1965 the first memoirs of army generals were published in which Stalin was favorably presented, and in May 1965, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the victory of World War II, Stalin was favorably mentioned by Brezhnev. A movement began that summer to raise the defense budget, and in the fall of 1965 the first arrests of liberal intellectuals in Moscow and in the Ukraine occurred. People were no longer freed from prison camps or rehabilitated. Finally the trial of the writers Sinyavsky and Daniel in February 1966-both were condemned to long prison terms-was extremely reminiscent of the Stalin era.
After the change of course in the spring of 1965, the de-Stalinization reforms were steadily abolished and a harsher policy introduced which permeated all decisive aspects of Soviet life.
(1) The secret police, which had been curbed and often criticized during the period of de-Stalinization, was once again elevated and received new powers. The number of trials and arrests, even of people who only mildly criticized the current line, noticeably increased. The prosecution of such critics was made easier by the supplement to paragraph 190 of the criminal code in September 1966, which stipulated that any derogatory remarks regarding the Soviet government or Soviet society, either spoken or written, would be punished with prison terms of up to three years. Moreover, an increasing number of those who oppose the regime are being held in psychiatric clinics, commonly referred to as "psykhushki." The central department of the interior, which had been abolished by Khrushchev in 1960, was reestablished in the spring of 1966 under the name of "Ministry of Public Order"; it was renamed the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" ("MVD") in 1968, the same name it had had under Stalin. And finally, the inclusion of Yuri Andropov in the Politburo in April 1973 marks the first time since Beria's downfall 20 years ago that the head of the secret police has been a member of the highest body in the nation.
(2) The "thaw" has been replaced by a harsher cultural policy. Censorship is almost as severe as under Stalin. Books which had appeared legally under Khrushchev (sometimes even with his explicit approval) have been withdrawn from circulation and their authors sharply criticized. Public trials against writers-after Sinyavsky and Daniel, against Ginzburg, Galanskov, Dobrovolsky and Lashkova in January 1968-and the harsh punishments which they received, as well as the harassment of the well-known writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, underlined this trend. The purge of the editorial board of the literary journal Novy Mir, which had published important literary works during the "thaw," condemned the most gifted Soviet writers to silence. The Party's new attitude toward culture can be seen in Brezhnev's statement at the 24th Party Congress (of March-April 1971) that: "workers in literature and art are in one of the crucial sectors of the ideological struggle. The Party and the people have not tolerated and will not tolerate attempts-no matter what their origin-to blunt our ideological weapons, to stain our banner."
(3) The rotation system introduced by Khrushchev in October 1961, which stated that everyone in the Party and state hierarchies, including even top leaders, would be replaced at regular intervals, was abolished. The Party Presidium was renamed the Politburo and Brezhnev received the title of General Secretary, a title which only Stalin had held. Khrushchev's ideas of the "Party of the whole people" and the admission of many new people into the Party (about 760,000 per year during the last years of the Khrushchev era) were openly criticized. Brezhnev explained at the 24th Party Congress that "we must continue to bar a conciliatory attitude toward those who behave incorrectly." He added with satisfaction that the "Party organizations . . . have begun more resolutely to rid themselves of those who violate Party or state discipline. . . ." The gulf between Party members and the rest of the populace has been deepened by making membership in the Party more difficult, while within the Party the centralized structure has been strengthened.
(4) The economic reform begun by Khrushchev has been significantly watered down. The central economic ministries, which had been abolished during the period of de-Stalinization, have been reestablished. And the economic reform of September 1965 weakened the synthesis between central planning and autonomy on the enterprise level. It is true that some superfluous, detailed instructions of an organizational nature have been eliminated; however, the original extensive reform has been replaced by an effort to simply perfect the central planning system-an approach ironically called "Stalinism with computers" by some Russians. Even the formation of "production associations" that was announced in the spring of 1973 is more of an attempt to correct the system than to reform the economy, as was originally intended.
(5) The influence of the army in society has increased since Khrushchev's downfall. This is clearly expressed in the country's "military-patriotic education": high school and university texts on history and literature have been rewritten to emphasize military and patriotic traditions, and schoolchildren make regular, obligatory visits to the battlefields of World War II (known in the U.S.S.R. as the "Great Patriotic War"). This trend was also underlined more clearly than ever before at the 24th Party Congress. General Secretary Brezhnev announced that "monuments of combat glory have been set up in dozens of our cities and in thousands of villages" and that "magnificent monuments" decorate the battlefields of World War II. He added that "such initiatives by our young people as mass hikes to places of revolutionary, combat and labor glory and many others deserve approval."
(6) Closely tied to this is the strong emphasis on Russian nationalism. Non-Russians in the union republics are constantly urged to learn Russian, while the Russian functionaries there refuse to speak the language of the people. Graduates from schools in which teaching is done in Russian are clearly preferred to those from other schools. This policy is supplemented by the consciously planned and often politically motivated resettlement of Russians in the non-Russian union republics. A comparison of the 1970 census with that of 1959 shows that in 11 years one and a half million Russians settled in Central Asia, more than one million in the Ukraine and more than 250,000 in the Baltic republics. Brezhnev, again at the 24th Party Congress, said that "above all the Great Russian people played a role in the formation, strengthening and development" of the Soviet Union. Describing the special characteristics of Great Russians, he said that "the revolutionary energy, selflessness, diligence and profound internationalism of the Great Russian people have rightfully won them the sincere respect of all the peoples of our Socialist homeland." This was the first time since Stalin's victory toast in May 1945 that the Russian people had been elevated above the other nationalities of the U.S.S.R.-a clear sign that there will be a policy of increased Russification in the next few years.
(7) All of these developments in domestic affairs are reflected in changes in ideology. The ideological doctrines which Khrushchev used to prepare and justify his de-Stalinization-including "Socialist legality," the "state of the whole people" and especially "overcoming the cult of personality"-have disappeared. This new attitude has been clearly expressed in the ideological documents which the Central Committee issued on the major anniversaries (which have themselves been celebrated with greater pomp in the last few years than ever before). The resolutions of the Central Committee for the 50th anniversary of the Great October Revolution (November 1976), for the 100th anniversary of Lenin's birth (April 1970), and for the 5oth anniversary of the founding of the U.S.S.R. (December 1972) either completely omitted Stalin's terror, or else mentioned it only in passing. As a rule Stalin is favorably regarded today: the 90th anniversary of his birth, December 21, 1969, was commemorated with a memorial article in the press and in June 1970 a monument and bust were placed near his grave in the Kremlin wall. The era of de-Stalinization was passed over in complete silence.
Just as the condemnation of Stalin's terror was decisive for beginning, developing and justifying of de-Stalinization, so the increasingly positive evaluation of this Soviet dictator provides the basis for the ideological justification of the harsher, more authoritarian line in Soviet domestic politics.
Against the background of these internal changes the transition was begun, during the spring of 1969, to a more moderate and more flexible foreign policy. The apparent goal was to improve relations with the industrialized nations of the West.
The first and most decisive reason for this change in foreign policy was the stagnation in the Soviet economy. In the spring of 1969 the Soviet leaders began to realize ever more clearly that their most important goal-surpassing the United States in per capita production in the near future-was unattainable. At the end of the 1960s the United States produced nine times more petroleum, three times more natural gas, four times more trucks, 25 times more passenger cars and seven times as much paper and wood products as the U.S.S.R. In 1970 the Soviet Union produced as many refrigerators as the United States had in 1950.
Where Khrushchev's program of 1961 had foreseen a 250 percent increase in agricultural production in the decade 1960-1970, an increase of only 50 percent was achieved. Soviet production of key agricultural products is not only two to three times less than that of the United States, but is smaller than the production of a middle-sized European country. As a whole, Soviet agricultural workers are only one-sixth as productive as American farmers.
Similarly the increase in industrial productivity fell short of expectations: although it had risen by an average of 7 percent in the 1950s, it fell to 5 percent between 1961 and 1965, and to 4.5 percent between 1969 and 1970. Stagnation was especially serious in exactly those branches of industry which are decisive for a scientific-technological revolution: electronics, computers, petrochemicals and the production of consumer goods.
The Soviet leaders faced the great danger that the Soviet Union would fall behind in the scientific-technological revolution. Consequently they decided-very logically from their viewpoint-to obtain extensive and long-term scientific-technological assistance from the industrial nations, especially West Germany, Japan and the United States. The Kremlin realized that this could only be achieved by a more moderate policy which would make negotiations with the industrial nations possible and would cement this long-term coöperation with international treaties.
Such an approach received further justification at the end of 1970, when it became apparent that the more careful and more realistic Five-Year Plan (1966-1970), which had been announced by Brezhnev and Kosygin at the beginning of 1966, was unfulfilled in the major industrial sectors. About this time the idea must have arisen of exploiting the enormous deposits of raw materials, especially in Siberia, with the help of Western capital and technology (a course of action which, had it been proposed by the Czechoslovak reformers of the Prague Spring, would have been branded as treason of the worst sort). In addition, it became obvious to members of the Soviet hierarchy that the efficient use of the new technology would require the adoption, no matter how limited, of some devices of modern management, the introduction of new forms of managerial organization, and greater autonomy for the Soviet technological elite.
The Sino-Soviet conflict is another reason for this more moderate foreign policy toward the West. The Soviet leaders had hoped-in vain-that the People's Republic of China would be reduced to chaos or at least weakened by the Cultural Revolution of 1966-68. Moreover, the serious border clashes between the U.S.S.R. and the People's Republic of China near the Ussuri River in the spring of 1969 forced the Kremlin to recognize the fact that China is militarily capable of defending her independence and sovereignty.
Since 1969 China has not only succeeded in stabilizing her domestic situation and in strengthening her economy and army, but has also scored successes in international politics: in November 1971 the People's Republic of China was admitted to the United Nations and to the Security Council, and in February 1972 President Nixon traveled to Peking-an event which caused considerable uneasiness in the Soviet Union. The Chinese Communists pursued their own independent policy without making any concessions to the Soviet Union.
All attempts by the Soviet leaders to reach a reconciliation or at least a normalization with Peking produced no results. The Kremlin was faced with the threat of a political struggle on two fronts: against the West and against China. A more moderate policy toward the West seemed important, if not essential, as a means of eliminating this risk.
At the same time the Soviets see in this new foreign policy the chance to gradually increase the Soviet Union's influence in Europe. Khrushchev's threats and ultimatums have been replaced by a more moderate, more careful and longer-range policy based on a realistic appraisal of the situation. A good example of this is the long-standing Soviet wish for a Conference on European Security and Coöperation. This conference is apparently intended to legitimize the status quo in Europe and thereby to confirm the U.S.S.R.'s decisive influence, especially in Eastern Europe. According to the Soviets, a permanent committee for European security and coöperation should be established which would periodically convene new conferences of the same type. The Kremlin's ultimate goal is to counterbalance the idea of West European unity with the concept of pan-European security, and thereby to try to hinder or at least slow down the process of West European political integration.
Summing up, the U.S.S.R.'s moderate foreign policy toward the West is the result of sober, realistic considerations: the desire to cement long-term scientific, technological coöperation with the Western industrial nations; the wish to avoid a political struggle on two fronts; and the aim of gradually and carefully increasing Soviet political influence in Europe.
The scope of the new treaties, the length of time for which they are to remain valid, and the U.S.S.R.'s strong interest in solving its economic problems through coöperation indicate that this is a long-range change in Soviet foreign policy. As welcome as this change might be, with its new possibility for East-West détente, it is regrettable that this shift has not altered the Kremlin's relations with Eastern Europe. On the contrary, the Soviets' more moderate foreign policy toward the West is coupled with the attempt to strengthen and expand Soviet hegemony in the East European nations. Soviet pressure, far from having decreased in the last few years in these countries, has increased.
It is not an error to see the general Party line for the 1970s-a harsh, authoritarian policy in domestic affairs linked with a more flexible and more moderate attitude toward the West-as a result of a serious tug-of-war between various factions of the top leadership. In fact, the present course can be seen as a compromise between several opposing forces.
A conflict over domestic policy occurred to a limited degree during the Khrushchev era, and became especially noticeable in the first few months after his downfall. The question at stake was if and to what degree Stalin's obsolete, bureaucratic, dictatorial system of terror should be transformed, liberalized and adapted to the new conditions of an expanding industrial society. The necessity of wide-ranging reforms was recognized by important groups not only within the Soviet intelligentsia, but even within the Party apparatus. However, these people remained in the minority ; the country's objective needs were subordinated to the fear that the reform process, once set in motion, would get out of control and undermine the top leaders' positions of power. The result was the reversal of the de-Stalinization reforms. Discipline, order, authority, power and a return to the traditions of the Stalin era-rather than reforms-came to dominate the scene.
The decisive problem for the Soviet Union since 1969 is that the previously mentioned changes have been unable to solve the country's economic problems. This is especially true since economic questions are inseparable from long-term political and ideological goals. The risk that the U.S.S.R. would lag behind in the scientific-technological revolution was coupled with the fear that the continuing frightful shortages of consumer goods would lead to serious unrest among the populace.
The obvious conclusion-to make a fresh start and open new economic perspectives by means of a broad reform of the economy and a fundamental modernization of the totally outmoded bureaucratic, centralized system-was apparently rejected by the Soviet leaders (or at least by a majority of them) for political reasons due to the effect of the "Prague Spring." The only remaining alternative was an "opening to the West": a policy of moderation and of long-term scientific and technological coöperation.
In other words, the Soviet leaders have consciously initiated a policy leading toward rapprochement in order to avoid a liberalization of domestic policies. This decision, which was pursued carefully at first and then executed ever more firmly, was not arrived at easily. Judging from a great number of indirect indicators there were lengthy discussions and a serious struggle between diverse tendencies.
One such indication can be found in the plenary session of the Central Committee in December 1969. The session was devoted to the Soviet Union's serious economic problems. Brezhnev gave the main speech, which was not published. Moreover it was announced at this meeting that the 24th Party Congress would not be held in March 1970 as the Party statutes stipulated, but was to be postponed for an entire year. However, these were not the only signs: in the fall of 1970 neo-Stalinists spoke out against the German-Soviet treaty and at the beginning of 1971 some Soviet diplomats and journalists abroad gave interviews which included remarks critical of the same treaty. Official sources in Moscow quickly dismissed these comments as having been unauthorized. On the other hand, one must certainly assume that some people in the Party and state hierarchies hoped that the change in foreign policy would be linked with a liberalization of the domestic political line.
From the government's standpoint both tendencies were equally unacceptable and even dangerous. At the 24th Party Congress of March 1971, Brezhnev announced the decisive general line: his "peace program" and moderate foreign policy were to be combined with a harsh struggle against all reform groups in the Soviet Union. In fact, Brezhnev called for an outright "ideological war" against people with different ideas: "we are living in conditions of an unabating ideological war," he declared; consequently, "it is the duty of our workers on the propaganda and mass-agitation front to administer a timely, resolute and effective rebuff to these ideological attacks."
Between 1971 and 1973 there were still several problems to be solved and opposition to be overcome. Since 1918 there had never been a time in Soviet history when the Central Committee was so occupied with problems of foreign policy. Instead of the usual domestic and economic questions, the Central Committee met twice-in November 1971 and in May 1972, just before President Nixon's trip to Moscow-to deal exclusively with foreign policy. During the latter meeting in May 1972, Politburo member Shelest was removed from his post as First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party and member Voronov from his position; both, however, retained their seats in the Politburo, an extremely unusual situation suggesting conflict and issues not fully resolved.
The Central Committee met again at the end of April 1973, shortly before Brezhnev's trips to West Germany and the United States, again primarily to discuss foreign affairs. This time Shelest and Voronov "went into retirement"; both departures were related in part to foreign policy-where Shelest in particular was a hard-liner-although Voronov seems to have been involved as well in dissension on economic policy and Shelest had supported groupings in the Ukraine considered "nationalist" by Moscow standards and had tried to increase Ukrainian influence against Russification. Their replacements in the Politburo were Marshal Grechko, since April 1967 Minister of Defense and the top military figure, Yuri Andropov, head of the secret police and long associated with strengthening Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe, and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
The foreign policy of an "opening to the West" was announced more clearly than ever before at this April 1973 Central Committee meeting. Brezhnev was personally honored, and he received a "green light" for his negotiations with Bonn and Washington. This did indeed indicate that there was significant support for Brezhnev's foreign policy, but he was forced to pay for it with Politburo seats. The army and secret police now have veto power over everything which they feel could "go too far"-particularly any action which, in their view, might endanger the cohesion of the bloc, the military security of the country, or their own rigid control of internal developments.
Dissension and disagreements on the scope and limits of the new Soviet foreign policy are obviously continuing, even after Brezhnev's visit to the United States. The unity in the Soviet political hierarchy is not as monolithic as official Soviet publications try to make it seem. Hints in recent Soviet articles indicate the existence of neo-Stalinist hard-liners who hold the opinion that the Soviet Union industrialized quite well without the help of the capitalists in the past; some would even prefer an improvement of relations with China to the present "opening to the West." Others have doubts if the economic coöperation with the West will really be as fruitful as some Soviet leaders, notably Brezhnev himself, hope. Any dramatic shift in international relations-either a sudden improvement of Sino-Soviet relations or a setback in the economic coöperation with the West-would most likely strengthen the skeptical hard-liners, which would have repercussions in Soviet foreign policy.
On the other hand, in the Soviet hierarchy, particularly in the state and economic bureaucracies, moderate groups would like to combine the present "opening to the West" with certain, albeit limited, reforms in the domestic sector-greater autonomy and initiative, less tutelage from above, greater efficiency and pragmatism. As before, the Brezhnev leadership has to reckon with both the hard-liners and the moderates.
There is nothing, however, which the present Soviet leadership fears more than an open struggle of different tendencies and groups, i.e. any development toward political pluralism in the Soviet Union. This is the reason for the combination of a moderate foreign policy with a harsh domestic line. It is true that several thousand Soviet citizens, most of whom are Jews, have been allowed to leave the U.S.S.R., but this was a unique concession, obviously due to strong pressure from abroad. Even in this case, it is not sure whether, after the Soviet leadership has achieved its desired foreign policy aims, the concession will continue or if the regime will return to a policy of no compromise.
For all other Soviet citizens, both Russian and non-Russian, particularly progressive intellectuals who do not have the international backing the Jews had, the repression has increased rather than decreased during the period of foreign policy relaxation. In fact, many leading Soviet dissidents voiced concern as early as 1970-71 that, as soon as the foreign agreements were settled, the Soviet leadership could begin a huge assault against the "democratic movement," as the liberal dissidents call themselves. Their fears were well-founded. At the same time that Soviet leaders declare friendship toward the West and conclude new agreements, there are arrests, searches, political trials, even against those who cannot be considered against the U.S.S.R. but who have expressed critical thoughts or plans for reform.
The aim of the Soviet leaders is obviously to extract the maximum possible benefits in trade and technology from the West, and to increase the suppression of their own people, to limit their freedom and the penetration of ideas from the outside.
Can the West, then, use trade and technology as a bargaining lever to influence the situation in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe? No easy answer can be given; it depends on the current international situation and the possibilities a given country has at a given time. Soviet relaxation on the emigration of Jews has plainly been a special case; it does not rule out others.
What can be said is that an increasing coöperation with the Soviet Union at the expense of the independent interests of the East European peoples would, in the long run, hardly serve the cause of a genuine East-West rapprochement. Nor should the fate of the Soviet population, especially the liberal intellectuals, be forgotten. To help them in their sufferings and difficulties, to give them the information they are searching for, especially through the Russian-language broadcasts of Western radio stations, is therefore not endangering détente but laying the foundation for the kind of free exchange that would give détente its real substance and meaning.
However important it is to recognize and use these new changes in Soviet policy to achieve better relations between East and West, it is just as important to remember the domestic situation in the U.S.S.R. which forms the background to these changes. The normalization of relations between East and West cannot be limited to treaties between governments; to be real and lasting, it should include relations between peoples as well. Therein lies the true test: East-West rapprochement should not be measured by the number of summit conferences and the extent of trade agreements, but above all by the degree to which there is a free exchange of ideas and culture between the peoples of the two areas. For now, the newly flexible foreign policy is enabling the Soviet leaders to continue a harsh policy of domestic repression. August 1914 still has not been published in the land of its author.