Courtesy Reuters

A New Russia? A New World?

There is a growing feeling, in the West as well as in the Soviet Union itself, that there are prospects, growing prospects, of a "New Russia." There is a feeling, whatever the immediate state of Brezhnev's health, that the fairly near future must see a breakup of the logjam created by a top leadership all of whose members are aged around 70. But the impression, one feels, goes deeper than this. Russia is seen to be at a social and economic dead end. Forthcoming political changes must, in this view, lead to radical and beneficial change over the whole field.

In examining the possibilities, our own first thought in the West is naturally in what way developments in the U.S.S.R. of which there are any real prospects could affect the international scene; and in particular, of course, whether they might contribute to a firm and lasting peace. It is quite true that the internal and international attitudes of the Soviet leadership are closely interlinked-indeed, are aspects of a single worldview. And this again is bound to make us consider what actions, or policies, on the part of the West can best help to turn Moscow in a favorable direction.

The root of the problem of understanding this great central crux in foreign affairs-and one which needs to be insisted on with the utmost emphasis on account of the neglect and misapprehension which are all too common-is fully to grasp and to master the true nature of the Soviet political culture. A vast amount of well-intentioned comment in the West is almost totally vitiated by failure to study and understand the motivations of the Kremlin leadership. In large part this is no doubt due to a perfectly natural habit of extending the assumptions of one's own culture more or less automatically, as if they were universally applicable. In his Nobel Prize speech, Alexander Solzhenitsyn penetratingly noted that in the old days disparate cultures were physically separated. Men were "guided by

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