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During the Cold War the internal dynamics of the USSR, political and social, were a matter of intense interest to Western policy-makers and academics. The majority of studies in this field concentrated on Russia itself. For most in Western Europe, North America and Australasia, the terms ‘Russia’ and ‘Soviet Union’ were synonyms, with ‘Russia’ the term most commonly used. The most important republic of the Union, Russia overshadowed the debate on both internal and international Soviet policies to the virtual exclusion of all other parts of the USSR.