chapter  9
9 Pages

The Russian View of European Integration

The difficulty of describing the Russian view of European integration derives not from any ambiguities in Soviet policy towards the European institutions that have come into existence or have been proposed since 1947, but from the fact that the attitude which this policy expresses is a product of a general outlook on world affairs which tends to relegate the whole question to a very secondary position. This is true both from a long-range and from a short-range point of view. From a long-range point of view, the Soviet regime has never swerved from its original ideological commitment to the spread of world communism or from its belief that only the triumph of communism could put an end to international conflict and bring about a genuine era of peace and co-operation between different peoples. The extent to which Soviet policy has actually been attuned to the pursuit of this goal has varied from time to time according to the relative strengths of the Soviet world and of its capitalist environment. It is true indeed that ‘peaceful co-existence’—meaning by this a temporary condition of normality in the political and economic relations of the Soviet State with other States-has repeatedly and sincerely been proclaimed to be a guiding principle of Soviet foreign policy ever since the time when the rulers of the Soviet Union first accepted the fact both that world revolution was not coming immediately, and that their own regime could survive without it. Nevertheless, even in the periods of relative stability which have existed, the Soviet Union has been able neither to abandon the cause of communism outside its borders nor to contemplate any intimate relationship with nonCommunist countries. Thus European integration could not include the Soviet Union itself (or in the more recent period the Popular Democracies); on the other hand, any movement towards European integration excluding the Soviet Union must always appear as part of that solidifying of the capitalist world in opposition to the Soviet Union which it is the prime purpose of Soviet diplomacy to avoid.