Soviet “Congress-Watchers”: The Soviet Academic Community
Amerikanistika on the subject of Congress’ role in US foreign policy comes to the Soviet leadership from the social science institutes of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Academy of Sciences. The information produced at the institutes is filtered to the Politburo through the Central Committee bureaucratic structure. Americanists are a part of a wider group of individuals that have come to be called the “mezhdunarodniki,” the Russian monicker for experts on foreign countries and international relations. The mezhdunarodniki, which includes americanists, serve the essential function, of utilizing specialized knowledge to provide information on foreign affairs to the Soviet leadership. A crucial question about Soviet scholarship and scholars on Congress and foreign policy is to what degree the information they produce is received and assimilated by the Soviet leadership and how it influences leadership perceptions. Western scholars tend to argue that if anything, information reaching the Soviet leadership from the americanists has been excessive rather than scarce or irrelevant.