chapter  10
Western Influence on the Soviet Union
WithMichael Mandelbaum
Pages 35

The Soviet regime has contended that the 1917 revolution gave Russia and its imperial holdings the most advanced political system in the world, the one toward which history was driving all other societies. Soviet political and economic institutions had begun to be compared unfavorably—albeit implicitly or privately—with those of the West. The Western impact on Russia and the Soviet Union is difficult to gauge. During the 1970s, Soviet internal political practices again became a target of American foreign policy. The West sought to prevent the advance of Soviet power into Western Europe by building economic and military strength to serve as a barrier against it. It is true that the Soviet Union was battered in 1945, although it is also true that it deployed a huge, victorious army in the center of Europe. The West can and undoubtedly will watch, wait, hope, and, where appropriate, applaud what is happening inside the Soviet Union; but it cannot expect to do more.