ERIC Number: ED204219
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
War, Militarism and the Soviet State.
This paper surveys obstacles to disarmament in the Soviet Union, with emphasis on the role of the military tradition in Russia and the centrality of the defense sector to Soviet society. The hypothesis is that, although the role of militarism is strong, there are potential forces for demilitarization, including, for example, the friction caused by declining economic growth and an increased military burden. The vision of a socialist society held by the founders of Marxism and the makers of the Bolshevik revolution was decidedly anti-militaristic. Nevertheless, the USSR is currently one of the two most highly militarized nations in the world. The Soviet Union has amassed military power roughly comparable to that of the United States, even though its Gross National Product is only about half as large. Consequently, a higher rate of extraction of resources has been necessary, with tremendous economic, social, and political consequences. Many reasons are given to explain this military build-up, including that the military effort has been forced on the Soviet Union through the enmity of the capitalist world and that the present generation of Soviet leaders sees military power as the main guarantee of Soviet security and leadership. In spite of this military stance, however, there are developments in the Soviet Union today which suggest that a change of direction is possible. For example, the arms competition with the United States has become an important focus of dissident criticism, and Russia's destiny and the proper path of Soviet development have become topics of vigorous debate within the Soviet Union and abroad. In addition, the next generation in the Soviet Union has not been so deeply marked by war and may view military power in a different light. The conclusion is that Western governments should not foreclose, through their own policies, the possibility of Soviet moves toward disarmament and demilitarization. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Armed Forces, Conflict, Disarmament, Foreign Countries, International Relations, National Defense, National Programs, Political Issues, War
Institute for World Order, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017 ($1.50, quantity discounts available).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: World Order Models Project.
Authoring Institution: Institute for World Order, New York, NY.
Identifiers: Militarism; USSR; World Order Studies