Soviet "imperialism"

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Thu Aug 1 16:06:47 MDT 1996

A lot of the argument for the USSR subsidizing Eastern Europe seems to turn
on cheap oil supplies. I read somewhere that this was not so much active
subsidization as the result of Soviet pricing practices. They operated a
system whereby prices lagged behind world market prices for better or

This is only a suggestion someone else might be able to flesh out a bit, I
haven't got the source to hand and can't remember exactly where it was.
Could have been The Economist a few years ago.

Anyway, the Soviet exploitation of its client states was not mediated by
returns on capital invested or money lent, in the automatic fashion of
imperialist exploitation. As with all Stalinist exploitation it was brutal
and open tribute colonialism and involved open self-abnegation and
kowtowing on the part of the local leaders if they were to retain their
jobs. The thing is, Stalinist exploitation goes completely against the
grain of the way the economy of national workers' states and their
international federation should be run, whereas imperialist exploitation is
based on the *normal* operations of capitalism.

Of course, given the crisis of capitalism, and the callous brutality of
imperialist rule, the normal workings of capitalist exploitation are backed
up and helped on their way in the semi-colonies by the most vicious
repression inside and outside the workplace. Most particularly when it
comes to serious, socially significant opposition.

As far as Cuba and Vietnam were concerned, big elements of maintaining
foreign *outposts* of the Soviet system in Latin America and South East
Asia were involved. Definitely not *bridgeheads*! The subsidies involved
could be regarded as rent or payment for diplomatic representation. They
also involved a certain degree of legitimization of Soviet internationalist
pretensions, as well as bringing a certain welcome variety to Soviet
shelves -- top quality sugar and rum.

Part of the payment extracted in return was of course faithful adherence to
the Stalinist tenets of Socialism in One Country, Two-Stage Revolution,
international class collaboration and a repressive regime directed against
workers' democracy and internationalism.



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