The Study of International Relations in the Soviet Union

  • Margot Light


Political Science is a relatively young subject in the Soviet Union, and International Relations is an even newer branch of it. While Western scholars were contending methodological approaches to the study of international politics, their Soviet colleagues were arguing that Political Science and International Relations should be established as independent fields of enquiry.1 The official position under Stalin, and for a number of years after his death, had been that Marxism-Leninism was Political Science and provided a ready-made theory of International Relations. Books and articles were written on International Relations, but they were the works of historians, international lawyers, exegetists of Marxist—Leninist doctrine. It is only in the last twenty years that the profession of mezhdunarodnik (specialist in International Relations) has emerged. There are well–staffed research Institutes, a large publishing programme which produces books in editions of thousands (and sometimes even hundreds of thousands), and learned journals of International Relations. In other words, with one curious exception, International Relations has all the paraphernalia of an academic field which is recognised, respected and well–established. The exception is that there are very few undergraduate programmes in which people can specialise in International Relations.


Foreign Policy International Relation Foreign Affair Central Committee Political Thinking 
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    William Welch and Jan F. Triska, ‘Soviet Foreign Policy Studies and Foreign Policy Models’, World Politics, (Vol. 23, No. 4, 1971 ), pp. 704–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    D.V. Ermolenko, Sotsiologiya i problemy mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii ( Moscow, IMO, 1977 ), p. 12.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    D.E. Powell and P. Shoup, `The Emergence of Political Science in Communist Countries’, American Political Science Review (Vol. 64, No. 2, 1970 ), p. 194.Google Scholar

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© Millennium: Journal of International Studies 1989

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  • Margot Light

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