Building a Socialist Elite? — Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and Elite Formation in India

  • Andreas Hilger
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


On 13 June 1960, the Chairman of the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB), Alesandr Shelepin, informed the Soviet party leaders about “international reactions to the foundation of the Peoples’ Friendship University” in Moscow. Shelepin registered great “enthusiasm” of “broad circles of world society.” The KGB’s self-congratulatory report explained this receptive mood by the hopes of the “progressive and patriotic” strata. According to Shelepin, these groups regarded the new Soviet institution as a golden opportunity for educating their “own national cadres who can take a leading position in the economic and political development of young countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.” In contrast, the “reactionary” part of the world, “especially the highly developed capitalist countries,” denounced the initiative as a crude attempt to extend Soviet influence. In Shelepin’s eyes, the hostile “Western” propaganda campaign had already unsettled Third World governments:1 “Under the influence of reactionary propaganda and due to the lack of necessary information of the Soviet side they have started to develop the familiar distrust regarding the true aims of the University’s foundation.” The Soviet Union’s top security officer showed surprising understanding for Third World bureaucracies. From his point of view, these officials could not help but grow nervous about the fact that “a lot of people who want to study in the USSR directly contact Soviet representatives … or the University, thus bypassing national governmental institutions which are responsible for matters of education.”


Foreign Policy Central Committee Foreign Student Indian Student Chief Minister 
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© Andreas Hilger 2011

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  • Andreas Hilger

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