Reply To: Soviet Union support for overseas Communist groups.


There was always a split between the “worldwide revolution right now!” and the “Socialism in One Country” Bolsheviks. The former were epitomized (in the first couple decades of the USSR) by Trotsky, the latter by Stalin. The difference wasn’t over ultimate goals — both wanted worldwide communism as the ultimate goal — but over priorities & timeline. The former believed that Soviet socialism wouldn’t be safe as long as powerful non-communist governments existed in the world, so spreading communist revolution was an immediate priority; the latter group thought that communism needed to be fully instituted & perfected in the USSR first, before it would be prudent for the Soviet state to be the Johnny Appleseed of worldwide revolution. Of course, during & after WWII Stalin would become more aggressively expansionist, in his mind as a defensive measure — best defense is a good offense. But those 2 schools of thought continued throughout the existence of the Soviet Union. It’s like a darker communist version of the debates in the US between those who wanted the US to focus on perfecting itself first in order to serve as an example to the world, & the Wilsonian/Liberal Internationalist (& later Neocon) schools that thought the US needed to expand in an imperial fashion in order to perfect itself & to keep itself safe from perceived (largely imaginary, or at least greatly exaggerated) threats.

It is interesting to note that most of the USSR’s interventions throughout most of its history were in countries that were on or very near to its borders, while the US during the 20th century was often intervening in places much farther from its own imperial center. That might just be a function of the US’s (relatively) freer economy making it so much more capable of intervening further away than the Soviets, with their much, much less productive economy.