- Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet
foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968" Pravda" article, entitled “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.” Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Partyon November 13, 1968, which stated:
:"When forces that are hostile to
socialismtry to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries."
This doctrine was announced to justify the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 to terminate the
Prague Spring, along with earlier Soviet military interventions, such as the invasion of Hungary in 1956. These interventions were meant to put an end to liberalization efforts and uprisings that had the potential to compromise Soviet hegemony inside the Eastern bloc, which was considered by the Soviets to be an essential defensive and strategic buffer in case hostilities with the West were to break out.
In practice, the policy meant that limited independence of communist parties was allowed, but no country would be allowed to leave the
Warsaw Pact, disturb a nation's communist party's monopoly on power, or in any way compromise the strength of the Eastern bloc. Implicit in this doctrine was that the leadership of the Soviet Union reserved, for itself, the right to define "socialism" and "capitalism". Following the announcement of the Brezhnev Doctrine, numerous treaties were signed between the Soviet Union and its satellite states to reassert these points and to further ensure inter-state cooperation. The principles of the doctrine were so broad that the Soviets even used it to justify their military intervention in the non-Warsaw Pact nation of Afghanistan in 1979. The Brezhnev Doctrine stayed in effect until it was finally repealed due to the refusal of Mikhail Gorbachevto use military force against Eastern bloc countries, and was thereby superseded by the facetiously named Sinatra Doctrinein 1989.
*Ouimet, Matthew: "The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy." University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London. 2003.
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