Soviet International Law: Between Slogans and Practice

in Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international
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This article is devoted to an analysis of the Soviet doctrines of foreign policy, international law and relations. It is claimed that Soviet international law was based on two conflicting ideas – the idea of universal peace and the idea of world revolution. These ideas were reflected in two conflicting principles of Soviet international law – the principle of peaceful coexistence and the principle of socialist internationalism. Throughout its history the ussr was balancing between these ideas and principles depending on its internal and external interests and the current political situation, moving its foreign policy from the first principle to the second one, and vice versa. The article divides the history of Soviet foreign policy into five major stages – the foreign policy of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev – to analyse each of these stages in turn.




Ibid., 30.


Adam Bromke, ‘Ideology and National Interest in Soviet Foreign Policy’, International Journal 22 (1967), 547–562, 547.


Karl Radek, ‘The Bases of Soviet Foreign Policy’, Foreign Affairs 12(2) (1934), 193–206, 193.


Ibid., 5.


Ibid., 5.


J. N. Hazard, ‘Cleaning Soviet International Law of Anti-Marxist Theories’, American Journal of International Law 32(2) (1938), 244–252.


W. Lerner, ‘The Historical Origins of the Soviet Doctrine of Peaceful Coexistence’, Law and Contemp. Probs 29 (1964), 865–870, 868.


Paul Scheffer, ‘From Lenin to Stalin’, Foreign Affairs 16 (1937–1938), 445–453, 450.


Ibid., 206.


W. Lerner, ‘The Historical Origins of the Soviet Doctrine of Peaceful Coexistence’, Law and Contemp. Probs 29 (1964), 865–870, 869.


Ibid., 4.


R. Legvold, ‘The Revolution in the Soviet Foreign Policy’, Foreign Affairs 68 (1988–1990), 82–98.


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