Soviet Assessments of China after Mao

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author: Chris Miller1
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  • 1 Yale University

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This article examines Soviet analyses of the economic reforms that China implemented during the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping. Many historians have argued that Soviet economic reform efforts during the Perestroika era might have been more successful had the Kremlin more closely followed Chinese efforts. This article shows that Soviet economists and sinologists carefully studied China’s reforms to agriculture, industry, and foreign investment law. By the mid-1980s, the article suggests, a significant section of the Soviet intelligentsia believed that China’s market-based economic reforms were working and that the Soviet Union should learn from them.

  • 2

    Peter Nolan, China’s Rise, Russia’s Fall, and the Transition from Stalinism (New York: St. Martin’s, 1995); Aganbegyan, Inside Perestroika (New York: Harper & Row, 1990), p. 115. Hough, Democratization and Revolution (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1997), p. 137.

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  • 5

    Lukin, The Bear Watching the Dragon, p. 144; Mikhail S. Kapitsa, Na Raznykh Parallelakh: Zapiski Diplomata (Moskva: Kniga i biznes, 1996); Anatoly Chernayev’s diary, eg. May 29, 1982, online at http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/rus/text_files/Chernyaev/1982.pdf.

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  • 30

    Qtd in Sergey Radchenko, Unwanted Visionaries (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 14.

  • 31

    Ibid., p. 15.

  • 34

    Ibid., p. 217.

  • 36

    Qtd in Radchenko, Unwanted Visionaries, p. 17.

  • 39

    Ibid., p. 53.

  • 42

    Ibid., p. 51.

  • 43

    Ibid., p. 48.

  • 46

    Ibid., p. 4–5.

  • 47

    Ibid., p. 5.

  • 49

    Ibid., p. 5–6.

  • 50

    L. M. Gudoshnikov, Jan. 30, 1980, aran f. 1970, o. 2, d. 25, l. 32–38, p. 4.

  • 55

    Ibid., p. 36.

  • 56

    Ibid., p. 37.

  • 60

    Shirk, The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p. 199; Kelliher, Peasant Power in China (New Haven: Yale University Press,1992), p. 12; Lijian Hong, "Provincial Leadership and its Strategy Toward the Acquisition of Foreign Investment in Sichuan," in Cheung, et. al. ed., Provincial Strategies for Economic Reform in Post Mao China (Armonk, ny: M. E. Sharpe, 1998), p. 372–411.

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  • 63

    Ibid., p. 2.

  • 64

    Ibid., p. 3–4.

  • 71

    Huang Yasheng, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

  • 73

    Ibid., p. 74.

  • 77

    Ibid., p. 76–77.

  • 83

    Peter Nolan, China’s Rise, Russia’s Fall, and the Transition from Stalinism (New York: St. Martin’s, 1995); Aganbegyan, Inside Perestroika, 115. Hough, Democratization and Revolution, 137; Burlatsky, "Vostochnaia evropa i my," Literaturnaia Gazeta, Jul. 4, 1990, 15; Abalkin’s comments in L. Chernoshkur "‘Is the Government Wrong?’ L. I. Abalkin Answers Foreign Correspondents’ Questions," Komsomolskaya Pravda Feb. 23, 1990, 1, trans. in fbis-sov-90–093, 68 Feb. 27, 1990, Abram Bergson Papers, box 5, folder "General," Harvard University Archives.

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  • 87

    Ibid., p. 59, 63.

  • 88

    Ibid., p. 63.

  • 89

    Ibid., p. 62.

  • 93

    Ibid., p. 73.

  • 97

    Ibid., p. 74.

  • 100

    Ibid., p. 76–7.

  • 101

    Ibid., p. 77. Earlier reports dissented; see, for example, P. B. Kapralovy, ibid., l. 14.

  • 102

    Volkova, p. 76–7.

  • 103

    Ibid., p. 77–78.

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