Soviet Union Table of Contents
Several departments of the Central Committee had some responsibility for foreign policy in the 1980s, including the International Department and the Propaganda Department, which was absorbed by the Ideological Department in 1988. Until late 1988, when the departments were reorganized, the Liaison with Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries Department (Liaison Department) and the Cadres Abroad Department also had foreign policy responsibilities. These two departments, originally part of the International Department, were apparently reincorporated into the revamped International Department. From 1978 to 1986, there existed another department involved in foreign policy execution, the International Information Department.
The International Department, created in 1943 essentially to carry out functions previously performed by the Third Communist International ( Comintern--see Glossary), was responsible for CPSU relations with nonruling communist parties in other states. Under Boris Ponomarev, chief of the International Department from 1955 to 1986, the International Department focused mainly on CPSU relations with Third World communist and radical parties, but under Anatolii Dobrynin, appointed chief in 1986, the focus included overall party and state relations with developed Western states. In late 1988, Valentin A. Falin, an expert on Western Europe and a professional propagandist, was appointed chief.
The International Department, in focusing on party-to-party relations, had traditionally been involved in supplying various resources to the nonruling parties. These included funds, propaganda, and training. The International Department also had received international delegations from communist and leftist groups while the Soviet government was maintaining correct relations with the home government in power. Finally, the International Department acquired international support for Soviet foreign policy through extensive use of international front groups, such as the World Peace Council and the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization, which were funded and controlled through Soviet parent organizations.
In late 1988, two other departments dealing with foreign policy were reincorporated into the International Department. The Liaison Department, created in 1957 as a spin-off from the International Department, had responsibility for CPSU relations with ruling communist parties in Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Romania, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. The Cadres Abroad Department, created in 1950, approved foreign travel of virtually all Soviet citizens, except for tourists visiting the Warsaw Pact states and military personnel.
The International Information Department, disestablished in 1980, had been created by Leonid I. Brezhnev to consolidate and improve upon propaganda efforts undertaken by the International Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Propaganda Department. It regularly held press briefings for foreign media personnel in Moscow. Its functions were reabsorbed by the International Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Propaganda Department; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reassumed responsibility for press briefings on major policy issues.
Data as of May 1989