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Soviet Union

Diplomatic Relations

The Soviet Union perceived two basic forms of diplomacy: "bourgeois diplomacy" as developed by the European states, with its emphasis on state-to-state relations; and communist diplomacy of a "new type" among the ruling communist and socialist-oriented regimes. Communist diplomacy emphasizes "equal, non-exploitative" party and state relations among the regime and "peaceful coexistence" between these regimes and the capitalist and capitalist-oriented states. Soviet diplomacy hence was multifaceted, embracing state-to-state relations with Western and Western-oriented Third World states; party-to-party ties with ruling and nonruling communist and leftist parties and national liberation groups; state representation in myriad international organizations and at international forums; and political alliances with "fraternal socialist" states and states of socialist orientation through the vehicle of treaties of friendship and cooperation (see Ideology and Objectives , this ch.).

As the prospects for world revolution faded in the first years after the establishment of Bolshevik rule in Russia, the Russian Republic began assiduously to pursue diplomatic recognition as a means of achieving legitimacy. At first, the Russian Republic had resident embassies in only a few countries. After the Soviet Union was established in December 1922--joining the Russian, Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Transcaucasian soviet socialist republics--the new state continued the policy of pursuing diplomatic recognition. The Soviet Union was particularly interested in establishing diplomatic relations with Britain and the United States. In 1924 the newly elected Labour Party government in Britain recognized the Soviet Union (in 1927 the succeeding Conservative Party government broke off relations, but they were permanently restored in 1929), and in 1933 the United States established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. During World War II, many Allied states recognized the Soviet Union. During the "Cold War" of the late 1940s and 1950s, many states were wary of establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and a few states, mostly in Central America and South America, recalled their accredited representatives. Since the general improvement in East-West relations in the 1960s, however, states in all regions of the world have moved to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

Since the 1960s, the Soviet Union has achieved diplomatic relations with states in several regions where such relations were previously unknown or uncommon--South America, Central America, islands in the Pacific, and states in the Persian Gulf region. The range and scope of the Soviet diplomatic presence has been roughly matched only by that of the United States. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union had resident ambassadors in almost 120 states and consulates and trade offices in scores of states. The Soviet Union also tried to maintain or reestablish relations, or exchange ambassadors, with states that had exhibited hostility toward the Soviet Union, such as China, Egypt, and Somalia. As of 1988, the Soviet Union had refused to establish relations, or had broken off relations, with only a few states, most notably Chile, Paraguay, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Taiwan, and Israel. Soviet diplomatic recognition of the governments of the latter three states had been opposed by other regional powers with which the Soviet Union has wished to maintain or foster close relations (North Korea with respect to South Korea, China with respect to Taiwan, and the Middle Eastern Arab states, with respect to Israel).

Data as of May 1989