The Soviet Doctrine of War and Eurocommunism .

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The Soviet Doctrine of War and Eurocommunism .

February 10, 1978 12 min read Download Report
Charles Baroch
F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy

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49 February 10, 1978 THE SOVIET DOCTRIM OF WRAND ElROCCIWMMUNISM INTRODUCTION The Soviet government, despite contrary assertions by some ex perts and despite widespread indifference on the part of the U.S public, is making a tremendous effort to create the most powerful armed force in the world--nuclear as well as conventional. At the same time it is trying to imbue Sov i et military personnel, and es pecially the officer cadres, with the mission of the Soviet state i.e., to promote the building a socialist-communist society on a worldwide scale. In recent documents reflecting their view of the correlation of forces the So v iets indicate a particular interest in possibly exploiting the growing political influence of communist parties in Western Europe. This paper examines' the new emphasis'of Soviet war doctrine that could. foreshadow potential Soviet inter vention in Wester n Europe on behalf of the interests of the commu nist parties within Western democracies military power in communist dominated Eastern Europe, coupled with their apparent willingness to support "the proletarian struggle for social liberation" in the rest o f Europe, could have profound consequences for the NATO alliance system and the future of demo cracy in Europe The growth of Soviet THE SOVIET MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT The role of the Soviet military establishment as a revolu tionary force under the complete control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) can only be understood in terms of the Soviet worldview--the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. An intensive ef fort is being made by the Chief Political Administration of the 2 Soviet Army and Navy, a dep artment of the CPSU Central Committee to indoctrinate all military personnel with this conflict-oriented revolutionary theory.

In addition to his military-technical training, every Soviet officer attending an institution of higher military education re ceives instruction in "military aspects of scientific communism."

One of the textbooks written specifically for Soviet military political academies gives the following Marxist-Leninist justifi cation of the use of military armed force Marxist-Leninist theory and its historical application have irrefutably proven the emergence and development of the new communist formation will not occur without violent resistance on the part of the exploiting classes. This means that the toilers and oppressed peoples must al w ays be ready to suppress their class enemies by military force V. I. Lenin wrote not without logic An ex ploited class does not strive to have weapons and which is not capable of using them and mastering themilitaryart would be a servile class Comp l ete Collected Works Vol. 49, p. 104:)J A Soviet colonel, who for patriotic reasons in the late 1950s cooperated with Western intelligence and paid with his life for it, tried without much success to impress on Western intelligence the significance of the impact of the Marxist-Leninist outlook on the Soviet armed forces and its military doctrine.

One thing must be clearly understood. If someone were to hand to an American general, an English general, and a Soviet general the same set of objective facts and scientific data, with instructions that these facts and data must be accepted as unimpeachable, and an analysis made and conclusions drawn on the basis of them, it is possible that the American and the Englishman would reach similar conclusions--I don't k n ow. But the Soviet general would arrive at conclusions which would be radi cally different from the other two. This is because first of all, he begins from a completely different set of basic premises and preconceived ideas, namely, the Marxian concepts o f society's structure and the course of history. Second, the logical process in his mind is 1;. Fundamentals of Scientific Communism (in Russian) (Moscow: Military Pub lishing House of the Ministry of Defense), 19

68. Textbook of Che"V:I:Lenln Military-Pol itical Academy 3 totally unlike that of his Western counterparts, because he uses Marxist dialectics, whereas they will use some form of deductive reasoning. Third, a different set of moral laws governs and restricts the Soviet behavior.

Fourth, the Sovie t general's aims will be radically different from those .of the American and the English man.2 Perusal of voluminous Soviet literature clearly confirms Pen'kovskiy's warning. Relying heavily on Lenin's writings, the Soviet military scientists base their a nalysis of the essence of war on the materialistic, class-oriented interpretation of policy.

Marxist dialectics applied to,wars proceed from the premise that 'war is simply a continuation of policy by other (namely, violent) means V. I. Lenin, e plete Coll ected Works, Vol. 26, p. 224.)3 THE SOVIET DOCTRINE OF WAR Proceeding from this basic Leninist tenet concerning the es sence of war, Soviet military-social scientists have elaborated a Marxist-Leninist doctrine on war and on the army which they define as " a theory called upon to solve sociological problems of the origin, course and outcome of wars throughout world history, with special emphasis on the present era. The Marxist-Leninist teach ing about war and army investigates war as a sociopolitical phenom enon, reveals the economic dependence of wars and armies upon political, economic and other social conditions, and discloses their role in the life and development of human society."4 This doctrine includes a classification method which groups wars into s p ecific categories and types according to their social 2. Oleg Vladimirovich Pen'kovskiy, The Penkovskiy Papers (New York, 1965 pp. 252-253 3 of the Soviet Army and Navy, Ideological Struggle in Military Questions (in RUS sian.1 (Moscow: 19741, p 16 See Ar m y General A. A. Yepishev, Head of the Chief Political Administration 4. Marxism-Leninism on War and Army (in Russian) (Moscow: 1968), p 4. This monograph was prepared "for officers, generals, and admirals, studying Marxist Leninist theory of war and army m ilitary-social scientists, who are high-ranking officers with a graduate degree in social science Virtually all the participating authors are (class) character. First, it divides contemporary wars into just and unjust, depending upon whether they are wage d in the interest of the proletarian or the capitalist (imperialist) class.

The social character of every war in the present era must be determined on the basis of the interests of the socialist revolution of the proletariat and na tional liberation revolu tions of the oppressed peoples it must be evaluated from the positions of principal motive forces of social progress, i.e, from the stand point of the world socialist system, the international workers' movement and the national liberation movement of peop l es.5 Marxism-Leninism equates the historical development of society with the interests of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and of its struggle against capitalism. These interests and this struggle are the basic criteria of the Marxist evaluat ion of all international events, including wars.

Lenin is often quoted in support of the thesis that any war in which the U.S.S.R. might be involved would be by definition a just a war If war is waged by the proletariat once victorious over the bourgeoisie in his own country in the.'interest of consoli dating and developing socialism, then that war is legitimate and holy 6 The question arises whether a thermo-nuclear conflict could be classified by Marxist-Leninist war doctrine as a just war.

The Marxist-Leninist military doctrine deals extensively with the problem of how the so-called military-technical revolution af fects the nature and character of modern war. By military-techni cal revolution is meant, of course, the introduction of new weapons of mass destruction into the arsenal of modern armies. I n the West there exists a widespread opinion that atomic weapons have made war obsolete as an instrument of policy, since no one will risk un leashing a war resulting in the destruction of both warring parties.

In other words, a nuclear missile war cannot be considered just under any circumstances. However, Soviet military-social scientists after some hesitation in the 1960s now undeviatingly claim that the premise of Marxism-Leninism on war as a continuation of policy by military means remains true in an a tmosphere of fundamental changes in military matters 5 Ibidem, p. 81 6. V. I. Lenin, Complete Collected Works (in Russian Vol. 36, p. 292 I 5 The attempts of certain bourgeois ideologists to prove that nuclear missile weapons place war outside the framewo r k of policy and that nuclear war is beyond political control, ceases to be an instrument of policy and cannot constitute its continuation is theoretically false and politically reactionary."7 Using the same class criterion, one may conclude that any war w a ged by the capitalist (imperialist) class-state against the in terest of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and its struggle against capitalism is ipso facto an unjust, reactionary and aggressive war. This is precisely what the communists are c laiming.

In addition to the two basic cateqories of war, Soviet mili tary doctrine distinguishes several types of war, which "are de termined by the basic characteristics of each historical epoch Every epoch is marked-by specific contradictions, differing as to their social content Ii Consequently a classification of wars takes: into account the main contradictions or those aspects which generate military conflicts, as well as the social forces clashing in the armed struggle 8 SOCIAL STRUGGLE AND WAR The m ain antagonistic contradictions of our epoch leading to armed conflicts represent the whole spectrum of social struggle.

The principal trends of that struggle that determine the types of wars in our time are 1. the stuggle between the two world social syst ems socialism and capitalism 2. the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie 3. the general democratic struggle of the popular masses against monopolistic corporations 4. the national-liberation struggle of peoples against the col onialists 7. Marxism-Leninism on War and Army, p. 81 8. Ibidem, p. 85. 5. the struggle among capitalist countries for the consolidation of positions of the monopoly capital.

It is the contention of Soviet military-social scientists that all the above trends of social struggle are the result of deep antagonistic contradictions, which the imperialists are trying to solve by means of armed struggle.

The corresponding principal types of wars in the contemporary era are 1. wars between the two antagonistic soci al systems systemic wars 2. civil wars between the proletariat and bourgeoisie 3. civil wars'between the popular masses and the forces of reaction supported by the imperialists of other countries 4. wars between the colonialists and peoples fighting for t h eir independence (wars of national liberation 5. wars among capitalist countries.9 In recent years Soviet military-social scientists have shown a growing interest in the various types of war listed above and the possible role in them of the Soviet armed f o rces, as we can see from the number of articles by high-ranking Soviet officer social scientists that have appeared in the authoritative review Communist of the Armed Forces, a bi-monthly of the Central Com mittee's Chief Administration of the Soviet Army and Navy.

Discussing the development of the Soviet armed forces, "under the conditions of mature socialism Col A. Timorin, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, claims them to be monofunctional I i .e fulfilling a purely foreign political function in contrast to bourgeois (capitalist) armies, "which even now still fulfill two functions--domestic and foreign. The domestic function consists of oppressing the working masses, keeping them subjugated to the exploiting minority marily, the defense of the socialist f atherland and the entire m The foreign tasks of the Soviet armed forces include. pri 9. Ibidem, p. 86 10. See his article, "The Armed Forces of a Mature Socialist Society: Char acteristics and Basic Trends of Their Development," Communist of the Armed For ces (in Russian), October 3, 1975, pp. 18-26.

I 7 socialist system. Secondly, they include military ai-dTTEKe na tional-liberation wars by proxy (e.g through Communist Cuba or by direct aid (Soviet advisors which has been openly acknowl edged and justified by authoritative Soviet spokesmen as part of the internationalist duties of the Soviet government, as in Brezhnev's report to the XXV Party Congress.11 l CIVIL WARS IN CAPITALIST COUNTRIES Recently, Soviet military-social scientists have been show ing pr eoccupation with another type of just war, namely, the revolutionary civil war of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie in capitalist countries.

A number of articles have appeared since 1974, singling out this particular type of war and its possible erup tion under the ever-deepening general crisis of capitalism."l2 Moreover, the Soviet preoccupation with "wars conducted by the working class to liberate themselves from the domination of the bourgeoisie" has been confirmed in unmistakable terms by the high est CPSU authority. The XXIV Party Congress emphasized: "our people will continue to steadfastly support other peoples's struggle for democracy, national liberation, and socialism 13 In similar bu\\ t even stronger terms the CPSU XXV-Party Con gress called fo r an international revolutionary offensive against imperialism i.e., the remaining democratic countries In the 11. See earlier Backgrounder by author on "Export of Revolution: Communist Reality or Capitalist Slander The-Heritage Foundation, 1977 12. See C o mmunist of the Armed Forces (in Russian), No. 11, 1974, pp. 17-26 Col. T. Kondratkov, Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, "Problems of Classi fication of War and Its Impact on Ideological Struggle No. 6, 1975, pp. 67-75 Col. V. Izmaylov, Candidate of His t orical Sciences, "Nature and Features of Modern War No. 13, pp. 9-17, 1975 Col. A. Dmitriyev, Docent, Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, "Marxist-Leninist Doctrine of War and the Army 5s an Important Element of the Scientific World Outlook of Military C a dres No. 22, 1975, pp. 9-6.(Col. S. Tyushkevich, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences Professor, "Development of the' Doctrine of War and the Army on the Basis of Experience in the Great Patriotic War 13. Materials of the XXIV Congress of the CPSU (in Russian ) (Politizidat Moscow, 19741, p. 31. 8 light of this announced policy, we should give careful attention to an explicit statement of a Soviet military-social scientist about the foreign functions of the Soviet armed forces The historical mission of our arme d forces presently con sists in the following tasks 1 2 3 4.

Tasks 3 to effectively guarantee the security of the Soviet state and the creative labor of our people who are the first to tread the road of communism together with the fraternal armies of the s ocialist countries to guarantee the security of the whole socialist community to offer mighty support to the peoples who have turned to revolution (civil war of libera tion) and to the liberation struggle against foreign intruders war of national libera t i on) in their fight against the interven tion of the imperialists to be the steady bulwark of peace and security of the entire world.14 and 4 of the Soviet armed forces are clearly of an offensive character and reflect the attribute which many Soviet milit a ry-social scientists bestow upon them: the Soviet armed forces always were and are still a liberation army ready to come to the assistance of peoples who have become victims of imperialist aggression Consequently, the Soviet armed forces must be organized in such a way as to fully live up to their international liberation mission."~5 As one of the tasks of the Soviet Armed Forces, this inter national liberation mission is taken seriously by the Soviet govern ment Unmistakably, the theme of the three-hour p a rade that 14. See Col. V. Khalipov, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, "The Present Era and Its Basic Contradictions," Communist of the Armed Forces (in Russian No. 9 1975, pp. 81-89 15. See Col. Ye. Sulimov, "Fundamental Principles of Soviet Military Cons t ruc tion During the Period of Transition from Socialism to Communism," Communist of the Armed Forces (in Russian No. 4,.1975, pp. 9-17. 9 marked last week's 60th anniversary of the Soviet Revolution was brute strength,"l6 commented Western military observ ers at the re cent celebration in the Red Square.

Of course, by definition mighiy support to the peoples who have turned to revolution 'icivil war of liberation in any eventua lity will always represent Soviet fraternal assistance to those who rise to defe nd themselves against the "intervention of the imperialists I EUROCOMMUNISM Since a erupt only in viously refer West European for this runs AND SOVIET WARFARE DOCTRINE revolutionary civil war of social liberation can a "developed capitalist country," Sovi e t writers ob tothepossibility of social upheaval in one of the industrialized countries, and the Soviet scenario as follows: military support by a NATO Member to an allied West European democratic government hard-pressed by internal political disorders wo u ld be an act of aggression in violation of the Helsinki Agreement and would justify Soviet counter-intervention Strict observation of the principles agreed upon in Helsinki which guide mutual relations among states is of vital necessity, precisely on an a l l-European scale particularly in view of the fact that under the pre text of strengthening 'Western solidarity' or ''de fense against the Soviet aggression,' practical measures are often devised to suppress the desire of peoples for a better life and soci a l progress. Was this not illustrated by Western interference in the affairs of the Portuguese people? Are not the planned NATO maneu vers proof of it? According to the scenario of these exercises, the armed forces of that bloc will have to deal with situa tion caused by the approaching collapse of the capitalist economy, food riots, inability of bourgeois governments to fulfill their public security obligations and to uphold law and order in general.

Also with the situations resulting from the accession to power by the communists in Portugal, and later in Italy and France.17 16. Time Magazine, November 21, 1977, p. 48 17. v. K. Sobakin, "After Important Gains Have Been Made. Interpretation by Bourgeois Propaganda of the Results of the All-European Conferenc e Commu nist (in Russian), November, 1975, No. 17 pp. 104-13 I IO In view of the political situation in the European countries mentioned, what is now called a scenario, maywell become reality in the foreseeable future Written by Charles T. Baroch At the re quest of The Heritage Foundation


Charles Baroch

F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy