From Albania Today, 1972, 3

The Theory of “Limited Sovereignty” – A Flagrant Expression of the Imperialist Policy of the Soviet Revisionists

By Agim Popa, professor, specialist in the field of Marxist philosophy.

Life and facts testify with every passing day to the essentially chauvinistic and social-imperialist nature of the foreign policy of the present-day Soviet leadership. As comrade Enver Hoxha pointed out in his report delivered at the 6th Congress of the PLA, “the foreign policy of the Soviet revisionists is the great-Russian policy of the old czars, it has the same expansionist aim, it has the same objectives of subjugation and enslavement of the people” ...

All this is concealed behind a great demagogic fuss to present the current Soviet foreign policy as the “most authentic expression” of the Leninist policy and proletarian internationalism. In this context a special place is occupied by the efforts to give a theoretical basis allegedly from the viewpoint of Marxism-Leninism, to the relations of economic, political and military subjugation which Soviet social-imperialism has imposed or is seeking to impose on the other so-called socialist countries, relations which at the present time are known by the name of “limited sovereignty".

Although in words the Soviet revisionist chieftains are seeking to deny the theory of limited sovereignty, they persistently implement it in the whole practice of their relations in all fields – economic, political, military, etc., with the satellite countries that belong to CMEA and to the Warsaw treaty.

Complete Economic Subjugation Under the Mask of Internationalist Collaboration

In the economic field, what Soviet propaganda is attempting to present as relations of equal collaboration and fraternal internationalist aid, are in fact relations of economic subjugation of other countries to the Soviet Union. In theory and practice, the stand of the Soviet revisionist leadership on this question is anti-Marxist from top to bottom. Let us take the problem of so-called “aid", about which the propaganda of the Soviet revisionists has deafened the ears of the whole world to the point of nausea. First, the Soviet propaganda gives absolute significance to the point of absurdity, to the role of the aid given by the Soviet Union to various countries in their struggle for socialism, thus denying the internal factor, which is decisive. The Soviet revisionists savagely attack the principle of self-reliance in revolution and in socialist construction; they present this as a "manifestation of nationalism", allegedly in conflict with proletarian internationalism. But proletarian internationalism demands that the working class and the labouring masses of every country, under the leadership of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party, make the maximum efforts, mobilize all possibilities and potential resources, and do not wait for somebody to bring them ready-made freedom and socialism from abroad, as follows from the propaganda of the Soviet revisionists. Furthermore the consistent implementation of the principle of self-reliance is an essential condition for the safeguarding and strengthening of the economic and political independence of every socialist country. This was firmly proved by the experience of socialist Albania which, as comrade Enver Hoxha has pointed out, was completely successful in defeating the attacks of the revisionist blockade, for she has consistently adhered to this principle and has placed her economy on sound bases to enable it to walk on its own feet. Of course, the principle of self-reliance does not in any way exclude internationalist aid between the countries which stand faithfully on the positions of socialism, as well as between the revolutionary forces and progressive peoples of the whole world.

Second, the so-called “aid” which the Soviet revisionists claim to give to other countries, is given with political strings attached which impair the national independence and sovereignty of the countries receiving it and aims to place them under the economic domination of the Soviet Union. It is a fact that when the Party of Labour of Albania opposed the anti-Marxist stands of Khrushchev and his group at the Bucharest or the Moscow meeting, the Khrushchevite revisionists adopted extremely severe economic sanctions towards socialist Albania, and cut off all their aid and credits, while later they also organized a hostile blockade against her. While true internationalist collaboration and mutual aid exclude all kinds of conditions which impair, in the slightest degree, the national sovereignty of any socialist country, they must aim not at the weakening but at the strengthening of the economic and political independence of every one of them.

The propaganda of the Soviet revisionist chieftains and their supporters has a great deal to say about an "international socialist division of labour”, about "specialization and cooperation in the production of the countries of the socialist community", etc. In the last two or three years in particular, they greatly publicized the so-called “complex programme of the further deepening and improvement of collaboration and development of the socialist economic integration of the CMEA member countries", worked out and approved at the 23rd, 24th and 25th sessions of this organisation. They endeavour to substantiate this with the "objective tendency of the internationalisation of the economies of the countries of the world socialist system” and to present it as a new, higher stage in the field of economic relations and collaboration between them, as an initial practical application of Lenin's idea of the "tendency of the creation of the world economy as a single whole which is regulated by the proletariat of all nations according to a unified plan".

But what does this so-called complex programme of economic integration of the revisionist countries envisage and recommend? This can be summed up in brief in the following fundamental ideas: the passing from the stage of the predomination of bilateral exchange of commodities and credit aid, etc, as a stage "already overcome by life”, to that of direct many-sided collaboration in production and technical-scientific fields; the creation of “deep and stable ties” between national economies in the main branches of production on the basis of specialization and cooperation; the creation of the so-called infrastructure which includes common power transmission lines, the construction of international oil pipelines, the creation of a common depot for railway-wagons and a unified system of containers, etc.; the creation of international organisations according to specialized branches (for example “Intermetal”, “Interhim”, etc.)# the setting up of enterprises, plants and combines with joint investments and “on common interstate property" in the territories of various countries; the "coordination", of national plans of economic development, the "coordination” of economic policy, “joint” economic prognosis, “joint” planning of various branches of industry and production; the creation of "coordinating” organs for planning, for the development of various branches of production, for trade and financial exchange, prices, etc.

What are the consequences and aims of such practices?

First and foremost, the unilateral development of the economies of other countries so that in everything – raw materials, technique and technology, fuel and markets to sell their commodities – they should be completely dependent on the Soviet Union, and serve the Soviet economy as a monopoly area for the export of Soviet capital and commodities, and as a source of profits.

The Soviet press speaks of the “mutual dependence” of the economies of the CMEA member countries. In reality, this dependence is completely one-sided because the Soviet Union is the only country among them which develops all the main branches of production on its own territory, and is not subject to "specialization”, whereas all the others are dependent on it in many vital branches and orientations of the development of the economy. Thus, the oil processing, oil-chemical and chemical enterprises of the CMEA member countries, except for Rumania, are working with Soviet oil which they get through the “Druzhba” pipeline, and are thus fully dependent on the Soviet Union for raw materials and fuel. In the same way the ferrous metallurgy enterprises in almost of all the CMEA member countries are operating, for the most part on the basis of raw material and coke supplied by the Soviet Union. It is a fact that although Hungary produces a large quantity of bauxites, they are not processed in Hungary but 2 or 3 thousand kilometres away, in the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union not only gives aid and credits to other CMEA member countries, as the propaganda of the Soviet revisionists attempts one-sidedly to suggest, but also draws great profits from "integration”, which in many cases weigh on the shoulders of their partners. Thus, the various CMEA member countries are to make investments in the development of the Soviet oil and gas extracting industry, of the metallurgical industry, in the construction of oil and gas pipelines in order to export Soviet raw material, etc. But the main thing is that these investments serve the further increase of the economic dependence of the investing countries on the Soviet Union.

Further, an aim and consequence of the "complex programme of economic integration” is the strengthening of the Soviet control over the economic development of other CMEA member countries. The Soviet press speaks of the “mutual adaptation of economic structures” of the CMEA member countries. But it is evident that when speaking of "coordination” of the economic plans and policies it is not, of course, the Soviet economy which is adapted, let us say, to the economy of Mongolia or Bulgaria, but quite the opposite. Besides, the "coordinating” organs of CMEA are, in fact, becoming with every passing day super-state organs in the hands of the Soviet social-imperialists for interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, to keep the economies of these countries under their control.

The ultimate aim which Soviet social-imperialism is trying to achieve through "integration” is the complete subjugation and the economic annexation of its CMEA partners, the gradual merger of the economies of these countries into the Soviet economy. In this connection the Soviet press speaks, as of a not far distant prospect of a "rapprochement and unification (initially in some sectors) of the economic complex, as a prototype of the coming “world socialist cooperative" of the working people of various nations” and adds that it is the duty of the subjective political factors to speed up this "objective process” (see the article "Socialism in the system of international relations” published in the review “Voprosi fillosofii” Nr. 9, 1971). In the same way, the review "World economy and international relations” in the article "Theoretical heritage of V. I. Lenin and the economic integration of the socialist countries” published in the issue Nr. 4, 1971, writes that economic integration “arises on the basis of the very advanced mutual dependence of economic life, and means the interlacing the merger of the national economies into a unified reproduction complex”. While the review “Za rubezhom”, Nr. 28, 1970, in an article entitled "Fruitful course”, as proof that even the western press itself is compelled to admit that the measures taken by the 23rd session of CMEA for the further economic rapprochement of the member countries will have important economic and political consequences, quotes the newspaper "Financial Times” as saying that “the realisation of integration means that CMEA will become something more than a council of mutual economic aid, and will perhaps be able to unite a number of great national systems into a sound regional system”.

All this in essence recalls the theses of the Soviet revisionists, which they tried to impose on other countries through CMEA in 1964, concerning the so-called “interstate economic complexes” such as, according to their chauvinistic calculations, the area of the lower Danube, which would include almost half of the territory of Rumania and would be withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Rumanian state, thus trampling under foot its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Although it is being introduced in more camouflaged forms and at a more moderate tempo, the "complex programme of integration” which the Soviet revisionists are now noisily publicizing does not differ at all in content from the openly chauvinistic aims of the year 1964.

The references by the Soviet revisionist theoreticians to Lenin's sayings about the tendency of the creation of a world socialist economy as a whole, directed according to a unified plan, are nothing but speculations. On the one hand Lenin was speaking about the world socialist system, while the Soviet Union and the other countries where the modern revisionists are in power, have long since ceased to be socialist countries. On the other hand, Lenin spoke of a coming historical epoch where socialism would have triumphed all over the world and when the process of the gradual integration of nations and of the elimination of national differences would begin.

It is clear that the creation of a world socialist system can develop only as a process of the birth and existence of sovereign socialist states, with their own national territories and with clearly defined state borders, with independent and balanced economies, based on socialist property which is administered by the representative organs of these national sovereign states, etc. As a consequence, the economic relations between socialist countries can be conceived only as relations between independent states and national economies, based on the principles of mutual internationalist collaboration and aid.

This is why the “integration" advertised by the Soviet social-imperialists, which aims at the loss of independence and economic submission of other countries to the Soviet Union, has nothing in common with the relations of proletarian internationalism.

Political Enslavement and Justification of Aggression – The Essence of the Theory of “Limited Sovereignty”

The main aim of the attempts of the Soviet social-imperialists to achieve the economic subjugation of the other revisionist countries is, through economic dependence, to keep them politically dependent on the Soviet Union. “The Council for mutual economic aid” – comrade Enver Hoxha has said – “has been transformed into a revisionist organisation of cooperation in industry and in many other branches of the economies of the member countries. In this organisation the Soviet revisionists dominate, and through it, in their hegemonistic interest, aim to exploit and control the economies of the other member countries, to compel them to develop in the directions the Soviet revisionists desire, binding the economies of the other countries in such a way that together with this sham socialist cooperation, they also dominate these countries politically".

Some “more sincere” Soviet theoreticians do not conceal that so-called economic integration inevitably leads to the political integration of the revisionist countries, towards the creation in the future of an international political superstructure of these countries (see for instance the article by O. Bogomollov “The theoretical heritage of V. I. Lenin and the economic integration of the countries of socialism" published in the review “World economy and international relations", Nr. 4, 1971). The author does not take the trouble to elucidate in detail what he means by "political integration”. But the relations of "limited sovereignty” that the Soviet revisionist chieftains have imposed on the other revisionist countries in the political and military fields, clearly show what it is about, and that Soviet social-imperialism has been long since implementing, and is still implementing, a series of strict measures for "integration", that is, for the complete political and military submission of these countries to the Soviet Union.

“The theory of "limited sovereignty" – comrade Enver Hoxha said in his report delivered at the 6th Congress of the PLA – “is the theory of great power chauvinism and expansionism, the theory through which the new Soviet imperialists try to suppress any sovereignty of other peoples and to create for themselves the "sovereign right”, to interfere wherever and whenever they like. By denying others their sovereignty, they are trying to deny to nations and states that which they cherish most – freedom and independence, to deny their national individuality, the indisputable right to self-determination and independent development, the right to equality in international life and to active participation in world relations. By "limited sovereignty”, they seek to legalize the right of the more powerful to strangle the weak, of the greater to gobble up the small. It is the theory of the justification of imperialist aggression”.

According to the Brezhnevian concepts of "limited sovereignty”, the countries of the so-called "socialist community" do not enjoy the right to determine their foreign policy freely and in a sovereign way, but are compelled to obtain the approval of the Soviet social-imperialists in everything. These countries have no right to strive for a foreign policy independent of the Soviet Union and to establish diplomatic and economic relations with other countries without its consent. The aim of the Soviet social-imperialists is thus the transformation of the foreign policies of the other revisionist countries into an obedient appendage of the circumstances and zigzags of Soviet foreign policy.

Let us take for example the German question. The Soviet social-imperialists have for years been manipulating this question according to their own wishes without taking into consideration at all the sovereign right of the German Democratic Republic, unscrupulously sacrificing its national interests for the sake of their bargainings with West German imperialism. Significant in this respect is their agreement with Bonn on West Berlin, which flagrantly violates the sovereignty of the German Democratic Republic, and also caused the well-known incidents with Walter Ulbricht.

Typical too are the continuous threats of the Soviet social-imperialists towards Rumania and Yugoslavia who refuse to blindly follow and support the aggressive imperialist course of Soviet foreign policy, not to speak here of Albania and China which are waging a determined struggle against this course from revolutionary Marxist-Leninist positions.

Or let us recall the "arguments”, used by the Soviet imperialists to justify their aggression against Czechoslovakia. In the official article "Defence of socialism – a lofty international duty” published in “Pravda”, August 22, 1968, that is, two days after the occupation of Czechoslovakia, it was said that some leading Czechoslovak personalities “were beginning to reconsider a series of important principles of foreign policy", that “in Czechoslovakia tendencies were emerging in support of a rapprochement with West Germany, and the strengthening of ties with her”, that “some personalities in Czechoslovakia were calling for her foreign policy to turn towards the West, to make it “more independent" of the policy of the Soviet Union and of the other socialist countries”, etc.

In reality, the Soviet social-imperialists were not concerned and could not be concerned by the fact that the Dubcek revisionist group had discarded socialist and internationalist principles of foreign policy, because they themselves have long-since betrayed these principles, have entered into criminal alliance with US imperialism and have turned the Soviet Union into a new imperialist state and a dangerous centre of international counterrevolution. They were concerned about something else: about the fact that the Dubcek group began to show too openly centrifugal inclinations, that it tried to escape the Soviet dictate in the field of foreign policy, in order to be free to make alliances with Western imperialism, or to manoeuvre between the latter and Soviet imperialism. This would not only shake the position of the Soviet social imperialists in Czechoslovakia, but would also be an incitement to centrifugal inclinations in other revisionist countries. As to the tendencies that appeared in Czechoslovakia supporting a rapprochement with West Germany, it is known that the Soviet revisionists themselves, more than 10 years ago established relations with this imperialist and revanchist country, while later on they concluded a series of agreements with it. Is this not a lively testimony to the limited sovereignty of the revisionist countries, partners of Soviet social-imperialism?

But the limited sovereignty of the revisionist countries which are under the Soviet dictate is not manifested only in the field of foreign policy. It includes also their domestic policies, which according to the chauvinistic concepts of the Soviet revisionist chieftains, must have the latter's approval. According to these concepts in the revisionist countries of the Warsaw Treaty political, economic, social and other reforms cannot be carried out without first obtaining the approval of the Soviet leadership which has reserved to itself the right to allow or to prohibit them, judging from the viewpoint of its social-imperialist interests, and indeed to prevent them by all means, even resorting to military intervention, as occurred in the case of Czechoslovakia.

The Soviet revisionist chieftains go so far as to control or seek to control in the satellite revisionist countries the reports their partners will deliver at the congresses of their parties, or other important documents; they brutally intervene in their domestic affairs to dictate or approve the persons who should be at the head of the parties or governments in these countries, etc., etc.

Soviet propaganda is seeking to justify such arbitrary acts as, for example, the armed aggression against Czechoslovakia, with its alleged concern about the destiny of socialism in these countries. This is sheer demagogy, because the Soviet revisionists themselves have long since abandoned everything socialist in their own country and for years have been advancing on the road of capitalist restoration. The fact is that they are seeking to keep under their control the tempo and forms of capitalist restoration in various revisionist countries, so that this process may be carried out in conformity with the present interests of the Soviet social-imperialists and not create additional problems and difficulties for them within the country and in the face of foreign public opinion, as was the case with the frenzied course pursued by the Dubcek revisionist group in Czechoslovakia.

According to the social-imperialist concepts of "limited sovereignty” which the Soviet ruling clique is preaching, the revisionist member countries of the infamous Warsaw Treaty do not enjoy even the right of sovereign disposition over their national territories, while the Soviet militarists have the right, under the pretext of military manoeuvres in the framework of the Warsaw treaty, to enter and leave these countries with their armed forces as in their own land. Precisely the fact that the Czechoslovak side strove to avoid the entry of the Soviet troops to Czechoslovakia under the mask of “joint military exercises”, was used by the Soviet social-imperialist clique as one of its main arguments in undertaking the open military aggression against that country. In short, either you “willingly” accept the entry of troops into your territory, or occupation by violence awaits you.

This is the most original imperialist blackmail. According to this logic, France, for example/ would be denied the right to refuse to accept NATO troops for manoeuvres on her territory, while Rumania, under threat of aggression, would be compelled to open her borders and humbly accept the Soviet troops to lord it in her country and make the laws there.

After they failed in their efforts to subjugate their revisionist partners by “peaceful” means, the social-imperialists began to rely more and more on their military strength to achieve their aims. “The more the Kremlin chiefs push ahead in their expansionist plans, the more difficult their internal situation and their relations with their satellites become” – comrade Enver Hoxha has said – “the more their military adventurism increases, the more their armed aggression as a means to overcome the difficulties and contradictions comes to the fore”. The Warsaw Treaty organisation is their main instrument to realize this militarist course and to impose the relations of "limited sovereignty" on the satellite states.

Through this organisation, in which they are full rulers, the Soviet social-imperialists impose on their revisionist partners their political decisions, keep them under military control or exert pressure and blackmail, going as far as open aggression. In the framework of the Warsaw Treaty, under the pretext of “joint manoeuvres” (a “legal” way to interfere everywhere) or of the "arguments” they have imposed on others, besides openly occupying Czechoslovakia they have introduced their troops into, and are maintaining under silent occupation, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Mongolia. What do the Soviet troops want in these countries? To defend "socialism”? But from whom? Here, too, from "counterrevolution” as in Czechoslovakia? Why does this "socialism” need to be defended by Soviet troops and why is it not defended by the peoples of these countries themselves? One of two things: Either we would have to think that the peoples of these countries are bent on “counterrevolution”, which would be a great absurdity, or it must be said that these peoples have no interest whatsoever in defending this kind of revisionist “socialism”; on the contrary, they are opposed to it, as was shown by the workers' revolts of December 1970 in Poland, and the Soviet troops have been sent to suppress any people's movement and keep under their control the revisionist regimes in power.

It is said that the Soviet troops in foreign countries, Czechoslovakia included, do not interfere in their domestic problems. This is the height of absurdity and cynicism because the Soviet social-imperialist chieftains themselves have said and still say that the sending of their troops to Czechoslovakia aimed allegedly to save "socialism” there from "peaceful counterrevolution”. Is this perhaps an “external question?”!

Or are the Soviet troops defending “socialism” in these countries from the outside imperialist danger? But if one follows this logic, these troops should stay there until world imperialism is smashed! And why do they not defend them with their missiles which, as the Soviet leaders say, are in a position to hit the enemy in its nerve centres in every point of the globe?!

In their attempts to eliminate all the obstacles to interference in other revisionist countries and also to completely subjugate militarily the revisionist cliques of these countries, the Soviet social-imperialists, through the Warsaw Treaty, are imposing on them the de facto liquidation of the national armies and their placing under the direct Soviet command, under the pretext of the creation of the so-called “special joint military units". This is a further blow at the national independence of these countries, a flagrant expression of their "limited sovereignty".

Such is the content of the concepts of the Soviet social-imperialist chieftains of the “limited sovereignty” of the “socialist” countries. But the imposition of such relations cannot fail to lead to a continuous deepening of contradictions in the revisionist fold and to increase the inclinations of the subjugated partners to escape the chauvinistic dictate of Soviet social-imperialism. What is crucial, the relations of limited sovereignty cannot fail to arouse the indignation and revolt of the peoples of these countries, There is no doubt that the feelings of freedom, independence, sovereignty and socialist national dignity which are always alive in them will play a first-rate role in the struggle of these peoples to overthrow the revisionist counterrevolution and return to the road of socialism. And this will mark the inevitable end of the rule of Soviet social-imperialism in these countries.

Click here to return to the index of archival material.