The 1917 Russian Revolution and Its Impact on International Law

S. Anandha Krishna Raj


Social revolutions are the sudden change in the century-long social conditions in the society. It creates waves of impact almost in every area such as literature, art, politics, law, religion etc. The contribution leads to the progressive evolution of the society. Though succeeded in one country, the other countries of the world get some minimal version of every revolution. Later it becomes a dominant norm. The spread of the revolution threatens the dogmatists. Thus the French Revolution and American Revolution abruptly changed the earlier feudal system. The October revolution takes it one step further. It created a new epoch in the human history and questioned the very notion of the private property which existed for many centuries. The theory followed in the revolution was Marxism-Leninism, philosophically called dialectical materialism. Every revolution alters or adds its values in the legal system. After the October Revolution, particularly after Second World War, one-third of the world population lived under socialism and socialism was practised in almost thirty countries. This had a great impact on international law. The socialist states moved the international law in a progressive direction and led to the formation of crucial principles and norms still followed in the contemporary period.

Colonialism and the Principle of Self Determination

Lenin developed Marxism in the period of imperialism. By Marx’s writings, Lenin established the principle of self-determination. Before Lenin, but under the instructions of Lenin, Stalin had written the seminal work, ‘Marxism and National Question’ in 1913, on the Leninist concept of national question and self-determination. Lenin’s understanding was better than Rosa Luxemburg and the others in finding the dialectical relationship between the right to national self-determination and internationalism. Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky both believed only in the proletarian class for the revolution. But Lenin grasped the dialectical relationship between national democratic struggles and the socialist revolution and showed that the popular masses, not just the proletariat, but also the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation were the allies of the conscious proletariat.1

Lenin in his ‘Draft and explanation of a programme for the Social Democratic Party’ demanded the ‘freedom of religion and equality of all nationalities’.2 For Lenin national oppression is one of the forms of political oppression. Though the objective essence of nationalism is bourgeois democratic, they are social in nature and historically progressive.

During 1915-16, Lenin’s work, ‘The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-determination’, ‘The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination’, ‘The Junius Pamphlet’ contributed to the international discussion on the national question. It criticised the metaphysical views of Rosa Luxemburg, Anton Pannekoek, and Karl Radek. They were criticised for their opinion which rejected the right to self-determination as ‘unpractical’ and ‘illusory’. He correctly identified that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and explains that in the period of imperialism, all the significant political demands including the right of nations to self-determination, can be ‘put into effect’.

‘The demand for the immediate liberation of the colonies, as advanced by all revolutionary Social-Democrats, is also “impossible of achievement” under capitalism without a series of revolutions. This does not imply, however, that Social Democracy must refrain from conducting an immediate and most determined struggle for all these demands—to refrain would merely be to the advantage of the bourgeoisie and reaction.’3

In the age of imperialism, Lenin’s contribution concerning the national question was a profound substantiation of the theory and tactics of revolutionary Marxism. The national question is an integral part of the socialist revolution. This will get the support of the oppressed nations for the proletarian revolution, which is fighting against imperialism. But did Lenin favour the separation of nations into small units? Lenin says ‘to defend this right (to secession) does in no way mean encouraging the formation of small states, but, to the contrary, it leads to a freer... wider formation of larger states – a phenomenon more advantageous for the masses and more in accord with economic development’.4

The October Revolution advanced the Principles of self-determination of nations and equality of nations. These principles can be seen in the European international law, but there is a wide difference between the socialist principle of international law of self-determination and the bourgeois principle of self-determination of international law. The principles mentioned above formed by the materialist theory of Marxism-Leninism aimed at a peaceful sovereign world. The principle of self-determination rose in the interest of the working class. The principle of self-determination of nations is regarded as a ‘consistent expression of the struggle against any national oppression’.5 For Lenin, ‘the right of nation’s self-determination means solely the right of independence in a political sense, to free political separation from the oppressor nation’.6 It includes the right of a nation to decide its affairs, foreign policy and the inadmissibility of coercion upon the will of the nation.

The ‘Decree of Peace’ includes the right to self-determination. The materialist definition of annexation, part of the principle of self-determination was proclaimed. In the ‘Decree of Peace’ annexation was defined as ‘every incorporation of a small or weak nation into large or powerful state without the precisely, clearly, and voluntarily expressed consent and wish of that nation, irrespective of the time when such forcible incorporation took place, irrespective also of the degree of development or backwardness of the nation forcibly annexed to the given state, or forcibly retained within its borders, and irrespective, finally, of whether this nation is in Europe or in distant, overseas countries.’7 It further said, ‘If any nation whatsoever is retained within the boundaries of a given state by coercion, if despite its expressed desire it is not granted the right by a free vote..., with the complete withdrawal of the forces of annexing or generally more powerful nation, to decide without the slightest coercion the question of the form of state existence of this nation, then its accession is an annexation; that is by seizure and coercion.’8

The appeal made by the ‘All-Russian Executive Committee of Workers'; Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Congress’, of the Petrograd Soviet of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies, of the Headquarters of the Red Guard, and of Trade Union representatives of December 22, 1917, the workers of all countries were called upon ‘to struggle for a general armistice, for universal peace without annexations and indemnities on the basis of self-determination of nations.’9

Lenin said, ‘the internationalism of the proletariat remains empty and verbal’ if the proletariat of the colonial countries is not demanding the freedom of the colonised countries. Lenin wrote to G.V. Chicherin who signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, designated as the People’s commissar for foreign affairs, that

‘Our international programme must bring all oppressed colonial peoples into the international scheme. The right to separation or to home rule must be recognised for all peoples… The novelty of our international scheme must be in the fact that Negroes, as well as other colonial peoples, have participated on an equal footing with European peoples in conferences and committees and have had the right not to permit interference in their domestic life.’10

The words ‘and other colonial peoples have participated on an equal footing,’ ‘not to permit interference’ and on the margins makes the notation; ‘Right’ were highlighted by Lenin by way of underlining it.11

The Right to self-determination becomes part of the Soviet constitution. The first RSFSR constitution of 1918 confirmed the equality and sovereignty of the peoples of Russia, mentioned in the Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia of December 15, 1917. The new state of Soviet Union under Lenin broke completely with the policies of Tsarist Russia, saying those were colonial, annexationist, and of unequal character and by way of declaring the principles of equality and self-determination of the nations colonised by it.

The principle of self-determination reflected in the treaties made by the Soviet Union. The treaty between Russia and Turkey of March 16, 1921, proclaimed, ‘the principles of the fraternity of nations and the right of peoples to self-determination’. The leader of Turkey, Ataturk appreciated Soviet Russia and said ‘we are highly appreciative that Soviet Russia was repudiated the former treaties and put forward the principle of self- determination.12

In the London inter-allied conference during the Anti-Fascist War, the Soviet Union states declared that ‘The Soviet Union has implemented and is implementing in its foreign policy the higher principle of respect for the sovereign rights of peoples. In its foreign policy the Soviet Union has been and is being guided by the principle of self-determination of nations….’13

After the October Revolution, Soviet Union stood against colonialism uncompromisingly. It gave the self-determination status for all the colonial countries which were occupied and kept as a colony by the then Tsar. It not only proposed self-determination for the struggling nationalities but also implemented it in its territory. The Soviet Union followed the words of Stalin. He wrote ‘equal rights of nations in all forms (language, schools, etc.) is an essential element' (Emphasis in original) in the solution of the national question. Consequently, a state law based on complete democratization of the country is required, prohibiting all national privileges without exception and every kind of disability or restriction on the rights of national minorities.’14 The empire of the Tsar consisted of more than 100 nationalities extended from Pacific coast of Siberia into central Europe, including Finland and Poland.15 ‘The Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia’ was passed right after the revolution, which said that all the nationalities had a right to decide their own political freedom.16 It called colonialism as enslavement17 and it cannot be getting ridden without a peoples' struggle. Immediately after the revolution, it called the world's struggling masses at the period of First World War, ‘to begin immediate negotiations for a just democratic world.’18 Bill Bowring concludes:

Thus, USSR gave enormous material and moral support to the National Liberation Movements, and led the successful drive to see the principle and then right to self-determination placed at the centre of public international law in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.19

Lenin in 1913, while speaking about self-determination on the question of independence for Ukraine, noted that ‘freedom to secede, for the right to secede.’20 He keeps stressing that self-determination of nations in the political sense and not in the cultural sense in his National Liberation and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, not only in theory but implemented it in practice. On 4 (17) December 1917, the Soviet Government recognised the right to self-determination of Ukraine. When a request came from the Finnish government to recognise its independence, the Soviet peoples’ commissars on 18 (31) December 1917 resolved to go to the central executive committee with a proposal to recognise Finland’s independence. The right of the people of ‘Turkish Armenia’ to self-determination was recognised by a decree on 29 December 1917 (11 January 1918). Lenin signed an order on recognition of the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in answer to a request from the government of Soviet Estland on 7 December 1918.21

Later in the drafting of the UN Charter, the Soviet government argued for language on self-determination.22 The Soviet delegates while discussing the issue of colonies stressed that self-government is not adequate but emphasised the importance of independence.23 As a result, in Article 1 Section 2 of the UN Charter, the principle of ‘self-determination of peoples’ is recognised, though it did not expressly call colonialism unlawful.

The Soviet Union, under article 51 of the UN Charter even declared that the colonial people could use ‘collective self-defence’ against the colonisers.24 The UN General Assembly later decided that ‘All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples, shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.’25 Even after the independence of colonies, Soviet Union argued in their favour. With the backing and support of Soviet Union, the UN General Assembly adopted two resolutions which are in favour of third world countries; one is the ‘declaration on the establishment of a New International Economic Order’ and the other ‘Charter of Economic Rights and Duties.’

International Humanitarian Law

In the international humanitarian law too, Soviet Union made many progressive developments. When Germany occupied the Western Soviet Union during Second World War and made the hostage of the civilian population, Soviet Union denounced this practice as a violation of the laws of belligerent occupation.26 At that time, taking hostages was not unlawful in international law. Hostage taking was common in prior wars in occupied territory – had been practised by Germany during First World War and Britain during the Boer War.27 Soviet Union28 argued vehemently that taking hostage of civilians other than combatants was violating accepted international rules by engaging in the practice.29 When the Geneva civilian convention happened after the Second World War, the Soviet view of hostage taking as illegal was incorporated and was proclaimed that ‘the taking of hostages is prohibited.’30 Not only hostages the Soviet Union argued in favour of the position of guerrillas that when they are captured, should be treated as prisoners of war. In the international humanitarian law earlier, guerrillas were not treated as ‘combatants’, but as criminals and summarily executed without trial. The Soviet Union further argued that when the guerrillas observed the laws of warfare, they should be treated as ‘combatants’.31 It even included the guerrillas who are fighting against colonialism and for national liberation. At last, the effort of Soviet Union got reflected in the international treaties, when the law of warfare was revised in 1977. The definition of ‘combatants’ also covered members of irregular forces seeking self-determination or resisting belligerent occupation.32

October Revolution impact on International Treaty Law

Treaties can be seen as a product of class interests, where ‘collective interests’ of the bourgeoisie can be imposed over the socialist or third world countries. The young socialist state of Soviet Union faced this problem in the treaty of ‘Genocide Convention’ in 1948. The Soviet Union wanted to ratify it, but with some reservations due to the danger of ‘collective interests’ of the capitalist states turning against it. When the General Assembly sought the advisory opinion of the ICJ, the majority judges decided that ratification with reservations was acceptable, at least within some limits.33 This became an international standard. ‘It was thus, the Soviet Union’s use of the reservation tool that led to solidification of the rule that reservations to treaties are acceptable, that a state that files a reservation may nevertheless become a party.’34

Secret treaties were not considered as against the norms of the international law in the earlier period after Westphalia. This was the situation where the people were considered ‘subjects’ and not ‘citizens.’ Before the First World War, there was an era of secret diplomacy. It was during this time the states were not responsible towards the people, an uncompleted bourgeois task. The then US President Wilson in his Fourteen points mentioned in the first point that ‘Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed frankly and in the public view’.35 Wilson’s intentions were different from the Socialist understanding of secret treaties. Wilson was against colonialism because it monopolises the exploitation of single imperialist power and the secret treaties were the outcome of such exploitation against each other. The socialist understanding of secret treaties is that it is against the people. The endless argument of the Soviet Union against ‘secret treaties’ that were against the interest of not only the young socialist state but also colonised countries led to the registration of treaties. While concluding the Report on Peace of November 8, 1917, Lenin said:

‘The secret treaties must be published. The provisions concerning annexations and contributions must be abrogated. There are various provisions, comrades – why the predatory governments not only agreed about the plunderings, but amidst such agreements, they also accommodated economic agreements and various other provisions concerning good-neighbourly relations. We reject all provisions regarding plunder and coercion but all provisions where good-neighbourly terms and economic agreements have been concluded we heartily welcome, we cannot reject these.’36

The secret treaties were not even justified in bourgeois terms. The secret treaties mentioned frankly about plundering and annexations of territories illegally. The treaties were made between two powers to overthrow the third one. The internal contradictions of capitalism and the capitalists of each nation state was the reason behind these secret treaties. Lenin’s opposition and strong condemnation of the secret treaties were because exposing the secret treaties reveals the real exploiting nature of the capitalists. Openly capitalists have to behave as a welfare state with human rights and all. On Wilson’s understanding that if treaties were made part of the public record and thereby submitted to public scrutiny, states would have trouble in covering unethical activities against others with the cloak of legality and they would be dissuaded from concluding treaties which were sure to encounter public disapproval.37 But the secret treaties were brutally exposing imperialism. Later, the provision of the UN Charter, which says ‘Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretary and published by it.’ If the registration of treaties is not in compliance with the UN Charter, it provided, ‘No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not been registered . . . may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations.’38

Peaceful Co-existence

Peaceful co-existence is the existence of states with different political ideology and living together in peace and harmony. The materialist concept of peaceful co-existence is the presence of various states with the leadership of antagonistic classes, one is led by the leadership of bourgeoisie, and the other one is run by the proletariat. In history, we have many instances where this concept of peaceful co-existence has been practised in international law. Peaceful co-existence historically evolved during the era of Buddhism in India. Emperor Asoka’s rock edict speaks about the enjoyment of peace by co-existence and ‘not by mutual interference and recrimination’.39 Later it reflected in India’s foreign policy during Prime Minister Nehru’s period as Pancha Sheel.

Nevertheless, the materialist concept of peaceful co-existence was evolved after the application of the theory of Marxism to practice. The method resulted in the October Socialist Revolution in Russia. For the first time in the history of the world, a state arose after a revolution which was directed towards a classless society and led by the majority of the people. Till then all the existing states were in favour of the minority exploiting classes whether it is a slave state, feudal state or a bourgeois state. A slave state is not antagonistic to a feudal state, same as a feudal state is not hostile to the capitalist state. But a capitalist state is hostile to the socialist state because one is to continue to exploitation and the other one is to annihilate the exploitation. When the first state came into existence, there arose a question how the state which is unique in the history of the world is going to survive with the encirclement of states which were antagonistic in nature. There was an imminent threat to the young socialist state from the imperialist bourgeois states. The requirement of the concept of peaceful co-existence was necessary to protect the young socialist state from the encirclement. Hence, the peaceful co-existence of the past was altogether different from the new peaceful co-existence which emerged after the October Revolution.

Background of the principle of peaceful co-existence

After the October Revolution, the real and complicated necessity of peaceful co-existence was required. In the Report of the central committee to the Eighth Congress of the RKB(b) on March 18, 1919, Lenin said,

‘We live not only in a state, but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with the imperialist states for a prolonged period is inconceivable. Ultimately either one or the other shall be victorious. And when this end comes, a number of terrible conflicts between the Soviet Republic and bourgeois states are inevitable.’40

Lenin was practical in warning the young socialist state. He was not utopian that the encircled capitalist countries will live peacefully with the young socialist state. He expected conflicts and even the end of the young socialist state and the continuation of the encircled capitalist states. Out of Lenin’s prediction, one thing is clear that the socialist state was not going to live peacefully among the capitalist encirclement.

Lenin further said,

‘All nations will arrive at socialism, this is inevitable, but not all will do so in exactly the same way, each will contribute something of its own in one or another form of democracy, one or another variety of the dictatorship of proletariat, one or another rate at which socialist transformations will be effected in the various aspects of social life. There is nothing more primitive from the viewpoint of theory or more ridiculous from that of practice than to paint ‘in the name of historical materialism’, this aspect of the future in a monotonous grey. The result will be nothing more than Suzdal dubbing.’41

After the October revolution, there could not be a ‘permanent revolution’ and the change of the world into socialism at a go. History teaches us lessons about the change of society. We have seen the struggle of capitalism to overthrow feudalism takes hundreds of years. It tried again and again in fighting with feudalism and even now we cannot say it succeeded all over the world. Hitherto, it could not reach in most of the world as feudalism is still followed. But capitalism is continuing along with feudalism with some compromises in many places. Slavery legally existed in one or another form in the United States till the ‘civil war’ during the period of the Presidentship of Abraham Lincoln. We have seen the existence of primitive communist societies still in some parts of the world. Hence Lenin was not utopian, and he was brilliant in applying the historical materialism not in a mechanical way but in a dialectical way.

Lenin’s prediction was true that soon enough the imperialist countries started attacking the young socialist state. The materialist doctrine of peaceful co-existence includes the fundamental right of self-defence. It does not mean that being in peace when there is an attack from the antagonistic states. The young socialist state was involved in a war with the imperialist countries, till 1920. However, a treaty was signed in 1918 with Germany with its draconian terms called the Brest-Litovsk treaty, to protect the young socialist state. Though Lenin did not support the deal ideologically of a socialist state signing a treaty with an imperialist country, the necessity of signing such treaty was required to protect the young socialist state. Warren Lerner argues that practically the Soviet state was in peaceful co-existence with the Imperial Germany during that time.42 Same happened when Fascism arose in Germany; the USSR signed a nonaggression pact with the Fascist Germany, which gave enough time to protect and strengthen the Soviet Union from Fascist attack. Even during the Second World War, the Soviet Union was in alliance with the Imperialist countries like Britain and the United States because of the Fascist Germany, a primary contradiction. Same thing happened in China, as the Chinese Communist Party was in alliance with the Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang Party to defeat the Japanese imperialism.

Some theoretical enquiry

By applying the materialist conception to the concept of peaceful coexistence of states we have to go slightly further to analyse the nature of the state. A state originates due to the formation of exploiting and exploited classes when the classes are in irreconcilable antagonism. According to that formula, can an exploiting class’s state co-exist peacefully with a non-exploiting state or an exploited state? The states also have to be considered in irreconcilable antagonism. Then how can the states co-exist peacefully?

Let’s take the different classes inside a state. It’s not necessary that class war happens inside the country all the times. In history, we can see in many times peace existed in different geographical areas, but actually, it woudn’t survive for long. Peace can be carried in the state through violent means of suppressing the class struggle or ideologically injecting the slave mentality agreeable to the exploited masses. Mostly both methods are followed to carry on the peace; the percentage may vary at times. Sometimes peace could be unjust. Master remains masters and slave remain slaves in a peaceful society. That can also be called as peaceful co-existence.

Coming to the states whether this formula can be applied or not, let’s hear the words of Tunkin. He differentiates States and classes by arguing

‘States, not classes, enter into international relations, [and] international relations are the relation among states. But the foreign policy of states is determined by the predominant classes in these states, this is class policy. Therefore the struggle of the two systems, socialist and capitalist affects relations among socialist and capitalist states. Thus the specific feature of this ‘class struggle’ consists, first and foremost, in the fact that this struggle manifests itself in relations among states, and not directly between classes.’43

Here Tunkin differentiates the category of class from a state. In fact, he makes states above classes in the international arena. Classes necessarily remain antagonistic but not states according to him. The class struggle manifests the state and also its relations with the other states. Hence he argues an exploiting state can peacefully stay with a non-exploiting state though each state is exploited by the ruling classes of the respective states. The physical struggle is not the only struggle in peaceful co-existence; otherwise, it consists of political struggle as well as ideological struggle.

Tunkin further argues

‘Peaceful co-existence is applicable only to relations among states. It does not mean class struggle in individual countries or the struggle of colonial people for their independence. Class struggle within a state is an internal affair and cannot be regulated by international law’.44

Tunkin disconnects the international law from the class struggle inside a country. To him, the class struggle which is happening inside the country has nothing to do with the international law. Tunkin’s argument forgets the dialectical connection between the international law and domestic law. He was isolating international law and the class struggle inside the country. This mechanical application of Marxism is not dialectical materialism but metaphysical; the separation of base and superstructure as two different isolated things without any relations. Tunkin’s argument has an actual situation that he has to justify the imperialist policies of the Soviet Union. Therefore, his argument is not based on materialism.

During the Soviet period many international law principles give rights to the struggling masses of the world. International law guarantees principles like self-determination and rights of many oppressed sections of the society. In the contemporary period, international law dominating the domestic law implements the policies of globalisation. Because of this, the class struggle is getting increased in the states, particularly in the third world countries. The International Non-Governmental Organisations again control the rising class struggle. Hence we cannot say that international law has any impact on the class struggle happening inside each country.

‘Peaceful co-existence, while debarring ‘the unleashing of a thermonuclear world war’ is ‘an integral part of the revolutionary struggle against imperialism’. Thus ‘Revolutionary national liberation wars, like class struggle in any capitalist country, do not clash with co-existence and can be brought to success only under peaceful co-existence.’45

According to this the peaceful co-existence will help the national liberation wars and the class struggle in any capitalist country. The capitalist state will not remain calm when a state is turning towards socialism, and history shows it. The imperialist intervention in Cuba to Vietnam and all happened during the period of peaceful co-existence against the formation of socialist states.

Brezhnev in the Twenty-Third Congress of the Communist party in 1966 declared

‘There can be no peaceful co-existence where matters concern the internal processes of the class and national liberation struggle in the capitalist countries or in colonies. Peaceful co-existence is not applicable to the relations between oppressors and oppressed, between colonialists and the victims of colonial oppression.’46

From the above statements from the communist party leaders and international law scholars it is getting clear that if two diametrically opposed systems of two countries practice peaceful co-existence among them, it won’t be a hindrance to the development of forces in the country like the national liberation struggle or the class struggle inside the country. It means two countries agree that I don’t disturb you and you don’t bother me. This situation is possible only with the armed might of the state. It also means if there is a revolution in your country I am not responsible and don’t blame me for that. Therefore, revolution cannot be exported from outside and only depends on the internal contradiction inside the country. Yes, it is true that revolution cannot be exported from outside. But at the same time, the internal contradictions have close connections and links with the external contradictions. We cannot see things inside the country in an isolated way, and that is not a dialectical way of looking at things. If the base of the world is both capitalism and socialism, both reflect in the superstructure like the international law with its contradictions. Hence there is a dialectical connection between the internal and external contradictions as well as domestic law and international law.

The exported revolution by the Soviet Union failed in places like Bolivia, Congo, etc. At the same time the exported mercenaries by the imperialist countries also failed like Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua, etc. but coup d’état has succeeded in many countries like Chile, Iran, etc. Here a question arises. Is it just intervening directly with the physical force like armed intervention comes against peaceful co-existence or instead of directly sending troops but with other methods like conspiring, bribing, encircling, threatening with an economic blockade, supporting a third country in the war (like Vietnam) also against peaceful co-existence?

In principle, the international law speaks about the sovereign equality of states, but it never existed practically in the history of states. The powerful states always trouble and exploit the small states. The wars happen mostly for conquest and to use the wealth of other states. Co-existence was peaceful only when both the states have more or less equal military strength. In the contemporary world too, the states are divided into super power hegemonic states, oppressed nations, third world countries, etc. so there are exploiting states as well as exploited states. The protest of the exploited states against the exploiting state is natural and justified. Can there be a peaceful coexistence between them? Or can we say peaceful co-existence happens only between two different social systems or two opposed systems? Lenin repeatedly pointed to the hypocrisy of what the imperialists called the equality of nations. He said:

‘The League of Nations and the whole post-war policy of the Entente reveal this truth more clearly and distinctly than ever, they are everywhere intensifying the revolutionary struggle both of the proletariat in the advanced countries and of the masses of the working people in the colonial and dependent countries, and are hastening the collapse of the petty-bourgeois national illusion that nations can live together in peace and equality under capitalism.’ 47

The world was divided into imperialist oppressing country, the third world oppressed countries and the non-oppressing socialist countries. The non-oppressing socialist country could not let it be oppressed by any other country as the ideology is against oppression and exploitation. Oppressing nations and oppressed nation criteria and division are different from the state based on exploitation and a state based on anti-exploitation. The ideology of a country which relies on anti-exploitation cannot be an oppressing country. There is a threat to an exploiting state by the state which is based on anti-exploitation. For obvious reasons the state based on anti-exploitation is a moral and physical support to the exploited state and the same state having the moral and physical support of the state based on anti-exploitation will oppose the exploiting state. This is a danger to the exploiting state that it can no longer exploit the other countries. If it no longer exploits and oppresses other states, then it turns to its people to exploit more and may lead to the end of a state based on exploitation and transform it into another state based on anti-exploitation, i.e., a socialist state. Now we can understand can there be a peaceful coexistence between two diametrically opposed social systems. Let’s see in detail in the following pages.

Soviet View of Peaceful Co-existence

The Soviet Union had two views on peaceful co-existence. The first view was till the 20th Congress of CPSU, which formed and followed after the October Revolution of 1917, under the Soviet Leadership of Lenin and Stalin. Khrushchev primarily propagated the second view at the 20th Congress. We have already seen the Leninist principle of peaceful coexistence. The Khrushchev propagated peaceful co-existence has some major changes. First, it became the core foreign policy and general party line of the Soviet Union, which it was not earlier during the Lenin and Stalin period. Second, along with peaceful co-existence, co-operation with the capitalist countries was added, which was considered as revisionism from the Marxist principle. Let us see in detail.

When the principle of peaceful of co-existence started getting propagated by the Soviet leadership notably by Khrushchev, it claimed that it is a ‘Leninist Principle’ and it was the foreign policy of Soviet Union from the beginning of the young socialist state. He often quoted Lenin’s words about peace and the actions of peace treaties with imperialist countries. In the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev speaks about the five principles of peaceful co-existence. The five are – ‘mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, equality and mutual advantage, peaceful co-existence and economic cooperation are now subscribed to and supported by a score of states.’48 He further says that he had in mind the proposal for the conclusion of the Treaty of friendship and cooperation between the USSR and the US which was contained in the letter of Comrade N.A. Bulganin to President D. Eisenhower.49 Hence it was not only peaceful co-existence but also cooperation with the imperialist United States. The major and fundamental difference of Khrushchev’s peaceful co-existence is the addition of cooperation with the imperialist countries like the US.

While he was speaking about the peaceful co-existence of the two systems, he argued that ‘the Leninist principle of peaceful co-existence of states with different social systems has always been and remains the general line of our country’s foreign policy’.50 Chinese Communist Party and Mao opposed this saying it was not the general line but one of the policies of Lenin and Stalin. According to CPC, the peaceful co-existence is one aspect of the foreign policy of the socialist countries in dealing with the countries having different social systems.

During the 26th Congress of the CPSU, the Soviet leadership tried to justify the concept of peaceful co-existence and argued against the allegation of the imperialist countries that peaceful co-existence is not possible between different social systems. D.T. Shepilov points out the claim of incompatibility of the ideology of peaceful co-existence and says ‘the unfounded thesis is dragged out alleging that the Marxist precept, that capitalism must inevitably be succeeded by socialism, is incompatible with the possibility of peaceful co-existence of the two systems – the capitalist and socialist systems’.51 Malenkov's speech at the 20th Congress argues about the two-way process of peaceful co-existence and ‘it preservation depends not only on the Soviet Union but also on countries of the capitalist world,’52 And ‘the line of peaceful co-existence of the two systems is incompatible with the policy of negotiating ‘from strength’ and also with the policy of forming exclusive military combinations of one group of states obviously aimed against another group.’53 He further added that ‘there can be no reconciliation between the line of peaceful co-existence and the policy of negotiating from strength. The Soviet leadership was clear about one thing that the peaceful co-existence and ‘the policy of negotiating from strength cannot go together.’54 The encirclement of the capitalist countries with the leadership of the US imperialism was considered as a threat to the Soviet Union.

Tunkin even went to the extent of saying that the contemporary international law of his time is peaceful co-existence. Tunkin said in 1963, ‘There is every ground to call present-day international law the law of peaceful co- existence.’55 Tunkin, while speaking about the imperialist aggression, argues about the peaceful co-existence and struggles as ‘the first aspect of the problem being considered is what influence is exerted on international law by the very fact of the co-existence and struggle of the two opposed social systems.’56 One of the laws of dialectical materialism, as we have seen in the second chapter, is the unity and opposition of forces. It seems Tunkin based his theory of peaceful co-existence on this law of unity and opposition. Can we see Khrushchev’s friendship and cooperation treaty with the US as unity? Vyshinsky before Tunkin put up a formula of ‘struggle and cooperation’ in international law. The concept of ‘unity and struggle’ in dialectical materialism has an example of the labourers and the capitalists working in the same system, industry. Capitalists cannot remain alone without the proletariat (industrial labourers) and the proletariat cannot stay alone as proletariat without the capitalists. This is the unity between them. Here the capitalists can be equalled with the Imperialist capitalist country which exploits the oppressed countries like the industrial labourers. If the imperialist-capitalist countries are not there, then there are no oppressed countries. Without oppressing others, an imperialist capitalist country cannot remain as imperialist. In this scenario of the capitalists and labourers, a trade union communist leader is appearing who is from an industry which was taken over by the labourers. Now the industry is run by the labourers, and they share the profits, or it can be a cooperative society. This trade union leader or the very labourers running industry is a threat to the capitalist because it will spoil the capitalist's own labourers to do the same. And the trade union leaders are ideologically in support of the labourers of the industry run by a capitalist. The capitalist does not exploit the trade union leader, and he is equally forceful with his comrades against the capitalist. Can there be a unity, a friendship of the trade union leader and the capitalists here? If this happens can he anymore be in support of the oppressed labourers of the industry? This example can be very well suited to the international law and international relations. The Soviet Union, capitalist and labourers are the trade union leader, the imperialist country and the labourers respectively. A question arises here as what about the capitalist countries which are not imperialist, which won’t exploit other countries? The imperialist countries are a threat to the capitalist countries as well as the oppressed countries and the socialist countries. A peaceful co-existence can happen with the capitalist countries against the imperialist countries by the socialist countries. A peaceful co-existence can occur with the socialist countries and the oppressed countries. But a peaceful co-existence, particularly in the Soviet words a ‘friendship treaty’ with an imperialist country is not possible. The peaceful co-existence can be forced upon them sometimes by situations, but it will never last long. The unity among the countries having different social systems comes out of its very existence and not necessarily through peaceful co-existence by signing a friendship treaty.

The Chinese view of the principle of peaceful co-existence:

China agrees with the term peaceful co-existence as a Marxist-Leninist principle. Even before the Soviet Union declared Peaceful co-existence as the foreign policy, China entered a treaty with other third world countries including India on the five principles of Peaceful co-existence or the Pancha Sheel. China towards the Soviet Union said that ‘the foreign policy of the Soviet Union has, in the main, conformed to the interests of the international proletariat, the oppressed nations and the peoples of the world.’57

The Chinese Communist Party criticised Soviet Union that it makes the advertisement that US imperialism supports peaceful co-existence. It differentiated two diametrically opposed policies of peaceful coexistence. One is Lenin and Stalin’s policy of Peaceful co-existence, and the other is the anti-Leninist policy of Peaceful co-existence. It further argues with the support of Lenin’s futuristic perspective of

‘Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time’ and ‘only the working class when it wins power, can pursue a foreign policy of peace… not in words… but in deeds’.58

The Chinese Communist Party considers these are the theoretical bases of the policy of peaceful co-existence. This theoretical basis expresses the fundamental law of the nature of the society that till exploitation is there, the struggle is there. When the working class comes to power in a majority all over the world, there is a possibility of peace. Hence it does not mean that the socialist countries engage in war and not working towards peace. The effort is there to avoid war from the side of socialist countries. The party further argued

‘the socialist countries are persisting in their efforts for peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries to develop diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with them, to settle international disputes through peaceful negotiations, to oppose preparations for a new world war, to expand the peace area in the world and to broaden the scope of application of the five principles of peaceful co-existence’.59

The Chinese Communist Party further argued that ‘the relative equilibrium’ between the imperialist countries and the Soviet Union came into being after a prolonged war. The Soviet Union stood its ground after several years of trials of strength. Then only Lenin advanced the policy of Peaceful co-existence, till then Lenin argued that ‘unless we defend the Socialist Republic by force of arms, we could not exist’.60

When Lenin speaks about Peaceful co-existence with imperialism at the same time, he warned the socialist state should maintain constant vigilance against imperialism. It happens in a particular situation during Lenin’s period, the equilibrium between imperialist countries and the Soviet Union was highly unstable. The Communist Party of China further argued that peace comes after the constant struggle. If the struggle stops and there is no peace as well as the young socialist state. The peace was the ‘result of repeated trials of strength between the imperialist countries and the Soviet state, which adopted a correct policy, relied on the support of the proletariat and oppressed nations of the world and utilised contradictions among the imperialists.’61 According to CPC, Lenin followed different principles of peaceful coexistence with different countries. Lenin gave primary and particular importance to the countries which are affected by imperialism. He advocated friendly relations among the countries which were oppressed by imperialism. Lenin’s draft programme of the party explicitly argues for the ‘support of the revolutionary movement of the socialist proletariat in the advanced countries' and ‘support of the countries in general, and particularly in the colonies and dependent countries.’62

The CPC further stated that Lenin consistently held that it was impossible for the oppressed classes and nations to co-exist peacefully with the oppressor classes and nations.63

The CPC accused the USSR principle of co-existence as ‘all-round cooperation with imperialist countries and especially with the United States'. Further the Soviet Union and the United States ‘will be able to find a basis for concerted actions and efforts for the good of all humanity’ and ‘can march hand in hand for the sake of consolidating peace and establishing real international co-operation between all states.’64

The CPC differentiates Lenin’s policy of peaceful co-existence as one aspect of the international policy of the proletariat in power, but the Soviet Union stretches peaceful co-existence into the general line of foreign policy for the socialist countries. Lenin’s peaceful co-existence directed against the imperialist policies of aggression and war, but Soviet Union’s peaceful co-existence caters to imperialism and abets the imperialist policies of aggression and war. The difference is the international class struggle and international class collaboration.

Views from the Imperialist camp

The imperialist camp was doubtful about the term of peaceful coexistence from the very beginning. Leaving a model of non-exploiting state led by the proletariats is always a threat to their very existence. The imperialist camp never trusted the words of the Soviet leaders about the peaceful co-existence and in a sense; it was more practical and open about the nature of the Soviet state. More concern by the imperialist camp was about the technical use of the term and its implications. Sir Roger Makins, former British Ambassador to the US, has suggested that “modus vivendi,” implying a balance of peace through strength, was a better term to be accepted practically. He notes ‘it enjoys the decent obscurity of a dead tongue, perhaps has less risk of becoming a popular catch word.’65 He added that ‘for the Russians, it (peaceful co-existence) signifies a temporary detente during which they can build up communist strength and sap the will of the free world, a state of what has been called provisional non-belligerency.’66 These statements from the imperialist camp express the non-willingness of their co-operation and giving importance as an international legal principle.

Henry Cabot Lodge, United States Representative to General Assembly of the United Nations, told the General Committee on September 30, 1957, in a discussion on the inscription of the Soviet item on the Five Principles, that ‘these principles, stated in another way, are what we are all committed to by our adherence to the Charter of the United Nations. All men of good will approve such ideas.’67 By this way, the western powers try to equate with the principles of the UN Charter and try to establish that the principle of peaceful co-existence is nothing new.

The American scholars disagreed to define the term but interpreted it as

‘a concept requiring vigorous efforts to bring all peoples of the world closer together so that there may be an evolution of an informed, educated world public prepared to formulate policies designed to further the economic and political development of all peoples a concept opposed to forceful measures designed to impose the will of a strong power or group of powers upon a power or group of powers believed to be less strong.’68

This statement is vague and nothing more than the principle of equality of states. It is in a way self-contradictory that one way it argues for furthering the economic and political development of all people and another way it opposes effective measures. The very nature of capitalism and its highest stage imperialism survives out of effective action. To further capitalist economic model is itself an effective means of imposing the will of a substantial power. Socialist states in nature cannot forcefully impose their economic program unless it turns out to be an imperialist state like the former Soviet Union. A socialist state’s primary concern would be protecting the proletarian state from capitalist encirclement.

When Khrushchev started propagating the doctrine peaceful coexistence, the Western countries, during the twelfth session of the General Assembly, expressed a negative opinion about it and said that Lenin and Stalin had developed the idea of co-existence agreed as a phase in the goal of communism and never renounced their hostility towards the non-communist states. Therefore, the imperialist countries were clear in their position about the international law principle of peaceful co-existence and diluted the principle to become a mere policy of Soviet Union.

Proletarian Internationalism

Proletarian internationalism is a materialist concept of international law which unites the working class all over the world. The communist slogan ‘Workers of the World Unite’ resembles this concept. For a proletariat, there is no nation, no nationality. His welfare is connected with the proletarians of the world. Nationalism is a hurdle in the path of proletarian internationalism. Nationalism and patriotism of the proletarians of a particular nation stop them from opposing the exploitation of the working class of other countries by their nation. Communist Internationals were the beginning of the materialist principle of proletarian internationalism in an organised way. Socialist internationalism which is the enrichment of proletarian internationalism originated after the formation of socialist states. Nevertheless, both socialist internationalism and proletarian internationalism was betrayed many times, when the parties and states deviated from Marxism-Leninism.

Socialist internationalism

The term proletarian internationalism as a wider term can be traced from the writings of Marx and Engels itself. During that time there were no Socialist countries to develop the idea of socialist internationalism. Hence there was only talk about the proletarian internationalism or the unity of the working class of all nations. After the October revolution and after the formation of many socialist states all over the world after Second World War, a concept of socialist internationalism has emerged. Proletarian internationalism includes the idea of socialist internationalism, the relation between the socialist states. Both cannot be differentiated, but one includes the other. It is the development of proletarian solidarity into socialist solidarity. ‘With the formation of the world socialist system, proletarian solidarity was enriched with such a new form of socialist solidarity’.69 Thus socialist internationalism is not different from proletarian internationalism but a part and development of proletarian internationalism at the particular historical juncture. Lenin, while speaking about the foreign policy of the socialist state, said, it is nothing but ‘in alliance with the revolutionaries of the advanced countries and with all oppressed people,’ ‘against any and all imperialists,’ and ‘^ this is the foreign policy of proletariat.’70

The principles of socialist international law formed particularly after the Second World War. The principles of socialist internationalism include mutual assistance in economic relations, complete equality among the socialist states, mutual respect for independence and sovereignty and fraternal mutual aid and cooperation among the socialist states. Mutual financial assistance was not a simple commercial relation but assisting to the benefit of the advanced and economically wealthy socialist states to the newly formed socialist states. Among the socialist countries, there was an international socialist division of labour developing. The Twenty-Third special session of the council of mutual economic assistance, which took place in Moscow on April 23-26, 1969, with the leaders of the communist parties and of governments of member countries of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance participating, emphasised that the Commonwealth of Socialist states ‘must rest upon the system of firm and stable international socialist division of labour which ensures the close interaction of the national economies of the member countries of CMEA.’71

The relations between the socialist states are the new and higher type of international relations. Compared to the old capitalist mode of production, the countries based on the socialist mode of production is a progressive step towards communist society. The capitalist state’s relations are not based on mutual friendship but based on the inherent contradiction between them. The two world wars are the result of those inconsistencies. Naturally, the capitalist states contradict due to the competition and profit-making which lead to the relations antagonistic among them. But on the other side, as there is no private property, the socialist states had no necessity to exploit and compete. The Moscow declaration of the 81 Communist parties, December 1960, pointed toward a socialist system secure against contradiction:

‘In contrast to the laws of the capitalist system, which is characterised by antagonistic contradictions between classes, nations and states leading to armed conflicts, there are no objective causes in the nature of the socialist system for contradictions and conflicts between the peoples and states belonging to it. Its development leads to greater unity among the states and nations and to the consolidation of all forms of cooperation between them.’72

In 1957, itself, a Soviet spokesman declared that ‘the world camp of socialism is a monolithic commonwealth of free and sovereign states with common interests and purposes in which there is not and cannot be antagonism.’73 This is the ideal of socialist internationalism.

There was no such principle of international law evolved among the capitalist states as capitalist internationalism. Fundamentally there cannot be a friendly internationalism among the capitalist states. If there is some, then it would be for the benefit of one and not to the other or to benefit equally by exploiting the weaker countries. Many treaties of international law can be shown as an example like the Treaty of Versailles etc. Capitalists are united temporarily in many situations when there is a common threat to their very existence.

The principles of Socialist internationalism were visible in each international treaties signed between the socialist states. The socialist countries of the world recognised those principles as the principles of international law. The Treaty of friendship, co-operation and Mutual Assistance of September 7, 1967, between the USSR and the Hungarian Peoples Republic argued for the friendship, fraternal mutual assistance and all round close co-operations between the USSR and HPR. It is based upon the ‘firm principles of socialist internationalism.74

The joint Soviet-Polish statement of July 22, 1959, in connection with the arrival of the party governmental delegation of the Soviet Union in Poland says ‘Friendship between the peoples of both countries, founded upon a profound community of ideology, upon the Leninist principles of proletarian internationalism is being strengthened and is developing even more.’75

Out of the principles of Socialist internationalism, new international legal principles evolve as the most general predominant and characteristic principle of the new type of international relations. The 1957 Declaration of the Meeting of Representatives of Communist and workers parties of the Socialist countries elaborates that the

‘Socialist countries build their mutual relations upon the principles of complete equality, of respect for territorial integrity, state independence and sovereignty, and of non-interference in one another’s internal affairs. These are the most important principles; however, they do not exhaust the entire essence of relations among socialist countries. Fraternal mutual assistance is an integral part of their mutual relations; the principle of socialist internationalism finds its true manifestations in such mutual assistance.76

Tunkin explains about the relation of proletarian and socialist internationalism. He defines, in ‘the principle of socialist internationalism is the result of applying the principle of proletarian internationalism to relations between states of the socialist type’77 in interstate relations. The primary purpose of proletarian internationalism is ‘above all the unity of the proletariat of various countries in the class struggle against capital for a socialist reconstruction of society.’78

He further explains,

‘Therefore the principle of socialist internationalism as a principle of relations among socialist states signifies above all the unity of the socialist state in that class struggle between socialism and capitalism which takes place in the international arena in specific forms and which comprises the basis content of contemporary international relations. An important part of this struggle is the joint defence of the socialist system from any attempts of forces of the old world to destroy or subvert any socialist state of this system. 79

The joint defence mechanism of Warsaw pact was later developed during the Khrushchev period. This joint defence mechanism of the then Soviet Union had an aggressive nature which later led to the invasion of Czechoslovakia and Hungary in the name of socialist internationalism. The international socialist principles are not only a moral and political but also an international legal principle. These principles turn into an inevitable part in the foreign policies of the socialist state. The programme of CPSU says

‘the Marxist-Leninist parties and the peoples of Socialist states, proceed from the fact that the successes of the entire world system of socialism depend upon the contribution and effort of each country and they, therefore, consider the utmost development of the productive forces of its country to be an internationalist duty.’80

We have seen that some of the international socialist principles are already part of the general international law. The socialist principles of respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, etc., were according to Lenin 'advanced earlier, even in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the petty bourgeoisie.’81 Every society carries forward the progressive principles of the old society. Hence some of the bourgeois principles of international law are strengthened by socialist and oppressed countries. The intention and aim of the bourgeois international legal principles may be different and not applicable universally. The real and complete usage and meaning of those legal principles have to be enriched by the oppressed and socialist countries. Tunkin clarifies though general principles of international law have the same principles of socialist internationalism they differ fundamentally. He puts up that

‘the socialist principles of respect for state sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality of states and peoples differ fundamentally from the corresponding principles of general international law; these socialist principles have another content; the rules of conduct themselves are changed partially as part of the content of the norms and, especially, the special aspect of the norm changes, on the sociological plane, socialist principles reflect the concordant wills of states of one social system and – of special importance – of the socialist system. The social consequences of the operation of socialist international legal principles differ completely from the consequences of the operation of norms of general international law. The immediate reason for this is the qualitative distinctiveness of the special aspect of socialist principles from the principles of general international law and the difference in the social relations which are regulated by socialist principles, on one hand, and by principles of general international law, on the other.’82

Tunkin stresses the principle of socialist internationalism by differentiating from the general international law to the socialist countries had aggressive motives to justify the invasion of the socialist and third world countries.83

The principles of socialist internationalism was emphasised, in the communiqué concerning the special session of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance held in April 1969, says

‘their mutual economic, scientific and technical ties are built upon the basis of principles of interstate relations of a new type – of socialist internationalism, complete equality, respect for sovereignty and national interest, mutual advantage and comradely mutual assistance. Historical experience has fully confirmed the living force of these Marxist-Leninist principles’.84

This paragraph defines the socialist internationalism better than Tunkin’s definition. The socialist internationalism is nothing but mutual help to the socialist and the third world countries. It is not for invading to bring the socialist system in a particular country and exactly not a division of labour among the socialist countries under Khrushchev’s leadership.85

Permanent Revolution and Socialism in One Country

Is the theory of permanent revolution contrary to the theory of socialism in one country and the former more close to socialist internationalism than the latter? The theory of permanent revolution was not as formulated by Trotsky, but the glimpses were found in Engels writings itself. Not directly, but by saying, ‘the communist revolution will not be a purely national one. It will be a revolution taking place simultaneously in all civilised countries. i.e., at least in England, America, France, Germany… it is a universal revolution and therefore it will also have a universal terrain.’86 Lenin too in the fourth party congress, April 1906 said,

‘[The Russian Revolution] can achieve victory because the proletariat jointly with the revolutionary peasantry can constitute an invincible force. But it cannot retain its victory, because in a country where small production is vastly developed, the small commodity producers (including the peasants) will inevitably turn against the proletarians when they pass from freedom to socialism. To be able to retain its victory, to be able to prevent restoration, the Russian revolution will need non-Russian reserves, will need outside assistance. Are there such reserves? Yes, there are the socialist proletariat in the West.’87 [Italics original]

Later Lenin theorised that if the world revolution could not happen, the socialism could not be a completed one but building socialism in one country is possible. In his words,

‘…when we are told that the victory of socialism is possible only on a world scale, we regard this merely as an attempt, a particularly hopeless attempt, on the part of the bourgeoisie and its voluntary and involuntary supporters to distort the irrefutable truth. The ‘final’ victory of socialism in a single country is of course impossible.’88

Hence the final victory, the achievement of communism in one country is impossible unless the world mode of production majorly progressed into socialism; nevertheless, the growth of socialism is possible in one country. Stalin only followed Lenin’s position and continued his policy after the death of Lenin.

In contemporary international law, there is no socialist internationalism practised as there are no socialist countries per se. The existence of Cuba, North Korea and the Peoples Republic of China, Vietnam has almost shifted to the capitalist model. The socialism differs in between them, but more or less they cannot be called as socialist countries. Nevertheless, the abovementioned countries do not follow socialist internationalism in any way. Now the enrichment of socialist internationalism of the principle of proletarian internationalism is no more practised. It reverts to the broader principle of proletarian internationalism, which has very little international legal value.


The impact of October Revolution is more than the above glimpses given above. One important impact is the decolonisation of the erstwhile colonial countries. The contribution of Soviet Union in various fields such as self-determination of colonial countries, treaty laws, human rights and humanitarian laws shaped international through a progressive direction. Thus, international law closely evolves from the material conditions of international relations, not in the imagination of some authors or intellectuals in the field of international law.


  1.  Michael Lowy, ‘Marxists and the National Question’, p. 97
  3.  Lenin, ‘On National Liberation and Social Emancipation’, p. 152
  4.  Cited in Conner, ‘The National Question in Marxist-Leninist Theory and Strategy’, p. 34
  5.  Cited in Tunkin, ‘Theory of International Law’, p. 8
  6.  Ibid., p. 8
  7., retrieved on 10.2.2016
  8.  Cited in Tunkin, ‘Theory of International Law’, p. 9
  9.  Ibid.
  10.  Ibid., p. 10
  11.  Ibid.
  12.  Ibid., p. 12
  13.  Ibid., p. 62
  14.  Daniels, A Documentary History of Communism in Russia from Lenin to Gorbachev, p. 37.
  15.  Quigley, Soviet Legal Innovation and the Law of the Western World, p. 48.
  16.  Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, SURSFSR (No. 2 item 18 (1919).
  17.  Quigley, Soviet Legal Innovation and the Law of the Western World, p. 47.
  18.  Decree on Peace, SURSFSR, no 1, item 2 (1917).
  19.  Marks (ed.s), International law on the left: Re-examining the Marxist legacies, p. 134.
  20. Lenin, The Cadets and The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, (1913) 4 Proletarskaya Pravda; Lenin Collected Works, vol. 19, pp. 525-527,, retrieved on 5.7.2013.
  21.  Marks (ed.s), International law on the left: Re-examining the Marxist legacies, p. 145.
  22.  Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 1945 (London and New York: United Nations Information Organizations 1945), vol. 8, p. 56.
  23.  See ibid., vol. 10, p. 441 (Commission II, General Assembly).
  24.  R. A. Tuzmukhamedov, Mirno esosushchestvovanie i natsional ’no osvobodiel ’naia voina’ [Peaceful coexistence and war of national liberation], SGP, p. 87, at p. 91 (no. 3, 1963). See also Kazimierz Grzybowski, Soviet Public International Law: Doctrines and Diplomatic Practice (Leyden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1970), p. 499.
  25.  Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, para 4.
  26.  Entry ‘Zalozhniki’ [Hostages], in P. I. Kudriavtsev, ed., Iuridicheskii slovar’ [Legal Dictionary] Moscow: State Publishing House of Legal Literature, 1956 vol. 1, p. 334.
  27.  Quigley, Soviet Legal Innovation and the Law of the Western World, p. 149.
  28.  Read former Soviet Union (this chapter as well as the following chapters).
  29.  See ibid., p. 149.
  30.  Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949, art. 34, UNTS 75: 287.
  31.  Quigley, Soviet Legal Innovation and the Law of the Western World, p. 150.
  32.  Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, June 8, 1977, arts. 43-44 (Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1977), pp. 30-32. International Committee of the Red Cross, Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Geneva: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987), pp. 507-08, 522-25.
  33.  Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (advisory opinion), International Court of Justice, Reports, p. 15 (1951).
  34.  Quigley, Soviet Legal Innovation and the Law of the Western World, p. 159.
  35., retrieved on 12.6.2017.
  36.  Cited in Tunkin, Theory of International Law, p. 29.
  37.  See further, Wilson’s Fourteen points,, retrieved on 12.5.2017.
  38.  UN Charter, art. 102.
  39.  Encyclopaedias of public international law 7, History of international law’ Foundations and Principles of international law, sources of International law, law of treaties, p. 241
  40.  Quoted in Tunkin, Theory of International Law, p. 16
  41.  Great Debates, Volume 1, p. 34
  42.  Warren Lerner, ‘The Soviet Impact on International Law’, p. 21
  43.  Tunkin, supra, p. 37
  44.  Ibid., p. 38
  45.  Quoted in Stephen M. Schwebel, The Brezhnev Doctrine Repealed and Peaceful co-existence enacted, p. 818
  46.  Ibid.
  47.  “Preliminary Draft of Theses on the National and Colonial Questions”, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, Vol. 2, Part 2, p. 464.
  48.  Great debate, p. 27
  49., retrieved on 15.6.2017
  50., retrieved on 15.6.2017
  51.  Great Debate, Volume 1, p. 106
  52.  Ibid.
  53.  Ibid., p. 108
  54.  Ibid., p. 109
  55.  Hans W. Baade (ed.s), ‘Soviet Impact on International Law’, p. 27
  56.  Tunkin, ’Theory of International law’, p. 21
  57.  Great Debate, Volume 1, p. 357
  59.  Communist China 1955-1959: Policy Documents with Analysis, Volume 1, p. 271, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  60., Retrieved on 12.05.2017
  61. Retrieved on 12.5.2017
  62.  Ibid.
  63.  Ibid.
  64.  Ibid.
  65.  Quoted in Russell H. Fifield, ‘Five Principles of Peaceful co-existence’, p. 509
  66. Ibid.
  67.  Ibid.
  68.  John N. Hazard, ‘Codifying Peaceful Co-Existence’, p. 111
  69.  Marxism-Leninism on Proletarian internationalism, p. 17
  70.  Tunkin, Theory of international law, p. 6
  71.  Ibid., p. 428
  72.  R. Judson Mitchell, ‘The Brezhnev Doctrine and Communist Ideology, ‘ p. 201
  73.  Sh. Sanakoev, “The Basis of the Relations Between the Socialist Countries,” International Affairs (July 1958), p. 27, Quoted in R. Judson Mitchell, ‘The Brezhnev Doctrine and Communist Ideology, ‘ p. 201
  74.  Tunkin, Theory of international law, p. 433
  75.  Ibid., p. 432
  76.  Ibid., p. 434
  77.  Ibid.
  78.  Ibid.
  79.  Ibid.
  80.  Ibid., p. 437
  81.  Ibid., p. 438
  82.  Ibid.
  83.  See Chapter III, for Tunkin’s differentiation of ‘General’ and ‘Particular’ international law.
  84.  Tunkin, Theory of international law, p. 439
  85., retrieved on 19.5.2017
  86., retrieved on 19.5.2017
  87., retrieved on 19.5.2017
  88., retrieved on 19.5.2017

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