Cold War Perceptions : Romania's policy change towards the Soviet Union, 1960-1964

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/43219

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Dragomir , E 2014 , Cold War Perceptions : Romania's policy change towards the Soviet Union, 1960-1964 . University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences , Helsinki .

Title: Cold War Perceptions : Romania's policy change towards the Soviet Union, 1960-1964
Author: Dragomir, Elena
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute

Publisher: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Date: 2014-01-25
Language: eng
Number of pages: 206
ISBN: 978-952-10-9682-2
978-952-10-9683-9
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/43219
Abstract: This study investigated Romania's early 1960s policy change towards the Soviet Union, focusing on two questions why the change occurred and what actually changed. Calling it detachment from Moscow, dissidence, new state security strategy, independent or autonomous line, historiography focuses from an objectivist perspective on the external permissive conditions that allowed the change. It works within a paradigm which maintains that after the war Romania allied (balanced) with the USSR against the Western threat but contends that Romania s alliance with the USSR and its (post-1960) opposition to the USSR were mutually exclusive. In tackling this dichotomy, some scholars argue that the change was simulated or apparent, while others acknowledge a partial, incomplete detachment but pay little attention to what actually changed. Drawing from recently declassified archive materials, this study used a perceptual approach and a paradigm which argues that post-war Romania allied not against the threat but with the (perceived) threat the USSR. It focused on the proximate causes triggering the change and explained what changed. It investigated the emergence of Romania s opposition to the USSR mainly through two case studies (the CMEA reform process and the Sino-Soviet dispute) and covered the period between 1960 and 1964 between Romania s first categorical (albeit non-public and indirect) opposition to the USSR and the issuing of the Declaration marking Romania s first public and official (although indirect) acknowledgement of the disagreements with the USSR. This study found that the proximate causes of Romania s policy change towards the Soviet Union resided in the Romanian leaders perceptions of the threats posed to Romania s interests by various specific Soviet policies, such as the attempts to impose the CMEA integration or a strong collective riposte against China. The Romanian leaders considered that such Soviet policies had to be blocked, but they feared that opposition risked triggering even bigger threats or even the ultimate (perceived) threat to Romania s security an open confrontation with the USSR. Thus, they responded to the perceived threats by conceptualising the change in Romania s policy towards the USSR not in terms of breaking off the alliance, but in terms of finding practical ways (tactics) to block specific (perceived) less-than-ultimate Soviet threats, without provoking a confrontation with the USSR. Through its findings, this study opens new research perspectives on the Romanian-Soviet post-war relations and on the role of the leaders beliefs in Romania s foreign policy choices. It may also be a starting point to understand the unusual present-day relations between Romania and the Russian Federation.
Subject: 517 Political science
Romania
Soviet Union
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