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New Left Review I/130, November-December 1981


Roy Medvedev, Zhores Medvedev

The USSR and the Arms Race

In face of what Edward Thompson has called the ‘present war crisis’, we welcome the invitation from our comrades in the peace movements and anti-nuclear campaigns of Western Europe to join in a cooperative project of dialogue and action. We want to reassure them that despite the barriers thrown up by the official media—West and East—there are Soviet citizens who hear their voices and share their deep concern about the peace of Europe and the world. Precisely because of the urgency of the situation, however, we must be patient in trying to understand the sometimes different premisses and experiences that lie behind our respective perceptions of the present crisis. In particular we would like to respond—critically yet with positive solidarity—to the very powerful arguments on behalf of a movement for European Nuclear Disarmament that Edward Thompson has recently advanced in the pages of this journal. [1] Edward Thompson, ‘Notes on Extermism, the Last Stage of Civilization’, nlr 121 (May–June 1980).It is important for peace forces in the West to understand why much of the argument that Thompson makes so eloquently would not be received with the same agreement or unanimity by the peace forces within the Soviet Union.

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