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New Left Review I/83, January-February 1974


Roy Medvedev

Problems of Democratization and Détente

Some four to five years ago the international situation was still a source of serious anxiety to all who cared for peace, democracy and socialism. The enormous scale of the continuous American intervention in Indochina, the incursion of the Warsaw Pact troops into the territory of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the new Berlin crisis, the armed skirmishes on the Soviet-Chinese border, the acceleration of the arms race all over the world—all these were exacerbating international tensions to the utmost, and encouraging reactionary and extremist forces in every country. Major efforts were needed to change the trend of world events. Today, we know that such efforts were made and that they have achieved quite impressive results. We shall not enumerate here all the agreements and treaties which have critically altered the international atmosphere. It should not be overlooked, however, that the progress of détente over the last three years has been neither smooth nor easy. Initiatives of the ussr have played a very significant role in furthering it. We can assume that the development of the Soviet ‘peace offensive’ provoked serious disagreements among our leaders.

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