Posted 8 марта 2022, 10:49

Published 8 марта 2022, 10:49

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Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

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The history of the USSR is actually the history of sanctions wars

8 марта 2022, 10:49
The word "sanctions" has become part of our vocabulary in recent days. But if we turn to history, sanctions against Soviet Russia and the USSR were taken constantly. Moreover, they had an impact not only on our country, but also on the world market.

Irina Mishina

Payment for nationalization and industrialization

The very first sanctions were imposed against the RSFSR back in 1917. The reason was the separate negotiations that the Bolsheviks began to conduct with Germany. And in March 1918, the former allies in the Entente introduced a complete ban on any economic relations with the young Soviet republic. This happened after the Soviet government concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Kaiser Germany, withdrew from the war and nationalized enterprises, and also refused to pay the debts of the Russian Empire. Entente sanctions seriously affected the foreign trade of the RSFSR: if in 1918 its turnover was 88.9 million rubles, then in 1919 it was only 2.6 million rubles.

But despite this, the economy of the young Soviet state developed. Moreover, since 1929 a course has been taken for the industrialization of the country. The pace of development of the Soviet economy became so impressive that many Western companies began to look for opportunities to cooperate with the Soviet Union.

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But the calm was not long. In the United States, it was believed that the USSR was deliberately selling its goods cheaper, thereby trying to dump. This affected in particular the market for manganese, coal, asbestos and matches. As a result, in 1930, the United States introduced an anti-dumping package of sanctions against the USSR. France joined the US. In Paris, they thought that the USSR was financing the French company through the Comintern. These sanctions lasted for about a year - until the countries settled all contentious issues. As a result of these sanctions, the total turnover of Soviet foreign trade fell from 1.6 billion rubles. in 1930 to 1.5 billion in 1931. Soviet exports during this period also decreased - from 812.7 million to 636.1 million rubles.

The next package of sanctions was adopted against the USSR in March 1933, initiated by Great Britain. It was connected with a spy scandal. Then five British citizens were arrested in the USSR on suspicion of espionage. After negotiations, the British were released and British sanctions lifted.

Another package of sanctions was adopted against the USSR just before the start of the Great Patriotic War. It became a response to the Soviet-Finnish war. In the United States, these measures have been dubbed the "moral embargo". They did not have any significant impact on the Soviet economy.

The Cold War and the price of a non-market economy

In 1946, the Cold War began, which prepared new economic sanctions against the USSR. In March 1948, the US Department of Commerce restricted the export of strategic materials, equipment and weapons to the USSR and the countries of the "socialist camp" in Eastern Europe. In 1949, these restrictions were enshrined in the Export Control Act. In the United States, to implement these measures, even the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) was specially created to oversee the supply of goods and technologies from Western states to the USSR and other socialist countries. The structure of COCOM included 17 Western countries led by the United States. Six other countries cooperated with this committee. The coordinators developed a strategy of "controlled technological backwardness", according to which equipment and technologies could be sold to socialist countries no earlier than four years after their release. COCOM lasted until 1994. He played a significant role in the confrontation between the then existing 2 camps of countries: the capitalist and the socialist.

The next aggravation of relations with the USSR occurred in the 60s. It was associated with the construction of the Druzhba pipeline, which was supposed to supply natural gas from the USSR to the FRG. The successes of the Soviet Union in developing deposits and building up its oil and gas resources in the United States were regarded almost as a military threat. But after a tenfold increase in the production of raw materials in our country and the fuel crisis in 1973, these sanctions were lifted.

In 1974, at the initiative of US Senator Henry Jackson and member of the US House of Representatives Charles Vanik, an amendment was made to US laws that abolished the most favored nation in trade, as well as the possibility of granting loans and credit guarantees to countries that restrict the right of their citizens to emigrate. This amendment also provided for the application of discriminatory tariffs on goods imported by the United States from countries with non-market economies. The reason for these measures was the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of August 3, 1972, according to which citizens leaving for permanent residence abroad and having a higher education were to reimburse the state for the costs of their education at universities. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was repealed only in 2002, when the Americans recognized Russia as a country with a market economy.

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Boycott of the Moscow Olympics and the gas pipeline scandal

The 80s were generally rich in various prohibitive measures. The reason was the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in 1979. After that, the United States imposed a "grain embargo" against the USSR. However, it did not last long, and in 1981 it was canceled.

Ronald Reagan, who came to power in the United States, became known as one of the most implacable enemies of the USSR. Under him, a huge number of all kinds of sanctions against our country were adopted. For example, the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow were boycotted. And after the introduction of a state of emergency in Poland, the United States adopted new sanctions against the USSR. The first package was accepted by US President Reagan on December 29, 1981. The main point of this package of sanctions was a ban on the supply of electronic and oil and gas equipment by American companies to the USSR. The US expected that this would hinder the construction of the Soviet Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod export gas pipeline. In the United States, it was believed that after its construction, Europe would fall into energy dependence on the USSR. The result of these sanctions is quite interesting: it led to another conflict between the US and Europe. As a result, European companies began to ignore this ban and continued to cooperate with the Soviet Union in the energy sector. Then, in 1981, sanctions were imposed against Aeroflot, which was able to resume flights to the United States only five years later, in 1986.

Interestingly, against the background of these sanctions, the volume of trade between the USSR and the USA did not decrease, but rather increased . In 1979 it amounted to 2 billion 837 million rubles, and in 1984 it increased to 3.1 billion rubles. In 1979, the volume of trade between the USSR and the "developed capitalist countries" amounted to 25.8 billion rubles, in 1984 - 40.9 billion rubles. That is, despite the pressure, the economy of the USSR and foreign trade continued to grow.

A lot has changed since then. The main thing is not to forget the lessons that the history of sanctions wars against our country has presented.

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