The Soviet Union tried to strengthen its preeminence over the satellite states by propaganda and economic exploitation, German political scientist Anneli Ute Gabanyi stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to the researcher, the USSR tried to annihilate the nationalist feelings and traditions of the states of the Soviet camp so as to maintain its dominance on the people of these countries, IPN reports.
Anneli Ute Gabanyi, a senior research analyst at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe in Munich and a senior research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Issues in Berlin, noted that through the coup staged in Romania in August 1945, Kind Mihai I decided to take sides with the Allies and to cooperate militarily with the USSR. Later, the countries of the Socialist camp complained to the Allies about the USSR’s persecution, but they were ignored.
“The U.S. and the UK were firmly on the side of the USSR as they were allies and had to end the war. These states didn’t notice that Russia, advancing and beating Germany, actually occupied the states through which it passed. The allies didn’t listen to the voices that were already coming from those occupied states, which didn’t want to be satellites of the Soviet Union. On August 23, Romania, by that coup, refused to take sides with the Soviet Union as they considered that they were taking sides with the Allies. Only in 1945, when the Soviet Union deported 75,000 Germans from Romania to Donbas, to forced labor, Churchill responded with cynicism: this is what they deserve. So, the Allies didn’t believe the voices coming towards the West,” stated the researcher.
To maintain its dominance over the countries of the Soviet bloc, the USSR implemented a broad propaganda strategy by which the Socialist system was glorified, while the satellite countries were exploited economically.
“The Soviet Union tried to fortify its force and domination in the countries that became satellites by all kinds of means, first of all by imposing a Socialist, Communist economic system based on the nationalization of production means, eliminating any private property. Secondly, the USSR wanted to impose the same thinking system on the people there and this started by brainwashing what “bourgeois thinking” meant and by replacing that thinking with ideas of Soviet domination. Also, the national feeling, traditions of these countries were annihilated. It’s good that this system of exploitation didn’t last long,” said Anneli Ute Gabanyi, noting that in the case of Romania, the economic exploitation consisted in the transfer of such strategic products as oil, natural gas and uranium to the Soviet Union.
According to the German expert, the Cold War was a period of geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The USSR gradually lost the preeminence as it entered an economic decline and lost the armament race to the U.S
“Ronald Reagan proclaimed Star Wars, which is he stated that the U.S. can defend itself from nuclear weapons of the USSR. Computerization also played an important role. The Russians remained at the level of very massive weapons, while computerization covered and dominated the whole economy of the U.S., including its defense sector. The Soviet Union realized that it cannot cope. At the same time, the USSR could no longer satisfy the demand for oil and cheap goods exchanged between the countries of the Communist bloc. In 1988, the USSR announced that starting with 1990, the satellite Communist states will have to pay for the oil and natural gas supplied by the Soviets. The Russians then reached the conclusion that they could no longer finance those satellites that were turning from an advantage into a burden,” stated Anneli Ute Gabanyi.
The public debate entitled “Lessons of Cold War” was the 21st installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.