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Russia: The Third World
Country Study > Chapter 8 > Foreign Relations > Regional Policies > The Third World

THE THIRD WORLD


The Cold War affected the relations the United States and the Soviet Union had with Third World states. Both superpowers wooed Third World allies, many of which used the Cold War to extract favorable aid as the price of closer relations. The Soviet Union endeavored to construct socialism in the Third World to demonstrate that Marxism-Leninism would someday triumph worldwide. Many of its so-called client states were proclaimed as "socialist oriented" or following the path of "noncapitalist development," and the Soviet Union signed friendship treaties and other security and aid agreements with them. Some Third World states, however, involved themselves in the influential Nonaligned Movement, which began in 1955 and represented more than half the world's population. Most of those countries formally eschewed major security and other relations with the superpowers, with conspicuous exceptions such as Cuba. At some stages of its existence, however, the Nonaligned Movement appeared to have a pro-Soviet bias.

The collapse of the Soviet Union broke most of Russia's ties with Third World states. The Soviet ideological mission of fostering socialism also ceased. Russia was unable to continue economic subsidies to client regimes, including the Soviet-installed regime in Afghanistan that collapsed in 1992. Russia continued to play a reduced role in some of the regional peace negotiation efforts it had inherited from the Soviet Union, notably in the Middle East and in Cambodia.

Relations with Africa received a relatively low priority, and in 1992 Russia closed nine embassies and four consulates on that continent. Relations with some African states already had worsened in late 1991 when Yeltsin ordered the end of all foreign aid and demanded immediate repayment of outstanding debts. Most African states responded that their debts with the former Soviet Union should be forgiven or reduced because they had been largely military outlays resulting from a moribund superpower rivalry.

The January 1993 draft foreign policy concept made no mention of Russian support for former Soviet client states in Africa or elsewhere. Instead, the concept emphasized the use of diplomatic leverage to induce payment of debts by those states. Beginning in mid-1994, a shift began toward increased economic ties with more economically developed African states such as South Africa and Nigeria.




Last Updated: July 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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