Social Scientist. v 17, no. 194-95 (July-Aug 1989) p. 28.


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VENKATESH ATHREYA"

Perestroika and the Third World: The Changing Status of the Concept of 'Neocolonialism'

Since April 1985, the Soviet Union has attracted considerable attention the world over for its ongoing process of 'perestroika' or restructuring and the accompanying phenomenon of 'glasnost' or openness. The processes signified by perestroika and glasnost are very complex, have specific historic origins and dynamics, and encompass economic, political and ideological aspects. A major part of the processes concern internal changes in Societ Union. There are, however, significant aspects of perestroika which have important international implications.

It is not the purpose of this paper to go into all aspects of perestroika. Rather, this paper has the limited purpose of examining some of the implications of the 'new thinking' on international relations associated with perestroika specifically by looking at the changing status of the concept of 'neocolonialism* in Soviet literature, especially since the onset of perestroika.

Before proceeding further, we must note that in discussing the changing coceptualisations of neocolonialism in current Soviet writing, we will be drawing not only on official CPSU documents (to which the present writer has a rather limited access), but also on writings of Soviet academicians. In the current period of 'glasnost' such writings need not always represent the 'official* view. However, we consider this procedure to be justified since often in the current Soviet debate such academic writings have been used as trial balloons to promote certain types of understanding which subsequently find their way into official documents.

We proceed as follows. In the next section, we document the changes in the understanding of neocolonialisim in Soviet literature in the recent period. We then attempt to examine the theoretical basis behind these shifts. Finally we offer a few concluding remarks.

II 'Neocolonialism', as a concept in contradistinction to colonialism,

4 Bharatidasan University, Tiruchirapalli.



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