Armed Forces and Political Power in Eastern Europe: The Soviet/Communist Control System

By Bradley R. Gitz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Coercive Mechanisms and the
Soviet/Communist Control System

INTRODUCTION

By the close of the Brezhnev era the USSR and the Communist parties of Eastern Europe had apparently succeeded in establishing an effective system of control over NSWP military establishments--a Soviet/Communist control system that was designed to enhance the reliability of those armed forces for both internal and external missions. Although the array of socialization mechanisms discussed in chapter 4 would grow in importance over time, at the outset the key element in this control system were those coercive instruments "that elicit obedience through violence or the threat of violence and . . . that through threat and force nullify individual will." 1 This chapter will more thoroughly examine the ways in which such coercive instruments provided external guarantees of East European loyalty.

As was the case with those variables influencing the values and beliefs of NSWP personnel, coercive instruments were employed by at least three identifiable actors within the WTO system: The USSR; the East European Communist parties; and the programs and organizational structures of the WTO itself. The importance of the Soviet Union for influencing the evolution of the East European armed forces has already been explored in considerable detail. Having molded the East European armed forces in the image of its own Red Army, the USSR continued to exert extensive control over those forces through both national contacts with the individual NSWP regimes and personal networks within the East European military establishments. As the invasions of Hungary and

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