Soviet Takeovers: The Role of Advisers in Mongolia in the 1920s and in Eastern Europe after World War II

By Barany, Zoltan | East European Quarterly, Winter 1994 | Go to article overview

Soviet Takeovers: The Role of Advisers in Mongolia in the 1920s and in Eastern Europe after World War II


Barany, Zoltan, East European Quarterly


The Soviet Union's post-war takeover of Eastern Europe has been the subject of articles and books sufficient in number to fill a small library. Thus, it is puzzling that the role of Moscow's advisers in the USSR's newly acquired "sphere of influence" has been a neglected topic. Virtually no pertinent information has been published on this question in either the Soviet Union or in the East European states. What is accessible -- a few paragraphs and scattered references at best -- has been published almost exclusively by emigres, diplomats, and scholars in the West.(1) This essay attempts to start filling this gap.

Soviet advisers in Eastern Europe fulfilled an important mission within the context of Moscow's subjugation of these societies. As able executors of Soviet policy they came into direct contact with thousands of East Europeans to whom they symbolized not only "ruthless oppression" but also the Russian people about whom the people of the region had so little firsthand knowledge. Their activities can teach us a great deal about the dynamics of Soviet takeovers in the region and illuminate the reasons for the deepening aversion of East Europeans to communism. Studying the region's history of the immediate post-war period one cannot but learn to appreciate the eerie accuracy of Orwell's 1984 and Koestler's Darkness at Noon even more.

The main objective of this paper is to compare the role of Soviet advisors in the Mongolia of the 1920s and in the Eastern Europe of the 1940s. More specifically, my contention is that the Soviet subjugation of Mongolia was in many respects similar to that of Eastern Europe. I also argue that while there were analogies between the sovietization of East European states, the Kremlin learned from the lessons of the Mongolian "expedition" and dealt with individual countries in different manner. To support this reasoning, I offer a brief analysis of two cases, Hungary and Poland. This approach, I think, may teach us about the mechanisms of Soviet takeovers in general, and about the roles of Moscow's advisers in particular.

The first section of this paper will briefly discuss the tools of the sovietization process, as evinced in Eastern Europe from the end of the war until 1953, the year of Stalin's death. Part II argues that Moscow's subjugation of Outer Mongolia in the early 1920s served as a useful source of experience to draw on in Eastern Europe a quarter of a century later. The balance of this study examines and contrasts the role of Soviet advisers in Hungary and Poland in 1945-1953. The choice of these two states seems justified by the Kremlin's extensive -- albeit different --utilization of advisers and the relative availability of sources. I use the term "adviser" rather liberally throughout, to denote not only individuals assigned to East European states in a strictly advisory capacity but Soviet ambassadors, embassy staffs, as well as military and secret police personnel.

I. The "Adviser" As a Tool of Soviet Influence

In the aftermath of World War II, the Kremlin leaders sought to establish a politically obedient, economically dependent, and militarily weak Eastern Europe. What Moscow wanted most of all was control over the polities, economies, and military establishments of these states that were in many ways more advanced than the USSR itself. The firmness of Stalin's resolve, furthered by the onerous military and secret police presence, did not fail to yield the desired results. By 1948 all of the East European states were under Moscow's relentless domination. To be sure, the countries of the region narrowly escaped the fate of the three Baltic states and were not formally incorporated into the Soviet Union proper and retained the symbolic accoutrements of national sovereignty.(2) For all practical purposes, however, they were treated as Soviet republics until 1953.

Moscow needed all the resources it could marshal for the submission of Eastern Europe since support for Soviet-type communism was only marginal in Hungary, Poland, and Romania, although the "liberators" were genuinely welcomed by a significant portion of the population in Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Soviet Takeovers: The Role of Advisers in Mongolia in the 1920s and in Eastern Europe after World War II
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.