The Soviet Union and the Third World

The Economic Dimension

by Abraham S. Becker

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This paper is a revised version of one prepared for a conference on "The Soviet Union and the Third World: The Last Three Decades," sponsored by the RAND-UCLA Center for the Study of Soviet International Behavior, Bellagio, Italy, November 11-15, 1985. The paper surveys some of the outstanding economic issues and developments of Soviet involvement in the non-Communist Third World. The author suggests that the scale of Soviet economic involvement in the Third World has grown markedly over the past three decades, but has also been held back by Soviet resource stringency. Soviet arms sales will remain a significant factor in international relations and in the Soviet balance of payments, and trade with the developing countries will grow in both nominal and real terms. However, limited resources will continue to retard Soviet efforts in the Third World unless Soviet economic prospects brighten much more than now seems likely.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation occasional paper (Soviet) series. The occasional paper series was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1985 to 1992. It included the occasional paper education (OPE) and occasional paper Soviet (OPS), which was issued jointly by the RAND/UCLA Center for Soviet Studies (CSS) to facilitate the exchange of ideas among those who shared the research interests of the Center and of scholars participating in its research and seminar programs.

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