Interviews by Soviet Officials in the Western Media

Two Case Studies

by John Van Oudenaren

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In order to understand Soviet thinking and to shed light on a new aspect of Soviet international behavior with implications for Western policy, this report examines some 190 interviews by two Soviet officials, Vadim Zagladin and Georgi Arbatov, which appeared in the American, Japanese, and West European press after 1976. It analyzes pronouncements by these two officials on seven general topics: missiles in Europe, Afghanistan, the crisis in Poland, the likelihood of war, attitudes toward the United States, the global balance, and the international role of Western Europe and Japan. The report concludes that interviews with the non-Communist foreign press are perceived by the Soviets as an effective means of pursuing foreign-policy objectives. But while the interviews give the Soviets unprecedented access to Western audiences, they do not allow Soviet propagandists to fully overcome the limitations imposed by Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy and many aspects of Soviet policy.

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