Source: "Soviet Revisionism's Neo-Colonialist 'Aid'," Peking Review 10, no. 40, 29 September 1967, 27-29, 39.
Transcribed by an HC, April 8, 2005
September 29, 1967
But he who swallows food handed out in contempt will get a bellyache. --MAO TSE-TUNG
[Transcriber's introduction: The below article is interesting because various individuals, from Trotskyists to open anti-Communists, persist in claiming that the Sino-Soviet split was over "doctrinal" or "ideological" differences (each of these in a pejorative sense), or even a matter of a persynality (cult) conflict, rather than substantial line differences. The article is also useful for Brezhnevites to read as it shows that Soviet revisionism adopted much of the same practices of openly capitalist imperialist countries, particularly the united $tates. People who are struggling with MIM's line can also learn something from this 1967 article in Peking Review, especially if they do not yet understand how the imperialist-dominated international division of labor can result in the unequal exchange of value between imperialist countries and oppressed nations (in ways that often do not show up in bourgeois monetary foreign investment figures). Today's revisionists who deny the complicated and hidden ways in which imperialist countries extract super-profit and surplus-profit from oppressed nations are paving the way for counter-revolution--again.
Boasting everywhere about their "aid" to Afro-Asian countries, the Soviet revisionist rulers are giving it much publicity in order to bamboozle people. They say that with their "aid" these countries will be able to bring about "a new era in economic development," and even embark on "the prosperous road leading to socialism."
True, the Soviet revisionists may provide countries with machinery, equipment and loans, but payments are high and the interest rate is exorbitant. Outdated products are sold as first-class goods, for which payment must be made in advance -- cash before delivery. They are also ready to offer "technical aid" in surveying, designing and engineering construction and to send out "experts" of every description but -- on the condition that they be given all kinds of privileges and highly paid while keeping their technical know-how to themselves. Acting like benefactors to the recipient countries, there is no such thing for them as mutual aid on an equal footing.
The way Soviet revisionist foreign "aid" goes it is not at all meant to aid the recipient countries but to aid themselves, not to help promote economic development in those countries but to make them their economic dependents; it does not serve to help safeguard the national independence of the recipient countries but is a means to exploit and plunder them and to tightly control them. In short, the so-called foreign aid of Soviet revisionism and the foreign "aid" given by U.S. imperialism are similar tools of neo-colonialism, instrumental in their expansionist infiltration into the Afro-Asian countries, and in their domination and intervention there.
The Soviet revisionist rulers have usurped political power and restored capitalism in their country and the inevitable upshot is that the law of modern capitalism, the pursuit of maximum profits, goes into operation. They inevitably oppress and exploit the majority of the Soviet people at home and plunder and enslave people abroad. It necessarily follows that they should break away from proletarian internationalism and adopt a policy of big-nation chauvinism and national egoism.
Our great leader Chairman Mao warned many years ago that U.S. imperialist "aid" is like a fisherman's line cast "for the fish who want to be caught. But he who swallows food handed out in contempt will get a bellyache." Acceptance of and reliance on U.S. "aid" spells disaster. Likewise, to accept and rely on Soviet "aid" is to court misfortune.
An article in the Soviet revisionist Pravda on August 27 had the audacity to apologize for the Soviet revisionist rulers' neo-colonialist behaviour in Mongolia. While taking great pains to present the Tsedenbal revisionist group of Mongolia in a favourable light, the article added that the changes that have taken place on the Mongolian soil are also the result of "enormous and disinterested assistance given to People's Mongolia" by the Soviet revisionists.
It is high time to take a look at what Soviet revisionism's "disinterested assistance" is worth.
To begin with, the Tsedenbal revisionist group, renegade to the proletariat, is a pack of national traitors. The policy it pursues has inexorably pushed Mongolia on to the road of becoming a colony.
Soviet revisionism, through the Mongolian revisionist group composed of a handful of its agents, is [p. 27] pushing forward neo-colonialism in Mongolia without any scruple and has gained control of that country in every way -- politically, economically, culturally and militarily. Thus, every major policy, both domestic and foreign, of the Mongolian revisionist Party and Government is in fact decided behind the scenes by the Soviet overlords. Every year Moscow sends high-powered Party, government, military and cultural delegations to frequent that land on "friendship visits." In actual fact, they come as the "big boss," to give on-the-spot instructions and poke their noses into all of Mongolia's important affairs. Tens of thousands of Soviet troops have been sent to be stationed in that country.
Mongolia is also ridden by Soviet "experts" who are in direct control of its vital departments. The numerous Soviet-Mongolian treaties and agreements of "friendship, mutual aid and co-operation," a euphemism for enslavement and plunder, have helped legalize the colonial interests of Soviet revisionism there and ensure their steady growth.
Under the signboard of "international division of labour" and "economic co-operation," the Soviet revisionists, through "aid," loans and jointly-run enterprises, have kept a tight control over the Mongolian national economy and foreign trade. Mongolia has thus become a Soviet source of raw materials, a market for Soviet exports -- both commodities and capital.
The Soviet revisionist group's "assistance" and "loans on favourable terms" are in essence loan capital exported at such a usurious rate of interest that the Mongolian people will never be able to repay them. According to official Mongolian figures, Soviet loans between 1958 and 1966 are estimated at 6,000 million old roubles, that is, every Mongolian citizen has incurred a debt of 5,500 old roubles. It is safe to say that Mongolia is the most heavily indebted country in the world. Calculated on the basis of the prices of livestock exported by Mongolia to the Soviet Union in the Three-Year Plan (1958-60), its debt to the Soviet revisionists is ten times the value of all the livestock Mongolia now has. In other words, even if Mongolia sells all the livestock it has, it still does not have enough to repay this debt.
By these loans, with which the Soviet revisionists fleece Mongolia of all its possesses, they have reduced Mongolia to a pastureland of their own and its working people to herdsmen serving Soviet revisionism.
Trade is one crafty means the Soviet revisionists use to exploit and squeeze Mongolia. However, they and the Tsedenbal group never tire of describing Mongolian-Soviet trade as "equal and mutually beneficial" and an "exchange of equal values." Let us cite a few quotations to show how real this "exchange of equal values" is. In trading with the Soviet revisionists, Mongolia has to export the equivalent of 40 sheep in order to import one tyre from the Soviet Union, 50 kilogrammes of wool for a metre of woollen textile, four horses for a bicycle, 26 sheep for a radio, and one live sheep for a toy one! There it is -- the so-called Soviet Union's "paternal concern" for Mongolia that the Tsedenbal revisionist group likes to talk about!
In return for this "paternal concern," the Mongolian revisionist group is continually driving livestock from Mongolian pasturelands to Soviet meat processing plants at the rate of roughly 15,000 a day, 450,000 a month, or 5.5 million a year. To satisfy the insatiable needs of their masters, the Mongolian revisionists have gone so far as to send to the Soviet Union even female and young animals.
A century ago, Marx wrote in his article The British Rule in India that the British colonialist intrusion into India gradually "inundated the very mother country of cotton [India] with cottons." Today, a similar tragedy is being repeated in Mongolia, the very mother country of animal husbandry, now inundated with Soviet-made animal products -- leather shoes, woollen fabrics, canned meat, milk powder and what not. These manufactured goods are made from animals raised in Mongolia, with one Mongolian horse equivalent to a pair of Soviet leather boots, a sheep for two twins of meat, and so on. Mongolia must export its animals to import these goods. Take 1963 for example. According to the obviously doctored figures released by official Mongolian and Soviet circles, the total amount of cattle and sheep purchased by the Mongolian Government was 114,000 tons, 80 per cent of which, or 88,100 tons, were exported to the Svoiet Union; of the 117,000 horses purchased that year, 71 per cent, or 83,700, were shipped to the Soviet Union. As a result, the number of livestock in Mongolia is fast dwindling, while its debt to the Soviet Union is snowballing. Such is the result of the "disinterested assistance" that the Soviet revisionists claim so shamelessly. If this is "paternal concern," then how is it any different from the capitalist world's law of the jungle?
The Soviet revisionist group has also declared that "Soviet-Mongolian friendship" has brought "development and prosperity" to Mongolia. What humbug! Take industry for instance. Mongolia does not have its own machine-building industry, not even a decent repair and assembly plant. It has to depend on the Soviet Union even for minor spare parts and accessories. The only factories and mines it can boast of were built to produce primary or semi-manufactured goods to facilitate exports to the Soviet Union. Until the new woollen mill built with Chinese aid went into operation in 1960, Mongolia did not produce a single metre of its own textiles.
There is also livestock raising, the decisive sector of the country's economy. According to data released by Mongolian officialdom, that country had 24,470,000 head of animals in 1956, but, 10 years later, in 1966, only had some 22 million. The actual figure is, however, even smaller.
"Development and prosperity" to be sure!
The Mongolian revisionist group has nevertheless been so ingratiating as to declare that Moscow's "con-¬stant [p. 28] care and enormous assistance in various fields have always been the foundation of the foundation for the successes and achievements scored by the Mongolian people." This implies that the Mongolian people cannot make any progress without Soviet "assistance," which is the logic of those seeking power and fortune by betraying their own country.
This reminds one of what Lenin said: "The slave who drools when smugly describing the delights of slavish existence and who goes into ecstasies over his good and kind master is a grovelling boor." The Mongolian revisionists have not hesitated to cast away the nation's independence and sell out the people's interest for a few crumbs from the Soviet revisionists. Tsedenbal and company have moreover gone into ecstasies over their Soviet revisionist masters. Are they not the sort of grovelling boors Lenin denounced with searing contempt?
Stark reality has exploded the lies spread by the Soviet revisionist group. Mongolia today under the Tsedenbal revisionist group is a living specimen of the neo-colonialism of the Soviet revisionists.
What has happened to India also sheds much light on the nature of Soviet "aid" to Afro-Asian countries.
Over the last ten years, Soviet revisionism has poured huge amounts of economic and military "aid" into India. Like American "aid," Soviet "aid" is a manifestation of the policy to buy over the Indian reactionaries. Huge sums of roubles and huge quantities of arms have been used to encourage and support the Indian reactionaries in their anti-China activities. Like American "aid," Soviet "aid" is designed to help the big landlords and bourgeoisie represented by the Congress Party prop up their tottering rule and check and suppress the Indian people's revolutionary struggle.
Soviet revisionism today ranks only behind U.S. and British imperialism in the magnitude of plundering India; it is India's second biggest creditor, the biggest supplier of military "aid" and its third largest trading partner.
In plundering India via the medium of "aid," the Soviet revisionists first of all seek to dominate the vital sectors of the Indian economy. To date, Soviet economic "aid" to India, which totals 1,350 million U.S. dollars, is concentrated in heavy industry controlled by India's bureaucrat-capital. They have monopolized the designing, machinery equipment and supply of spare parts of all their "aid" projects and even have taken a hand in management and administration. They have thus gained control of a considerable part of India's heavy industry, including one-fourth of steel-making and iron-smelting, half of oil-refining and one-fifth of the power industry. For instance, there is the Bokaro Steel Plant now under construction. The Soviet revisionists not only keep the Indians out of designing but also want to exercise full control in the course of the construction.
Acting in the same way as the imperialists, the Soviet revisionists use "aid" to promote the export of their commodities. They have been flooding India with poor-quality goods at high prices. They have made it a rule that all Soviet loans to India must be used to purchase Soviet goods. The prices of Soviet equipment for "aid" projects are usually 20 to 30 per cent higher than world market prices [imperialist-country goods in the imperialist-dominated world market were already too highly priced generally --Transcriber]. It is under such conditions that India is teeming with Soviet-made equipment and spare parts of inferior quality. According to a report released by an Indian parliamentary committee last year, the Bhilai Steel Plant was overstocked in 1964 with 15.7 million rupees' worth of Soviet spare parts. The 37 Soviet-made diesel engines used in the plant were low in efficiency and maintenance costs for them were five times as much as normal costs.
In its disguised form, Soviet "aid" is also a means of usurious exploitation. All of it has been given in the form of loans. The Economic Times of India revealed that despite the nominal 2.5 per cent interest on the Soviet loans, "a high rate of interest can always be concealed in the inflated price of goods." The paper pointed out that this was a usurious rate of interest in disguise. Moreover, Soviet loans are to be repaid in a very short period -- the first instalment being due one year after the arrival of equipment and loans on a particular project to be repaid in full in 12 years. India now has to pay the Soviet Union annually an average of 350 million rupees in principal and interest involved in "aid."
At the same time, the Soviet revisionists have, through a barter arrangement, made India's foreign trade heavily dependent on the Soviet market. India is now depending greatly on the Soviet market for the export of a number of its commodities: 75 per cent of its woollen goods, 57 per cent of its leather goods, 35 per cent of its tobacco, etc. To make India permanently dependent upon the Soviet Union for such trade, the trade agreement signed in 1966 for another five years stipulated that factories should be specially set up in both countries to produce goods that one can export to the other.
Besides, in return for their "aid," the Soviet revisionists have demanded special privileges which infringe on India's national interests. In 1964, for instance, when the Indian government requested equipment and technical know-how to develop its shrimp industry from the Soviet revisionists, the latter raised the demand for the use of Indian port facilities, to [p. 29] which the reactionary Indian Government readily agreed. The result is, as the Monthly Commentary on Indian Economic Condition put it, "with all the facilities the Russians have, they could push out India from the shrimp market."
The British paper Scotsman reported that the Soviet revisionists had gone behind India's back and had sold the West some of the imports from India such as tea, gunny bags and cashew nuts to gain foreign exchange at India's expense.
What is noteworthy is that, in recent years, the Soviet revisionists have attempted to enter into partnership with private Indian monopoly capital to making use of India as a base for economic penetration in Asia and Africa. Acting like the imperialists, Soviet revisionism has jumped in to exploit India's cheap labour, technique and raw materials by investing and opening factories in India to produce goods for export to some Afro-Asian countries. The Indian Express, mouthpiece of Indian big business, commented: "From the Soviet viewpoint there is a great deal to be said for supplying some of the needs of the Asian countries from a base in India, which will reduce transport costs and ease pressure on their own industries. . . . For the Soviets, it will have the benefit of providing them with the means to carrying out a more ambitious South Asian policy."
Since the United States and the Soviet Union have the same needs to jointly control India and utilize the Indian reactionaries to oppose China, the U.S. imperialists are very much in favour of what the Soviet revisionists are doing there. Averell Harriman, U.S. Ambassador at large, for one declared that continued Soviet aid to India is in line with American interests. David E. Bell, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, too has openly called for a joint "U.S.-Soviet Aid India Programme."
In its dealings with the Soviet revisionists in the last six or seven years, one nationally independent African country has suffered much from Soviet economic "aid." This serves as an eye-opener for people there to see the ugliness of Soviet revisionism.
People in the capital of that country often talk about a stadium which the Soviet Union is helping to build as "the never-finished construction site." It was the first engineering project under construction after the country declared its independence in 1960. But many years have elapsed and construction has not yet been completed. In the course of construction, the Soviet revisionists proposed sending two "experts" to help furnish turf for the sports ground. The local people reacted strongly to this. One of the angry comments was: "So they think we can't even grow our own turf, these neo-colonialists!"
One native technician who had been working at the site for two years finally had to quit because he simply could not stand the Soviet "experts" who behaved atrociously towards the people. "No technical secret can really be involved in building a stadium," he said, "but these Soviet experts invariably keep us out of it whenever they put their heads together to discuss technical problems. In fact, these people are not as expert as they claim to be. There was one Soviet man who called himself an engineer but he couldn't even make head or tail of a draught when he came to the work site." The cost of the stadium was at first said to be 800 million in local money, but by now more than 1,300 million has already been spent and the project still remains unfinished.
Another item of Soviet "aid" to that country is a civil aviation company. Its airliners, bought from the Soviet Union and paid with a soviet loan, are manned mostly by Soviet crew members. The company suffers losses every year. One person working there reckoned that these losses were mainly due to the fat salaries of the Soviet airmen, which they received in American dollars; moreover, all the airliners had to fly to Moscow for regular check-ups and repairs and the charges for parts needing replacement and general maintenance are by no means moderate.
Concerning this kind of "aid," a local person had this to say: "On the face of it, they are giving us some 'aid,' but in actual fact, it is they who are making money. This is not 'aid' but a very profitable going concern."
One African engineer who had been working in prospecting for some time with Soviet "experts" was bitter against the way they behave in Africa. "They have been here five years to help us explore oil, gold and diamonds, they say. But what have we got? Nothing!" He added assuredly: "I've now come to know these people inside out. To hit oil in our country is the last thing they want to do. Theirs is an oil-producing country. they know best what this can mean to their oil trade with our country."
He noted that the first thing the Soviet "experts" did upon their arrival was to ask for villas, motor-cars, air conditioners and refrigerators. Their only concern was comfortable living conditions. They showed great enthusiasm in going to the market and buying whatever they could lay hands on, from beef supplied by local butchers to imported American whisky. Much of what they bought was shipped to the Soviet Union.
A local magazine published a latter from a reader who questioned the sincerity of these Soviet men: " 'Down with racialism!' Isn't this a watchword in the [continued on p. 39] Soviet Union? Yet there was one Soviet man, who, when he hired a nine-seater taxi in this country, actually paid for the tickets for the other seats so as to keep the taxi all to himself. This Soviet man did not want to share a taxi with us 'black people!' "
In another African country, a hotel was supposed to be built with Soviet "aid." It was agreed that local costs should by covered by the proceeds from sales of Soviet commodities in the local market. Because all these commodities were useless and unsalable machinery, "aid" for building the hotel, to be executed in 1965, was off and on again owing to the lack of funds, and the project is still not completed. People complained: "They're building this hotel to serve their own ends. For us, we have nothing to gain."
In 1966, the Soviet revisionists agreed to send five medical doctors to work in that country. Before they came, however, it was requested that each one must get three months' pay in advance. No advance pay, no doctors, they threatened.
In its scramble for the market, Soviet revisionism also dumps commodities in that country, thereby ruining its national economy. Advertisements for Soviet goods are displayed alongside those of the Western capitalist countries along the highways outside the capital city. The Soviet Commercial Counsellor's Office there even sent out advertisements urging people to buy things at the Soviet Embassy. This has caused great dissatisfaction among the local trading companies.
While the construction of the hotel mentioned above was taking place, another Soviet "aid" project, building a dam, was still in the surveying stage, and although the economic loans for these projects had been issued more than a year ago, the Soviet revisionists had already hastened to ask for payment of the interest involved.
After giving the security department of that country a few motorcycles and cars, the Soviet revisionists insisted on sending some "experts" to that department in the hope of placing it under their control.
* * *
Instances similar to all these are too numerous to list in one article. But the Soviet revisionist rulers are shamelessly bragging about their "aid." Just as Lenin had said: "In the market-place it often happens that the vendor who shouts loudest and calls God to witness is the one with the shoddiest goods for sale." This is a fitting description of the Soviet revisionist group. In point of fact, the Afro-Asian peoples are coming to see ever more clearly from their own experience the neo-colonialist features of the Soviet revisionists' "aid." Some day they are sure to throw out these mountebanks along with their shoddy goods.
1. "A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement," June 14, 1963, http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/classics/mao/polemics/letter.html
2. "The Leaders of the CPSU are the Greatest Splitters of Our Times," February 4, 1964, http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/classics/mao/polemics/splitters.html
3. "Apache nation attacked with nuclear waste," MIM Notes, December 1994, Electronic Edition.
"Oppressed nations attempting to develop within the confines of imperialist capitalism must first choose the path to take. Two-line struggle between Mao and Liu Shao-ch'i was in part between swift development without an underlying political and ideological base or development with a dialectical materialist analysis. Efficient modernization alone did not lead to revolution in China and economic prosperity for a few within the First Nations will not lead to self-determination.
"The international division of labor restricts the national bourgeoisie from developing into a competitive force. Mao argued that development without the consideration of politics would only lead back to semi-colonial, semi-feudal status for China. Without consideration for the long term ecologically sound and non-economically exploitative development pattern, the status of the First Nations will not be one of self-sufficiency or independence from the domination of the Amerika. Dependency upon capitalist political or economic kickbacks or promises of prosperity does not equal self-determination. The Mescalero Apache Nation must not rely on the economic development promises of the same country that forced them onto the reservation in the first place."