The Soviet Union’s Economic Relations with Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany: Political Factors and the Art of Diplomacy (1955–1964)
The author of this article carries out a comparative analysis of the trade and economic relations of the Soviet Union with Austria and the FRG from 1955 to 1964 (focusing on features of formation and development, contractual foundations, driving forces, and problems). At the same time, the emphasis of the research is on identifying the influence of the political factor of interstate relations on the development of economic cooperation. A comparative analysis of the history of the USSR’s trade and economic relations with Austria and Germany has not been carried out before. The history of the economic interaction of the Soviet Union with these contractors separately has not been sufficiently studied by historical science either. Regarding Austria, Russian and foreign historiography has traditionally focused on the State Treaty of 1955 and its economic component in the form of compensatory supplies. As for the FRG, this initial period has not been studied at all in national historical science, except for several essays. German historians have studied not so much the government’s economic course as the initiatives and activities of industry representatives united in the eastern committee of the German economy. The author employs the comparative-historical method of research and methods of economic science (to a limited extent) and statistical analysis (indicators of foreign trade, bilateral trade). The article aims to contribute to a more complete reconstruction of the wide range of East-West interactions during the Cold War by exploring such a convergent component for both systems as bilateral trade. The Austrian phenomenon of the successful development of trade relations with the USSR is viewed through the prism of a compromise solution to the Austrian question and its economic consequences in the form of fulfilment and reduction of compensatory deliveries. The author highlights the role of the political factor in foreign economic planning and its implementation by both the Soviet Union and its Western capitalist counterparts, neutral Austria, and Germany, which is part of NATO, determining the differences between the latter. If for the trade and economic relations between the USSR and Austria the political factor played a constructive role which brought the two countries closer, for relations with the FRG it was quite destructive, mostly because of the fault of the West German leadership. The article refers to documents of the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History and the Russian State Archive of Economics introduced into scholarly circulation for the first time and egodocuments.
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