Transfer of Ideas in Soviet-American Relations at the Turn of the 1960—1970s (Based on the Example of the Expert Activity of the Institute for US Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA

Recordings of conversations between Soviet amerikanists (experts for US studies) and American scientists, politicians, public figures, and businessmen became an important information source for experts and for the Soviet party leadership. In the late 1960s — early 1970s these conversations played the role of an informal channel connecting representatives of American and Soviet elites through the Institute for US Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Using the theory of cultural transfer and the methodology of social constructivism, the author of this article conducts a detailed analysis of an information note that was sent to the Central Committee of the CPSU by the Institute for US Studies in 1969. The note is a recording of a conversation between amerikanists and American businessman Charles Thornton. It contains Thornton’s statements about the perception of the USSR in the United States; Soviet economic development and American-Soviet cooperation opportunities; American principles of management and organization of production. The American experience became a reference for the USSR in the context of détente and the ongoing economic reform. The ideas evoked a potent reaction among the Soviet party elite. There are a lot of marks in the margins of the note made by readers from different departments of CPSU. However, despite the favorable environment and official’s interest, the note was not discussed, and no specific decisions were made. This case-study allows us to raise a number of questions about the Soviet-American transfer of ideas, the image of the United States in the USSR, and the process of making domestic and foreign policy decisions.

Keywordstransfer of ideas, Soviet-American relations, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies RAS, Amerikanistika, the image of the American “other”, Cold War
Publication date19.07.2021
Number of characters47745
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