The Formation of the “United Front” Policy of the Comintern and Soviet Foreign Policy of 1921–1922

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 2

The author examines the policies of the Comintern in the context of the Soviet foreign policy in 1921–1922. He demonstrates that the dynamics of the former was not directly tied to the course of the latter and the turn to the NEP in March 1921. The Comintern had its own internal logic of development. With its help the communist leadership could manoeuvre between a more radical probing of the readiness of the capitalist world for a new wave of revolutionary destabilisation or a moderate policy of prolonged “siege” of capitalism, which involved rapprochement with social democracy under the banner of a “united workers' front”. By early 1922, following sharp discussions on the eve and during the Third Congress of the Comintern, its policies were gradually synchronised with the foreign policy course of Soviet Russia, which allowed rapprochement with West European Social Democracy to be exploited in Soviet foreign interests. However, there was little diplomatic gain from this, and after the failure of the Genoa Conference the Comintern continued to pursue a “united front” policy, no longer directly linked to the objectives of the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, but as the basis of the Communist strategy for the struggle to ascend to power in Western Europe. At the same time, both in negotiations with the Social Democrats and in planning at the Fourth Congress of the Comintern, the Communists prioritised their monopoly on power, regarding the policy of alliances and concessions as tactical and temporary, rejecting the “political NEP” and the pluralist model of multiparty democratic socialism.

KeywordsComintern, 1922 Genoa Conference, Vladimir Lenin, Grigory Zinoviev, Karl Radek, “March Action” 1921, united workers' front, USSR, foreign policy, international communist movement, international relations
Publication date30.04.2023
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