Revisionist Economic Integration and Its Contradictions
By Kiço Kapetani and Veniamin Toçi
Journalists, specialists in economic affairs
Albania Today, 1974, 3
Every passing day reveals more clearly the all-round, escalated and premeditated expansion and the neo-colonialist aims of Soviet social imperialists with regard to the other revisionist countries. An important aspect of this is their economic expansion, through the Council of Mutual Econo.mic Aid – COMECON. This inter-revisionist economic organisation has now turned into a tool which is manipulated and dominated by the Moscow revisionists and is used by them for economic and political pressure, interference and subjugation of the so-called partner countries. “This organisation,” Comrade Enver Hoxha has said, “is dominated by the Soviet revisionists, who aim to use it in their hegemonistic interest to exploit and direct the economies of the other member countries, to compel them to develop in the directions the Soviets desire, and to tie up the economies of the other countries in such a way that, through this sham socialist cooperation, they also dominate these states politically.”
COMECON, despite the lustre the modern revisionists seek to give it, is really nothing but an economic bloc of the capitalist type, built up on the principles of exploitation and oppression of the small by the great. As a consequence, itis being increasingly eroded by sharp antagonistic contradictions.
Within the framework of COMECON, and speculating with such demagogical slogans as the "community of interests”, and the “socialist community”, the modern revisionists have proclaimed a long-term programme of economic integration between them. They consider this as an “important milestone” in the life and relations of the COMECON member countries, as a “new stage” of “collaboration” among them. This programme, approved at the 24th session of COMECON, is based 'on the Brezhnevian theory of “limited sovereignty”. In accordance with it, 44 multipartite agreements have been concluded in the field of capital investments and technical and scientific “collaboration” for a 15-20 year period, apart from bipartite agreements. The programme is permeated by the objective of making the economies of other countries appendages of the Soviet metropolis, complementing the Soviet market, and integrated in the Soviet economy. In this way they are gradually moving in the direction of lifting national economic boundaries and consequently also political ones, in compliance with the hegemonistic interests of Soviet Social imperialism.
According to the concluded agreements, it has been decided to build some big industrial projects, in the first place on Soviet territory, jointly financed by the COMECON member countries. Such projects include the combine for the enrichment of asbestos, with a capacity of 500,000 tons annually, in Kiembayev, in the southern Urals; the cellulose combine in Ust-Ilimski, Siberia; the metallurgical combine near Kursk, with a capacity of 10 to 12 million tons .of steel yearly; the plant for the enrichment of phosphorites; the copper enrichment plant, power complex in the Ukraine, etc.
With the construction of these big projects, and by exploiting “cooperation” with the COMECONcountries, the Soviet Union creates for itself additional opportunities for its own industrialisation and for the appropriation ofnatural wealth, on the basis .of the plunder ofthe accumulation of capital of other countries. As a consequence, it limits the possibility of the independent use by these countries of their accumulation to develop their .own productive forces in accordance with their national interests.
The exploitation ofthe COMECONmember countries by the Soviet social imperialists consists not only in the absorption of their accumulated funds, but also in the direct exploitation of labour power from these countries. Thus, for example, in the building ofthe cellulose and metallurgical combines going up in the Soviet Union, a considerable number of workers from six COMECON member countries engaged in these projects will be used. Reports indicate that tens ofthousands of workers from Bulgaria, Poland and other countries have lefttheir homes and have gone to work in Siberia for the Kremlin bosses. About 20,000Bulgarians are working on the construction of the paper and cellulose factory in the vicinity of Archangel, on the construction of the metallurgic combine of Kursk, or cutting wood in the forests of Kom.
In drawing off the labour force from other countries, the Soviet revisionist imperialists deprive these countries of an active part of their productive forces and, in this way, they slow down the rates of reproduction in these countries, or give it a one-sided character, dependent on the Soviet metropolis. Of course, the process of emigration of labour power includes the younger age group and thus, the reproduction of the population of these countries is directly harmed. With such a practice the Moscow revisionists appropriate the surplus created by the immigrant workers from the COMECON countries and at the same time they aim to solve one of their internal difficulties, that of guaranteeing manpower for the appropriation of natural riches in distant areas of the Soviet Union.
A typical manifestation of the neo-colonialist exploitation of the COMECON member countries by the Soviet revisionist imperialists is the way of repaying credits received for the construction of “common” industrial units on Soviet territory. According to the agreements included in the programme of revisionist integration, the credits for these units will be repaid some time after they have reached their full productive capacity and with products from these units. Thus, Czechoslovak credits for the construction of the asbestos enriching combine will be granted over four years, 1974-1978, while the Soviet revisionists will begin to repay them from the year 1980 and for a period three times longer, effecting the repayment by supplying asbestos. This is also the nature of the “mutual” obligations with other countries, such as the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.
In this way the Moscow revisionist chieftains dominate their satellites, dictate to them the fundamental directions of economic development, and determine the main products they will produce, tying them to the Soviet Union. The Moscow revisionists are thus seeking to enslave the peoples of the COMECON member countries, to undermine their freedom and national independence, and to subjugate and exploit them for their own hegemonistic and expansionist aims. In the final account, they aim to turn these countries into provinces of their social imperialist empire or into economic dominions. To this end they use both dictate and demagogy, coming up with such slogans as the international division of labour, specialisation, cooperation and concentration of production, effectiveness and profitability of production on an international scale. With the programme of integration and the projects carried out within its framework in Soviet territory, the new Kremlin czars seek to convince the other COMECON member countries of .such absurdities as the idea that the economic and industrial potential of the Soviet Union also guarantees their industrialisation and economic development.
The Moscow revisionist chieftains and their ideologists loudly propagate the thesis that integration within the framework of COMECON will make it possible for the countries of this bloc to reach, in the near future, equal levels of economic development. Reality shows the opposite and indicates a widening gap in their comparative economic development, in the first place in comparison with the Soviet Union. The following data show this: while in 1960 the share of the Soviet Union in the industrial production of the COMECON countries was 69.5 per cent, by 1970 it had reached 76 per cent. During the same period, the share of the GDR fell from 8.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent, and that of Czechoslovakia from 7.5 per cent to 4.2 per cent, without mentioning such countries as Mongolia, and Bulgaria, which have much lower levels of industrial development than those mentioned above.
The tendency toward deepening economic differentiation is also evident in the rates of increase of the basic funds. In 1970, as against 1950, the basic funds of the Soviet Union had increased at a rate 2.7 to 3 times faster than those of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the GDR.
In every case the Kremlin revisionist chieftains have resorted to dictate in relations with their “allies”. They have stopped at nothing, going as far as direct political, economic and military threats, when it has been a question of “persuading” and subjugating others. They hold both the stick and the carrot, and are creating an economic integration, the strings of which are held in Moscow. The COMECON member countries are completely dependent on the Soviet metropolis for raw materials, fuels, machinery, equipment and other important materials. Thus, for example 90% of Czech imports of oil, iron ore and non-ferrous metals, 80% of food grains, over 60% of cotton, and over 60% of sulphur and various phosphorites, are of Soviet origin. It is clear that not only economic but also political consequences stem from conditions of dependence. According to some published data, from 1980, the countries of Eastern Europe will need about 150 million tons of Soviet oil annually which Moscow will supply them as repayment for their investment of capital in the exploitation of the Siberian oil fields. This means that these countries must reduce their funds for local investments, placing funds at the disposal of the Soviet revisionist imperialists, or otherwise they will experience an “oil famine”. In the present-day situation of the aggravation of the power crisis on a world scale, this question becomes especially important.
Certainly the Soviet revisionist imperialists cannot openly state that their “programme” of integration should envisage investments and credits for the Soviet Union alone. Therefore, they have also allowed some joint projects in other COMECON member countries. But the proportion of these investments in the total programme of integration is insignificant. These investments, in the final account, are intended to fulfil in the first place the needs of the Soviet economy, and increase the economic and political dependence of the COMECON member countries on Moscow. Consider the following example: The COMECON Investment Bank over the last two years has granted about 900 million convertible rubles in the form of credits for the construction of 26 projects in six member countries. The Soviet Union has absorbed over two-thirds of this sum, while Poland has received only 3.3 per cent. Besides this, the projects under construction in the countries of Eastern Europe, are for the most part subsidiaries of Soviet trusts. Thus, the automobile plants in Bulgaria and Hungary are at the mercy of the production of the main spare parts by Soviet plants; the engineering industries of Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc., are dependent on Soviet steel; the plants of the petrochemical industry, and industry and transport in general in the COMECON countries, are dependent on Soviet oil and gas. The Moscow revisionist chieftains can close and open the oil or gas taps whenever they like, when this is required by the interests of their political and economic affairs. Events have confirmed this, not to mention direct military aggressions in the territory of other countries.
The productive complexes and capacities which are built in the framework of revisionist integration are destined to work in the first place for the realisation of Soviet orders. Thus, over four fifths of the ships and their equipment, two thirds of the railway wagons, half the transport equipment and three quarters of the equipment for the chemical industry, without speaking of other products and many mass consumer goods exported by the COMECON member countries are destined for the Soviet market.
Another instrument of neo-colonialist exploitation by the Soviet revisionist imperialists is the creation of interstate organisations and enterprises, such as “Agromash”, “Intermetal”, "Interatominstrument", "Interkimik", etc. These organisations operate on Soviet territory, are managed, like the various COMECON organs themselves, by Soviet cadres, and have subsidiaries in the other COMECON countries. Consequently, they are used as a source of profits for Soviet monopoly capital.
Revisionist integration within the framework of COMECON creates other great advantages for the Soviet social imperialists. The drawing of long-term credits in the form of capital investments from the satellite countries enables the Moscow chieftains to create a "surplus" of capital, which they can then invest elsewhere in the interest of their capitalist business, as in India, the Middle East, and some countries of Latin America and Africa. Here, we see the same method and practice used by the capitalist countries concerning the use of their surplus capital, which they invest in other countries in the form of loan capital and functioning capital.
Through such a practice they extend their expansion to various regions of the world, posing as "philanthropists" and "allies”. With their so-called aid, the Soviet revisionists have penetrated into many underdeveloped countries, occupying the key positions of the economy. Under this guise, they aim to transform these countries into sources of supply for raw materials and cheap agricultural and livestock products, and into markets for the export of their capital and for the sale of their commodities and stockpiles of arms. Thus, in India alone, the Soviet social imperialists, according to data from their own press, control over three-quarters of the engineering industry, over one third of the oil refining industry, over one-third of the iron and steel industry, about two-thirds of the electrical equipment industry, and one-fifth of the power industry. With the units under construction being financed by the Moscow revisionists, the scale of Soviet expansion in India will grow still more.
At the same time, through so-called aid for the underdeveloped countries the Soviet Union plunders increasingly larger quantities of raw materials from these countries. As stated in an article published in the newspaper “Pravda” by the chairman of the Soviet commission for economic relations with other countries, S. Skachkov, the Soviet Union secures very important products such as mineral concentrates, nonferrous metals, oil, natural gas, long-fiber cotton, natural rubber, vegetable oils, cotton textiles, rice, etc. According to statistics, from 1960 to 1971 the Soviet Union has seized from the underdeveloped countries 1.7 billion dollars worth of rubber and 1.6 billion dollars worth of cotton, at low prices. From 1973 to 1980 the Middle East countries will repay their trade debts and obligations to the Soviet Union through the supply of oil at a price 20 percent lower than the price on the international market. Iranian newspapers have pointed out that the price the Soviet Union pays Iran for natural gas is a quarter of the price at which the Soviet Union sells its gas to the European countries.
By such methods the Soviet revisionist imperialists are vying with the US imperialists to occupy “free” markets, in which to invest their capital, sell their commodities and plunder raw materials from these countries at low prices. In this race, the two superpowers effect the economic division and redivision of the world between them.
An important place in the framework of the efforts of the Soviet revisionist imperialists for the economic integration of the COMECON countries, is held by measures in the field of currency and the imposition of the ruble as a common convertible currency. Their aim is the creation of a monetary and payment system in which the national currencies, representing various units of value which have been historically established and definite ties in the national and internaltional framework, should be dependent on the “convertible ruble”. At the same time this constitutes another transaction for the economic exploitation of other countries through the financial mechanism and it will be a kind of ransom which these countries will be compelled to pay to the Soviet imperialist bourgeoisie.
To achieve these aims the investment bank and the bank for economic collaboration have been created within the framework of COMECON. The financial capital of these banking institutions is controlled and manipulated by the Soviet revisionists. It has been built up according to monopoly criteria and the profits are distributed on the same criteria, according to the percentage of paid up shares. In the investment bank, Soviet financial capital accounts for 40 per cent of the entire constituent fund. Hungarian financial capital 8.3 per cent, Polish – 12.1 per cent and Czech – 12.9 per cent, Mongolia has a symbolic quota of 0.4 per cent. It is understandable that the main profits resulting from the operations of this bank and its credit and financing policy are in favour of 'the Soviet imperialists.
The process of revisionist integration is not a process which develops calmly, although the authors of this programme trumpet it as a “success” of “true” international economic collaboration. On the contrary, it develops through deep, fierce antagonistic contradictions, overt and covert, and asan arbitrary process which is carried out with as much violence as demagogy, contrary to the will, the desires and vital interests of the working masses of each other member country of this bloc.
The objectives of Soviet revisionist imperialism, and its effects to preserve its hegemony over its satellites and to exploit other countries, arouse discontent and objections on the part of other countries. It is well-known that contradictions in the political and military fields have erupted in the revisionist fold. Also acute are the economic contradictions, which often lead to public expressions of discontent and to open counter-actions concerning the objectives of the programme of revisionist integration.
It is no accident that there is discussion, at session after session of COMECON, of the programme and various measures of revisionist economic integration, or that the measures envisaged by this so-called complex programme are delayed. At the 27th COMECON session Kosygin admitted that the tasks for integration established at the previous session were not being fulfilled and he called on every country to have greater confidence in the complex integration programme, at the same time, he proposed increasing the level and competences of the COMECON organs to fulfil these tasks. He also threatened his hearers that the failure to coordinate the plans, and lack of collaboration on the part of any one state with the other states hinders the process of integration. From a dictatorial position, Kosygin demanded that the coming COMECON session should discuss in detail the tasks and the complex programme of integration, and bear responsibility for failure to realize them. This representative of the Soviet imperialist bourgeoisie went to the extent of arbitrarily demanding that the problem of integration be an object of examination at the future congresses of the revisionist parties.
It follows from the whole context of these by no means accidental admissions of the Soviet Prime Minister that, in spite of the pressure exerted on the dependent countries, the programme and measures for integration are not proceeding in line with the wishes of the Kremlin bosses; and he also expresses the nervousness that has gripped the Soviet revisionist circles as a result of this situation. They want the course of economic integration accelerated in conformity with their immediate and long-term neo-colonialist objectives.
The open or concealed opposition to the application of the complex programme of revisionist integration is indicated by the statements of the Czechoslovak collaborationists who, some time ago, in their newspaper “Tribuna”, declared: "We are opposed to the nationalistic tendencies which are apparent in the absolutization of the principles of independence”. The complaints of the Soviet revisionist press are also significant. Some time ago the Soviet review “Miravaja Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnije Ostnashenija” wrote: “Some of the COMECON member countries are not much predisposed to give up their industrial production. They proceed from various reasons, the principal one being their inclination towards the industrialization of their countries, and the modernization of the structure of industry.”
The contradictions seething within various COMECON member countries and particularly in their relations with the Soviet social imperialists, are expressed in the demands for equal industrial development, for the preservation of national independence and for collaboration on a bilateral and not a multilateral basis. At COMECON sessions and at other meetings of its organs, the delegations of Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland have asked that integration in the field of the production of equipment and machinery should not be one-sided, but should also include other countries. There is a growing contradiction between member countries with a developed industry, which want to export machinery and equipment, and the countries with little-developed industry, which want to export not only raw materials and agricultural articles, but also machinery and equipment. The revisionist integration measures destine the underdeveloped countries to “vegetate” within the economic structure which they have inherited, while the industrially developed countries, such as Czechoslovakia, aiming to increase their industrialisation, seek to avoid contributing to the industrialization of the less-developed countries.
Contradictions and disturbances have emerged, and are growing daily in connection with the ensurance of raw materials and fuels in sufficient quantities and of the proper quality. The economies of the COMECON member countries are dependent on Soviet raw materials and fuels. But at present many difficulties have arisen in securing them. The Soviet Union, within the framework of the deepening revisionist-imperialist collaboration, is continually increasing the supply of raw materials, natural gas, oil and minerals, to the capitalist markets, thus opposing the Arab oil embargo and impairing the supply of such materials to its satellites. The Soviet Union supplies the western countries with over 45 million tons of oil and by-products, or about 50 per cent of the total amount of theseproducts which it exports.
This situation has begun to disturb Czechoslovakia, Poland and other COMECON member countries, which are turning to other markets to fulfil their needs for oil and raw materials. In 1973, Czechoslovakia imported 3 million tons of oil from the Arab countries in order to compensate for Soviet reductions.
Unilateral actions are another expression of the deep contradictions corroding the COMECON economic bloc. The revisionist countries, acting separately, are quick to extend their exchange and economic relations with the western countries, credit relations, the exchange of patents and scientific information, and cultural, scientific and political relations, Poland's imports from western countries have increased by 45 per cent since 1971, at a time when the increase in goods imported from the COMECON countries was 11per cent. The GDR has trebled its trade with West Germany while Hungarian imports from West Germany have reached the sum of 800 million Marks. In this way, as comrade Enver Hoxha has said, “Anti-Marxist cooperation within COMECON is associated with double capitalist enslavement, as all the members of the revisionist COMECON, with the Soviet ones at the head, separately, through credits and cooperation, have come under the yoke or into the clutches of US and other monopoly capital”.
Of course the Moscow revisionists do not like their “allies” to act separately and without their patriarchal blessing. They want everything to be done under their control and not to go so far as to affect their position of hegemony and their neo-colonialist interests. For this purpose, while intensifying their efforts to deepen the inter-revisionist economic integration, they have launched the idea of and have undertaken concrete steps for the establishment of close collaboration between COMECON and the capitalist economic groupings advancing towards economic and political convergence with the capitalist system.
It is in this framework that we should evaluate the concrete efforts to open the doors of COMECON to other countries, irrespective of their social, economic and political order.
An acute contradiction among the COMECON member countries is that caused by unequal exchanges as a result of the price policy in the interest of the Soviet metropolis. These countries express their discontent over the higher international prices the Moscow revisionists apply to trade exchanges and other economic relations with them. A Hungarian economic review, criticizing the price system within COMECON, has pointed out that prices applied in foreign trade have no organic connection with local prices: they are in some cases even higher than the prices of the capitalist market and, at the same time, differ in the trade among the COMECON member countries.
It is now known that the Bulgarian revisionists are dissatisfied with the high prices of the raw materials, fuels and machinery they import, and the low prices of the agricultural products they export to the COMECON market; these low prices have remained at the 1958 level. Agricultural and food products make up a large proportion of Bulgaria's exports. Thus, during the period 1945-1971, Bulgarian exports to the Soviet Union reached the figure of 11.5 billion levas (foreign exchange currency), including 1.4 billion levas worth of agricultural products, and 4 billion levas worth of food products, which represented 47 per cent of that country's exports to the Soviet Union. In the years since then, the proportion of these products in Bulgarian exports has increased further, while their price is below the level of the world market. Ivan Ivanov, Bulgaria's vice-Minister of Foreign Trade, in an article published in the review “Commerce extérieur” (no. 7, 1973) states that foreign trade prices established many years ago, require an examination, with a view to guaranteeing reciprocal profits. According to him, the capital needed for the development of agricultural products for export is 6-9 times higher than that needed for the development of the production of machinery for export, while the level of profit from the export of machines is comparatively very high.
The unjust and non-equivalent ratio of prices in the economic and trade relations among the COMECON members is also opposed by other countries. Non-equivalent exchange, as a consequence of the monopoly prices imposed by the Soviet revisionists, is a supplementary source of capitalist profits on their part.
Reality convincingly shows that COMECON has degenerated into an economic organisation of the interstate capitalist type, which is manipulated and dominated by the Moscow revisionists and which is going further and further on this rood. This is a logical result of the departure from the road of the socialist revolution and from the precepts of Marxism-Leninism; it is a result of embracing the capitalist road, with all its negative political, economic and social consequences.
The Party of Labour of Albania long ago .exposed the counterrevolutionary and neo-colonialist character of revisionist integration within the framework of COMECON, as well as the relations developing in its fold, which serve great-Russian hegemonism. Truly fraternal and internationalist relations are those existing among the countries ruled by the dictatorship of the proletariat, which are advancing on the road of revolution and socialist construction, such as the People's Republic of Albania and the People’s Republic of China. Relying on its own forces and on the internationalist aid of the PR of China, Albania is developing its economy steadily, at an ever-faster rate.