The Sources of Soviet Compliance Behavior

  • Gloria Duffy


U.S. and Soviet military behavior affects arms control compliance through a complex and interactive process as the two countries subtly signal and test one another about the limits of permissible behavior. Pinpointing the workings of Soviet internal decision-making on national security is particularly difficult; the temptation is great to oversimplify Soviet motivations and behavior, and to gloss over the way in which the Soviet approach to compliance interacts with U.S. behavior.


Compliance Issue General Staff Treaty Provision Soviet Leadership Politburo Member 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    During the 1970s, for instance, there was considerable debate within both the Ministry of Defense and the Politburo over the allocation of resources between military and non-military sectors, and within the military sector itself in the USSR. This internal debate resulted in the strong emphasis on defense spending under the Brezhnev regime, and the rapid expansion of Soviet military forces during the 1970s. For a discussion, see Harry Gelman, The Brezhnev Politburo and the Decline of Detente (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1984), p. 81.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See Arthur J. Alexander, “Modeling Soviet Defense Decisionmaking,” in Jiri Valenta and William Potter (eds.), Soviet Decisionmaking for National Security (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1984), pp. 9–22.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Igor S. Glagolev, “The Soviet Decisionmaking Process in Arms Control Negotiations,” Orbis, vol. 21, Winter 1978, pp. 771–2.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Thomas W. Wolfe, The SALT Experience (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1979), pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Michael MccGwire, Military Objectives in Soviet Foreign Policy (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1987), p. 239.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Raymond L. Garthoff, Detente and Confrontation (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1985), p. 173.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    See Raymond L. Garthoff, “Handling the Cienfuegos Crisis,” International Security, vol. 8, no. 1, Summer 1983, pp. 46–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 15.
    Strobe Talbott, Endgame (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1980), pp. 194–7.Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Roland M. Timerbayev, Kontrol’ za ogranicheniyem vooruzheniv i razoruzheniyem, Moscow, Mezhdunarodnyye Otnosheniya, 1983; translated as Verification of Arms Limitation and Disarmament, Joint Publications Research Service UPS-84–041-L, November 5, 1984, pp. 1719.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    For a listing and discussion of such Soviet “half-truths,” see Robert Axelrod and William Zimmerman, “The Soviet Press on Soviet Foreign Policy: A Usually Reliable Source,” British Journal of Political Science, II, 1981, pp.201–25.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Michael Gordon, “CIA is Skeptical that New Soviet Radar is Part of an ABM Defense System,” National Journal, vol. 17, no. 10, March 9, 1985, p.525.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    Nikolai Ogarkov, Marshal of the Soviet Union, “Guarding Peaceful Labor,” Kommunist, no. 10, 1981, pp. 80–91.Google Scholar
  13. 28.
    R. Jeffrey Smith, “Arms Agreement Breathes New Life into SCC,” Science, vol. 229, August 9, 1985, pp. 535–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 33.
    The USSR has itself emphasized that these initiatives represent a new Soviet approach to verification, stressing cooperative measures. See Warren Heckrotte, “A Soviet View of Verification,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 42, no. 8, October, 1986, pp. 10–12.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Krepon and Mary Umberger 1988

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  • Gloria Duffy

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