countries. While seeking the promised benefits of
communism, these countries often fail to realize
the future price they will pay for accepting the
Communist regime. The Soviet Union has spread
its influence all over the world, establishing
puppet states in such places as North Korea, Viet-
nam, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Peru.
In December of 1979 the Soviets invaded
Afghanistan in an unsuccessful attempt to dictate
to a sovereign nation through the introduction of
Soviet troops. On 15 February 1989 the last Soviet
troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan. The
Soviet Union seriously miscalculated the ability
and determination of Afghan Resistance Forces to
defend their country against communism.
In March of 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev assumed
the post of General Secretary of the Communist
party. Under his leadership a new policy of
glasnost has been adopted. Although glasnost is
interpreted by some in the West to mean open-
ness, its meaning to the Soviets is publicity or
officially managed perceptions. Under this policy,
the Communist party still maintains control over
the media. However, the regime selectively allows
more complete reporting of negative domestic
news and foreign policy issues previously sup-
pressed by Soviet censors. The regime has also
significantly loosened the restrictions on cultural
expression, tolerating a much wider range of
themes in literature, film, theater, and art. The
Soviet leadership has continued to crack down on
alcohol, drug abuse, and other manifestations of
what Gorbachev calls social corrosion.
Nevertheless, the Communists still prohibit
public debate on certain topics, such as the
primary influence of the party in national life, the
KGB, and some human rights issues.
Whether glasnost will alter the Soviet political
threat remains to be seen; however, these changes
do bring hope.
THE SOVIET NAVY
Todays Soviet navy is larger, better equipped,
and more balanced in structure than ever before.
It is also far more capable of meeting the
requirements of conventional or nuclear war at
almost any level (fig. 1-4). Future Soviet naval
policy and programs will be directed toward
broadening the range of military and political
options available. These options will span the
entire spectrum of conflict, from peacetime
competition to nuclear war.
The Soviets began the 1980s with the introduc-
tion of three new classes of surface warships, two
new classes of attack submarines, and a new class
of helicopters. The Kirov entered the Soviet fleet
as its first nuclear-powered surface combatant.
Also entering the fleet was the ASUW-oriented
(DDG) and the ASW-oriented Udaloy-class DDG.
Among them, these three classes introduced six
new weapons systems: The Kirovs SS-N-19
antiship cruise missile (ASCM) and SA-N-6
surface-to-air missile (SAM); the Sovremennyys
medium-range SS-N-22 ASCM and SA-N-7 SAM
Figure 1-4.Soviet warships.