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Soviet Political Threat
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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 On 15 February 1989 the last Soviet troops   were   withdrawn   from   Afghanistan.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 Today’s 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 Sovremennyy-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG)  and  the  ASW-oriented  Udaloy-class  DDG. Among  them,  these  three  classes  introduced  six new    weapons    systems:    The    Kirov’s    SS-N-19 antiship    cruise    missile    (ASCM)    and    SA-N-6 surface-to-air  missile  (SAM);  the  Sovremennyy’s medium-range SS-N-22 ASCM and SA-N-7 SAM 134.3 Figure 1-4.—Soviet warships. 1-16

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