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Foregn Policy in the Period of NEPNEP

The quite difficult internal situation of Soviet Russia, coming to authorities of the Soviet foreign policy of pragmatically adjusted old, pre-revolutionary experts, first of all G.V.Chicherin, also contributed to the change of the foreign policy course of the country.

From 1918 to 1928 Chicherin was at the head of the National commissariat of foreign affairs, and substantially due to his experience, qualification, knowledge of international law and communications with foreign departments the relations between Soviet Russia and foreign countries gradually began to establish. Leading western countries as were convinced, that the Soviet authority in Russia is 'seriously and for a long time', also made attempts of establishment of interstate relations.

These two counter processes resulted in the beginning of 1920s in cautious and inconsistent steps of establishment and development of diplomatic relations between the Soviet state and countries of the West. Normalization of relations of the Soviet state with European countries started with the trade. The Soviet-English agreement of March 16, 1921 was one of the first agreements of the Soviet country with leading countries of the world. On the 6th of May, 1921the Soviet-German trading agreement was signed, in which Berlin recognized RSFSR de facto (i.e. actually) the only lawful assign of the Russian state. Similar agreements were soon made with Norway, Austria, Italy, Denmark and Czechoslovakia.

In summer 1921 famine started in the Volga region. The Soviet government addressed to the International Red Cross and the American association of help (АRА) with the request for help. The question on rendering assistance to the Soviet country was considered in October 1921 at the Brusselles conference of the heads of leading western states. The conference recommended the governments to grant a loan to Soviet Russia for struggle against famine only under condition of its acknowledgement of debts of former regimes and the admission of the commission of control of the distribution of products .

The international economic and financial conference was held in Genoa (Italy) from April 10 till May 19, 1922. Representatives of 29 countries participated: RSFSR, Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Japan, etc. The ambassador of the USA in Italy assisted as an observer. An attempt of the Soviet delegation to put for a discussion the problem of disarmament (carrying the non-constructive character) was rejected by other delegations. Positions of the western powers included requirements of payment by the Soviet government of all the debts of the imperial and the Provisional governments, restitution of the nationalized property to foreigners or payment of compensation for the damage or loss of property, granting foreigners with an opportunity to be engaged in the Soviet country trade and economic activities with rights which they had in other countries. The western countries suggested creating the commission of the Russian debt, which would control the payment of the debt, returning or compensation of the nationalized property.

Counter-claims of the Soviet party included compensation of the damage caused to Soviet Russia by intervention and blockade (39 billion gold roubles). Representatives of powers of Entente refused to recognize the Soviet claims, referring to absence of the financial documents made according to the international law.The mutual consent wasn't achieved. Therefore the decision was made to pass consideration of all points at issue to the conference of experts, held in Hague in June 26 - July 19, 1922 which also went off with no results.

December 12, 1922 the conference on reduction of armaments was held in Moscow in which the representatives of Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Finland and RSFSR took part. The offers of the Soviet state on serious reduction of armies of the countries - participants of conference was rejected first by 75 %, and then by 25 %.

Participation of the USSR in Lausanne peace conference (November, 20, 1922 - July, 24, 1923) on which questions of peace settlement on Near East were considered, also showed incompatibility of positions of Soviet Russia and the western countries. The Lausanne convention was held on the basis of the English offers and provided an opportunity of pass to the Black sea of the military ships of all countries. Though the Soviet delegation had also signed the text of the convention, the USSR refused to ratify it.

Bylateral relations developed more successfully for the USSR. During the conference in Genoa the bilateral contract between the Soviet Russia and Germany was signed on the 16th of 1922 in the suburb of Genoa of Rapallo. The Rapallo's contract provided reestablishment of diplomatic relations between RSFSR and Germany, mutual refusal of the parties of compensation of military damage, charges on the maintenance of prisoners of war. October 12, 1925 the trading contract and the consular convention with Germany were signed. April 24, 1926 the USSR and the German republic signed the nonaggression pact and neutrality. In 1926 the USSR made a long-term loan from Germany in 300 million marks partly guaranteed by the German government.

The relations of the Soviet Russia with Great Britain were more complicated. As a result of work of the English-Soviet conference on August 8, 1924 the General contract and the Contract about trade and navigation were signed between Great Britain and the USSR.

The serious aggravation of the Soviet-English relations took place in 1926 during the general strike in England and the strike of the English miners, which started on May 1, 1926. The Soviet government through the Soviet trade unions rendered significant financial and material help to the Federation of miners of Great Britain. In June 1926 the English government accused Moscow of intervention in the internal affairs, and in the note of February 23, 1927 - of breach of the English-Soviet trading agreement. In spring the wave of anti-soviet actions swept in England, including the raid of the English police of the London apartment of АRКОS (the English-Russian cooperative society), which purpose was withdrawal of seditious documents. May 27, 1927 the English government broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR and cancelled trading agreement of 1921.

More stable relations were maintained with other countries. Diplomatic relations between Italy and the USSR were established on February 7, 1924 and the Italian-Soviet contract of trade and navigation was signed. Within 1924 the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with Norway, Austria, Sweden, Greece, Denmark. Normal (at ambassador level) diplomatic relations with France were established on October 28, in January 1925 - diplomatic and consular relations with Japan.

September 28, 1926 the Soviet-Lithuanian contract confirming the Riga peace treaty of 1920 was signed. Among great powers only USA did not establish diplomatic relations with the USSR in 20s, refusing to carry on any negotiations before payment of debts and indemnifications for the nationalized property.In 20s the USSR started to carry out the more active policy concerning the Asian countries, first of all bordering.

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