Home Issues Past Issues MCS 2015 Issue 1 Soviet and Chinese Comrades Look Back at the Friendship Decade
Soviet and Chinese Comrades Look Back at the Friendship Decade
Abstract: This article discusses the role played by the Soviet experts and advisors in the creation of the PRC in the 1950s. Based largely on interviews with both Soviets and Chinese who worked together, this article records and reflects the changing nature of the relationship between the two communist giants. During the Mao-Stalin years (1948-53), relatively few Soviets were sent to the PRC, but those advisors who worked in China reported respectful, comradely relations on both sides. In the early Khrushchev-Mao years (1953-56), Soviet advisors and experts were warmly welcomed and they reported enjoying their professional and personal lives in China, as well as the feeling that they were contributing to something important. After Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization speech in February 1956, however, the advisors report that relations between co-workers began to deteriorate, and that they felt much more constrained in their abilities to do the work they were sent to complete. The radicalization of the CCP in the late 1950s left many advisors abandoned as Chinese co-workers attended to political affairs and had little time to work. Overall, the Advisors’ Program may be judged a success in that it provided much needed expertise and assistance in China’s modernization. Although the Chinese and Soviet co-workers often developed many warm working relationships, in reality, the Sino-Soviet Friendship was a barometer of the relationship of top political leaders.