Union took an active role in the United Nations and other major international
and regional organizations. At the behest of the United States, the Soviet Union took a role in the establishment
of the UN in 1945.
The Soviet Union insisted that there be
veto rights in the Security
and that alterations in the United Nations Charter
approved by the five permanent members.
initially protested the membership of India and the
Philippines, whose independence was then largely theoretical
(being basically colonies of the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, in all but name).
A demand by
the Soviet Union that all fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics be
recognized as member states in the UN was counter-demanded by the
United States that all then forty-eight state
be similarly recognized. Ultimately two
Soviet Republics (Ukrainian SSR
) were admitted as
full members of the UN, so between 1945–1991 the Soviet Union was
represented by three seats in the United Nations. The United States
was also offered two additional seats, but due to political
problems (regarding which two of the 48 states would be
represented), it was never acted upon.
watershed in Soviet UN policy occurred in January 1950, when Soviet
representatives boycotted UN functions in protest over the
occupation of the seat of
China by the Republic of China (which government had been relocated to Taipei in December
1949) and the corresponding
exclusion of the newly declared People's
Republic of China.
In the absence of the Soviet
representatives, the UN Security Council was able to vote for the
intervention of UN military forces in what would become the
. The Soviet Union subsequently
returned to various UN bodies in August 1950. This return marked
the beginning of a new policy of active participation in
international and regional organizations.
For many years, the Western powers
played a guiding role in UN deliberations, but by the 1960s many
former colonies had been granted independence and had joined the
UN. These states, which became the majority in the General Assembly
and other bodies, were
increasingly receptive to Soviet "anti-imperialist" appeals. By the
1970s, the UN deliberations had generally become increasingly
hostile toward the West and toward the United States in particular,
as evidenced by pro-Soviet and anti-United States voting trends in
the General Assembly. Although the Soviet Union benefited from and
encouraged these trends, it was not mainly responsible for them.
Rather, the trends were largely a result of the growing debate over
the redistribution of the world's wealth between the "have" and
The Soviet Union did not, however, achieve total support in the UN
for its foreign policy positions. The Soviet Union and Third World
states often agreed that "imperialism
" caused and continued to maintain
the disparities in the world distribution of wealth. They
disagreed, however, on the proper level of Soviet aid to the Third
World. Also, the Soviet Union encountered opposition to its
and the Vietnamese occupation of
and received little support (as evidenced by Third
World abstentions) for its 1987 proposal on the creation of a
"Comprehensive System of International Peace and Security."
The Soviet Union by the late 1980s belonged to most of the
specialized agencies of the UN. During 1986 Western media reported
that East European and Asian communist
allied with the Soviet Union received more development aid
from the UN than they and
the Soviet Union contributed. This revelation belied communist states'
rhetorical support in the UN for the establishment of a New International Economic
Order for the transfer of wealth from the rich Northern
Hemisphere to the poor Southern Hemisphere nations.
Partly because of ongoing Third
World criticism of the Soviet record of meager economic assistance
to the Third World and of Soviet contributions to UN agencies, in
September 1987 the Soviet Union announced that it would pay some
portion of its arrears to the UN. This policy change also came at a
time of financial hardship in the UN caused partly by the decision
of the United States to withhold contributions pending cost-cutting
efforts in the UN.
During the Gorbachev
period, the Soviet
Union made several suggestions for increasing UN involvement in the
settlement of superpower and regional problems and conflicts,
though these suggestions were not implemented, they constituted new
initiatives in Soviet foreign policy and represented a break with
the nature of past Soviet foreign policy.
dissolved in 1991, it formally "notified" the UN that it was
designating Russia as its
The Russian Federation was then given the USSR's
permanent seat on the Security Council.