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CoCom, Comecon, and the Economic Cold War

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image of Russian History

The economic dimension to the Cold War often focused on two blocs of nations, each led by one of the opposing superpowers. In 1949, the Soviet Union sponsored the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or Comecon in Eastern Europe; the United States founded the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls or CoCom in Western Europe. Both soon expanded. On one level, the two groups were quite distinct. Comecon resembled a common market; CoCom restricted technology transfers. The article below, however, presents a series of arguments that suggest these dissimilar economic groupings possessed to an extraordinary degree a common pattern in their history. They frequently mirrored each other in the contentious relations shared by the U.S. and U.S.S.R.


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