To investigate how Soviet internationalism operated at the micro level under the conditions of decolonization, the Cold War, and the Sino-Soviet split, this article examines the first decade of the Moscowbased Peoples' Friendship University. The article focuses on four mechanisms of cooperation and control within the university: positive incentives, techniques of ideological influence, the activities of Soviet students vis-à-vis their non-Soviet peers, and the role of student unions. Based on documents from several Moscow archives, the article argues that some of these mechanisms created as many conflicts as they purportedly resolved. While foreign students enjoyed various advantages such as free-of-charge education and a materially secure position, the accompanying ideological training was not as popular as Soviet officials had hoped. At the same time, Soviet students were not as keen on informing about and influencing their non-Soviet peers as Soviet officials wanted them to be. Student unions, intended by university officials as instruments of control, often served as platforms of student self-assertion or struggle between student factions. The Peoples' Friendship University thus serves as a case study of Soviet efforts to reach out to the Global South, showcasing their successes and limitations.


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pp. 357-393
Launched on MUSE
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