Soviet Perceptions of Enemy States in the Middle East Conflict: A Study of Factionalism Since the Six Day War,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF EXTERNAL RESEARCH
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The study of factionalism and interest group politics in the Soviet Union is characterized by two dominant themes. First, Soviet authorities officially deny the existence of factionalism while making indirect references to inter-elite and intra-elite differences. Second, Western scholars are contributing to a growing body of literature on Soviet factionalism but they disagree about the bases, influence and legitimacy of factional groups in the Soviet Union. The purpose of this review is to examine these two themes and to relate them to Soviet perceptions of the Middle East conflict. The classical works on interest group politics assert that individuals in society act largely as members of a group in a political system. This occurs for two basic reasons. First, interest groups or factions consist of persons whose interests, attitudes and behavior are shaped by similar background characteristics. Second, individuals perceive that through cooperative endeavors they will be more likely to attain the goals and rewards which are consistent with their attitudes and interests. Thus individuals with similar backgrounds will join together for collective action. Interest group theory also posits that as societies become more industrialized, interest groups will become more evident, assertive, autonomous and influential in the decision making process.
- Government and Political Science