Soviet-Czechoslovak Technological Transfer: from the First Post-War Years to the Prague Spring (on the Base of the Foreign Trips Reports of Soviet Engineers)
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Soviet-Czechoslovak Technological Transfer: from the First Post-War Years to the Prague Spring (on the Base of the Foreign Trips Reports of Soviet Engineers)
Annotation
PII
S207987840021117-7-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Mikhail Kovalev 
Affiliation:
Institute of World History RAS
Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract

In this article, a large range of unique sources from the collections of the St. Petersburg Central State Archive of Scientific and Technical Documentation is analyzed and studied for the first time. These are the reports of Soviet specialists in the field of technical knowledge on the business trips to Czechoslovakia in the period from the mid-1940s until the end of the 1960s. Their authors were employees of the Leningrad sectoral research institutes. They were technical chemists, shipbuilders, hydraulic engineers, mining engineers, machine builders, etc. The presented materials made it possible to take a fresh look at the issues of the Soviet-Czechoslovak technological transfer, both within the framework of bilateral relations and within the framework of CMEA. A distinctive feature of all the reports was their de-ideologization. These documents did not contain references to the classics of Marxism-Leninism and assurances of the superiority of socialist science over bourgeois, but they reflected a deep sincere interest in foreign technologies and engineering solutions. Noteworthy is the very respectful attitude of Soviet specialists towards their Czech and Slovak colleagues, and at the same time – deep attention to Czechoslovak technical developments. This fact clearly distinguishes the reports of engineers from the reports of their colleagues in the humanities, especially from the institutes of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The latter often wrote such documents from the arrogant position of the “elder brother”, who has a monopoly on the Marxist truth. The Soviet authors of the reports did not separate Soviet technical science from the global context and tried in every possible way to convey the idea of the importance of exchanging experience and scientific and technical information with foreign partners. They looked with some envy at their Czechoslovak colleagues, who, albeit limitedly, had access to Western scientific and technical literature. If we talk about the transfer of knowledge and technology from the standpoint of mutual benefit, then we need to draw a conclusion about its success. Cooperation with the USSR allowed Czechoslovakia to develop a number of new technical areas, such as nuclear power, at the same time, the Soviet side got the opportunity to access promising Czechoslovak technologies in the field of mechanical engineering or polymer chemistry. However, the system of intellectual exchanges, despite the obvious mutual interest of the specialists of the two countries in it, was still fettered by ideological frameworks and party control, and the introduction of certain technical innovations often faced the sluggishness of the planned economy.

Keywords
Soviet-Czechoslovak scientific relations, history of science and technology, technology transfer, Leningrad, research institutes, Soviet engineers, business foreign trips
Received
28.02.2022
Publication date
30.06.2022
Number of characters
59981
Number of purchasers
1
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