The Soviet view of neutrality was shaped by political rather than legal considerations. Whether neutrality was rejected or promoted by the USSR and how it was defined depended on the concept's usefulness for Soviet foreign policy. To advance Soviet interests, a special doctrine of neutrality was created with obligations that Soviet leaders apparently believed would draw the permanently neutral states nearer to the Soviet bloc. This article, which relies on Russian and Western historical literature as well as archival documents, delineates the changing Soviet attitude during the Cold War toward permanent neutrality as well as toward four European neutrals (Austria, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland).

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