Using recently declassified documents from Moscow, this article recounts Anastas Mikoyan's trip to Japan in the summer of 1961. The trip served as an inflection point in the commercial relationship between the Soviet Union and Japan—a relationship that by the end of the decade had become the most extensive between the Soviet Union and a country of the “free world.” The article indicates that narratives focusing on ideologies of great-power rivalry during the Cold War tend to miss the kinds of global ideological currents that shaped many states’ behavior after 1945. Mikoyan's discussions with political and business elites in Japan suggest that an ideology of economic growth increasingly underlay concepts of political governance on both sides and ultimately allowed for the kind of cooperation that characterized Soviet-Japanese relations.

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