Problems of Peace and Socialism
Problems of Peace and Socialism (Russian: Проблемы мира и социализма), often referred to by the name of its English-language edition World Marxist Review (WMR), was a joint theoretical and ideological magazine of communist and workers parties around the world. It existed for 32 years, until it closed down in June 1990. The offices of WMR were based in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Each edition of the magazine had a circulation of above half a million, being read in some 145 countries. At its height, WMR appeared in 41 languages, and editors from 69 communist parties around worked at its office in Prague. The master copy of the magazine was its Russian-language edition Problemy Mira i Sotsializma.
The idea of launch the WMR as the joint ideological monthly publication was raised at the 1957 International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties. The first issue came out in September 1958. At the start, WMR was published in Russian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Chinese, Albanian, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Romanian, Korean, Czech, Mongolian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish and Japanese.
In some ways WMR represented a continuation of the Cominform organ For a Lasting Peace, for People's Democracy. WMR was supposed to play an important role in formulating a joint political line of the communist parties of the Socialist Bloc. However, it never really came to fill the function of being an intra-Bloc organ, but was rather used by non-ruling communist parties.
In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split, the Albanian edition was canceled in 1962, followed by the Chinese and Korean editions in 1963. Meanwhile, a Greek edition was started in Cyprus in 1962, a Portuguese in Brazil in the same year and a Sinhala edition was launched in Ceylon in 1965. During the same period, new distribution centres were set up in Switzerland, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile and Argentina.
The costs for the printing of the magazine were mainly covered by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Communist parties from East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Mongolia also contributed. Around half of the 400 strong staff were from the Soviet Union.
The magazine was to gain notoriety as the incubator of perestroika. Several of Mikhail Gorbachev’s top advisors on his reforms (such as Gennadi Gerasimov, Georgy Shakhnazarov, Yevgeny Ambartsumov, Anatoly Chernyaev, Georgy Arbatov, Aleksandr Tsipko, Yegor Yakovlev, Ivan Frolov, among several others) had worked at the magazine in Prague.
Towards the end of 1989, there were sharp changes in the editorial policy at WMR. Articles written by writers like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Alexander Dubček, Milovan Đilas and Andrei D. Sakharov began to be published.
By the time the magazine was closed down, its staff had been reduced to 40. The remaining staff were mainly Czech employees, who took care of the building. Towards the end, most of its financial backers withdrew their subsidies. As of 1990, only the Soviet and Mongolian parties retained their subsidies.
Aleksey Rumyantsev was the first editor, and served in the position until 1964. After Rumyantsev, G. P. Frantov (rector of the Academy of Social Sciences) took over the editorship.
- Kamm, Henry. Evolution in Europe; With Nonreaders Gone, Marxism's Journal Fails, in New York Times, July 3, 1990
- Staar, Richard Felix. Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, pp. 33, 93
- Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Soviet Bloc Unity and Conflict. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967. p. 475
- See http://www.ariasking.com/files/DemOrange.pdf