THE Russians have a special phrase to describe their relationship with the Eastern European Communist countries within their sphere of influence. It is sotsialisticheskoe sodruzhestvo, which, translated into English, has a reassuring and almost beneficent ring: Socialist Commonwealth. Since the invasion of Czechoslovakia, however, the term has acquired a new and ominous meaning. It has come to reflect a departure in Soviet policy that some people suggest should be called the Brezhnev Doctrine, after Soviet Party Boss Leonid Brezhnev, whose brutal and brusque attitude toward the Czechoslovak leaders has made him a symbol of the Soviet Union's belligerent mood.

In the past,...

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