Russia (Soviet Union), Relations with

   Under Prime Minister U Nu, the Burmese government sought to remain neutral and nonaligned in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the Cold War was beginning to intensify. Diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union were established in 1949; the prime minister visited Moscow in 1955, but did not refrain from telling Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev not to give moral and other support to the Communist Party of Burma. Bilateral relations were troubled following the discovery in the 1950s that the KGB was using the Soviet embassy in Rangoon (Yangon) as a center for espionage. But the Soviets funded a number of important aid projects, including a hospital in Taunggyi, the new campus of Rangoon (Yangon) Institute of Technology in Gyogon, Insein Township, and the Inya Lake Hotel, which for many years was Burma's most modern accommodation. During the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) era (1962-1988), Moscow recognized the Ne Win regime as a "socialist-oriented state," although Ne Win did not espouse orthodox Marxist-Leninist ideology. The Russians constructed a large dam in central Burma, the Kyaikmauk Taung Dam, but it was poorly designed and never provided adequate water for irrigation.
   The year 1988 saw the collapse of the BSPP socialist regime and 1991 the Soviet Union itself. Though suffering economic and political ills, the new Russian Federation has sought to obtain influence with the State Peace and Development Council-and also earn some hard currency-by selling the regime Mig-29 fighter jets in 2001 and a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor the following year. The latter sale fueled fears, probably unfounded, that the military junta was planning to develop nuclear weapons. Russia is also training several hundred Tatmadaw personnel. Post-1988 Burma also has arms trade ties with parts of the former Soviet Union, such as Ukraine.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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