Study of China in the Soviet Union has just experienced a decade of rapid growth and fundamental change. Until the early 1960's the overwhelming reality for Soviet specialists was the fact that the Chinese revolution had succeeded—China had joined the camp of Soviet allies building socialism. Under these conditions, interpretations of the society which emerged after 1949 and of the historic circumstances which gave rise to revolution reflected both a need to reaffirm doctrinal principles about the uniformities of history and a hesitancy to contradict official Chinese communist positions. By the mid-1960's these limitations had been removed. Soviet sinologists repudiated the previous period for the “uncritical use of tendentious Chinese materials” and switched abruptly to demonstrating what had gone wrong in China, i.e., the abnormalities of history. The search was begun for those exceptional qualities of China's past which had deflected its advance to socialism and before that to capitalism.

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