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Soviets justify Central America policy

The conflict in Central America may be simmering now, but Soviet experts predict it will be boiling again soon. The Soviet experts say they hope the United States Congress will withhold further funding of covert Central Intelligence Agency activity in the region. They deny the Soviet Union is in any way stoking an already inflamed situation in Central America. And they insist that Cuba is not acting as a Soviet surrogate in Central America.

Instead, they argue, hunger, poverty, and social injustice inevitably give rise to conflict in Central America, with or without intervention by either superpower.

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''Outside observers, other than Marxist-Leninists, have concluded that the political and economic systems in these countries are outdated, and that they won't survive,'' says Ilya Bulichev, a senior researcher at the Soviet Academy of Sciences' Institute of Latin America.

Mr. Bulichev, along with two other officials from the institute, detailed the Soviet view of the situation in Central America during a recent interview.

That view, of course, hewed carefully to standard Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Nevertheless, the comments are illustrative of the Soviet rationale for involvement in the region, through support of the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

Whether or not ideology helps to shape Soviet foreign policy, it inevitably is used to justify it. Every move in Soviet foreign policy is said to be in keeping with ''Leninist'' or ''internationalist'' principles.

Central American policy is no exception. Soviet policy in the region is, in effect, self-justifying. The argument goes like this: Revolution is a natural and inevitable phenomenon. Those who impede it are involved in a futile exercise. Why not, then, accept the inevitable?

That sums up the Soviet view of the Central American conflict, and helps to explain why it is unalterably at odds with US policy in the region.

Marina Chumakova, another senior researcher at the institute, says that although the Soviet Union has no direct military or economic interest in the region, it does have an interest in ''providing defense for a sovereign state'' (Nicaragua) under attack by the US.

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The Soviets hotly deny that Nicaragua has brought American wrath upon itself by attempting to export revolution to neighboring states. ''Before the Soviet Union existed, national liberation movements existed in that area. Because the the Soviet Union did not exist, there was no one to blame,'' says Anatoly Yeletentsev, chief of the institute's department of international relations.

''Now,'' he says, ''it's very convenient to blame the Soviet Union.''

''Revolutionary movements began in those countries,'' he adds. ''They were not foisted upon them by others. It's the counterrevolutionary movements (the so-called contras ) that are being forced from the outside (by the US).''

Mr. Yeletentsev says that 1982 agreements pledge the Soviet Union to economic , trade, scientific, and technical cooperation with Nicaragua, but not to military aid. The weapons provided to the Sandinista government, he says, are purely for defensive purposes.

''All of the reports about the deliveries of weapons to El Salvador are just talk. There's never been any proof,'' he claims.

Neither, says Ms. Chumakova, is the Soviet Union relying upon Cubans to act as military surrogates in the region. ''Cuba is a sovereign state, and we have no control over what they do.'' Cuban advisers in Nicaragua, she says, ''are there only in the fields of education, road construction, and medicine.''

Yeletetensev charges that the Reagan administration has used the claim of ''Cuban involvement'' before. ''We can't take that very seriously, because they said the same thing about Grenada. They used it as an excuse, and when they invaded they didn't find stocks of Cuban weapons and Cuban troops. Only some civilians who were there to help construct their airfield.''

Further, the Soviet officials deny that this country is secretly funneling arms shipments to the Sandinistas through third-party states like Libya and North Korea. Nicaragua may be getting arms from these states, says Chumakova, but it is not through Soviet prompting.

''Revolutionary situations . . . (are) caused by the need for far-reaching reforms, repression of the people, terror,'' she claims. These elements exist in many Central American nations and will give rise to revolutionary situations ''without any help from the outside.''

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