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1. Politics any interference in the affairs of others, esp by one state in the affairs of another
2. Economics the action of a central bank in supporting the international value of a currency by buying large quantities of the currency to keep the price up
3. Commerce the action of the EU in buying up surplus produce when the market price drops to a certain value
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in international law, the interference of one state in the internal affairs of another or in its relations with other states. Modern international law prohibits intervention and regards it as an offense against international law. In accordance with the principle of nonintervention, no state or group of states has the right to intervene directly or indirectly on any grounds whatsoever in the affairs of another state, and for this reason armed intervention and all other forms of intervention or threats of intervention directed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any state are considered violations of international law.

Intervention is outlawed by a number of international treaties and agreements, including the UN Charter, according to whose Article 2, Paragraph 4, all states are obligated to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state and from acting in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. The threat or the use of force should not serve as a means of settling international problems. All international disputes should be settled by peaceful means only (art. 2, para. 3, of the UN Charter). A state may resort to the use of force, including armed force, only in two cases, strictly defined by the UN Charter: in carrying out forceful measures decided upon by the United Nations (arts. 39, 41, 42), or in legitimate self-defense against an armed attack (art. 51).

A distinction must be made between intervention and simple influence (intercession). Intervention is always aimed at deciding the domestic or foreign affairs of another state in the interests of the state engaging in intervention. Simple influence in such forms as friendly advice or the offering of “good offices” is usually dictated by the interests of preserving or restoring international peace and security.

Despite the categorical prohibition of intervention in modern international law, the imperialist powers and above all the United States have continually intervened in the international affairs of other countries and peoples. These actions have included both open armed intervention—for example, the United States in Indochina—and secret and disguised intervention—the imposition of an alien political, economic, social, or other system; the organization of conspiracies, coups d’etat, and civil wars to achieve such aims; the dispatching of spies, terrorists, and saboteurs; financing, the supplying of armaments, and other forms of assistance to subversive groups; dumping; making loans with strings attached; exerting diplomatic pressure; and the use of radio, television, and the press to conduct hostile propaganda. The most dangerous form of intervention is armed intervention.

Since intervention by imperialist powers in various forms had become very widespread, the UN General Assembly at its 20th session in 1965 adopted the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty. In this declaration all forms of intervention directed against the status of a state as a legal person or against its political, economic, or cultural integrity were condemned.

The USSR and the other socialist states, which consistently uphold a policy of peace and peaceful coexistence, have repeatedly opposed acts of intervention carried out by the imperialist states. The question of enforcing the 1965 declaration has frequently been raised on the initiative of the USSR in the United Nations.


Baginian, K. A. Narushenie imperialisticheskimi gosudarstvami printsipa nevmeshatel’stva. Moscow, 1954.
Ushakov, N. A. Suverenitet v sovremennom mezhdunarodnom prave. Moscow, 1963.
Sharmanazashvili, G. Ot prava voiny k pravu mira. Moscow, 1967.
Kurs mezhdunarodnogo prava, vol. 2. Moscow, 1967. (Chief editor, F. I. Kozhevnikov.)

V. I. MENZHINSKII [10–942-t]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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