AbstractFour questions in the Soviet concept of the correlation of world forces are discussed: the actors, the forces, the character of the correlation, and the role of the correlation in world development. The discussion concludes with a comment on the differences between the Soviet and the Western approaches.The Soviet concept differs from the traditional notion of the balance of power in three respects. First, it is based on the Marxist-Leninist philosophy, which sees the world as evolving according to the laws of history towards socialism; a favourable correlation of world forces is both the outcome of such a development and a condition of further progress. Secondly, Soviet politicians and scholars regard the international system as based on the interaction of two antagonistic camps, opposed to each other in their socio-economic and political systems, doctrines, and policies. Finally, the concept seems to entail three, or even four, kinds of correlation: 1) the correlation of power on the global scale; 2) the correlation on the highly important regional scale, i. e. which concerns the power of the Warsaw Treaty states and the NATO states in Europe; and 3) the correlation, within the socialist system, of the power of the Soviet Union and other states. Recently a fourth kind of correlation has been included: that between the Soviet Union and China, and it is regarded as playing a significant role in the world equation of power.Balance of power theories and models based on the concept of the interplay of a number of great powers are dismissed by Soviet scholars as outmoded and artificial, distort ing the real correlation of forces between the actual competitors.In spite of Soviet argumentation, the differences between Soviet and the traditional con cepts are not very clear. This is because the Soviet concept is treated as a means of policy rather than as a scientific construction. It is used to justify the status of the Soviet Union as one of the two leading world powers capable of backing by its military posture a widening range of interests; further to confirm Soviet predominance in the socialist camp; finally, to buttress the bargaining position of the Soviet Union in negotiations concerning arms control and regional cocrrelation of forces.