During the Second World War there had been little time to ponder the long-term implications of Arctic shipping, but afterwards the problem presented itself again. If the Northern Sea Route was to be of any use, its capacity should be increased. In the Stalinist period, this problem had been tackled by the plan to build a railway to Igarka, thus reducing the length of the shipping route. The drawbacks of this plan have been mentioned (see p. 70), but it complied with the main tenets of Stalinist policy, namely self-sufficiency and the use of forced labour. In 1953, however, after the Twentieth Party Congress, a revision of this basic policy began, destalinization set in, and with it came a change in the Soviet Union's self-perception. The 'fIrst communist state' was no longer seen as an embattled fortress, since eleven nations with some 700 million people had joined the communist bloc. Countries such as China and Vietnam had begun to develop, while in Africa several 'liberation movements' appeared (Guzhenko 1984: 112). Besides, by acquiring nuclear weapons the Soviet Union had become a superpower, which was able to play an active role in world politics (Gorschkow 1978: 262). In consequence, a more outgoing policy was developed, which allowed greater cooperation in international questions. We have seen its consequences for the Soviet attitude towards the Law of the Sea. This in turn implied the need for sea power. In 1957 Admiral S. G. Gorshkov became Commander in Chief of the Soviet Navy. His ideas however, were, published only much later. To Gorshkov, sea power did not mean only warships, but a whole fleet of scientifIc and merchant vessels as well. It meant, in effect, that the Soviet Union was to become a maritime nation, acquiring all the facilities and advantages that came with it. By expanding foreign trade, which was shipped in Soviet vessels to socialist countries, and by displaying its power by visits of Soviet warships, the new foreign policy had important consequences for the Northern Sea Route.