Recent research and perspectives
While Austria was not included in the Soviet sphere of influence cutting across most of central and eastern Europe, the country was earmarked for heavy economic exploitation. The Soviet Union expropriated over 450 formerly German-owned businesses; by 1955, the majority of these companies were close to bankruptcy. For the Soviets, Austria had become an economic and political liability. Austrian diplomats seized on the opportunity to build alliances with Western governments, and the ground was prepared for Austria’s reintegration into western Europe. Siegfried Beer summarizes the new perspectives on this history gained after the opening up of Russian state archives.