Communist countries, like capitalist countries, undertake aid programmes with the specific aim of gaining political influence and economic benefit. Economic aid and investment is not made with the aim of building up national communist parties in Third World countries, but rather of making sure that parties already in power conform to the policies of the donor country. Communist economic aid may be a manifestation of the conflict between different communist ideologies angling for support and dominance in the communist world. It is also undertaken in rivalry to capitalist economic imperialism, particularly in the form of the military, which raises the risk of war.
Soviet Russian purchases of eastern Europe manufactured goods at above world market price levels was a form of political subsidy for the communist regimes. These implicit subsidies reached a total of over $20,000 million in 1980.