JUDGEMENT IN MOSCOW
But Judea clamoured all around,
Of the dead declined to be reminded
Chapter One: PHONEY WAR
1. Who cares?
There is a huge pile of papers before me on my desk, some three thousand pages marked “top secret”, “special file”, “exceptional importance” and “personal”. At first glance, they all look the same: in the top right hand corner, the slogan “Workers of the world, unite!” is almost a taunt. On the left – a severe warning: To be returned to the CC CPSU (General Department, 1st section) within 24 hours. On some, the conditions are more generous – the document may be retained for three or seven days, less frequently – for two months. Lower down, in large letters right across the page are the words: THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION. CENTRAL COMMITTEE. Further – codes, reference numbers, date, a list of those who reached the decision in question, “voted in a round robin” and initialled the document, and the names of those charged with implementing the said decision. But even the latter were not entitled to see the entire document. They received an “abstract from the minutes”, the content of which they could not publicize in spoken or written form. A reminder of this runs in fine print in the left margins of the pages:
Rules concerning abstracts from minutes of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU
1. Photocopying or making notes from minutes of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU, also making any reference to them in oral or written form, in the open press or other publicly accessible documents is categorically forbidden. Retyping the resolutions of the Secretariat of the CC is also proscribed, as is any reference to them in official orders, instructions, directives and any official publications whatsoever.
2. Access to secret and top secret directives (abstracts from minutes) of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU, sent to party committees, ministries, departments or other organizations, is granted only to persons directly involved with the implementation of the relevant directive.
Comrades who have read abstracts from the minutes of the Secretariat of the CC, may not publicize their content.
(Affirmed by CC CPSU resolution of 17 June 1976, par.#12, p.4c)
The rules governing use of Politburo documents are even stricter:
A comrade in receipt of top secret documents of the CC CPSU may not pass them into other hands nor acquaint anyone with their content without special permission from the CC.
Photocopying or making extracts from the documents in question is categorically forbidden.
The comrade to whom the document is addressed must sign and date it after he has studied the content.
This was how the CPSU ruled: secretly, leaving no traces, and at times – even no witnesses, confident that it would last for centuries, just like the Third Reich. And their aims were not too dissimilar, either. Moreover, unlike the Reich, it almost succeeded, had not something occurred that had not been foreseen by Marx, Lenin, and even by the majority of people on earth. The documents spread across my desk were not addressed to me, I had no part – at least, no direct part – in their implementation, and I have no intention of returning them to the 1st section of the General Department. Shamelessly usurping other people’s privileges, I study the signatures of Brezhnev, Chernenko, Andropov, Gorbachev, Ustinov, Gromyko and Ponomarev, I read their handwritten comments in the margins, their profound decisions concerning everything in the world, from arrests and exile of those they considered undesirable to the financing of international terrorism, from disinformation campaigns to the preparation of aggression against neighboring countries. These papers contain the beginnings and the ends of all the tragedies of our bloodstained century, or, to be more precise, of its past thirty years. Obtaining them cost me a great deal of effort over a period of more than a year. Moreover, had I not succeeded, it is highly likely that they would have lain secret for many more years, if not forever. Yet the restriction laid upon them by the CC CPSU resolution of 17 June 1976, #12, p.4c continues to exercise a mystical power,
because nobody dares to publicize these secrets.
Some three or four years ago, every one of these papers would have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them. Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?
Like the poor unfortunate in a Soviet joke who went around looking for an eye and ear doctor because he kept hearing one thing, and seeing something totally different, I begin to doubt my eyes, my ears, my memory. At night, I have nightmares. Businesslike young men with dedicated faces pursue me all over the world, demanding the immediate return of documents to the 1st section of the General Department. And, indeed, more than three days, even two months, have passed since the documents came into my hands, but I still haven’t found a use for them. So how does one differentiate between nightmare and reality in such a situation? Only a few years ago, all that is set out in these papers was hotly denied, rated, at best, as anti-communist paranoia, at worst – as slander. Any one of us who dared, in those not-so-distant times, to mention “the hand of Moscow”, was immediately castigated in the press, accused of “McCarthyism” and became a pariah. Even those disposed to believe us would raise deprecating hands: all this is guesswork, assumptions, there is no proof. Well, here is the proof, signed and numbered, available now for analysis, study, discussion. Take it, check it, print it!
And the answer I get is: So what? Who cares?
Naturally, there are already numerous theories to explain this puzzle. “People are tired of the Cold War’s tensions.” I am told, “they don’t want to hear any more about this. They simply want to get on with their lives, work, rest…and forget this whole nightmare.” “Too many communist secrets have appeared on the market at one time,” I hear from others. “The thing to do is wait until all this becomes history. At the moment, it’s still politics” – is the opinion of yet another school of thought. But somehow, I find none of these explanations convincing. One may say that by 1945 people were tired of the Second World War, and of Nazism to the same degree, but this did not serve to impede a cascade of books, articles and films on the subject. Indeed, an entire industry of anti-fascist productions came into being, and understandably so: the necessity to fathom that which has just occurred is much more acute than to gain an insight into events further removed historically. People need to comprehend the meaning of events in which they have had to play a part, to evaluate their sacrifices and efforts, to draw conclusions for the edification of posterity. This is an attempt to prevent repetition of past errors and, at the same time, a kind of collective therapy to heal the wounds of the past. Undoubtedly, admission of the truth about recent events is always a painful process, at times – even scandalous, because the participants of yesterday’s drama are usually still alive, and, in some cases, even continue to play a prominent public role in the life of their countries. But when have considerations like these ever restrained the press? On the contrary, a juicy political scandal, which may be deadly to someone, is only fodder for the press, like a snake to a mongoose. So why has our mongoose suddenly grown so timid?
Right in front of me lies a document concerning a person I have never met, about whom I never knew anything, but who, it emerges, is well known both in his own country, and in international political circles. Moreover, it appears that he could have become the next President of Finland. The title of the document is not exciting: “On measures connected with the 50th birthday of the chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland, K. Sorsa.” Nor was the text of the resolution adopted by the Secretariat of the Central Committee (16 December 1980)<1> particularly interesting: it instructed the Soviet ambassador in Helsinki to pay K. Sorsa a visit with birthday greetings, and to present him with a gift on behalf of the CC CPSU. Possibly the seeming innocence of this particular paper explains why I got it so easily, without any fuss and bother, from the Central Committee archive. The puzzling thing was that it was marked “top secret”. This aroused my curiosity: why should a decision to convey birthday greetings to the leader of the largest political party in a neighboring neutral country, a former prime minister, be shrouded in such secrecy?
So I started digging deeper in order to obtain supplementary documents to this resolution of the CC – after all, they made their resolutions on the basis of various reports and recommendations. Nothing was ever done just like that. And finally, after many attempts and stratagems which I won’t detail, I got hold of the materials I was after, or, rather, a report by the International Department of the Central Committee. I reproduce it here in full<2>
Secret CC CPSU
On measures connected with the 50th birthday of the chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland K. Sorsa.
On 21 December 1980, the chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland (SDPF), K. Sorsa, celebrates his 50th birthday. In his party and governmental activities (as Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs), Sorsa consistently maintains positions friendly to the USSR and the CPSU, promotes the development of Soviet-Finnish relations and fosters stable contacts between the SDPF and our party. On the international scene, first and foremost in the Socialist International, Sorsa, in confidential collaboration with us, works for detente, for the limitation of the arms race and for disarmament.
In view of the abovementioned, and the circumstance of Sorsa’s election as one of the vice-chairmen of the Socialist International at its last congress, where Sorsa will continue to coordinate the activities of this organization on matters of detente and disarmament, and bearing in mind his contacts with other political forces, we deem it worth charging the Soviet ambassador in Finland to congratulate Sorsa on his 50th birthday and to present a gift.
Draft CC CPSU resolution appended.
Deputy head of the International Department of the CC CPSU (A. Chernyayev) 11 December 1980
Clearly, the above information is not unimportant, and for Finland – sensational. It shows that a man who declared his candidacy for the post of President of Finland in 1992 engaged in “confidential collaboration” with an enemy power while holding the posts of Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and leader of the largest political party. It is not unlikely, moreover, that he was “Moscow’s man” in the Socialist International, where, as vice-president, he would have exercised enormous influence. Let us recall that period, the last contortions of the Cold War: European streets teeming with Moscow-inspired “peace” demonstrations, protesting against NATO plans to site medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe. At the center of the campaign – European socialists and social – democrats, many of them in the government of their own countries, or, at least, leaders of the main opposition forces. And in the center of that center – K. Sorsa, who coordinates the Socialist International’s activities on matters of detente and disarmament while “confidentially collaborating” with the CPSU on these very issues. Not bad, is it?
One would think that a piece of information such as this would be a treasure-trove for the Finnish press in the run-up to the presidential election. But no. MORE THAN SIX MONTHS PASSED SINCE THIS DOCUMENT WAS OFFERED TO THE LARGEST NEWSPAPERS IN FINLAND – WITH NO RESULT. So what? Who cares? Only half a year later, thanks to the efforts of some of my friends, the document finally made the papers in Finland, and Mr. Sorsa, after a public scandal, withdrew his candidacy<3>.
I can find no explanation for such a state of affairs. I am told that “people are tired of the Cold War”, that they do not want to know about that very recent past. But is it the task of the press to decide what the public should or should not know about their future president? Surely the press has a duty to inform the public, and then let the public decide what it needs or does not need to know. Beyond a doubt, had the information concerned a putative president’s love affair or some petty corruption, it would have made front-page headlines in every Finnish newspaper.
It is interesting to recall how several years earlier, a grandiose scandal erupted in another neutral European country – Austria: it became known that a presidential candidate had, some 50 years ago, “collaborated confidentially” with the Nazis as a mere junior officer. And, although the electorate chose to ignore this fact, the Austrian press was full of the matter down to the smallest detail. Indeed, the whole world raised a storm of protest, and the world press covered it as an event of primary importance. The strange thing is, however, that in this instance, nobody thought to say:
“So what? Who cares?”
It could be argued, of course, that Finland is a special case, and that the term “finlandization” is no accident, that, in actual fact, the whole country could be said to have “collaborated confidentially” with Moscow. For Finland, this is no crime and no sensation. And what else could be expected from a small, neutral country which has to live side-by-side with the Big Grey Brother? But Norway is also a neighbor, and it did not “finlandize.” Geography is not the crucial factor. The term “finlandization” was coined not in Finland, but in West Germany, by far not a neutral country, and one which the West took up obligations to defend – unlike Finland – but in which this process took root and flourished.
Yet even Germany, despite a readiness to open the Stasi archives, stopped short of putting Erich Honecker on trial, no doubt because it was feared that he would make good his threat to reveal a whole host of interesting stories. Nobody is particularly keen to dig deeper into the origins of the “Ostpolitik”, to re-evaluate it, or to take a new look at the past activities of such personages as Willi Brandt and Egon Bahr. Even though there is much that deserves a closer scrutiny. Take, for example, this document<4>:
Committee Top secret
For State Security SPECIAL FILE
of the USSR Council of Ministers
9 September 1969
The Committee for State Security reporting on a meeting between a KGB source and “Krupp” corporation director, count ARNIM von ZEDWITZ, which took place at the request of the latter in May this year in the Netherlands.
ZEDWITZ is a confidant of BAHR, a prominent member of the German Social-Democratic party, who handles the planning, coordination and study of key issues of West German foreign policy. ZEDWITZ stated that he had approached the source at Bahr’s direct request in the hope that the entire content of the discussion would be relayed to the Soviet leadership. Citing Bahr, ZEDWITZ said the following:
“The more sensible” leaders of the SPD have reached the conclusion that it is essential to seek new ways in the conduct of “Ostpolitik” and wish to establish direct and reliable channels of contact with Moscow.
According to some opinions in West Germany, recent official contacts have yielded negligible results, because each side, due to its official position, has done little other than to make “purely propagandistic” declarations. Contacts with embassy officials in Bonn are also undesirable: it is difficult to maintain them unofficially, and information of any meetings provides immediate ammunition for the political opposition.
In view of this, Bahr feels it would be desirable to conduct a series of unofficial negotiations with representatives of the USSR, which would place neither side under any obligations should the talks yield no positive results.
ZEDWITZ states that there are forces within West German industrial circles who are prepared to assist the normalization of relations with the USSR, but their opportunities are limited in that the economic ties between West Germany and the USSR are still “embryonic”.
In ZEDWITZ’s opinion, the Soviet Union does not make sufficient use of the levers of foreign trade in reaching its political goals, though even now it would be possible to employ measures to exclude the participation of German specialists in the Chinese missile and nuclear programs, and also to counteract West German politicians’ tendency to flirt with MAO.
According to available data, the leadership of another party in power in West Germany – the CDU – is also taking steps to establish unofficial contacts with Soviet representatives and has expressed a willingness to conduct “a broad dialogue to clarify many issues” for both sides.
Analysis of available information gives evidence that two leading, competing West German parties fear that their political opponents will seize the initiative in the matter of regulating relations with the Soviet Union, and are prepared to conduct unofficial negotiations, unmentioned in the press, which could later serve to strengthen their situation and prestige.
Consequently, the KGB feels that it would be appropriate to continue unofficial contacts with the leadership of both parties. In the course of the development of such contacts it would be advantageous, using our foreign trade possibilities, to try to exert a profitable influence on West German foreign policy, and also to ensure a flow of information about the positions and plans of the Bonn leadership.
We request authorization.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY
This is not just an interesting document, it is a historical one. This was the foundation of “Ostpolitik”, subsequently the policy of “detente”, the most shameful chapter in the history of the Cold War. Germany was under no threat, it gained nothing substantial from this policy, yet East-West relations became infected with the virus of capitulation for a very long time. As a result of this turnabout, the Western World, instead of the united opposition to communism of the late 1940s – early 1950s, was forced, at best, to waste its energies on a fruitless struggle with this tendency to capitulation, at worst – to retreat, in order to preserve its unity.
In fact, this document determined the course of international politics over the past 25 years, YET NO MAJOR GERMAN PERIODICAL WAS WILLING TO PUBLISH IT. Only three years later, the journal “Der Spiegel” (#7, 1995) pulled some quotes from it (without my consent and with no mention of the source). The reaction was nil, total indifference.
Can it be really true that nobody is interested? Can it be that now, with the collapse of communism, we feel no desire or even no duty to examine the circumstances which resulted in this policy being forced upon the world, the motives of its creators – the German social-democrats, to evaluate the damage to NATO’s collective defence; or, in the final analysis, to assess the damage caused by this policy to the peoples of the USSR and Eastern Europe, by prolonging the lives of their communist regimes by at least ten years?
And the social-democrats themselves – do they feel no need to make an honest assessment of their policy concerning the East? Ironically, the architects of “Ostpolitik” are being touted as heroes who claim that the downfall of communism in the East is a product of their “delicate” games with Moscow. This is shameless beyond belief. On such criteria, Chamberlain could have declared himself the victor in 1945, as peace with Germany was, finally, reached.
Another example from another country, Japan, which was also protected by the American nuclear umbrella in all the post-war decades. This did not prevent Japanese socialists from receiving illegal financial aid from Moscow through the companies and cooperatives they controlled, organizations tactfully described in Central Committee documents as “firms of friends” (31 October 1967 and 28 February 1968)<5>. It would seem that the largest opposition party, with many members of parliament and with a broad social base could have ensured its own financial independence. Yet it became enmeshed in debts in 1967 (to the tune of some 800 million yen), ran for help to its ideological neighbor, pulled off some shady deals with timber and textiles, and became hooked. By the 1970s, the Japanese socialists were receiving funds from Moscow even for their election campaigns (3 March 1972)<6>. It is not too difficult to guess what would have happened to Japan had they won the elections. Perhaps, a new term, “japanization”, would have been born.
THE AMAZING THING IS, THAT ALTHOUGH THE ACTIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE ARE A CRIME ACCORDING TO JAPANESE LAW, THE PROOF, FOR SOME REASON, DID NOT AROUSE THE INTEREST OF THE JAPANESE PRESS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. Well, if it had been a matter of illegal kickbacks from Japanese businessmen…
Furthermore, in the fall of 1994, the New York Times treated its readers to a sensational scoop: it reported that in the 1950s, the CIA gave financial support to the Liberal Party of Japan in order to support it in its struggle against the growth of communist influence. Now there’s a sensation! Something for the American reader to deplore. But the same New York Times showed no interest when I offered them documentation concerning Soviet aid to Japanese socialists. From the New York Times’ viewpoint, this was nothing to shout about.
And so it goes, from country to country, from document to document. Some do not want to know because this is the past, others – because for them it is not yet the past. Before, many feared to know, because communism was so powerful, now it is supposed to be so weak, that it is not worth knowing. There is either “too much”, or not enough information. A thousand and one reasons, each more feeble than the last, with the same results. Seemingly serious, honest people, overcome by embarrassment and winking at me in a conspiratorial manner, tell me that “unfortunately, this isn’t enough. Now, if you could get hold of this or that further document…” Just as though, for some odd reason, I am supposed to be the only interested party in the entire world, and therefore the onus is on me to find or furnish evidence. Or, as if I am trying to talk them into something indecent, something that is not done, and they have seized a convenient reason to decline. Surely, if the events in question had occurred fifty years ago, there would be no need to try to persuade anyone or to prove anything. Why indeed? To bring to justice those who took part in Nazi atrocities is a sacred task, the duty of one and all. But God forbid that you should so much as point a finger at a communist (let alone his fellow-traveller) – that is improper, a “witch-hunt”. Such astounding duplicity! When and how did we let ourselves become bound by this flawed morality? How has humanity managed to survive decades of schizophrenia of the conscience? After all, untroubled by any humanitarian waverings, we continue to hunt down senile 80-year-olds in the jungles of Latin America for the evils they perpetrated half a century ago. They are murderers, they cannot be forgiven. Proudly, we declare: this must not be repeated. Never again! And a noble tear moistens our eye. But when it comes to putting Honecker in the dock, a man on whose orders people were being killed as little as few years ago – why, every feeling is outraged! It would be inhuman, he’s old and sick… And we release him into the jungles of Latin America.
This is what I call world-wide finlandization.
2. Cold cash.
Due to our thoughtless practice of double standards, Western communists have long ago become a privileged herd of sacred cows. They can do whatever they like, they receive advance forgiveness for any wrongdoing or crime for which an ordinary person would spend years in jail. For instance, they simply lived on Soviet money, although even this was hotly denied three to four years ago, and it was “not done” to speak of this publicly. Now there is documentation, receipts and descriptions of how this money was passed through the KGB depicted in detail in the Russian press, but the tacit veto on this subject in the Western press remains in force. Perhaps not so much a veto as a kind of taboo, such as signs in Russia which do not say “No smoking”, but “We do not smoke here”, and it remains unclear, who exactly doesn’t smoke and why. Who are the “we” who made this decision? Whom did they consult? What underground Politburo took a “round robin” vote on it?
Puzzling, isn’t it? I am not talking of Comintern times, these have been well and thoroughly documented, and, perhaps, are no longer of great interest to the general public: I’m talking about our times. Those who took part in such “activities” are still alive and should be called upon to answer for their deeds. After all, even in countries where receiving funds from abroad for political activity is not considered a crime, the receipt of such moneys tax-free cannot be overlooked by the authorities. After all, tax evasion landed Al Capone in jail, nor was the Vice-President of the USA, Spiro Agnew, accorded mercy.
NEVERTHELESS, NOT A SINGLE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS SO MUCH AS LOOKING INTO THE FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OF LOCAL COMMUNISTS, ALTHOUGH THERE IS CLEARLY SYSTEMATIC CHICANERY INVOLVED IN AWESOME PROPORTIONS.
Thus, in 1969, in an effort to bring some order into the distribution of such assistance, Moscow created a special “International Fund to Aid Left-wing Workers’ Organizations” with a general sum of $16,550,000 in annual assignations. Naturally, Moscow was the largest donor – its contribution was $14 million, but the Eastern European brothers also chipped in: the Czechs, Rumanians, Poles and Hungarians put in half a million each, Bulgaria – $350,000, and the East Germans -$200,000 (8 January 1969)<7>. Out of 34 recipients for that year, the biggest were the Italian Communist Party ($3.7 million just for the first six months!), the French Communist Party ($2 million) and the Communist Party of the USA ($1 million). And the smallest recipients were the Mozambique Liberation Front – $10,000, and the Chairman of the Sri Lankan Communist Party, comrade Vikremasithke – $6,000 (8 January 1969).<8>
And so it continued until 1991, with the difference that the number of recipients by, say, 1981, had grown to 58, and the payment to the US Communist Party had grown to $2 million (20 December 1980)<9>. By 1990, the last year of its existence, the Fund had swelled to 22 million dollars, and the beneficiaries – to 73 “communist, workers’ and revolutionary-democratic parties and organizations” (11 December 1989)<10>.
The Soviet contribution to the “International Fund” increased correspondingly. By the 1980s, the Soviet share comprised $15.5 million, in 1986 – $17 million, in 1987 – $17.5 million and in 1990 – the entire $22 million. It so happened that with the deepening crisis of communism, the East European comrades defaulted on their contributions one after the other, leaving it to Big Brother to pick up the revolutionary bill. There was certainly cause for concern:
“The International Fund to Aid Left-wing workers’ organizations has consisted, for many years, of voluntary contributions from the CPSU and other communist parties in socialist countries. However, by the end of the 1970s, Polish and Romanian, and, from 1987 – Hungarian comrades ceased to participate in the Fund, citing currency-financial problems. In 1988 and 1989, the Socialist United Party of Germany and the communist parties of Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria declined to contribute to the Fund with no explanation, and the Fund existed solely on moneys apportioned by the CPSU. The share paid by the abovementioned three parties constituted $2.3 million in 1987 i.e. around 13 percent of the total sum of the Fund” – stated Valentin Falin, the head of the International Department in a report to the Central Committee on 5 December 1989. “Parties, which have regularly received specific sums of money from the Fund over many years, rate this form of international solidarity very highly, and feel that it would be impossible to replace by any other form of assistance. The majority of these parties have already submitted motivated applications for aid in 1990, and some requested that the amount be increased substantially.”<11>
An equally anxiety-provoking problem was the continuing fall of the dollar, which depreciated this form of “international solidarity” – those damned capitalists just couldn’t get their inflation under control! Hence the dilemma: on one hand, the aim was to bring capitalism to its knees, and on the other hand – a weakening of capitalism made the communists themselves suffer. So what was to be done? However, a way out was found: the head of the International Department of the CC at that time, Anatoly Dobrynin (the very same Dobrynin who, in his tenure of the Soviet ambassadorship to the USA was lauded in liberal American circles as a pro-Western, enlightened person with whom one could “do business”), simply suggested that all payments should be calculated in a more reliable currency – the “hard currency” ruble<12>. This suggestion was approved (30 November 1987)<13>, and the Soviet contribution was designated as 13.5 million “hard” rubles for that and the following year, when the no less “pro-Western” Falin replaced his enlightened colleague as head of the International Department (28 December 1988)<14>. Toward the end, however, worries about the dollar retreated into the background, the East European brothers scattered in all directions, and for the final year, 1990, the State Bank (Gosbank) of the USSR assigned the entire 22 million greenbacks<15>.
Obviously, long years spent in Western capitals did not quench revolutionary fervor, and the imminent collapse of the empire did not undermine feelings of international solidarity. This is all the more curious in view of the circumstance that the decisions were taken by a Politburo headed at that time by the most pro-Western, liberal and pragmatic General Secretary of the CC CPSU, with whom the West had to “do business”. The only thing these “liberals” tried to achieve was to sweep all traces of their activity under the carpet, so that their illegal export of foreign currency into neighboring countries would not surface and undermine the West’s faith in “glasnost and perestroika”. By that time, receipt of Western credits had become the overriding concern of the Kremlin “reformers”, and too much talk as to where these funds were channelled could not contribute to the success of that business. In other words, they tried to replace direct hard currency smuggling with more refined methods of financing through “firms of friends.” The suggestion was debated by the Politburo (4 February 1987)<16>, studied by the International Department of the CC<17>, discussed with the clients, but was finally rejected (30 November 1987)<18>. As Anatoly Dobrynin reported to the CC:
“The possibilities of transferring aid through trade relations with firms controlled by fraternal parties is currently limited to a very small number of parties.
Many firms controlled by communist parties are economically weak, with limited contacts and trade possibilities, some of them are even in deficit. The firms of only a number of fraternal parties – the French, Greek, Cypriot and Portuguese – are in a situation to develop cooperation with Soviet foreign trade organizations in a way which would bring them tangible profit. The percentage of profits paid by firms into party budgets is, as a rule, insignificant – from 1 to 5 percent from gains or concluded contracts.
The financial activities of firms or businesses controlled or owned by communist parties are subject to hard scrutiny by taxation and fiscal bodies in their countries. More or less significant payments by these firms into their party coffers could become a cause for continual speculation by the bourgeois mass media. While not rejecting the principle of possible receipt of aid through trade organizations, the comrades from fraternal parties consider this method to be “the hardest to conceal and potentially dangerous” (G. Plissonnier, French CP).
Parties which have, for a lengthy period, received regular aid from the International Fund for Aid to Left-wing Workers’ Organizations, are counting on the preservation of this form of expressing solidarity with them. For some of them – first and foremost the underground ones – income from the Fund is the only means of financing their activities, for others – aid from the Fund is a major part of their resources for financing organizational, political and ideological work (including publication and distribution of newspapers and other printed matter).
The cessation of financial assistance from the International Fund would, for most of the recipient parties, be an irreparable loss, which would inevitably have an extremely negative effect on their activity. Even parties which own businesses and trade or intermediary firms would have to cut back at least some important undertakings without income from the Fund, which would, in turn, lead to a decrease of their political weight and influence, and lessen their ability to have an effect on the development of social and political processes in their countries.
At the present time, neither the fraternal parties, nor the Soviet foreign trade organizations are prepared for the transfer of financial assistance through foreign trade channels. For most parties, this is simply unacceptable because they own no enterprises or trading firms. But they need financial aid more than ever.”
Clearly, the clients dug in their heels and refused to replace their revolutionary romanticism with the prosaic concerns of the tradesman. Moscow, however, remained restless: the following year, the whole circus was repeated – the discussions, the reports to the Central Committee, this time by Falin, and the decision (28 December 1988)<19>. The same arguments were aired, only this time we learn in greater detail to what use the aid was put:
“The money received from the Fund is used by the parties, at their own discretion, for fundamental aspects of party-political activity (the work of the CC, payments to retired party activists, publications, hire of halls, election campaigns etc.)
The leaders of fraternal parties rate this form of solidarity very highly, and feel that it cannot be replaced by aid in any other form. This was reiterated recently by G. Plissonnier (French CP), who stressed that receipt of aid from the Fund in no way limits the independence of individual communist parties in determining their stance on any political issue. At the same time, the cessation or decrease of this aid would deal a great blow to the political activities of the parties, especially in matters concerning events of national significance (elections, congresses, conferences), all of which call for substantial expenditure.”<20>
So Moscow never did manage to wean these communist sucklings from her maternal breast and persuade them to switch to the principle of “socialist self-financing” as a means of sustenance, even though attempts were made practically every year. As late as 1991, some six months before the crash, meetings continued with the abovementioned G. Plissonnier from the French CP, as did discussions concerning “the development of business ties with the CPSU and suggestions concerning trade-economic relations via firms of friends” (17 January 1991)<21>.
It is not hard to calculate that only from 1969, and only in this particular form of “international solidarity”, the French CP, for example, received no less than $44 million, the Communist Party of the USA – some $35 million, and the Italians got even more. All in all, beginning with 1969, Moscow gifted its brothers something to the tune of $400 million, and that does not include other forms of financing. These are substantial sums. So how is it that they are of no interest to Western taxation, fiscal and banking bodies? After all, this is mostly Western money, aimed at rescuing the latest Kremlin “dove” from the clutches of surrounding Kremlin “hawks”, (or “reformers” from “conservatives”, depending on the time), which are now being demanded, plus interest, from the destitute peoples of the former USSR. In other words, money thrown out by the West for the salvation of world communism. So, let every country claim payment of these debts from its domestic communists. Would this not be easier and more just? Especially as penniless Russia will never be able to pay.
BUT THIS IDEA EVOKES NO ENTHUSIASM, BECAUSE AT CLOSER SCRUTINY, IT WOULD NOT BE JUST THE COMMUNISTS IN THE DOCK.
3. “Firms of Friends”
Despite all the “recipient parties'” pleas of poverty, aid from Moscow via “firms of friends” was a far from negligible contribution to their budgets. Unfortunately, I lack sufficient documentation to paint the full picture of this sphere of activity, but even those materials which I have at my disposal are sufficient to make an assessment of its magnitude.
By the looks of it, one of the first Western communist parties to adopt the “socialist principle of self-repayment” was the Italian CP, at that time – the largest and most influential in Europe. Looking through the lists of the International Fund’s clients I was surprised to note that the Italian comrades ceased to figure in them from the end of the 1970s, although in the beginning, they were at the head of these lists, having received a hefty $3.7 million for just six months in 1969. “Poor souls,” I thought. “They must have suffered for their honesty and principles, refused to abandon their faith in ‘communism with a human face’, and Moscow turned off the tap of fraternal aid to punish them.”
And it is true that at that time the Italian comrades were displaying real heroism: they had divorced themselves from Moscow on the issue of human rights, condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, came out in support of Poland’s “Solidarity”, while we cynics thought this was nothing but window-dressing. I must confess that for a moment there, I felt ashamed of my cynicism. Alas, I could have spared my blushes – the Italian CP had no intention whatsoever of perishing from a surfeit of honesty. On the contrary, its contacts with Moscow deepened perceptibly – the Politburo even adopted a special resolution “On Increasing Work With the Italian Communist Party” (10 July 1980)”<22>, and a short time earlier, in October 1979, they appear to have settled their financial relations. At least, they were settling them as detailed in the following document<23>: “Top secret Special File CC CPSU
On the reception of comrade D. Cervetti, member of the leadership of the Italian CP by the CC CPSU
A member of the leadership of the Italian CP, the Secretary of the CC CPI on coordination, comrade A. Natta, has been charged by comrade E. Berlinguer to report that CPI leadership member comrade D. Cervetti, who arrives in Moscow on 7 October this year for a short rest, has been instructed to discuss a number of special questions, including financial ones, with the CC CPSU (coded telegram from Rome, spec.#1474 of 3 October 1979). We feel it would be feasible to fulfil this request of the CPI leadership and receive comrade D. Cervetti in the CC CPSU to discuss the matters which interest him. Draft CC CPSU resolution appended.
Deputy head of the International Department of the CC CPSU (V. Zagladin)
4 October 1979
Naturally, one can only guess what financial questions were discussed by comrade D. Cervetti and comrades Ponomarev and Zagladin in the Central Committee, but the following Politburo document characterized the nature of the financial relations of the CPSU with the CPI as follows<24>:
“Workers of the world, unite!”
To be returned within 3 days to the CPSU
(General Department, 1st section)
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION. CENTRAL COMMITTEE.
Top secret #P94/52 Special File
To comrades Ponomarev, Patolichev, Smirtyukov
Abstract from minutes #94 of the meeting of the Politburo of the CC CPSU of 18 January 1983
————————————————————– Concerning the request of our Italian friends.
Charge the Ministry of Foreign Trade (comrade Patolichev) to sell the firm “Interexpo” (president – comrade L. Remiggio) 600,000 tonnes of oil and 150,000 tonnes of diesel fuel on a normal commercial basis, but on favorable conditions and at a discount of around one percent, and to extend the payment period by three to four months, so that our friends will stand to gain approximately 4 million dollars from this commercial operation.
SECRETARY OF THE CC
Here we encounter an exception to the rule, a significant exception, and moreover one which had enormous consequences: these and a number of other documents concerning the unsavory past of the CPI, filtered through into the Italian press some time around the end of 1991 – beginning of 1992. There was even some talk of an investigation of possible violations of tax legislation. The reaction was instantaneous – the very people who suggested an investigation found themselves under investigation. The Italian magistrature (which had been actively infiltrated by the CPI in recent years) came awake abruptly from a seemingly deep and dreamless sleep, and discovered an astounding degree of corruption in the financing of virtually all the major Italian political parties, except, naturally, the CPI. The scenario which followed can be likened to Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937-1938, if not in magnitude, then certainly in style: literally a third of members of the Italian cabinet found themselves in prison or under investigation. The terror, which went under the proud title of the “clean hands operation” (so reminiscent of the Chekists’ motto:”Clean hands, cool heads, fiery hearts”) cut a swathe through the entire Italian establishment, sparing neither politicians, nor businessmen, nor government officials. Thousands of people were imprisoned, arrests were carried out almost invariably on information given by those behind bars in order to secure their own release. There was a number of suicides. Admittedly, there was as yet no torture, no executions by firing-squad – the Italian communists were, after all, “communists with a human face.” At the same time Italy, which had been flourishing nicely, began to fall apart: the economy tottered on the brink of collapse, the rate of the lira plunged drastically, the machinery of government ground to a standstill, unemployment soared. So who is to come to the rescue of the country, who is worthy to rule it other than those who have “clean hands”?
“But there really was corruption!” – protesting voices will cry. Yes, there was, – and this is the crux of the matter, – throughout the entire post-war period. Moreover, it was as widespread a violation as exceeding the speed limit. Everyone in Italy knew about it, including today’s magistrates with their “clean hands”. Yet, for some reason, nobody bothered to fight it until the CPI came under threat of exposure and on the verge of ruin without financial aid from Moscow. The Italian communists really had nothing to lose except their chains, and the prize would be the whole of Italy in their grasp.
But just like their “clean handed” Soviet predecessors 55 years earlier, they had no comprehension that terror is an ungovernable force, which can easily turn on its perpetrators. Then they would be reminded of their trade with Moscow “on a normal commercial basis”, their mercenary control of virtually all trade between the USSR and Italy, thanks to which the largest communist party in Europe existed for decades.
Needless to say, other communist parties traded with the CC CPSU on the same “normal commercial basis” for years, but the example of what happened in Italy does not facilitate public discussion of the problem. The French were probably ahead of their Italian colleagues. At least one document points to the likelihood of this: the resolution of the Secretariat concerning a ten-year extension of repayment of a loan of 2.8 million by the West German firm “Magra GmbH”, controlled by “French friends” (16 December 1980)<25>. In recommending this resolution, the International Department of the CC reports<26>:
“The firm ‘Magra GmbH’ is owned by the French CP, and for 15 years has been purchasing ball-bearings from the foreign trade organization ‘Stankoimport’ for sale in West Germany. The debt of 2.8 million arose as a result of the firm’s investment of this sum into expansion and because of a decline in demand for ball-bearings in West Germany.”
From 1965, this firm and its French offshoot, “Magra-France”, dealt successfully in Soviet goods for the benefit of communism. In Germany alone, ball bearings were sold to the tune of 10 million hard currency rubles. Yet another document<27> charges that “in connection with ideas expressed by G. Jerome”, member of the Central Committee of the French CP, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Gosplan are to “devise and implement means for further growth of trade and economic ties with firms of our French friends,” such as “Comex” and “Interagra.” And the number of such firms equalled the number of “ideas” nursed by G. Jerome. Clearly comrade G. Plissonnier have had little cause for complaint.
Nor were others left behind. Even in far-off Australia, the local Socialist party sought “that debts incurred by the Australian firm ‘Palanga Travel’ to the sum of 2,574,932 rubles for the charter of the cruise ships ‘Fedor Shaliapin’ and “Khabarovsk’ in 1974-1975 be written off.”<28> It is not clear, whether this is their firm, or would become theirs in exchange for the debts being written off.
The Greek publisher and industrialist G. Bobolas even earned inclusion in the tile of a CC CPSU resolution: “On cooperation with the Greek publisher G. Bobolas” (11 April 1980)<29>, in which the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the State Committee of the USSR on External Economic Ties are instructed “in the presence of other equal opportunities to give preference to Greek industrialist and publisher G. Bobolas, in view of the positive part he has played in the development of Soviet-Greek links.”
At first glance, this does not seem too heinous – a small reward for the comrade for his tireless efforts in the cause of good neighborly relations. However, from appended documents and especially from the report submitted to the Central Committee by deputy-chairman of the KGB, S. Tsvigun<30>, it emerges that these tireless efforts were made in the field of the KGB “special measures”. The Chekists had their own understanding of good neighborly relations: G. Bobolas’ publishing house “Academos” was used by them as a “publishing base for ideological influence in Greece and in Greek communities in a number of countries.” Bobolas’ devotion to promoting good neighborly relations with the Soviet Union resulted in certain material loss, (including losses incurred with the publication of a Greek translation of L.I. Brezhnev’s book “Peace – Mankind’s Best Reward” with a foreword by the author), therefore “in order to achieve a degree of compensation, G. Bobolas seeks to establish business contacts with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the State Committee on Economic Ties by the conclusion of rather large, mutually beneficial deals.”
Subsequently, there were a number of scandals involving Bobolas. Naturally, having received such strong “preferential status” in the conclusion of “mutually beneficial” business deals, he did not sit by idly, nor did he disappoint his Soviet partners, and a couple of years later began publishing the newspaper Ethnos, the main mouthpiece for Soviet disinformation in Greece. Attempts were made to expose him, but he fought back, even sued “The Economist” for “libel” and practically won the case!
Time passed, and Bobolas grew from a building contactor into a media tycoon: apart from owning the “Academos” publishing house and the Ethnos newspaper, he became co-owner of the largest television channel, “Mega”, acquired interests in the cinema and audio industries, and governments – both socialist and conservative – continued to give him huge construction contracts. In other words, he was seen as a solid citizen, a pillar of society and Greek democracy.
But after the passage of many years, the good neighborly regime in Moscow collapsed, and the newspaper Pravda trembled on the brink of bankruptcy and closure. For some time, it disappeared from the newspaper stands, then suddenly sprang into life again and began to flourish, as was reported, “on funds provided by Greek communists.” Officially, Pravda’s fairy godmother was named as one Yannikos, a partner of Bobolas’ past publishing feats.
It is anybody’s guess how many such bobolases Moscow spawned over the past 75 years. It is unlikely that anyone will seek to investigate this matter after the catastrophe in Italy, and without a thorough investigation it is not possible to gain a full understanding of all the complexities of relations between Moscow and the firms it dealt with in those times. Where did business end and politics begin? Who were Armand Hammer or Robert Maxwell: businessmen who became agents, or agents who became businessmen? I am firmly convinced that no businessman at that time could have had purely business relations with the USSR. One cannot deal with the devil without becoming his servant. Even leaving aside the dubious morality of selling one’s “class” hangman the rope of which Lenin spoke, it was hardly possible to fraternize with the Soviet demons without becoming corrupt.
Moreover, the people who sought such relations in those days were a particular breed with particular views. Here, at first glance, is a perfectly simple and clear document, devoid of any secrets: “On the opening of representations of a number of foreign firms in Moscow” (5 January 1981)<31>. There would seem to be no reason to suspect anything shady: established firms with solid turnovers, trading on the basis of “mutual benefit.” Yet, for some reason, this document is also stamped “top secret.” A closer look at the resumes in the document shows that one of the firms has a prominent Western politician on its board of directors, another helps to influence the policies of its country’s government “in directions, favorable to our interests”. The third – a Spanish firm, “Prodag, S.A.” – is an absolute paragon: pays its bills on time, has been trading with the USSR since 1959, and is a reliable partner – “statistics for 1979 show that some 50 percent of the entire trade between Spain and the Soviet Union went to the firm ‘Prodag’.” Only the last line sheds a glimmer of light: “At the present time, the firm’s president, R. Mendoza, is preparing publication of L.I. Brezhnev’s work ‘Peace, Disarmament and Soviet-American Relations’.”
By 1981, there were 123 such firms’ offices open in Moscow<32>. Who can say what they did when they weren’t engaged in matters of trade? Why did they need, in those times, to open offices in Moscow? What are they doing now? And how many were there which didn’t bother with official representation? Nobody is even trying to find out. What’s the difference? Who cares? All this is in the past, people tell me.
“The Cold War is over, haven’t you heard?”
How can one not hear, when this is being shouted from the rooftops by just those for whom it never existed, who, at best, closed their eyes to it? The Gulf War is over, too, yet the investigation of firms which dealt with Iraq is only just beginning to unfold. No war is over until the minefields and unexploded bombs are cleared away, unless gangs of marauders and surviving foes are disarmed. Otherwise, peaceful existence could turn into a horror worse than the war itself.
At the same time, the issue of firms which traded with the Soviet Union becomes increasingly urgent as time goes by. It is no secret that in his last couple of years in power, and especially in 1990-1991, Gorbachev “privatized”, as it were, the activities of the CPSU, encouraging the apparatus and in particular the KGB to set up “joint ventures” (JVs) with Western businesses. Their growth in those years was astronomical, involving, presumably, “firms of friends” in the first place and other “businessmen” allied to the KGB. Such a scenario suggests itself quite logically, bearing in mind Gorbachev’s determination to place “international aid” on a commercial basis. And who better for the KGB to deal with than those, whom it already knew and could control? Starting with the laundering of party funds and transferring the resources within its grasp (gold, oil, rare metals), these malevolent, Mafia-like structures grew like a cancer, absorbing practically all “private” enterprise in the countries of the former USSR. Now, with the emergence of these countries into the world market, it behoves us to deal with yet another international mafia, a much more frightening and powerful one than any Colombian drug cartel or the Cosa Nostra. It is very likely that in some ten years’ time we shall be up against a criminal super-syndicate like the fabled SPECTRE in James Bond movies.
4. Intellectual Shenanigans.
Not surprisingly, Moscow’s aid to its clients was not limited to that described above. As reported by Falin to the Central Committee, apart from direct financing and financing via commercial channels, there was also: “supply of paper for newspaper printing, invitations of party activists for study, rest and medical treatment, purchase of the parties’ publications, payment of some party representatives’ travel from one country to another, etc.”<33>
The “etc.” included, for instance, the support of a whole network of bookshops owned by “friends” in many countries. This program, which was instituted in the 1960s via the foreign-trading agency “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” was not cheap. Firstly, all these shops were opened with Soviet funds, “loaned” and, needless to say, never fully repaid. Secondly, they all “traded” at a loss which would be later written off “at the request of our friends’ leadership”. Expenses varied, depending on place, time and circumstances. For instance, the opening of “Collets Bookshop” in London cost Moscow £80,000 (or 124,000 hard currency rubles), and the contract with the firm directly envisaged “the covering of a possible deficit from the sale of Soviet publications in the first years of the shop’s existence.”<34> The opening of a similar shop in Montreal a few years earlier had cost only 10,000 Canadian dollars<35>. The sum of the debts written off varied from 12,300 hard currency rubles for the Israeli Communist Party’s “Popular Bookshop” in 1969<36>, to 56,500 hard currency rubles for the Belgian Communist Party’s shop “Du Monde Entier”<37>, to $300,000 to the Communist Party of the USA’s firms “Four Continent Book Corporation”, “Cross World Books & Periodicals” and “V. Kamkin”<38>. Not even Australia was forgotten, where the Socialist Party’s “New Era Books & Records” owed Moscow 80,000 hard currency rubles.<39>
In the absence of complete information, it is hard to determine the overall loss from this brisk commercial activity. The report submitted by “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” to the Central Committee in 1967 shows that the total volume of the firm’s “export to capitalist countries” was worth 3.9 million hard currency rubles for that year, the overall sum of deferred debts equalled 2.46 million, and bad debts – 642 thousand. For that time, these were considerable sums<40>. Nonetheless, the export continued, and by 1982 there was a new series of debts to be written off, including $460,000 to the US Communist Party’s firms “Imported Publications” and “International Publishers.”<41>
Then there was paper for fraternal publications, supplied gratis in enormous quantities. The decision to establish a special fund for this purpose was taken in 1974<42>, but the actual cost to the Soviet Union is impossible to estimate because at that time the production and transportation of anything at all in the USSR had no real assessment, and was conditionally expressed in “cashless transfers.” To put it plainly, this was a bottomless well. For example, in 1980 alone, this special fund supplied brothers abroad with 13,000 tonnes of paper. I have no idea how much the Western price for this would have been, but a very approximate assessment on the basis of very conditional calculations yields a figure of 3.5 million rubles per annum<43>.
Eventually, as of 1 January 1989, the fund ceased to exist, and the then Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov ordered that “Expenses connected with the production and supply of paper for newspapers out of the special fund set up to cover the needs of fraternal parties is to be transferred to USSR state assignations for free aid to foreign countries.”<44> Probably we will never learn exactly what all this cost a country in which the shortage of paper was so acute that in order to purchase a new book, one was required to submit 20 kilos of paper for pulping.
But that’s not all. There was yet another form of aid for fraternal publishing: the direct purchase of this production by the Soviet Union, allegedly for sale to foreign students and tourists. I have no systematic, year-by-year information about this, but with the escalation of the crisis in the Soviet Union, the authorities were forced to review all their revolutionary expenses, including this one. Thus we learn that by 1989 the purchase and transportation of 90 titles from 42 countries consumed 4.5 million hard currency rubles per annum – around $6 million at the exchange rate of the time!<45>
One must also remember the “material maintenance” of the Moscow-accredited correspondents of these fraternal publications: from the end of the 1950s, probably for camouflage purposes, the bill for this was footed by…the Soviet Red Cross. But as the crisis escalated, the unthinkable happened: the Red Cross rose up in arms and refused to pay, citing government cuts of its own budget as the reason. When the expenses were totted up, the result was astounding:
“At present, there are 33 foreign correspondents in Moscow, who occupy 33 apartments, including 7 correspondents’ points. Apart from financial maintenance, they enjoy free post, telegraph and telephone services, gratis renovation of apartments and correspondents’ points, free travel within the Soviet Union and abroad, medical treatment and resort facilities, also at the expense of the Soviet side. Practically every correspondent has a secretarial assistant, whose salary is paid by the Executive Council of the Soviet Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. The expenses arising from the presence of this category of foreign correspondents exceeded one million rubles in 1989 alone.”
It became necessary for the Central Committee to review this form of international solidarity, too<46>.
The above relates only to “foreign correspondents”, but there was also the cost of maintaining visiting communist leaders, who were received in much grander style. It should not be forgotten that in those days medical treatment, housing and education were all considered free in the Soviet Union, and were thus not included in the arithmetic. Nonetheless, for these aims in just 1971, the hospitable Central Committee assigned 3.2 million hard currency rubles, in the expectation of receiving 2,900 truly dear guests, of whom at least 100 were expecting medical treatment<47>.
There were also such services which cannot be measured in either dollars or hard currency rubles. Here, for instance, is a handwritten request from the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USA, Gus Hall, on behalf of comrade James Jackson, a leading marxist thinker and main theoretician of the party, who was very keen to be awarded an honorary doctorate in history. Surely this should not be too hard to arrange with, say, the Moscow State University (MGU)? Why, of course not, comrades! No problem whatsoever!
As is noted in the accompanying memo from the International Department of the Central Committee<48>, not only would this serve “to raise his authority in democratic negro circles”, but would also “make it possible for him to secure a teaching post at New York University, where the party has lately been working actively.” So it pays to have friends in the right places. Even the President of the United States cannot make you a professor at New York University, but the Politburo can.
It must be noted that some of these more innocent communist shenanigans did receive some coverage in the Western press. Not the documents themselves, but passing reference to them in some newspapers, and mainly in humorous form, to the effect that look at those silly Russians, fancy throwing money away on such nonsense. Moscow’s assistance to the Communist Party of the USA was perceived as the funniest thing of all: why on earth was it necessary? After all, there are only about 40,000 communists in all the USA. But the newspapers’ jokes were wide off the mark. Moscow needed the Communist Party of the USA not for elections to Congress, but for a totally different reason. After all, this was not a party in the traditional sense of the word, but rather, a paid Soviet agentura. And having 40,000 agents in your enemy’s midst is no mean achievement. One should not forget that back in 1917, Lenin also started out with only 40,000 comrades.
As for the books, newspapers and journals – there is not much to laugh at, either. Following in Lenin’s footsteps, they all began with the printed word and ended with terror. Here is one example of what the Communist Party of the USA was up to in 1970<49>:
COMMITTEE Top secret
of State security of the SPECIAL FILE Council of Ministers of the USSR
28 April 1970
In recent times the radical negro organization “Black Panthers” has been subjected to harsh repression by the US authorities headed by the FBI, who consider that the “Black Panthers” pose a serious threat to national security. Police provocations and trials of “Black Panthers”, the broad coverage of the terrorist actions of the authorities against the activists of this organization, have resulted in a significant growth of the “Black Panthers'” prestige in progressive circles in the US. In view of the circumstance that the “Black Panthers” are a dynamic negro organization which poses a serious threat to America’s ruling classes, the Communist party of the USA is attempting to influence the organization in the necessary direction. This policy of the CP is already yielding positive results. There is a discernible tendency among the “Black Panthers” to increase cooperation with progressive organizations which are opposed to the existing system in the USA.
Because the rise of negro protest in the USA will bring definite difficulties to the ruling classes of the USA and will distract the attention of the Nixon administration from pursuing an active foreign policy, we would consider it feasible to implement a number of measures to support this movement and to assist its growth.
Therefore it is recommended to utilize the possibilities of the KGB in African countries to inspire political and public figures, youth, trade union and nationalist organizations to issue petitions, requests and statements to the UN, US embassies in their countries and the US government in defence of the rights of American negroes. To publish articles and letters accusing the US government of genocide in the press of various African countries. Employing the possibilities of the KGB in New York and Washington, to influence the “Black Panthers” to address appeals to the UN and other international bodies for assistance in bringing the US government’s policy of genocide toward American negroes to an end.
It is probable that by carrying out the abvementioned measures it will be possible to mobilize public opinion in the US and in third countries in support of the rights of American negroes and thereby stimulate the “Black Panthers” into further activation of their struggle.
We request authorization.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY ANDROPOV”
…Like a murky dream, I recall my cell in Vladimir prison, and Pravda headlines screaming: “Free Angela Davis!” Reading this is comical, when you have been sentenced to 7 or 10 years’ imprisonment for reading a proscribed book or for a word of criticism. To those of us who had been schooled by prison, the scenario was clear as crystal: a straightforward case of being an accomplice to murder. She gave her “Black Panther” boyfriend the arms with which he killed court officials, policemen, in order to escape. What could be simpler? But the world was going mad: “a courageous woman”, “activist of the negro movement”. Just in case, the frightened lawmakers of California abolished the death penalty in their state, and the no less frightened members of the jury cleared her completely to the utter delight of all progressive mankind. Vera Zasulitch, no more, no less! It was only much later, after the court cleared her, that Pravda published the proud admission: “Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USA, Angela Davis.”
They were allowed to get away with anything, even murder.
5. “Special aid”
There was yet another form of “international solidarity” which cannot be measured in dollars or rubles, and which is not as harmless as scrounging an honorary degree. This kind of aid was so veiled in secrecy that any documentation pertaining to it carried the “special file” designation. Yet even with this degree of secrecy, the Central Committee chose to cloak the gist of the matter with descriptions such as “special training”, “special equipment”, “special materials”, and more specific details were written in by hand: even the CC’s vetted typists were not sufficiently trusted. And woe betide the country which became the recipient of this sort of “aid”, for it would shortly become one of the world’s “hot spots”, even though if until then it had been peaceful and prosperous. This is how it looked (italics indicate hand-written insertions)<50>.
Workers of the world, unite! TO BE RETURNED WITHIN 3 days to
the CC CPSU (General Department, section II)
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION, CENTRAL COMMITTEE top secret
#St-37/37gs (Special file) of 27.XII.1976
Abstract from minutes #37 par. 37gs Secretariat of the CC
Request by International Department of CC CPSU
Satisfy the request made by the leadership of the Argentinean CP, the People’s Party of Panama, the Communist Party of El-Salvador and the Communist Party of Uruguay and receive 10 communists from Argentina, 3 from Panama, 3 from El-Salvador and 3 from Paraguay in the USSR for up to 6 months in 1977 for training in matters of party security, intelligence and counter-intelligence. Organization of the training is to be handled by the Committee for State Security of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, reception, services and maintenance – by the International Department and by the Administrative Department of the CC CPSU. The round-trip travel expenses for 10 Argentinean comrades between Buenos-Aires and Moscow, 3 comrades from El-Salvador between San Salvador and Moscow and 3 Uruguayan comrades between Montevideo and Moscow should be charged to the Party budget.
SECRETARY OF THE CC
————————————————————–Sent to: comrades Andropov, Ponomarev, Pavlov
Such “special training” in the KGB was usually the first step of the process. Just in the decade 1979-1989, it was received by more than 500 activists from 40 communist and “workers'” parties from various countries, including members of their Politburo and Central Committees<51>.
Then came the next step<52>:
#St-224/71gs of 18 VIII 1980 TOP SECRET SPECIAL FILE
SECRETARIAT OF THE CC OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
Request by International Department of the CC CPSU
Satisfy the request of the leadership of the Communist party of El-Salvador to give military training instruction for up to 6 months’ duration in 1980 to 30 Salvadorean communists who are currently in the USSR.
Reception, service and maintenance, the organization of training for 30 Salvadorean communists, and also their travel expenses from Moscow to El-Salvador to be charged to the Ministry of Defence. (signed: A. Chernyayev)
Results of vote (signatures) Kirilenko Zimyanin Gorbachev Kapitonov Dolgikh
Excerpts to comrades: Ustinov, Ponomariev
Sent out: 18 VIII 1980
Normally, in order to get to the heart of the matter, one must look at the appendices to the resolution, or at the comrades’ request itself. And here it is<53>.
Translated from the Spanish
I should like to ask your consent to undertake the military training of 30 of our young communists, who are currently in Moscow, for a period of 4-5 months in the following fields: 1. 6 comrades for army intelligence,
2. 8 comrades to be trained as commanders of guerrilla units,
3. 5 comrades to be trained as commanders of artillery, 4. 5 comrades for training as commanders of sabotage units, 5. 6 comrades for training in communications
Thanking you for the assistance which the CPSU gives to our party.
General Secretary of the CC of the
Communist Party of El-Salvador
23 July 1980
Translated by: (V. Tikhmenev)
Then comes the final stage of the process, after which the world press is filled with reports about a “sudden crisis” in that poor country, the suffering of its people and the evil doings of – no, not Moscow-trained communist bands, but the beleaguered government, which is stigmatized by the press as a “bloody junta.” And why not? After all, the government is a visible entity, its members can be shown on television, they can be bombarded with wrathful protests with complete impunity. Now, the comrades in Moscow are a different kettle of fish altogether. It’s better not to tangle with them.
#St-225/5gs of VIII 1980
SECRETARIAT OF THE CC OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
On the request of the leadership of the Communist Party of El-Salvador
1. Satisfy the request of the leadership of the Communist Party of El-Salvador and charge the Ministry of Civil Aviation to arrange, in September-October, the delivery of a consignment of 60-80 tons of Western-manufactured firearms and ammunition from Hanoi to Havana, to be passed on to our Salvadorean friends via Cuban comrades.
Expenses connected with the delivery of the firearms from Hanoi to Havana should be charged to the state budget as gratis aid to foreign countries.
2. Approve the texts of telegrams to Soviet ambassadors in Cuba and Vietnam (appended)
(signed: A. Chernyayev)
Results of vote: (signatures of CC Secretaries)
Kirilenko Rusakov Gorbachev Dolgikh Zimyanin Kapitonov
Excerpts to comrades: Gromyko, Ponomarev
comrades: Bugayev, Garbuzov (without appendices)
Sent out: 20 VIII 1980.<54>
to p.5 gs res.225
662. Inform the General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of El-Salvador, comrade Shafik Jandal, or, in his absence, a representative of the Communist Party of El-Salvador, that the request for a consignment of Western-manufactured firearms from Vietnam via Cuba was studied and endorsed at the relevant level. Also, inform the leadership of our Cuban friends about the above, stressing that the decision was taken bearing in mind that there is already agreement on this matter between comrades F. Castro and S. Jandal.
For your information: delivery of the firearms will be by Aeroflot aircraft. Give all necessary assistance in organizing the transfer of this cargo via Cuban comrades to our Salvadorean friends. Report upon completion. (signatures: Chernyayev, Rusakov)
I took this example at random from hundreds of similar ones, and also because of the noise kicked up at the time in the left-liberal press concerning events in El-Salvador. And all because – oh, the shame of it! – the government of El-Salvador fought back instead of bowing to the historically-inevitable advance of progressive forces and dying quietly in some Salvadorean GULag. The greatest outburst of righteous indignation was directed, of course, at Ronald Reagan, who decided to help Salvador instead of sitting back and waiting for his turn. Heavens above, what a to-do there was! What screams about “violations of human rights” by the Salvadorean army, as though one can talk of human rights in the middle of a plague epidemic. One would think there had been at least one precedent of a civil war in history (including in the USA) in which the warring sides conducted themselves in strict accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights! One might ask, did at least one of these loud-mouthed champions of the Left condemn the atrocities perpetrated by the bolsheviks during the civil war in Russia? Of course not, these were invariably justified as historical inevitability. I recollect how the left intelligentsia wrote that “the birth of a child is always accompanied by pain, suffering and blood.” So it behoves one to know what kind of child to have: if the baby is a “progressive” one, then the blood is justified. Incidentally, the left-liberal intelligentsia went into similar hysterical convulsions over neighboring Nicaragua. No effort was considered too great to help ensure victory for the Sandinistas and to wipe out all opposition. The US Congress dreamed up the most unbelievable stratagems in order to tie President Reagan’s hands to the accompaniment of a world-wide campaign of “solidarity” with little, defenceless Nicaragua which had become “a victim of American aggression.” In 1985, a group of friends and I addressed a petition to Congress<55>, in which we expressed our support for Reagan’s policy in Nicaragua and pointed out, inter alia, that the Sandinistas’ aim is to establish a totalitarian, communist regime with the help of the USSR, and therefore Western democracies should support the opposition of the Nicaraguan people to this imposition. The outcry that this caused was hard to believe. What accusations were flung at us! At best, we were depicted as victims of paranoia, seeing Reds under every bed. Yet now, in black and white, I read:
Secret CC CPSU
On the signing of a plan of ties between the CPSU and the Sandinistan Front of National Liberation (SFNL) of Nicaragua
At a meeting with the temporary Soviet charge-d’-affaires in Nicaragua (c/telegram from Managua, spec. #47 of 26.2.1980), member of the leadership of the National Front, Henri Ruiz, suggested that CPSU and National Front ties, to which the Nicaraguan side attributes great significance, should be discussed during the Nicaraguan Republic’s party-government delegation’s visit to the USSR.
The SFNL is the ruling political organization. The leadership of the SFNL considers it essential to establish a marxist-leninist party on the basis of the front, with the aim of building socialism in Nicaragua. At present, for tactical reasons and in view of the existing political situation in the Central American region, the leadership of the SFNL prefers to make no public statements about this ultimate goal.
We believe it would be possible to accept the offer made by the leadership of the SFNL, and suggest signing a plan of contacts between the CPSU and the SFNL for 1980-1981 during the delegation’s visit to Moscow.
Expenses for undertakings arising from the bilateral ties plan could be covered by the party budget. The matter has been agreed with comrade E.M. Tyazhelnikov.
Draft resolution of the CC CPSU appended.
Deputy Head of International Department Deputy Head of of the CC CPSU (K. Brutents) Organizational & Party Work
of the CC CPSU (P. Smolsky)
14 March 1980
So, the revolution in Nicaragua occurred on 17 July 1979, and on 19 March 1980, an agreement was signed in Moscow by Ponomarev on behalf of the CC CPSU, and the abovementioned Henri Ruiz for the SFNL<56>. By December, the SFNL newspaper Barricada was already being printed on Soviet paper<57>, and up to 100 Sandinista activists per annum received “special training” in Moscow. At the time of our petition in 1985, this “small, defenceless country” was simply a Soviet puppet. Plain and simple. And yet the shouting….
Actually, there is no reason to be writing about this in the past tense, for all these vocal champions of liberty are still thriving and trying to “form” public opinion. It has not entered their heads to repent, or at least apologize for the past. By no means! Investigations into the financing of the “Contras” continued in the USA till very recently. Even as I write these lines, a special commission of the UN, with the Orwellian name “The Truth Commission” has completed a review of events in El-Salvador and censured the government for violations of human rights. The retirement of a number of officers has been recommended, but there has not been a single word about any “commanders of guerrilla units” or “commanders of sabotage units”. Naturally, the conclusions of the Commission make no mention of Soviet aggression, of the “special training” received in Moscow by communist thugs, of delivery of “Western-produced” firearms – all this, mark you, a long time before Ronald Reagan became President of the USA – yet his administration is subjected to severe censure. And learning of the conclusions reached at such a high level, I could not help but wonder: has the Cold War ended, or not? And if it has – who won?
This is just one example of a small, jungle-covered country whom nobody really needs. The thing is, there are HUNDREDS of such examples. My table is covered with thousands of “resolutions” and “decisions” concerning dozens of countries, the whole blood-soaked history of our time. Only on rare occasions, by the whim of Fate, the putative tragedy became a farce, which only served to stress the criminal essence of communist business.
Workers of the world, unite!
To be returned within 24 hours
to the CC CPSU (General Department, 1st section)
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION. CENTRAL COMMITTEE
P136/53 top secret
To comrades Andropov, Ponomarev – wholly
G. Pavlov – p.2.
Abstract from minutes #136 of the meeting of the Ploitburo of 5 May 1974
On aid to the Communist Party of Italy.
1. Satisfy the request of the leadership of the Italian Communist Party and give special training in the USSR to 19 Italian communists, including 6 for training in radio communications, work in BR-3U radio stations, training in ciphering (up to 3 months), 2 instructors for the preparation of radio telegraphists and cipher officers (up to 3 months), 9 in methods of party organization (up to 2 months) and 2 for a course in disguise techniques (up to two weeks), also the training of 1 specialist as a consultant on special types of internal broadcasting (up to one week).
2. Reception and maintenance of the trainees is to be the responsibility of the International Department and the Administrative sector of the CC CPSU. The Committee for State Security of the Council of Ministers of the USSR will be responsible for training in radio and ciphering work and for providing interpreters for all special training programs. Training in matters of party organization and in disguise techniques will be the responsibility of the International Department of the CC CPSU and the Committee for State Security of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Expenses connected with the stay [of the Italians] in the USSR and their travel to Moscow and back is to be charged to the budget for reception of foreign party workers.
3. The Committee for State Security of the Council of Ministers of the USSR is charged with developing a communications program and ciphered documents for one-way radio transmissions of circular ciphered telegrams to 13-16 regional centres of the Communist Party of Italy, and also ciphered documents for re-ciphering within the two-way radio network.
4. Satisfy the request of the leadership of the PCI and prepare 500 blank and 50 named (for senior PCI workers) forms of Italian foreign and internal documents, 50 spare sets of the same documents modelled on Swiss and French samples, also wigs and disguise necessities. Preparation of the forms and disguise necessities will be the responsibility of the International Department of the CC CPSU and the Committee for State Security of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
6. Approve text of telegram to the KGB resident in Italy.
SECRETARY OF THE CC<58>
The story goes that, back in 1974, the Italian communists raised such a hullabaloo about a possible “right-wing” coup, that they finally came to believe in it themselves. And, having done so, they sent tearful pleas to Moscow to help them prepare to go underground. One can imagine how the comrades in the Kremlin laughed at the mental picture of 50 Italian comrades, sneaking across France in wigs and false beards, for all the world like the villains in a comic opera, clutching French passports forged by the KGB! One can only speculate whether the training by the International Department included lessons on how to gesticulate in the French manner.
But this is just a rare amusing exception to the overall grim rule. Usually there is nothing to smile about in such documents. On the contrary, their dry, official cliches only hint at pictures of death and destruction, so familiar to everyone from nightly television news broadcasts over the past thirty years. Almost every such tragedy had its beginnings in a neatly-typed CC resolution, voted on in the customary “round robin” manner, with the invariable clarion call “Workers of the world, unite!” in the right-hand corner. Even I was amazed by the scope of this murderous activity across five continents. Even Hitler could not have dreamed up something like this. The tempest they unleashed swept away millions of lives in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Central America; it will rage on in Angola, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan long after the last communist regime vanishes from the face of the earth.
The Middle East is a part of the globe where blood and violence has become so commonplace, that nobody recalls now what started it all. Only recently, as a consequence of the Gulf War, has there been renewed consideration of the role played in that region by the Soviet Union for decades, its support of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Yet this is only one aspect of its long-term strategy, and not the worst at that. Lebanon, for instance, was almost annihilated as a state with the Soviet Union’s participation. “Special assistance” for Lebanese “friends” began at the end of the 1960s and continued, in grandiose proportions, right up to our times<59>. Supply of arms, usually channelled through Syria, goes back to at least 1970<60>, and by 1975 had grown so immense that one delivery consisted of 600 Kalashnikov submachine guns, 50 machine guns, 30 anti-tank “RPG-7s”, 3,000 hand grenades, 2,000 mines and 2 tons of explosives.<61> By the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union was training at least 200 Lebanese thugs per annum, of whom 170 were activists of the Lebanese communist party and 30 – of the Progressive Socialist Party<62>. Another example is Cyprus, where the same “special assistance” was rendered to the “Progressive Workers’ Party”, from 1971 at least<63>, and delivery of arms began right before the outbreak of civil war, in July 1974<64>.
Finally – Palestinian terrorism, any connection with which was vehemently denied by the Soviet leadership and its Western apologists. Following are a number of eloquent documents:
STATE SECURITY OF THE
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE USSR
23 April 1974
MOSCOW TO Comrade L.I. BREZHNEV
Since 1968, the KGB has maintained secret working contact with Wadia Haddad, Politburo member of the Peoples’ Liberation Front of Palestine (PLFP), head of the PLFP’s external operations section.
In a confidential conversation at a meeting with the KGB resident in Lebanon in April this year, Wadia Haddad outlined a prospective program of sabotage and terrorism by the PLFP, which can be defined as follows.
The main aim of special activity by PLFP is to increase the effectiveness of the struggle of the Palestinian movement against Israel, Zionism and American imperialism. Arising from this, the main thrusts of the planned sabotage and terrorist operations are:
– employing special means to prolong the “oil war” of Arab countries against the imperialist forces supporting Israel, – carrying out operations against American and Israeli personnel in third countries with the aim of securing reliable information about the plans and intentions of the USA and Israel, – carrying out acts of sabotage and terrorism on the territory of Israel,
– organizing acts of sabotage against the Diamond Center, whose basic capital derives from Israeli, British, Belgian and West German companies.
In order to implement the above measures, the PLFP is currently preparing a number of special operations, including strikes against large oil storage installations in various countries (Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Hong Kong et al), the destruction of oil tankers and super-tankers, actions against American and Israeli representatives in Iran, Greece, Ethiopia, Kenya, an attack on the Diamond center in Tel Aviv, etc.
W. Haddad asks that we help his organization with the procurement of several kinds of special technology necessary for carrying out certain sabotage operations.
Cooperating with us and appealing for our help, W. Haddad is fully aware of our opposition to terrorism in principle, and does not pose us any questions connected with this sphere of the PLFP’s activity.
The nature of our relations with W. Haddad allows us a degree of control over the activities of the PLFP’s external operations section, to exercise an influence favorable to the USSR, and also to reach some of our own aims, through the activities of the PLFP while observing the necessary secrecy. In view of the above, we feel it would be feasible, at the next meeting, to give a generally favourable response to Wadia Haddad’s request for special assistance to the PLFP. As for concrete questions of supplying aid, it is envisaged that every instance will be decided on an individual basis, bearing in mind the interests of the Soviet Union and preventing any detriment to the security of our country.
We request authorization.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY ANDROPOV<65>
Across the top of the first page, Brezhnev wrote in by hand:
Comrades Suslov, M.A.
Podgorny N.V. Kosygin A.N.
Grechko A.A. Gromyko A.A. (circulate)
Consequently, the signatures of the named comrades, in the above order, follow Brezhnev’s in the left-hand margin. At the end of the last page, there is a handwritten addition: Consent reported to the KGB of the USSR (comrade Laptev P.P.) 26.IV.74. Obviously, it was not felt that the interests of the Soviet Union were under any threat, because the romance with Haddad continued. In September of that year the Politburo even sanctioned his secret visit to Moscow<66> and gave its blessing to further cooperation:
State Security of the
Council of Ministers of the USSR
16 May 1975 To Comrade BREZHNEV, L.I. #1218-A/ov
In accordance with the decision of the CC CPSU, on 14 May the Committee for State Security gave trusted KGB intelligence agent, W. Haddad, head of the external operations section of the People’s Liberation Front of Palestine, a consignment of foreign-produced arms and ammunition (submachine guns – 50, hand guns – 50 including 10 fitted with silencers, ammunition – 34,000 rounds).
The covert delivery of arms was carried out in the neutral waters of the Gulf of Aden at night, with no direct contact, and with full observance of secrecy by an intelligence-gathering vessel of the Navy of the USSR.
W. Haddad is the only foreigner who knows that the arms were supplied by us.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOE STATE SECURITY ANDROPOV<67>
Naturally, the Politburo had dealings not only with the PLFP, but with other terrorist organizations, including the PLO, to which, at Yasser Arafat’s request, it even supplied “special equipment” in Tunisia in 1983<68>. Apparently, they were not even squeamish to buy stolen goods from the Palestinians, or rather, to exchange them for weapons<69>:
Workers of the world, unite!
To be returned within 3 days to the
CC CPSU (General Department, 1st section)
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION. CENTRAL COMMITTEE.
#P185/49 TOP SECRET
To comrades Ustinov, Chebrikov – all
Demichev – p.p. 2v,4,
Sergeychik – p.3,
Garbuzov – p.4 (condensed)
Abstract from minutes #185 of a meeting of the Politburo of the CC CPSU of 27 November 1984
Request by the Ministry of Defence and the Committee for State Security of the USSR.
1. To endorse the suggestions of the Ministry of Defence and the Committee for State Security of the USSR, set out in a memorandum of 26 November 1984.
2. Charge the KGB of the USSR to:
a) inform the leadership of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) of the Soviet side’s agreement in principle to supply the DFLP with special equipment to the sum of 15 million rubles in exchange for a collection of art objects of the Ancient World,
b) accept DFLP requests for delivery of special equipment within the limits of the above-named sum,
c) join forces with the Ministry of Culture of the USSR in taking the necessary steps concerning the legal side of acquiring the collection of artifacts.
3. Charge the State Committee for Economic Ties and the Ministry of Defence with studying the request of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine for special equipment to the sum of 15 million rubles (within the scope of the nomenclature permitted for supplies to national liberation movements), forwarded via the KGB of the USSR, and record suggestions for their fulfilment, agreed with the KGB of the USSR, in the standard fashion.
4. Charge the Ministry of Culture of the USSR to:
a) receive a collection of art objects of the Ancient World, detailed in a special list, from the KGB of the USSR. b) in consultation with the KGB of the USSR, determine the place and special conditions for housing the collection (“golden store”), its secret expert study and future exhibition. In consultation with the Ministry of Finance of the USSR, submit an estimate according to standard procedure for the necessary financial assignations,
c) confer with the KGB of the USSR about the individual or group displays of the collection.
SECRETARY OF THE CC
On a recent visit to Moscow I tried to find some traces of this collection. Apparently, most of it is housed, still sealed, in a safe in the Kremlin Armory. Nobody got around to opening it, and at present nobody dares to touch it, even though the Politburo and the KGB no longer exist. So it is still a mystery, what comprises this collection, and where it was stolen. It would also be interesting to learn, how many people were killed with the “special equipment” paid for it.
6. Sympathizers and Fellow-travellers.
It’s highly unlikely that we will ever learn the answers to these questions. The movers and shakers of today have little interest in digging for the truth. Who knows what one may come up with? You may start out with the communists, and end up with yourself. As the English wisely say, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. This saying is well-remembered. Yes, of course, it is not a good thing that the communists received handouts from Moscow. But were they the only ones? Here, for example, is a resolution of the CC CPSU concerning “Fulfilment of a request by American public figure and financier Cyrus Eaton to be presented with a new troika of horses by the Soviet government.”<70> One might expect that such a well-to-do gentleman would be in a position to buy the horses he fancied without going bankrupt. But think of the honor and glory: a present from the Soviet government, no less! So he managed to wangle this “present” in order to raise his prestige. And this was in September 1968, just as Soviet troops were invading Czechoslovakia, so most likely he was able to drive his troika grandly over American soil at the same time as Soviet tanks were rolling around Prague. Any more questions to the communists about handouts?
Yes, the communists were undoubtedly agents of evil, and spread communist lies throughout the free world for money. But were they alone? I have a whole stack of documents which show how this was also practised by most of the world’s leading television companies, who even paid the USSR hard currency for the privilege!
The Novosti Press Agency has received a request from representatives of the American television company ABC concerning the creation of a joint special television report on the life of a worker’s family from the “Rostselmash” factory in Rostov-on-the-Don. The film will show various aspects of the life of a working-class family, and the family will be used to illustrate the achievements of the Soviet government over the past 50 years.
The film will be shown to APN for approval before it appears on television. The Radio and Television Committee (comrade Mesyatsev) have no objections to the project.
We believe it would be feasible to accept the company’s offer. Request authorization.
First deputy chairman of the
Press Agency Novost Administration V. Zaychikov
23 August 1966<71>
Secret Copy 1 Ex. #170c 6.3.67 CC CPSU
The senior APN correspondent in the USA, comrade G.A. Borovik, has carried out preliminary sounding about the possibility of broadcasting a program about Vietnam by one of the largest American television corporations. The program is based on Soviet documentary films with a commentary by G.A. Borovik. The company will pay 9-27 thousand dollars for the program. The US section of the Foreign Ministry of the USSR (comrade G.M. Kornienko) supports comrade Borovik’s suggestion and considers it essential that the commentary to the program should be agreed with the Foreign Ministry.
“Sovexportfilm” (comrade A.B.Makhov) has consented to the inclusion of Soviet documentary footage on Vietnam into the program.
The administration of APN considers that it would be feasible to:
1. Endorse comrade G.A. Borovik’s offer concerning the preparation of a television program on Vietnam for American television, bearing in mind that the commentary to the program shall be vetted by the Foreign Ministry of the USSR.
2. Authorise comrade G. A. Borovik to negotiate with American television companies concerning broadcasting of the program on propagandist and economic conditions favorable to us. We request authorization.
Chairman of the Administration
of the Novosti Press Agency B. Burkov
4 March 1967<72>.
Imagine the situation: American soldiers are fighting against Soviet “friends” in Vietnam, and in the meantime, a leading American network is buying a Soviet propaganda film about that country. And so it went, from year to year, and not only in the USA. It happened in Japan, in Britain, in Finland, in France. The subjects were as varied as the sums in hard currency, only one basic condition remained unchanged: “note that according to the terms of the contract, the film may be shown on American [British, Japanese, etc.] television only after it has been approved by APN.” There is such an amount of material on this, that I finally gave up noting it down.
Here is a brief resume of what I did record:
6 January 1969. “On APN negotiations with the New York Times on the joint preparation of materials about the USSR in 1969-70.”<73>
30 July 1970. “On the joint television program “In the Land of the Soviets’ by APN and American producer J. Fleming.
20 May 1971. Joint APN and Granada (England) television program “Soviet Woman”.
26 May 1971. Joint APN and BBC television program “The Culture and Art of Georgia.”
28 December 1971. On TASS negotiations with Reuters.
22 August 1972. On joint APN and Granada filming on “The Educational System in the USSR.”
13 March 1973. Joint APN and BBC film about Novgorod. 28 June 1973. On the joint APN and BBC production of the film “Kiev: city, events, people.”
10 July 1973. On the joint APN and Thames Television production of a 4-part series about the role of the USSR in World War Two.
24 October 1973. On joint production by APN and the BBC of a documentary film about Shostakovich.
27 May 1974. On the shooting of a BBC television program on matters of European security under the control of the State Committee for Radio and Television.
18 June 1974. On joint APN and BBC filming of television program “Lake Baikal.”
14 February 1975. On production assistance and consultation to the BBC in the making of a feature film about the Soviet conductor Aleksandrov.
9 April 1976. On the joint APN and Weekend Television production of a program “The Soviet Union After the 25th Congress of the CPSU.”<74>
26 May 1976. On the joint production by APN and Yorkshire Television of a film about “A Soviet Family.”<75>
10 July 1979. On production and consultation assistance to the American television company PTV Productions Inc. in filming a multi-series documentary film about the museums, architecture and historical monuments of the USSR.<76>
3 April 1980. On production and consultation assistance to the American company Foreign Transactions Corporation in creating a series of documentary films devoted to the cultural program of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.<77>
1 July 1980. On production and consultation assistance to the English television company Granada in filming a documentary on the history of Soviet cinema. (You may ask: what’s wrong with that? It’s a perfectly innocent subject. But you would be wrong, for the Soviet embassy was of the opinion that “a series of films about Soviet cinema could have a desirable propaganda effect, especially in view of the current situation in England.”)<78>
It is sad but true that Western television companies, who are always so proud of their independence, systematically carried out productions under the ideological control of the CC CPSU, and even paid hard cash for it. To put it plainly, they served as channels for Soviet propaganda. So it is hardly likely that they will censure communists who did exactly the same thing, only in the line of duty to their party.
Beyond any doubt, the activities of the communists undermined and threatened the security of the West. But in this dangerous game, they were not the only ones to dance to Moscow’s piping. Let us recall at least the mass marches of the “peace movement”, and even those for unilateral disarmament. Millions of people were infected by this madness, including a significant part of the intelligentsia. They will hardly wish to dig out the archives which contain the indisputable proof of their folly. I wrote a book at the time about Moscow’s cynical manipulation of this movement, which became a virtual instrument of Soviet foreign policy<79>. It is amusing to recall how the liberal intelligentsia castigated me for this book. Now we have the documents which justify every word I wrote, but nobody wants to publish them.
There are some documents I never expected to see. For instance, documents concerning the foundation and work of the so-called “Palme Committee.” Created on the initiative of Olof Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden at the time, this organization rapidly became the most authoritative Western forum on matters of disarmament and security. One of the most important reasons for this was the Committee’s reputation of being an “objective”, non-government body, independent of any “blocs”, and also the high profile of its members. Apart from Palme himself, it included such prominent politicians of differing political views as former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, former British Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen, former federal secretary of the West German Social-democratic Party Egon Bahr, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Joop den Oyl, etc. In other words, it was a veritable political Olympus of that time, whose opinions could not be ignored by all Western governments. Alas, this Olympus also proved to be a Soviet instrument “to promote, in influential political circles of the non-socialist part of the world, Soviet proposals for the end of the arms race and to expose the militaristic policies of the US leadership and NATO.”<80> The instrument was so successful, that it seems to have tried too hard – it began to be accused of prejudice: “Many of the proposals and recommendations approved and adopted by the Committee for inclusion in final document reflect the Soviet position on the key issues of disarmament and security in direct or indirect form,” stated the Soviet “delegate”, Georgi Arbatov, in his report to the Central Committee. “However, despite agreeing generally with the Soviet point of view on many issues, such members of the Committee as C. Vance, D. Owen, E. Bahr and a number of others tried to avoid wording which would be an exact repetition of Soviet terminology, and explained in private conversations that they had to beware of accusations that they are following “Moscow policies” (indicating, in this connection, that a number of articles had appeared in the Western press, particularly in the USA, which accuse the Palme Committee of just that.)”<81>
As God is my witness, “paranoid” though I may be, I never would have expected such cynicism, especially from Dr David Owen. However, he is not the only prominent personality whom I had respected and who proved to be a bitter disappointment. Much as I would like to spare them, not mention their names, I do not think I have the right to do so. Here is a document which I found extremely upsetting:
During the Soviet Goskino delegation’s stay in Cannes (France) at the 32nd International Film Festival in May this year, there was a meeting with the prominent American producer and director Francis Ford Coppola.
F. Coppola told the chairman of Goskino of the USSR that he had a discussion with the President of the United Sates, J. Carter, who expressed an interest in the making of a joint Soviet-American film on disarmament. According to F. Coppola, the president linked this project with the forthcoming summit meeting in Vienna and the signature and ratification of the treaty on the limitation of strategic arms (SALT-2). The American side feels that such a film would promote the growth of mutual trust between the Soviet and the American peoples, the formation of a positive international appraisal of this treaty, and serve the further development of Soviet-American cultural cooperation.
Speaking for his own firm, Zootrop Film, F. Coppola offered to undertake the financial and organizational requirements for the American side. As F. Coppola is acknowledged as one of the most influential American cinematographers in both business and creative circles, his participation could serve as a certain guarantee of high artistic merit and widespread distribution of the film.
If agreement is reached, the Soviet side will reserve the right to exercise control over the ideological and artistic content of the film at all stages of its production. The most outstanding cinema workers could be assigned to write the scenario and carry out the filming. On such conditions, it would be feasible to agree to a joint Soviet-American production of such a film.
With a view to its practical realization, it is imperative at this stage to enter into negotiations with F. Coppola and sign a preliminary agreement, which could be done when he comes to the 9th International Cinema Festival in Moscow in August this year. I request a study of this proposal.
Chairman of Goskino of the USSR
I was unable to find out whether Francis Ford Coppola made this film, but can only hope that he did not, that something happened to prevent it. It is too distressing to think of this wonderful director making a film on disarmament “under the ideological and artistic control” of the Kremlin “godfathers.” But one thing is crystal clear: neither the press, nor the business world, nor public celebrities, nor the cultural aces of the West managed to preserve their chastity. And although communism has crashed, they have remained pillars of society, the establishment. They are the most vociferous now in claiming that the Cold War is over, but they refuse to specify who are the losers. Even as I sit at my desk, the BBC World Service broadcasts an episode out of a series about the Cold War, and I am astounded by their cynicism: the same names, the same tired cliches about “anti-communist paranoia”, about “McCarthyism”, about the poor intelligentsia (Western, of course) which suffered such persecution… Not a shadow of regret, not the smallest effort to reassess its past, not a grain of truth. Unbidden, the lines from one of Alexander Galich’s poems come to mind:
And marauders stood around the grave
As guards of honour…
No matter how cynical one may be, it is extremely naive to think that we can step over mountains of corpses, wade through rivers of blood and keep going, without looking back, as though nothing had happened. The past will inevitably come to haunt us, poisoning public life for generations. Yet, our “marauders” do not care about the future; all they want is to preserve their position right now, by suppressing the truth at any cost, albeit for just a few years more. And, so far, they were remarkably successful, all the vaunted freedom of the press notwithstanding.
The best illustration I can offer is the fate of this book in the United States. It was bought by “Random House” in 1995 for a considerable amount of money, but the contract was not finalised or signed by them right away. Instead, their senior editor, one Jason Epstein, has tried – for the next five months! – to force me to re-write the whole book from the liberal left political prospective. Oh, no, he did not say in so many words that he simply disagrees with me politically, (on the contrary, almost in every fax I received he emphasized his sympathy for my views), but he just wanted to “improve” the book by correcting “several misstatements of fact and overstatements”. You see, “American readers will be surprised to read” this or that, they “would not understand”…
“You have written an important book, whose message should not be weakened by the […] overstatements and unproven assertions… The contribution that you make in your book toward an understanding of the cold war will be much strengthened if you will consider the editorial suggestions I have made here…”
The trouble was that his “suggestions” were concerning the very basic concepts of the book:
“Is there really any doubt about who lost the cold war? Your suggestion that there is will puzzle American leaders, since everyone here assumes that we won and the Russians lost. … Nor did the Soviets come close to winning the Cold War, so your remarks to the contrary will be puzzling.”
“One of our readers alerted me to the fact that you seriously misrepresent the meaning and significance of the Helsinki Final Act” … [which was, contrary to my assertions] “a win-win document for the West”.
“It will also surprise American readers to learn that such “liberal” foundations as Ford, Rockefeller, etc. gave “billions” to the peace movement. This simply isn’t true and will lead Americans to mistrust your argument in general. Similarly, your criticism of Helsinki Watch that it worried more about problems in the US than in the USSR is untrue and will offend American readers”.
In vain did I try to explain that my “misrepresentation” of the Helsinki agreement is, in fact, a prevalent opinion among Russian dissidents, publicly expressed by us on numerous occasions; that the source of my information on the “liberal” foundations’ policy in the 1980s is a “New York Times” article (which, in turn, quoted the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund), while the source on the Helsinki Watch is one of their own publications. As for “surprising” American public, I firmly responded that I would not mind it:
“I suspect they ought to be surprised quite a lot if they are to learn the truth about the Cold War. In fact, I will be delighted if they are surprised: I could never understand motivation of an author who writes unsurprising books”.
All to no avail. Mr. Epstein objected to almost everything else in the book: my “supercilious tone”, my “rhetoric”, my “treatment of documents” and, ultimately, documents themselves. Some of those objections verged on the absurdity:
“…I think you are making more of the Sorsa memorandum than the language justifies. Was Sorsa really “Moscows’s Man”, or merely someone who maintained positions congenial to the USSR but was otherwise his “own man”?”
“As for the memorandum concerning ABC […] the real issue here is that … ABC may have agreed to submit the film for approval to Soviet censors. Did ABC actually do this? … If the film was made, was it Soviet propaganda? … It is of course perfectly normal that in a joint production both sides should have the right to approve the final product, and if either side insists on language unacceptable to the other, the project is terminated. There is nothing sinister here in principle, but there would be if the resulting product amounted to Soviet propaganda”.
“I don’t understand what you mean …, when you say that the press, the business world, etc. failed to preserve their chastity. If you mean to imply that the press, etc. were in the service of the USSR, nobody here will take you seriously”.
But his particularly vehement objections were provoked by some documents concerning Western public figures:
“On the following pages, are you claiming that David Owen, Cyrus Vence, etc. were consciously in the service of the Soviet Union – i.e. “following Moscow policies” – or was Arbatov simply boasting to his bureaucratic superiors? If you have evidence that Vence and Owen were “cynically” following the Soviet line and were in effect traitors you should present it, but Arbatov’s self-serving memorandum by itself is hardly proof of this. These are very serious charges against Owen and Vence and cannot be published without proof that these distinguished men were, in fact, duplicitous or worse. As for myself, I find it impossible to believe that they were.”
“The same applies to the memorandum about Francis Ford Coppola. … It should be easy for you to learn whether Coppola made such a film and agreed to accept Soviet censorship. Mr. Coppola is an important figure in the US, as you know, and a letter or phone call from you to him would settle the matter.”
In short, I was required, in no uncertain terms, to drop some documents while re-interpreting other in order to show that “…the Soviets failed and their attempts at manipulation seem now, in retrospect, to have been pathetic or even comical. What strikes me in the documents you reproduce – and will strike other American readers as well – is how clumsy, self-deceiving and stupid these Russians were.”
That was clearly beyond my level of tolerance. So, politely but firmly, I have explained Mr. Epstein that “due to certain peculiarities of my biography I am allergic to political censorship”.
“Surely, Mr. Epstein, we do not need to prove that a documentary on the life of a “worker’s family” in Rostov-on-Don, or the one on the “Soviet Woman”, made under Soviet supervision and with their approval, couldn’t be anything but Soviet propaganda (not to mention the one on Vietnam, with the text approved by the Soviet Foreign Ministry). How would you feel, Mr. Epstein, about a film on “German Woman” made with approval of Dr. Gebbels in 1938? Would you need a particular “proof” that it is, indeed, a Nazi propaganda? Would you demand such a proof from a survivor of Auschwitz?”
“Surely, you do not expect me to falsify history in order to please your liberal “readers”? For if you do, you are going to be disappointed. And if you don’t, why do you insist on your own interpretation of the Soviet efforts as “pathetic”, “comical” or “clumsy”? Since I am the author of this book, I will be the judge of whether the “Russians” were “self-deceiving and stupid” or clever and cunning. And, somehow, I do not recall anyone laughing at them at the time (including your liberal “readers”)”.
Furthermore, I explained that only he and his friends seem to be puzzled by my concept of the Cold War.
“I can think of a few more, (most of them could be found among the so-called “liberal Left”), who have strived all these years to present the Cold War as some obscure quarrel between the “Russians” and “Americans”. The rest of the world perceived it as an ideological confrontation between communist dogma and democracy, between the communists and their sympathizers on the one hand, and the democrats on the other. Only if you accept this concept will you understand why, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the communists are still in power in Russia, in almost all former Soviet republics, in Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, while their accomplices in the West are still very much a part of the establishment”.
As for his suggestion to call Coppola and ask him about the documentary on disarmament, I advised him in return to call Arbatov and find out how much his memo on the Palme Commission proceedings was “self-serving”.
This was our last exchange: Mr. Epstein has dropped the contract. In his short parting message he wrote:
“I don’t want to involve myself in a quarrelsome editorial relationship. From your letter it seems certain that were we to proceed, such a relationship would be inevitable. … The last thing I want to do is challenge your politics, with which in any case I don’t disagree, but I simply can’t publish a book that accuses Americans like Cyrus Vence and Francis Ford Coppola of unpatriotic – or even treacherous – behavior”.
Do I need to add that “Random House” is one of the biggest and most influential publishers in America, whose rejection of a book is bound to affect any other attempts to publish it? In fact, it took me nearly two years before I could find anyone interested either in the USA, or in Britain, while the book was already successfully published in France and Germany.
But the most disturbing aspect of the story is that this blatant attempt at political censorship in a country so proud of its “freedom” did not provoke public indignation there. I talked to many journalists and public figures, offering them my correspondence with Mr. Epstein as a proof – they shrugged it of. So what? Who cares?
As someone has recently said so aptly:
“This is worse than a conspiracy – this is consensus”.
7. So who won?
Thus ended this war, probably the strangest war of all in our times. It began with no declaration and ended without celebratory firework displays. It is not even possible to put a precise date and time to its start and finish, and even though it probably swallowed more lives than World War Two, we do not want to total up its victims. No monuments shall be erected to mark this war, no eternal flame shall burn on the grave of its unknown soldier. Even though this war was decisive to the fate of all humanity, its soldiers didn’t march off to the sounds of a band, nor were they greeted with flowers upon their return. It was probably the most unpopular war of all those we know. At least, from the point of view of the side which seems to have won it. But there is no rejoicing even because it is over. The losers signed no instruments of capitulation, the victors received no rewards. On the contrary, it is the very ones who, for all intents and purposes, were the losers, who are now dictating conditions for peace, writing history, while those who supposedly won, maintain an embarrassed silence. And do we really know, who are the victors? Who are the vanquished?
Any event in our lives, even if it is of small significance, comes under the scrutiny of some commission or other. Especially if people have been killed. A plane crash, a railroad disaster, an industrial accident – and experts argue, conduct analyses, seek to determine the degree of guilt of contractors, builders, service personnel, conductors, inspectors or even governments if they had the slightest connection with what occurred. As for any armed conflict between countries – that will certainly not escape examination. Yet here we have a conflict which lasted at least 45 years (possibly even 75), which affected practically every country in the world, cost scores of millions in lives and hundreds of billions in dollars, and – as has so often been claimed – almost brought about global destruction, which is not being examined by a single country or international organization.
Even a petty crime is subject to investigation, judgment and punishment. War crimes are no exception. I am not talking about the Nuremberg Trials and subsequent hearings which, to this day, are obliged to investigate crimes committed 50 years ago. There is a current example: the war in Bosnia is not over yet, but there is already an international tribunal to investigate the crimes committed in this war. Again, our strange war is an exception to the rule – so it is impossible to determine, is it over or not? Did we win, or did we lose?
Actually, in many cases it is not even necessary to convene a special court: for example, the murder of captive Polish officers in Katyn forest was already acknowledged as a crime against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials. Yet the man who was in charge of the execution – former head of one of the Directorates of the NKVD, Pyotr Soprunenko – is still alive and well in Moscow on a good pension. Everyone knows this, Muscovites willingly point out the windows of his apartment in a house on the Sadovaya Ring. MGB investigator Daniil Kopelyansky, who interrogated Raoul Wallenberg, is also thriving, as is the organizer of Trotsky’s assassination, general Pavel Sudoplatov, but neither Poland, nor Sweden, nor Mexico are seeking the extradition of these criminals. A recent example is former KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who, on his own admission, organized the murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London in 1978 – the famous case of the poisoned umbrella. Kalugin even wrote about this not so long ago in the popular British tabloid Mail on Sunday under the challenging headline “I Organized Markov’s Execution’.<83> Kalugin furnishes some fascinating details: it appears that the grateful Bulgarian “brothers” rewarded him with a hunting rifle. He frequently travels abroad, promotes his book, gives interviews to the press and it never enters anyone’s head to arrest or question him, even though the Markov case is still open.<84>
In any case, thousands of thugs who received KGB “special training” are still at large and live next door to us, just like those who received illegal funds, like the “commercial” friends, like millions of sympathizers and accomplices, apologists and concealers, millions who set the intellectual fashion which dictates that while everyone is equal, the communists are more equal than others. All these would not be too hard to locate, given the desire. At least, they would be much easier to find than former Nazis in Paraguay. But nobody will tackle this task for one simple reason:
there has to be a victory before the setting up of a Nuremberg-style international tribunal.
Rudolf Hess died in Spandau prison but, Boris Ponomarev, for instance, is a pensioner at liberty in Moscow, all because National Socialism was defeated, but International Socialism was not.
It was easier with Nazism. It was more straightforward in its reliance on brute force and made less effort to masquerade as humanism. It forced its neighbors to resist, and they, although unwilling at first, took up the challenge. Yet imagine if the “phoney war”, which began in 1939, had stretched out over the next forty to fifty years with no further military action. Life would have gone on as usual, despite a certain coldness in relations with Germany. In time, the regime would have “mellowed”: there would have been nobody left to put in concentration camps or destroy in gas chambers. Eventually, domestic reformers would be launched (especially after Hitler’s death), then proponents of “peaceful coexistence” would appear (especially after Germany had developed nuclear weapons). Trade would grow, common interests. In other words, the Nazi regime would become quite respectable, without changing its nature by one iota, acquire contacts and well-wishers, fellow-travellers and apologists. And then collapse some fifty years later, having exhausted its economic resources and the patience of its people. I would wager that with such a scenario, there would have been no Nuremberg Trials.
But it all happened otherwise. Having found the courage to resist evil, humanity also found enough decency to take a hard look into its own soul and, no matter how painful the process, to condemn all manifestations of collaboration. Yes, it was easier for them, they won, they had something to be proud of, they had a moral right to judge those who capitulated. The Nuremberg Trials are not beyond criticism, but their accomplishment was immense – they restored the absolute moral norms for human behavior, they reminded a shattered world of the basic principle of our Christian civilization: that we have freedom of choice and, consequently, bear personal responsibility for how we exercise it. At a time of mass madness and total terror, they affirmed the simple truth, known from Biblical times and lost in the scarlet tribulations of the 20th century: neither the opinion of the surrounding majority, nor an order from a superior, nor even the threat to one’s own life releases us from personal responsibility.
That, which is happening today, is in direct contrast to Nuremberg. Today’s world has nothing of which to be proud, it found neither the courage to withstand evil, nor the honesty to admit this. Our misfortune lies in that we did not win: communism fell by itself, despite universal efforts to rescue it. And this, if you like, is the greatest secret of the Central Committee documents lying on my desk. So is it really surprising that nobody wants to publish them?
Is it so surprising that alongside our willingness to examine every accident, we refuse to investigate the greatest catastrophe of our time? For in our heart of hearts we already know the conclusions such an investigation would yield, as any sane person knows full well when he has entered into collusion with evil. Even if the intellect provides specious logical and outwardly acceptable excuses, the voice of conscience whispers that our fall began from the moment we agreed to “peaceful coexistence” with evil.
This manifested itself even before Nuremberg, when Stalin was acclaimed as a great champion of democracy, and at Nuremberg, where the Soviet Union ranked as a member of the prosecution and not of the accused, and in the late 1950s-early 1960s, when Khrushchev’s term “peaceful coexistence” entered the political lexicon. And every time the price was paid with the blood of the innocent – the accepted currency in deals with the devil: the blood of the Cossacks handed over to Stalin for reprisals, the blood of the nations of Eastern Europe, betrayed by the Yalta Agreement, the blood of the Hungarians, Cuban, Cambodians…
But the final deal with the powers of evil was struck in our own time, when Brezhnev was in power. It is useless to plead innocence and seek justification by claiming ignorance of the means to combat that evil: everything was patently obvious. In circumstances where we refused to maintain “good neighborly relations” with evil, where it was rejected as unacceptable, we knew perfectly well what to do. And if racism, for example, was such an evil, nobody sought to combat it by increasing trade or cultural cooperation with South Africa. On the contrary, a boycott was deemed the only adequate response, and it was enforced so strictly that there was not a single sportsman who could go there without destroying his career. Yet it was considered acceptable to attend the Olympic Games in Moscow at the height of mass arrests and aggression in Afghanistan. I should like to see what would have happened to anyone who had dared to suggest holding the Olympic Games in Johannesburg or Pretoria at that time…!
Moreover, as racism was proclaimed an evil, not a single newspaper would publish anything written by supporters of apartheid, all proud proclamations about freedom of the press notwithstanding. Racist groups were subject to open police repression, and anyone suspected of harboring racist sympathies would be unable to make a career in any sphere whatsoever. Yet in this instance, there were no protesting outcries about “witch-hunts.” Racism was surrounded by a cordon sanitaire of intolerance, and was thus unable to spread further or become an accepted fact of life. Communism, however, was made respectable, acceptable. It was considered improper to fight against it, “broadening contacts” with it was the recommended recipe. So it grew and flourished, engulfing half the world. Is this not painfully obvious? Is there a single person alive who did not understand this?
Did not those politicians who encouraged the growth of economic relations with the Soviet bloc realize that they were breeding Hammers, Maxwells and Bobolases? Did they not know, when they welcomed delegations of Soviet leaders and “deputies” that these were not statesmen and parliamentarians, but cut-throats and their puppets? Did they not see, when they signed agreements on “cultural exchanges”, “scientific cooperation” and “human contacts” that they were thereby buttressing the power of the KGB over society, for it would be the KGB choosing “the right candidates” for such contacts?
The great majority understood everything, knew or guessed it, but remained silent, because they did not seek to oppose communism, only to survive. To survive at any cost, sacrificing conscience, reason, innocent people and whole countries in the process. And in the final instance – sacrificing their own future, because the logic of survival has its roots in the concentration camp principle: you die today, and I will die tomorrow.
The world was immeasurably lucky – that “tomorrow” did not come. The monster died before it reached the world’s jugular. Now, when communism has crashed, when the Iron Curtain has fallen and exposed a vista of poverty and devastation, when its crimes cannot be swept under the rug, that much-touted “coexistence” can be seen for what it really is. Just as criminal, for the myth has dispersed and fear has flown, “coexistence” stands exposed as nothing more than moral capitulation before evil, a criminal complicity. What can we say in justification to the future generations? That we had to survive? But the Germans needed to survive, too, after the First World War, so they followed Hitler. Why, then, were they judged at Nuremberg? They sacrificed Jews, gypsies and Slavs, just as we have sacrificed dozens of other nations – in order to secure our own survival.
But just like the Germans in 1945, we are reluctant to scrutinize ourselves, to “dig into the past” in order to avoid scandal. Like them, we close our eyes and reiterate that we “knew nothing”, that “we took no interest in politics”, and, even had we known, “what could we have done?”
And, was it, really, just a German phenomenon? I can well remember the perplexity of my parents’ generation some thirty five years ago, when the so-called “crimes of the personality cult” were aired for the first time. Oh, they knew nothing about it, of course. And even if they knew a tiny bit, they believed that it all have been for the good of mankind. And confronted with indisputable facts (it was hardly possible, after all, not to notice the slaughter of 60 million people), they would submit as an ultimate justification of their behavior, that they were scared. Scared when they murched under red banners and sang revolutionary songs, scared when they raised their hands at the mass meetings in support of the Party’s policy, scared when they were rewarded, decorated, and promoted for doing good work. Just like the three lucky monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, they “believed” in communism, because they “didn’t know” about its crimes, and they didn’t know because they were afraid to open their eyes. One must survive somehow, after all…
…And I also remember a film I saw as an adolescent in post-Stalin Moscow, in which every frame, ever word was like a breath of fresh air. The film was about a wise old judge who had come to Germany from small-town America, and who was trying to understand how seemingly normal, honest and hard-working people with an ancient culture could have arrived at the horrors of Auschwitz. I remember the closing scenes as if I saw them only yesterday, and the words of the sentence:
“The real complaining party at the bar in this courtroom is civilization. But the tribunal does say that the men at the dock are responsible for their actions. The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime is guilty.”
Then, as now, it was not easy to say these simple words. Political interests, the very same need to survive, the moral blindness of Man, which prevents him from seeing his own part in a crime against humanity. What could he, a lone individual, do? He ignored the voice of his conscience, like everyone else, but he could not possibly know that the end would be mountains of corpses and torrents of blood, could he?
And why bother? I bet that in five years time, those you have sentenced will be released, said the smart defence lawyer sarcastically. Well, responded the wise judge, “what you suggest may very well happen. It is logical in view of the times in which we live. But, to be logical is not to be right. And nothing on God’s earth could make it right.”
More than 35 years have passed, but this film has remained in my mind despite long years of imprisonment and exile, cruelty and bitter disappointments. Sometimes I think that I would not have endured otherwise, for logic was always against us. But I remembered:
Nothing on God’s earth can make it right.
That film was called “Judgment In Nuremberg.”
INDEX OF REFERENCES IN CHAPTER ONE
1 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committe St-241/108gs of 16 December 1980.
2 Memo to the CC from deputy head of the International Department, A. Chernyayev #18-S-2161 of 11 December 1980 concerning Resolution St-241/108gs of 16 December 1980.
3 See ILTA-Sanomat, 10 July 1993, #157, “Nepin arkistot kertovat Sorsa miellytti Moskovaa”.
4 Memo from Andropov to the Central Committee #2273-A of 9 September 1969.
5 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-37/46gs of 31 October 1967 and St-45/4gs of 26 February 1968.
6 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-33/8gs of 3 March 1972.
7 Politburo Decision P111/162 of 8 January 1969.
8 Politburo Decision P111/163 of 8 January 1969.
9 Politburo Decision P230/43 of 29 December 1980.
10 Politburo Decision P175/3 of 11 December 1989, information from the head of the Internatiopnal Department of the CC CPSU, V. Falin, of 5 December 1989.
11 Memo to the Central Committee from head of the International Department, V. Falin, of 5 December 1989, no reference number.
12 Memo to the Central Committee from Anatoli Dobrynin of 21 November 1987, no reference number.
13 Politburo Decision P95/21 of 30 November 1987.
14 Politburo Decision P144/129 of 28 December 1988.
15 Politburo Decision P175/3 of 11 December 1989.
16 Politburo Decision P51/49 of 4 February 1987.
17 Memo to the Central Committee from A. Dobrynin of 21 November 1987, no reference number.
18 Politburo Decision P95/21 of 30 November 1987.
19 Politburo Decision P144/129 of 28 December 1988.
20 Memo to the Central Committee from V. Falin, no date or reference number, presumably December 1988.
21 Memo to the Central Committee from deputy head of the International Department, K.Brutents, #06-S-44 of 17 January 1991.
22 Politburo Decision P203/1 of 10 July 1980.
23 Memo to the Central Committee by the deputy head of International Department V. Zagladin # 25-S-1803 of October 4 1979 and Resolution of the CC Secretariat # St-179/32gs of October 5 1979.
24 Politburo Decision P94/52 of 18 January 1983.
25 Resolution of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU St-241/99gs of 16 December 1980.
26 Memo to the Central Committee from A. Chernyayev, deputy head of the International Department, #18-S-2175 of 12 December 1980.
27 Resolution of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU St-225/84gs of 26 August 1980.
28 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee ST-242/76gs of 23 December 1980, affirmed by Politburo Decision P229/60 of 25 December 1980.
29 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-206/58 gs of 11 April 1980.
30 Memo to the Central Committee from deputy chairman of the KGB, S. Tsvigun, #664-Ts of 5 April 1980, appendix to St-206/58gs of 11 April 1980.
31 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-244/50gs of 5 January 1981.
32 Report by deputy minister of foreign trade, I.F. Semichastny, #2-1/108 of 11 December 1980 and information from Head of the Protocol Section V.A. Rakhmanin, to the Resolution of the Secretariat St-244/50gs of 5 january 1981.
33 Memo to the Central Committee from deputy head of the International Department, V. Falin, apparently December 1988, material to Politburo Decision P144/129 of 28 December 1988. See ref. 19 above.
34 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-203/10 of 3 February 1976.
35 Central Committee Resolution St-99/41gs of 21 May 1970.
36 Central Committee Resolution St-72/81 of 8 May 1969.
37 Central Committee Resolution St-73/2gs of 14 April 1969.
38 Central Committee Resolution St-50/148gs of 15 April 1968.
39 Central Committee Resolution St-127/9gs of 3 October 1978.
40 Information for the Central Committee from chairman of “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” B. Makarov of 14 March 1968, to the Resolution of the Secretariat of the CC CPSU St-50/148gs of 15 April 1968.
41 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-44/7s of 5 January 1982.
42 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-126/7s of 28 May 1974.
43 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-233/8gs of 15 October 1980 and memo from the International Department #18-S-1729 of 10 October 1980.
44 Directive issued by N. Ryzhkov, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of 24 December 1988 #578rs.
45 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-112/116g of 22 February 1990, and unnumbered memo of the International and Ideological Departments of the Central Committee.
46 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-10/1g of 6 November 1990, and memo from International and Administrative Departments of the CC concerning this resolution.
47 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-123/30gs of ? 1971 (date is unclear).
48 Memo from deputy head of the International Department R. Ulyanovsky and deputy head of The Department of Science and Educational Establishments I. Makarov, #25-S-1765 of 4 October 1969.
49 Memo to the Central Committee from Andropov #1128-A of 28 April 1970.
50 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-37/37gs of 27 December 1976.
51 Memo to the Central Committee from KGB Chairman Kryuchkov and head of the International Department, V. Falin #18-S-385 of 31 March 1989.
52 Resolution of the Central Committee St-224/71gs of 18 August 1980.
53 Message from the General Secretary of the Communist Party of El-Salvador, Shafik Jandal, of 23 July, translated from the Spanish original, appended to Central Committee Secretariat Resolution St-224/71gs of 18 August 1980.
54 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-225/5gs of 20 August 1980.
55 See New York Times of 18 April 1985, Frankfurter Allegemeine of 30 March 1985, Le Monde of 21 March 1985, De Telegraaf of 27 March 1985, Le Soir of 27 March 1985.
56 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-202/53gs of 17 March 1980, memo of CC Departments #25-S-458 of 14 March 1980 and memo from head of the Secretariat of the International Department, M. Kovalev, of 18 April 1980 under the same reference number.
57 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-233/8gs of 15 October 1980.
58 Politburo Decision P136/53 of 5 May 1974.
59 See, for example, Central Committee Resolutions St-108/62gs of 29 December 1973 and St-132/13gs of 19 July 1974.
60 Politburo Decision P166/133 of 16 June 1970.
61 Politburo Decision P192/6 of 10 October 1975.
62 Ministry of Defence report to the Central Committee #318/5/0219 of 20 April 1985 and Central Committee Resolution St-39/65gs of 9 February 1987.
63 Resolution of the Central Committee St-10/53 of 19 July 1971.
64 Memo from Andropov to the Central Committee #1853-A of 8 July 1974.
65 Memo from Andropov to Brezhnev #1071-A/ov of 23 April 1974.
66 Politburo Decision P147/42 of 14 August 1974.
67 Memo from Andropov to Brezhnev #1218-A/ov of 16 May 1975.
68 Politburo Decision P113/110 of 21 June 1983, directive of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and instructions to Soviet ambassadors.
69 Politburo Decision P185/49 of 27 November 1984.
70 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee without a protocol of 20 September 1968 (1712s 13/9). See Central Committee Catalog.
71 Memo to the Central Committee from First deputy Manager of APN, V. Zaychikov, with no reference number, of 23 August 1966.
72 Memo to the Central Committee from chairman of APN Management B. Burkov of 4 March 1967, ex #170s.
73 Here and further from the Central Committee Catalog.
74 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-5/6g of 9 April 1976.
75 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Commitee St-10/23g of 26 May 1976.
76 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-166/12s of 10 July 1979.
77 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-205/31gs of 3 April 1980.
78 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-217/10s of 1 July 1980 and memo to the Central Committee from Goskino of the USSR chairman, F.T. Yermash.
79 “Les Pacifistes contre le paix,” Editions Robert Laffont, 1982; “Peace Movement and the Soviet Union, ” “Commentary”, New York, 1982; The Coalition for Peace through Security, London, 1982.
80 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-237/54gs of 14 November 1980 and memo from the International Department #18-S-1989 of 10 November 1980.
81 Report to the Central Committee by G. Arbatov of 28 December 1981 #0147, appendix to St-237/54gs of 19 November 1980, see above.
82 Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee St-167/18s of 17 July 1979 and undated memo from the chairman of Goskino of the USSR, F.T. Yermash.
83 “I Organized Markov’s Execution”, Mail on Sunday, 4 April 1993.
84 In 1994, General Kalugin was detained at Heathrow airport, questioned, and released the following day.