Inside soviet military intelligence
To the memory of Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky
There is but one opinion as to which country in the world possesses the most powerful secret intelligence service. Without the slightest doubt that country is the Soviet Union, and the name of the monstrous secret organisation without precedent in the history of mankind is the KGB. But on the question as to which country possesses the second most powerful secret organisation, the opinions of specialists differ. Strange as it may seem, the country to which this organisation belongs is also the Soviet Union, and the organisation itself is called the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff.
This book was written in order to confirm this simple fact.
At first it was conceived as an instructional manual for a narrow circle of specialists. Subsequently it was revised by the author for a wider public. The revision was confined mainly to the excision of certain definitions and technical details which would be of little interest. Even after this, there remained in the book many details of a technical nature, which may sometimes make for difficult reading. But though I may apologise, there is nothing to be done. In order to understand a disease (and the desire to understand a disease implies a desire to fight against it), one must know its pathology as well as its symptoms.
For one of their very first chosen myths, the communists decided to record that the organs of enforcement of the new State were not created until the nineteenth of December 1917. This falsehood was circulated in order to prove that Soviet power, in the first forty-one days of its existence, could dispense with the mass executions so familiar to other revolutions. The falsehood is easily exposed. It is sufficient to look at the editions of the Bolshevist papers for those days which shook the world. The Organs and subsequent mass executions existed from the first hour, the first minute, the first infantile wail of this Soviet power. That first night, having announced to the world the birth of the most bloodthirsty dictatorship in its history, Lenin appointed its leaders. Among them was comrade A. I. Rikov, the head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs which sounds less innocuous in its abbreviation, NKVD. Comrade Rikov was later shot, but not before he had managed to write into the history of the Organs certain bloody pages which the Soviet leadership would prefer to forget about. Fifteen men have been appointed to the post of Head of the Organs, of which three were hounded out of the Soviet government with ignominy. One died at his post. One was secretly destroyed by members of the Soviet government (as was later publicly admitted). Seven comrades were shot or hanged, and tortured with great refinement before their official punishment. We are not going to guess about the futures of three still living who have occupied the post. The fate of the deputy heads has been equally violent, even after the death of comrade Stalin.
The paradox of this endless bloody orgy would seem to be this. Why does the most powerful criminal organisation in the world so easily and freely give up its leaders to be torn to pieces? How is the Politburo able to deal with them so unceremoniously, clearly not experiencing the slightest fear before these seemingly all-powerful personalities and the organisations headed by them? How is it that the Politburo has practically no difficulties in displacing not only individual heads of State Security but in destroying whole flocks of the most influential State Security officers? Where lies the secret of this limitless power of the Politburo?
The answer is very simple. The method is an old one and has been used successfully for thousands of years. It boils down to the principle: 'divide and rule'. In the beginning, in order to rule, Lenin divided everything in Russia that was capable of being divided, and ever since the communists have continued faithfully to carry out the instructions of the great founder of the first proletarian state.
Each system of governing the State is duplicated and reduplicated. Soviet power itself is duplicated. If one visits any regional committee of the Party and then the Regional Executive Committee one is struck by the fact that two separate organizations having almost identical structures and deciding identical problems nevertheless take completely contradictory decisions. Neither one of these organisations has the authority to decide anything independently.
This same system exists at all stages and at all levels of the Government. If we look at the really important decisions of the Soviet leadership, those which are published in the papers, we will find that any one of them is taken only at joint sessions of the Central Committee of the Party and the Council of Ministers. I have in front of me as I write the last joint resolution on raising the quality and widening the range of production of children's toys. Neither the Council of Ministers of the gigantic State structure nor the Central Committee of the ruling Party is able, since neither has the power and authority, to take an independent decision on such an important matter. But we are not talking here just about Ministers and First Secretaries. At all lower levels the same procedure is to be observed. For example, only a joint decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of a republic and the Council of Ministers of the same republic, or the Provincial Committee and the Provincial Executive Committee, is valid. At these levels of course, such crucial problems as the quality of children's toys are not decided; but the principle remains that no separate and independent decisions can be taken. In shape and form, Soviet power is everywhere duplicated, from the planning of rocket launchings into space to the organisation for the burial of Soviet citizens, from the management of diplomatic missions abroad to lunatic asylums, from the construction of sewers to atomic ice-breakers.
In addition to the governing organs which give orders and see that they are carried out, there also exist Central Control Organs which are independent of the local authority. The basic one of these is of course the KGB, but independently of the KGB other powerful organs are also active: the innocent-sounding People's Control for example, a secret police organisation subordinated to a Politburo member who exercises almost as much influence as the Chief of the KGB. In addition to the People's Control, the Ministry of the Interior is also active and this is subordinated neither to the KGB nor to Control. There is also the Central Organ of the press, a visit of which to a factory or workshop causes hardly less anger than a visit of the OBHSS, the socialist fraud squad. On the initiative of Lenin, it was seen as essential that each powerful organ or organisation which is capable of taking independent decisions be counter-balanced by the existence of another no less powerful bureaucratic organisation. The thinking goes: we have a newspaper Pravda, let's have another on a similar scale - Izvestia. Tass created, as a counter-balance to it, APN. Not for competition but simply for duplication. In this way the comrades in the Politburo are able to live a quieter life. To control everybody and everything is absolutely impossible, and this is why duplication exists. Everybody jealously pursues his rival and in good time informs whoever he should inform of any flashes of inspiration, of any deviation from the established norm, any effort to look at what is going on from the standpoint of a healthy critical mind. Duplication in everything is the prime principle and reason behind the terrifying stagnation of all walks of life in Soviet society. It is also the reason for the unprecedented stability of the regime. In duplicating the Organs, the Politburo was able to neutralise any attempt by them to raise the standard of revolt against their creators, and thus it has always been.
The creation of a system of parallel institutions began with the creation of the Tcheka, an organisation called into existence to counter-balance the already growing powers of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. During the course of the whole of the civil war these two bloody organisations existed independently, and as rivals, of each other. Their influence grew to immense proportions, and Lenin suggested the creation of yet another independent organ to carry out the task of control and retribution, the Rabkrin. This organ, known today as the People's Control, is still waiting for somebody to research into its history. The Rabkrin was Lenin's love-child, remembered by him even on his deathbed. The Rabkrin or, more formally, the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate was not created as an organ of repression for the whole population, but as an organisation for the control of the ruling Bolshevik elite and, above all, the Tcheka and the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs.