2 March 1977* (No 74) Falin memo

Memo from ambassador Falin in West Germany (FRG). The anti-Soviet campaign  in the FRG and a possible “solution” to the human rights issue in the USSR (11 pp). [R 2 March 1977, No 74] Excerpts.


Soviet Embassy in German Federal Republic

Top Secret (copy No 2)
2 March 1977
No 74

Concerning the campaign in the FRG
about “human rights”
(Political commentary)

[page one of eleven]

[Typed addition at foot of page]

Studied by our Department

[signed] Nenashev [1]
Deputy head of the CPSU Central Committee Propaganda Department


[page two – …]

[page three]

[…] The Social Democrats already feel the danger to themselves of the anti-Communist hysteria. The slogan of the CDU-CSU “freedom instead of socialism” has shown that the SDP will not be last in line when the signal is given for a witch-hunt to begin. … […]

[page four]

[…] At the same time, those I talk to note that the West has appreciated earlier than the East that changes in the international climate will not leave the internal weather in individual States unaffected. The NATO States have paid their own not inconsiderable price for detente, and are far from coping with the difficulties, including those of an ideological character. In the West, however, such difficulties are not so striking because they have learned not to raise or accentuate the threshold of legality in the struggle of ideas in ordinary situations.

Social Democrats tell me that the socialist countries must also take the costs of a restructuring [perestroika] of international relations into account. […]

It must be said that discussions about the way dissidents and non-conformists are treated in the socialist countries are actively held in circles that have a loyal and friendly attitude to the USSR and the CPSU. Often questions are asked that cannot be brushed aside or dismissed with general phrases. […]

[page six]

[…] In particular, the legislative and administrative practice of the FRG demands study. The West German State has flexible and reliable means at its disposal to prevent and halt disagreeable activities, and the emphasis is placed on prosecuting dissidents not for distributing information unfavourable to the regime but for ‘anti-constitutional activity’, public disorder, and so on. The local judicial system is also of interest. It makes its possible, before sentence is passed, to isolate any individual for months and years, and persecute him long before his case has been heard before the court of last instance.

This system functions successfully because it is combined with a well-conceived openness [glasnost] and is enhanced by other quasi-democratic attributes that make it possible to keep the pressure in the boiler at an acceptable level. A considerable part of the work in suppressing the opposition is carried out by the press, the church, schools and bourgeois public organisations under the open and covert supervision of the authorities. […]

[page eight]

USSR Ambassador in the German Federal Republic

[signed] V. Falin

[typed addition at foot of page]

1 – A.A. Gromyko [foreign minister]
2 – CPSU International Department
3 – 3rd European Department, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4 – Directorate for Foreign ??, USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs
5 – to be filed

To Archive, 15 June 1977

[pages nine to eleven – a request to show Zamyatin at International Department, and a reply that the Department has read the text, April 1977]



[1] This is an example of the thinking that preceded “perestroika”, says Bukovsky. (The Russian copy shows that this top secret document has been studied by someone who underlined certain phrases.)

Valentin Falin was Soviet ambassador in West Germany from 1971 to 1978. He then returned to Moscow. In 1989-1991 he headed the Central Committee’s International Department, see 28 December 1988*, Pb 144/129.


1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added
to a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, John Crowfoot