Secretariat. Subsidies from the Soviet Red Cross for Moscow-based correspondents of Party and “fraternal” newspapers in capitalist and developing countries (4 pp). [R 6 Nov 90, St 10-1] Excerpt.
The “living expenses” of Moscow-based correspondents for these fraternal publications also formed part of the bill.
From the late 1950s, to disguise its origins, this bill was footed by the Soviet Red Cross. As the crisis of the 1980s escalated, the unthinkable happened: the Red Cross rose up in arms and refused to pay, citing government cuts to its own budget as the reason (6 February 1990, St 10/1). When the expenses were totted up, the result was astonishing:
At present, there are 33 foreign correspondents in Moscow, who occupy 33 apartments, including 7 bureaus. Apart from their salaries, their postal, telegraph and telephone costs are paid, as are the renovation costs of apartments and offices, travel within the Soviet Union and abroad, access to medical treatment and the use of resort facilities. Practically every correspondent is assigned a secretarial assistant, whose salary is paid by the Executive Council of the Soviet Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. In 1989, the expenses arising from the presence of this category of foreign correspondent exceeded one million roubles.
It became necessary for the Central Committee to review this form of international solidarity, too.
Excerpt from Judgement in Moscow (Chapter One)