Judgement in Moscow (contents)

1.1 Who cares?

1.2 Hard currency

1.3 “Firms Run by the Friends”

1.4 Intellectual Shenanigans

1.5 “Special Aid”

1.6 Sympathizers and Fellow-Travellers

1.7 So, who won?


Before me on my desk lay several thousand pages, a pile of documents variously classified “Top Secret”, “Special File”, “Of Particular Importance” and “Personal (For Your Eyes Only)”. They all looked much the same, at first glance.

The slogan “Workers of the World, Unite!” in the top right hand corner of the page seemed almost a taunt. To the left was a severe warning: “To be returned within 24 hours to the CPSU Central Committee (General Department, 1st Section)”. Sometimes the conditions were more generous. The document could be retained for three, seven or 15 days, less frequently for two months. Large letters stretching across the page spelled the words: COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION, CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

There were reference numbers and codes, the date, and a list of those who took the decision, scrawling their names on the document as it circulated. Last came the surnames of the individuals charged with implementing the decision. The latter were not entitled to see the document in its entirety: they received an “Excerpt from the Minutes”, the contents of which they could not publicize in spoken or written form. A reminder ran in fine print down the left margin (cf. 5 October 1979*, St 179/32, p. 2):

Rules concerning Excerpts from the Minutes
of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee

Photocopying or making notes from minutes of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee, also making any reference to them in oral or written form, in the open press or other publicly accessible documents are categorically forbidden. Retyping the resolutions of the CENTRAL COMMITTEE Secretariat is also proscribed, as is any reference to them in official orders, instructions, directives and any official publications whatsoever.

Access to secret and top secret directives (excerpts from minutes) of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee, sent to Party committees, ministries, departments or other organizations, is granted only to persons directly involved with the implementation of that directive.

Comrades who have read excerpts from the minutes of the Secretariat of the Central Committee may not publicize their content.

(Affirmed by CPSU Central Committee resolution, 17 June 1976, St 12/4)

The rules governing the use of Politburo documents were stricter still. There the marginal reminder was as follows (cf. 28 January 1980*, Pb 181/34, p. 1):


A comrade in receipt of top secret documents of the CPSU Central Committee may not pass them into other hands or acquaint anyone with their content without special permission from the Central Committee.

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 often no witnesses, as confident as the Third Reich that it would endure for centuries to come. Their aims were not dissimilar. Unlike the Third Reich, moreover, the Soviet Communist Party had almost achieved its goals when something happened, unforeseen by Marx, Lenin, and the overwhelming majority of people on earth.

1.1 Who cares?

The documents spread across my desk were not addressed to me. I had no part – at least, no direct part – in implementing the decisions they contained, and I had no intention of returning them to the Central Committee’s General Department (1st Section).

Shamelessly usurping the privileges of others, I gazed at the signatures of Brezhnev, Chernenko, Andropov, Gorbachev, Ustinov, Gromyko and Ponomarev,[1] and read their handwritten comments in the margins. Their decisions concerned everything, from the arrest and expulsion of “undesirables” to the financing of international terrorism, from disinformation campaigns to preparations for aggression against neighbouring countries. In these pages the tragedies of our bloodstained twentieth century (to be precise, its last thirty years) had their ends and their beginnings.

It cost me a great deal of effort, over twelve months, to lay my hands on these documents. Had I not succeeded it would have been years before anyone saw them again (if they ever did). Yet the curse of the 7 June 1976 “Resolution of the Central Committee Secretariat” continued to exert a mystical power. No one dared to make these secrets public. Some three or four years before each one of these documents might have fetched thousands of dollars. Now, in the early 1990s, I offered them free of charge to the world’s most influential newspapers and magazines, but nobody wanted to print them. “Why bother?” Editors wearily shrugged their shoulders: “Who cares?”

As in the Soviet joke, where an unfortunate individual keeps hearing one thing and seeing another, I felt the need of a doctor who could treat both ears and eyes. I began to doubt what I saw, heard and remembered. In nightmares, I was pursued by determined young men with regular features, demanding the immediate return of these documents to the General Department (1st Section). It was indeed more than three days, and more than two months, since the documents came into my hands. Yet I had still not found a use for them. How can one tell a bad dream from reality? Only a few years earlier, everything set out in these papers had been hotly denied: at best it was anti-Communist paranoia, at worst it was libel. Any one of us who then dared refer to “the hand of Moscow” was immediately hounded by the press, accused of “McCarthyism” and treated as a pariah. Even those disposed to believe us would raise deprecating hands: “This is all guesswork, assumptions,” they said, “there is no proof.” Well, here it was, with signatures, dates, and reference numbers. It was now available for analysis, study and discussion – take it, check it, print it! “Why bother?” They replied, “Who cares?”

Naturally, elaborate theories were devised to explain this puzzling response. “People are tired of the tensions of the Cold War,” I was told. “They don’t want to hear any more about it. They simply want to get on with their lives, to work, to relax, and to forget the whole nightmarish experience.” Others commented: “Too many Communist secrets have appeared on the market at the same time.” “We must wait until all this becomes history,” suggested yet another school of thought: “for the time being, it’s still a political matter.” Somehow none of these explanations convinced me. By 1945, presumably, people were just as tired of the Second World War and Nazism, but that did nothing to halt a cascade of articles, books and films. An entire industry of anti-fascist works came into being, and this was not surprising: the need to make sense of something that has just happened is far more acute than any desire to understand the history of an earlier period. People then needed to grasp the meaning of events in which they had played a part; they needed to know whether their sacrifices and efforts had been justified; and they wanted to draw conclusions that would instruct and educate future generations. It was an attempt to avoid the repetition of previous errors and a form of collective therapy, healing the wounds of the past.

Undoubtedly, it is always painful to uncover the truth about recent events. Often it leads to open disputes, since certain participants of yesterday’s drama are still alive and, in some cases, continue to play a prominent role in their own countries. Yet when did such considerations ever restrain the press? A political scandal may be fatal for a certain individual, but it is the daily fare of the media, like a mongoose catching snakes. Why then had our mongoose suddenly grown so timid?

In front of me lay a document concerning someone I had never met, a person of whom I knew nothing until then. Yet he was well-known in his own country, it seemed, and in international political circles. Furthermore, he could have become President of Finland. The title of the document was prosaic (“Measures relating to the 50th birthday of Kalevi Sorsa, chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland”) and the text of the Resolution adopted by the Central Committee Secretariat (16 December 1980*, St 241/108) was not particularly interesting. It instructed the Soviet ambassador in Helsinki to pay Mr Sorsa a visit, congratulate him on his 50th birthday, and present him with a commemorative gift. The seeming innocence of this document possibly explains why I obtained it, without any fuss or bother, from the Central Committee archive. Why then was it marked “Top Secret”? My curiosity was aroused. Why should a decision to convey birthday greetings to a former prime minister of Finland, to the leader of the largest political party in a neighbouring neutral country, be shrouded in such secrecy?

I started digging deeper. Such decisions were based on reports and recommendations. Nothing was ever done on the spur of the moment. After lengthy efforts, and ruses which I shall not describe here, I finally found what I was looking for, a memorandum five days earlier (11 December 1980, 18‑S‑2161) [2] from the International Department. I shall reproduce it in full:

To the CPSU Central Committee

On measures relating to the 50th birthday of K. Sorsa, chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland

On 21 December 1980 K. Sorsa, chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDPF), 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 has consistently maintained positions friendly to the USSR and the CPSU. He has promoted the development of Soviet-Finnish relations and fostered stable contacts between the SDPF and our Party. On the international scene, first and foremost in the Socialist International, Sorsa, in confidential cooperation with us, has been working for detente, for the limitation of the arms race and for disarmament.

In view of the above, and in consideration of Sorsa’s election at its last congress as one of the vice-chairmen of the Socialist International, where he will continue to coordinate the activities of this organization on issues of detente and disarmament, and bearing in mind his contacts with other political forces, we believe it expedient to instruct the Soviet ambassador in Finland to personally congratulate Sorsa on his 50th birthday, on behalf of the CPSU Central Committee, and to present him with a commemorative gift.

Draft CPSU Central Committee resolution appended.

Deputy head, Central Committee International Department

(A. Chernyaev)

Clearly, the above information was of some importance. For Finland, it was sensational. It showed that a man who was about to stand for President in 1994 had engaged in “confidential cooperation” with Moscow while serving as Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and leader of the country’s largest political party.

He was, it seemed likely, “Moscow’s man” in the Socialist International, where as vice-chairman, he would have exerted considerable influence. Let us recall that period, the last contortions of the Cold War. The streets of Western capitals teemed with “peace” demonstrations, protesting against NATO plans to locate medium-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe. At the centre of the campaign were European socialists and social democrats, many of them in government or, at least, leaders of the main opposition party. And at the very heart of it all, coordinating the Socialist International’s activities on matters of detente and disarmament while, at the same time, “confidentially cooperating” with the CPSU on these same issues, was Sorsa. In the run-up to the Finnish presidential election, one might think, such a revelation would have been seized on by the press. Yet this document was offered to the largest newspapers in Finland without any success. Only after six months, thanks to the efforts of my friends, did the information it contained finally appear in July 1993 in the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat [3]. After publicly expressing his regret, Mr. Sorsa withdrew his candidacy.

I could find no explanation for such a state of affairs. “People are tired of the Cold War”, I was told, and did not want to hear anything about the recent past. Was it for the press to decide what the public should or should not know about their future president? Surely the press had a duty to inform the public, and then let the public decide for itself what it did or did 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.

Not so very long before there had been an enormous scandal in another neutral European country. It became known that Kurt Waldheim, who was running for president of Austria, had “cooperated confidentially” with the Nazis, some fifty years earlier, as a junior officer in the German army. The electorate, as it happened, chose to ignore the fact, but the Austrian press felt obliged to discuss the matter down to the smallest detail. The whole world raised a storm of protest, and everywhere the media treated it as an event of primary importance. In that instance, strangely, nobody thought to say: “Why bother? Who cares?”


Finland, it could be argued, was a special case, as the term “Finlandization” indicates. The whole country had engaged, in some sense, in “confidential cooperation” with Moscow. For the Finns, this was not a crime and hardly a sensation. What else could one expect of a small, neutral country forced to live side-by-side with Big Brother? Yet geography was not the crucial factor. Norway was also a neighbour of the Soviet Union but it did not become “Finlandized”. The term, moreover, was coined in 1961 in West Germany, a far from neutral country, which (unlike Finland) the West was committed to defend. It was there that the process of “Finlandization” took root and flourished.

Despite a readiness to open the Stasi archives, a re-united Germany stopped short of putting the former East German leader on trial, no doubt fearing that Honecker would live up to his threat and tell a great many entertaining stories. No one was particularly keen to delve more deeply into the origins of the “Ostpolitik” of the 1970s, to re-evaluate that policy, or take a new look at the past activities of such figures as Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr. There was much that deserved closer scrutiny. The KGB passed a memorandum (9 September 1969*, No 2273-A), marked Top Secret (Special File), to the Central Committee reporting on a meeting in the Netherlands, between “a KGB source and Count Georg-Volkmar Zedtwitz von Arnim, a director of the Krupp corporation” at the latter’s request:

Zedtwitz is a confidant of Egon Bahr, a prominent member of the German Social Democratic Party [SPD]. Bahr handles the planning, coordination and development of key aspects of West German foreign policy. Zedtwitz had approached the source, he stated, at Bahr’s direct request in the hope that the contents of the discussion would be relayed to the Soviet leadership. Citing Bahr, Zedtwitz said the following:

    The “most sensible” leaders of the SPD have reached the conclusion that it is essential to seek new ways of conducting the “Ostpolitik”. They wish to establish direct and reliable channels of contact with Moscow. In the opinion of some in West Germany, recent official contacts have yielded negligible results because each side, due to its official position, has done little more than make “purely propagandistic” declarations. Contacts with embassy officials in Bonn are also undesirable: it is difficult to maintain them unofficially, and information about 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.

     Zedtwitz states that there are forces within West German industrial circles that are ready to facilitate a normalization of relations with the USSR. Their capacity is limited, however, because economic ties between West Germany and the USSR are still in an “embryonic” condition. In Zedtwitz’s opinion, the Soviet Union is not making sufficient use of the levers of foreign trade to achieve its political goals, though it would already be possible to ensure that measures are taken to exclude the participation of German specialists in the Chinese missile and nuclear programs and to counteract West German politicians’ tendency to flirt with Mao Tse Tung.

According to available data, the leadership of the other ruling party in West Germany, the Christian Democratic Union, is also attempting 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 information we have received indicates that the two leading and competing West German parties fear that their political opponents will seize the initiative and put relations with the Soviet Union on a regular footing, and are prepared to conduct unofficial negotiations, not announced in the press, which could serve to strengthen their situation and prestige [the SPD and CDU were then coalition partners in government, tr.].

     Consequently, the KGB feels that it would be appropriate to continue unofficial contacts with the leadership of both parties. As such contacts develop, it would be advantageous, using the opportunities provided by our foreign trade, to try to exert a favourable influence on West German foreign policy, and ensure a flow of information about the positions and plans of the leadership in Bonn.

     We request authorization.


This is not just an interesting text, it was a historic document. It marked the beginning of the famous “neue Ostpolitik “, West Germany’s new policy towards its eastern neighbours, which subsequently became a fundamental component of “detente”, the most shameful chapter in the history of the Cold War.

The Federal Republic was then under no threat. It gained nothing substantial from this policy, but, as a consequence, East-West relations long became infected with the virus of capitulation. Because of this change in direction, instead of the united opposition to Communism of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the West was forced, at best, to waste its energies on a fruitless struggle with such a defeatist tendency and, at worst, to retreat to preserve its unity. This document determined the course of international politics for the next 25 years, yet no major newspaper in Germany was willing to publish it. Three years after I had offered the text for publication, the German weekly Der Spiegel [4] quoted some passages, without seeking my consent or mentioning the source. The publication prompted no reaction, and met with total indifference.

Was no one interested? Now that Communism had collapsed in Russia and Eastern Europe, did we feel neither desire nor duty to examine the circumstances under which the policy of détente was foisted upon the world? Had we no curiosity about the motives of its creators, the German Social Democrats, or about the damage it did to NATO’s collective defence? Did we really have no inclination to assess the damage this policy caused to the people of the USSR and Eastern Europe, by extending the lives of their Communist regimes for at least another ten years?

And what of the Social Democrats themselves? Did they feel no need to make an honest assessment of their policy towards the East? Ironically, the architects of the new “Ostpolitik” were touted as heroes who claimed that the downfall of Communism in the East was a result of their “subtle” engagement with Moscow. It was shameless beyond belief. On such criteria, Neville Chamberlain could have been declared the victor in 1945 since peace with Germany had finally been achieved.


Another example from another country. Throughout the post-war decades, Japan was also shielded by the American nuclear umbrella. This did not prevent the country’s Socialists from receiving illegal financial aid from Moscow through the companies and cooperatives they controlled (31 October 1967*, St 37/46) [5], organizations tactfully described in Central Committee documents as “Firms run by the Friends”. One might imagine that the largest opposition party in Japan, with many deputies in parliament and wide public support, could have maintained its financial independence. Instead, the Socialist Party became mired in debt to the tune of some 800 million yen and in 1967 turned for help to the CPSU. After pulling off some shady deals in timber and textiles, the party was hooked. In a few years, the Japanese Socialists were receiving funds from Moscow for their election campaigns (3 March 1972*, St 33/8). It is not too difficult to guess what would have happened to Japan if they had won the elections. Perhaps a new term, “Japanization”, would have been born.

The actions just described were a crime under Japanese law, yet the documentary proof did not stir the interest of either the Japanese press or the country’s prosecution service. If it had been a matter, on the other hand, of illegal kickbacks to a political party from Japan’s own businessmen… About the same time The New York Times treated its readers to an “astonishing” scoop [6]. In the 1950s and 1960s, it reported, the CIA provided funds to Japan’s Liberal Party in support of its struggle against growing Communist influence. It was a sensation and something for the American reader to deplore. The same New York Times showed no interest when I offered them documentation concerning more recent Soviet aid to Japan’s Socialists. From the newspaper’s point of view, it was nothing to shout about.

And so, from country to country, document to document. People didn’t want to know: for some it was all over and done with, for others it was not yet safely in the past. At one time, many feared to make such revelations – Communism was too powerful. Now, supposedly, it was so weak that such things were not worth knowing. There was either “too much” or not enough information … A thousand and one reasons were offered, each more unconvincing than the last, but the result was always the same. Apparently serious, honest people were overcome by embarrassment. With a conspiratorial wink, they would say, “Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. Now, if you could get hold of this or that further document…” For some reason, I was the only interested party and the onus, therefore, fell on me to find or furnish the evidence. It was as if I was persuading them to do something disreputable and they seized on a convenient excuse to decline my request.

If we had been discussing certain more distant events, one can assume there would have been no need to persuade anyone or to offer any additional proof. To bring those who took part in Nazi atrocities to justice was a sacred task, the duty of one and all. Yet God forbid that you should point a finger at a Communist, let alone a fellow-traveller: that would have been improper, and constitute a “witch-hunt”. The duplicity was astounding. When and how had we let ourselves become bound by this flawed morality? How had humanity managed to survive decades with such a schizophrenia of the conscience? Untroubled by any humanitarian doubts, we continued to hunt down senile 80-year-olds in Latin America because of the evils they perpetrated fifty years before. They were murderers and could not be forgiven. Never again, we proudly declared (and a noble tear moistened the eye). When it came to putting Honecker in the dock – the East German leader on whose orders people were being killed only a few years earlier – every feeling was outraged. It would be inhuman, he was old and sick. So, he was released and took himself off to die … in Latin America.

It was all part of something I call world-wide “Finlandization”.

1.2 Hard currency

These unthinking double standards transformed Western Communists into a privileged group, akin to sacred cows. They could do what they liked. They received advance forgiveness for any underhand behaviour or for committing crimes that would send an ordinary person to prison for years. For instance, they lived on Soviet money, although this was hotly denied; it was “not done” to speak of it in public. Now there were documents and receipts. The details of how this money was transferred to them via the KGB was described in the Russian press. In Western newspapers, a tacit ban on the subject remained in force.

It was puzzling. I was referring not to the Communist International in the years before the Second World War – that period was thoroughly documented by then, and, perhaps, no longer of great public interest: I was talking about our own times. Those who took part in such “activities” were still alive and should be made to answer for their deeds. In countries where it was not considered a crime to receive foreign funding for political activities, the receipt of such tax-free donations could not be overlooked. It was tax evasion which landed Al Capone in prison; Nixon’s Vice-President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign for similar offences. Yet not a single country in the world investigated the financial operations of local Communists, although there had clearly been systematic chicanery on a substantial scale.

At the end of the 1960s, to bring some order into the distribution of such assistance, Moscow created a special “International Fund to Aid Left-Wing Workers’ Organizations” with a total budget of $16,550,000 in annual contributions. Naturally, the USSR was the largest donor. The Politburo decided it would give $14 million. The fraternal East Europeans also chipped in (8 January 1969*, Pb 111/162): the Czechs, Rumanians, Poles and Hungarians provided half a million dollars each; Bulgaria gave $350,000, and the East Germans supplied $200,000. Of the 34 recipients 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 US Communist Party ($1 million) [7]. The smallest recipients were the Mozambique Liberation Front ($10,000); and Comrade Vikremasithke, Chairman of the Sri Lankan Communist Party, who received $6,000.

The Fund continued to operate until 1991. The only changes were in the number of recipients – by 1981 they had grown to 57 – and, for example, the amount paid to the US Communist Party: in 1981, it received $2 million (29 December 1980*, Pb 230/34). By 1990, the last year of the Fund’s existence [8], its budget had swollen to 22 million dollars, and the beneficiaries were 73 “Communist, workers’, and revolutionary-democratic parties and organizations”. The Soviet contribution to the “International Fund” increased correspondingly. By the 1980s, the Soviet share was $15.5 million, in 1986 $17 million, in 1987 $17.5 million and, in 1990, the entire $22 million. With the deepening crisis of Communism, the East European comrades defaulted on their contributions, one after the other, leaving Big Brother to pick up the bill for revolution. There was certainly cause for concern, as Valentin Falin, head of the International Department, stated on 5 December 1989* in a report [9] to the Central Committee:

    The International Fund to Aid Left-wing Workers’ Organizations has consisted, for many years, of voluntary contributions from the CPSU and several other Communist parties in socialist countries. By the end of the 1970s, however, the Polish and Romanian and (from 1987) Hungarian comrades ceased to participate in the Fund, citing difficulties with finance and hard currency. In 1988 and 1989, the Socialist Unity Party of [East] Germany and the Communist parties of Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, without offering an explanation, declined to make the contributions expected of them, and the Fund consisted entirely of sums apportioned by the CPSU. In 1987, the share paid by the above-mentioned three parties constituted $2.3 million, i.e. around 13 percent of the total contributions….

    Parties which have regularly received specific sums of money from the Fund over many years rate this form of international solidarity very highly. They do not believe it could be replaced by any other form of assistance. Most these parties have already submitted substantiated applications for aid in 1990; some requested that the amount be increased substantially.

An equally unsettling problem was the continuing decline of the dollar, which depreciated this form of “international solidarity” – the damned capitalists just couldn’t get their inflation under control. Hence the dilemma: the aim was to bring capitalism to its knees, but a weakening of capitalism made the Communists themselves suffer. What was to be done? A way out was suggested by Anatoly Dobrynin. Then head of the Central Committee’s International Department, he was the very same Dobrynin who, as Soviet ambassador to the USA, was lauded in liberal American circles as pro-Western and an enlightened person with whom one could “do business”. He simply proposed on 21 November 1987 [10] that all payments should be calculated in the more reliable “hard-currency” rouble. The Politburo approved this suggestion (30 November 1987*, Pb 95/21). The Soviet contribution was designated as 13.5 million “hard” roubles for 1988 and for the following year [11], when the no less “pro-Western” Falin replaced his enlightened colleague as head of the International Department. Towards the end, however, worries about the dollar retreated into the background, as the fraternal East Europeans scattered in all directions. For the final year, 1990, the USSR State Bank (Gosbank) agreed to provide the entire 22 million in dollars [12].

Obviously, the long years spent in Western capitals by Dobrynin, Falin and others had not diluted the Central Committee’s revolutionary fervour, and the approaching collapse of the Soviet empire did not undermine feelings of international solidarity. This is all the more curious when we remember that the Politburo which took these decisions headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, the most pro-Western, liberal and pragmatic Soviet leader with whom the West had ever “done business”. These “liberals” tried to sweep all trace of their activities under the carpet, so that the illegal export of foreign currency to Communist Parties around the world would not accidentally surface and undermine the West’s faith in “glasnost” and “perestroika”. By that time, the overriding concern of Kremlin “reformers” was to receive Western credits, and too much talk about where these funds went next could only damage that business.

They tried to replace the direct smuggling of hard currency with more refined financial schemes using “Firms run by the Friends”. The suggestion was raised by the Politburo on 4 February 1987 and was the subject of a report by the International Department towards the end of the year (21 November 1987) [13]. It was discussed with their client parties but finally rejected [14]. “The possibility of transferring aid through trade relations with firms controlled by fraternal parties is currently limited to a very small number of parties,” Anatoly Dobrynin reported to the Central Committee [15]:

Many firms controlled by Communist parties are economically weak, with limited contacts and capacity for trade; some of them are even losing money. The firms of only certain fraternal parties – the French, Greek, Cypriot and Portuguese – are in a position to develop cooperation with Soviet foreign trade organizations in a way which would bring them tangible profit. The percentage paid by firms into party budgets is, as a rule, insignificant – from 1 to 5 percent from profits 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 own 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 possible receipt of aid through trade organizations, comrades from fraternal parties consider this method to be “harder to conceal and involves many risks” (Gaston 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 solidarity. For some, first and foremost the underground organisations, income from the Fund is the only means of financing their activities; for others, aid from the Fund is a very important part of their resources for financing organizational, political and ideological work (including publication and distribution of newspapers and other printed matter).

    Ending assistance from the International Fund would, for most of the recipient parties, be an irreparable loss and inevitably have an extremely negative effect on their activities. Even parties which have their own businesses, trading and intermediary firms would have to cut back on at least some important undertakings without income from the Fund. In turn, this would lead to a decrease in their political weight and influence, and lessen their ability to influence social and political processes in their countries.

    At present neither the fraternal parties nor Soviet foreign trade organizations are ready to transfer 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 had no wish to exchange revolutionary romanticism for the mundane concerns of commerce. Moscow, however, remained restless. The following year saw the whole circus repeated – the discussions, the reports to the Central Committee (this time by Falin), and its resolution [16]. The same arguments were aired, only this time we learn in greater detail to what uses this aid was being put (28 December 1988*):

The money received from the Fund is used by the parties, at their own discretion, for the main types of party-political work (the activities of the Central Committee, payments to full-time Party activists, publication of newspapers, 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 of this aid or its reduction 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.

Moscow never did wean these Communist sucklings from her maternal breast or persuade them to adopt the principle of “socialist self-financing”, though attempts were made practically every year. In 1991, some six months before things fell apart, meetings continued with the afore-mentioned Gaston Plissonnier of the French Communist Party, as did discussions concerning “the development of business ties with the CPSU and suggestions concerning trade and economic relations via Firms of the Friends” (17 January 1991, 6-S-44). It is not hard to calculate that such “international solidarity”, from 1969 onwards, provided the French Communist Party with no less than $44 million, the US Communist Party with some $35 million, while the Italians received still more. In total Moscow gifted its “Friends” around $400 million from 1969 onwards, and that did not include other forms of financial support. These were substantial sums – how could they be of no interest to Western bodies responsible for tax-collection, fiscal policy and the banking sector?

The West provided the Soviet leaders with hard currency to rescue the latest Kremlin “dove” from the clutches of surrounding Kremlin “hawks” (or, at other times, to save the “reformers” from the “conservatives”). This was how the money was spent. In the 1990s there were demands for the return of these funds, with interest, from the destitute peoples of the former USSR. Why didn’t every country claim payment of these debts from its own Communists? Would this not have been easier and more just? Penniless Russia would never be able to pay. The idea evoked no enthusiasm, however. For on closer scrutiny it would not only be the Communists in the dock.

1.3 “Firms run by the Friends”

Despite all their claims of poverty, aid from Moscow via “Firms run by the Friends” was a far from negligible addition to the budgets of the recipient parties. Unfortunately, I lacked sufficient documentation to paint a full picture of these activities. The materials at my disposal, however, were quite adequate for an estimation of its scale.

By the looks of it, one of the first Western Communist Parties to adopt the “socialist principle of self-financing” was that of Italy, at the time the largest and most influential in Europe. Looking through the lists of the International Fund’s clients (29 December 1980*, Pb 230/34) I had been concerned to note that by the end of the 1970s there was no longer any mention of the Italian comrades, although to begin with they had headed the list. “Poor souls,” I thought. “They must have suffered for their honesty and principles by refusing to abandon faith in ‘communism with a human face’, whereupon Moscow heartlessly deprived them of fraternal aid.”

At that time, it is true, the Italian comrades were displaying feats of heroism. They distanced themselves from Moscow on the issue of human rights; they condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and they came out in support of “Solidarity” in Poland. We disbelieving cynics thought this was no more than window-dressing. For a moment, I must confess, I felt ashamed of my cynicism. Alas, I could have spared my blushes – the Italian Communist Party had no intention of perishing from a surfeit of honesty. On the contrary, its contacts with Moscow deepened perceptibly. In summer 1980, the Politburo adopted a special resolution “On strengthening work with the Italian Communist Party” (10 June 1980, Pb 203/1); a short while earlier they appear to have put their financial relations on a sound footing. At least, the following document (5 October 1979*, St 179/32), marked Top Secret (Special File), indicates they were in the process of doing so:

    At the request of Comrade E. Berlinguer a member of the leadership of the Italian Communist Party [PCI], Comrade A. Natta, Coordination Secretary of the PCI Central Committee, has informed us that PCI leadership member Comrade Gianni Cervetti, who arrives in Moscow on 7 October this year for a short vacation, has been instructed to discuss a number of special issues, including financial matters, with the CPSU Central Committee (coded telegram from Rome, No 1474, 3 October 1979).

    We feel it would be expedient to meet this request of the PCI leadership and receive Comrade G. Cervetti in the CPSU Central Committee to discuss the matters which interest him. A draft CPSU Central Committee resolution is appended.

Naturally, one could only guess what financial matters were discussed at the Central Committee by Comrades Cervetti, Ponomarev and Zagladin. A few years later a highly-classified Politburo document (18 January 1983*, Pb 94/52) illustrated the nature of those financial relations – the amount in dollars was added by hand:

Concerning the request of the Italian Friends

Instruct the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comrade Patolichev) to sell Interexpo (president, Comrade L. Remiggio) 600,000 tonnes of oil and 150,000 tonnes of diesel fuel on a normal commercial basis, but on favourable conditions at a discount of approximately 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 Central Committee

Here, however, the rule of silence was broken. It was a significant exception, and it had far-reaching repercussions. In late 1991 and early 1992 these and certain other documents concerning the unsavoury past of the PCI began filtering into the Italian press. People started to talk of an investigation into possible violations of the tax laws. The reaction was instantaneous – those who suggested an investigation found themselves being investigated. It was as if the magistrates’ courts, actively infiltrated by the PCI in recent years, awoke abruptly from a deep and dreamless sleep to discover an astonishing degree of corruption in the financing of virtually all Italy’s major political parties – except, naturally, the PCI.

What followed can be likened to Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937-1938, if not in magnitude, then certainly in style: one third of the Italian Cabinet of Ministers found themselves in jail or under investigation. The terror went under the proud title of the “clean hands” (mani pulite) operation – hard not to recall the Chekist motto here,” A cool head, clean hands, and a passionate heart” – and it cut a swathe through the Italian establishment, sparing neither politicians, nor businessmen, nor government officials. Thousands were imprisoned. Arrests, almost invariably, followed information given by those behind bars in exchange for their own release. There were several suicides. As yet, admittedly, there was no torture or summary execution – the Italian Communists, after all, had “a human face”. A thriving country, Italy 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, and unemployment soared. Who would now come to the rescue, who was worthy to rule Italy if not those with “clean hands”?

“But there really was corruption!” protesting voices cried. Yes, there was and – this was the crux of the matter – it had been present throughout the entire post-war period. Corruption was as widely accepted a transgression in Italy as exceeding the speed limit. Everyone knew about corruption, including the magistrates with their “clean hands”. Yet, for some reason, nobody bothered to fight it until the PCI came under threat of exposure and found itself on the verge of ruin without financial aid from Moscow. The Italian Communists really had nothing to lose but their chains, and the prize would be Italy. Just like their “clean-handed” Soviet predecessors of the Great Terror, however, they did not appreciate how easily terror, an ungovernable force, can turn on its perpetrators. Then they would be reminded of their trade with Moscow “on a normal commercial basis” and their self-interested control of virtually all Italy’s trade with the USSR, which funded the largest Communist party in Europe for decades.

Needless to say, other Communist parties traded with the CPSU Central Committee on the same “normal commercial basis” for years, but the example of what happened in Italy hardly encouraged public discussion of the matter. The French probably began earlier than their Italian colleagues. At least one document I found suggested this was likely: at the end of 1980 the Central Committee Secretariat approved a ten-year extension of payment on a loan of 2.8 million roubles made to the West German firm Magra GmbH, a company controlled by the “French Friends” (16 December 1980, St 241/99). In recommending this decision, the International Department of the Central Committee reported [17]: “The firm Magra GmbH is owned by the French Communist Party, and for 15 years has been purchasing ball-bearings from the [Soviet] foreign trade organization Stankoimport for sale in West Germany. The debt of 2.8 million arose because the firm invested this sum in expanding their business and there was a fall in demand for ball-bearings in West Germany.”

From 1965, this firm and its French offshoot, Magra-France, successfully traded in Soviet goods for the benefit of communism. In Germany alone, ball bearings were sold to the tune of 10 million hard-currency roubles. Another document from the Central Committee (26 August 1980, St 225/84) referred to “suggestions put forward by G. Jerome”, a member of the PCF Central Committee, and instructs the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade and Gosplan to “devise and implement measures for further expansion of trade and economic ties with firms run by the French Friends,” such as Comex and Interagra. There were as many such firms as the “suggestions” nursed by Jerome. Clearly Comrade Plissonnier could have had little cause for complaint.

Nor were others left out. In far-off Australia, the Socialist Party pressed for the cancellation of “debts to the sum of 2,574,932 roubles, incurred by the Australian firm Palanga Travel for the charter of the cruise ships ‘Fedor Chaliapin’ and “Khabarovsk’ in 1974-1975” (23 December 1980, St 242/76). It is not clear whether this was a firm run by the Socialist Party of Australia [18] or would become theirs in exchange for the debts being written off.

The Greek publisher and industrialist George Bobolas earned inclusion in the title of a Central Committee resolution (11 April 1980, St 206/58), “On cooperation with the Greek publisher G. Bobolas”, which instructed the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the State Committee for External Economic Ties “to give preference, all other things being equal, to Greek industrialist and publisher G. Bobolas, in view of the positive part he has played in the development of Soviet-Greek ties.”

At first glance, this did not seem too heinous. It was a small reward for the comrade’s tireless efforts in the cause of good neighbourly relations. From appended documents, however, and especially from the report submitted to the Central Committee by KGB deputy chairman S. Tsvigun [19], it emerged that these efforts fell within the framework of KGB “special measures”. The Chekists had their own understanding of good neighbourly relations. They used Bobolas’s publishing house Akademos as a “base for ideological influence in Greece and in the Greek communities of several [other] countries.” The devotion of Bobolas to promoting good neighbourly relations with the Soviet Union resulted in certain losses, in particular, those incurred in publishing a Greek translation of Brezhnev’s Peace – Mankind’s Best Reward with a foreword by the author. “To achieve a degree of compensation”, Bobolas was “seeking to establish business contacts with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the State Committee for External Economic Ties through the conclusion of quite large-scale and mutually beneficial deals.” Subsequently there were several scandals involving Bobolas. Naturally, having received such strong “preferential status” in the conclusion of “mutually beneficial” business, he did not sit idly by, nor did he disappoint his Soviet partners. Within a couple of years, he began publishing the newspaper Ethnos, the main mouthpiece for Soviet disinformation in Greece. Attempts were made to expose him, but he fought back, taking The Economist to court for “libel” over a 1982 report. And he practically won the case.

Time passed, and George Bobolas grew from a building contractor into a media tycoon. Apart from Akademos publishers and the Ethnos newspaper, he became co-owner of Mega, the largest Greek television channel. Bobolas acquired interests in the cinema and recording industries, and successive governments – both socialist and conservative – continued to give him huge construction contracts. In other words, he was seen as a respectable citizen, and a pillar of society and Greek democracy. In time the good neighbourly regime in Moscow collapsed. The newspaper Pravda found itself bankrupt and on the verge of closure. For some time, it disappeared from the newspaper stands. Then, suddenly, it again sprang to life and began to flourish, as was reported, thanks to “funds provided by Greek Communists”. Officially, Pravda‘s fairy godmother was named as one Yannikos, a partner of Bobolas in his past publishing feats.

It was anybody’s guess how many such “Bobolases” Moscow spawned over the past 75 years. Who were Armand Hammer and Robert Maxwell: businessmen who became agents, or agents who became businessmen? Where did business end and politics begin? No businessman could have had purely commercial relations with the USSR, of that I remain firmly convinced. One cannot deal with the devil without becoming his servant. Leaving aside the dubious morality of selling the “hangman of the bourgeoisie” the rope he needed, it was hardly possible to fraternize with the Soviet demons without becoming corrupt. Moreover, the people who then sought such relations were a particular breed and held particular views.

A straightforward document, apparently devoid of any secrets, concerned: “Opening offices in Moscow for a number of foreign companies” (5 January 1981, St 244/50). At first glance, there seemed no reason to be suspicious: these were, surely, established firms with large turnovers, trading on the basis of “mutual benefit”. Yet this document was also classified “Top Secret”. A closer look at the attached résumés showed that one firm had a prominent Western politician on its board of directors, while another helped to influence the policies of its government “in directions favourable to our interests”. A third firm, the Spanish company Prodag S.A., was an absolute paragon. Prodag paid its bills on time, it had been trading with the USSR since 1959, and it was a dependable partner: “figures for 1979 show that some 50% of all trade between Spain and the Soviet Union was conducted through Prodag.” Only the last line shed a glimmer of light: “the firm’s president, R. Mendoza, is currently preparing L.I. Brezhnev’s work Peace, Disarmament and Soviet-American Relations for publication.”

By 1981, according to this Top-Secret document, 123 such offices had opened in Moscow. Who could say what they were doing when not engaged in commercial activities? Why did they need offices in Moscow during that period? Were they still there in the 1990s? How many other firms dispensed with such official representation? Nobody was trying to find out. What difference did it make now? “Who cares?” All this was in the past.


“The Cold War is over, haven’t you heard?”

How could one fail to hear when the news was shouted from the rooftops by those for whom that war never existed or who, at best, closed their eyes to its existence. “Desert Storm” in early 1991 had also come and gone but the investigation of firms which dealt with Iraq before the war was only just beginning. No war is over until the minefields and unexploded bombs have been cleared and the gangs of looters and surviving foes have been disarmed. Everyone knew that: the peace could otherwise prove a horror worse than the war itself.

Meanwhile, the issue of firms which traded with the Soviet Union became increasingly significant. During Gorbachev’s last few years in power, especially in 1990-1991, he “privatized” the activities of the CPSU, encouraging the apparatus and, especially, the KGB to set up so-called joint ventures with Western businesses. Their numbers grew astronomically and, presumably, this was thanks in the first place to “Firms run by Friends” and other “businessmen” allied to the KGB. Such a scenario seems quite logical, given Gorbachev’s determination to put “international aid” on a commercial footing. Who better for the KGB to deal with than those it already knew and could control?

They began by laundering Communist Party funds and looting the country’s natural resources (gold, oil, rare metals). Spreading like cancer, these malevolent, Mafia-like structures then gained a stranglehold over practically all “private” enterprise in the former USSR. Russia, Ukraine and the other Soviet republics joined the world market, adding another international crime syndicate, more powerful and frightening than the Cosa Nostra or any Colombian drug cartel.

1.4 Intellectual Shenanigans

Not surprisingly, Moscow’s aid to its clients was not restricted to that described above. As Falin reported to the Central Committee in the late 1980s (28 December 1988*), apart from direct subventions and finance via commercial channels, there was also: “supply of paper for newspaper printing; invitations to party activists to study, take vacations and receive medical treatment [in the USSR]; purchase of the parties’ publications; payment of some party representatives’ travel from one country to another, etc.”

The “etc.” included, for instance, a whole network of bookshops owned by “Friends” in many countries. This program, instituted in the 1960s via the “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” (International Books) foreign-trade agency, was not cheap. All these shops were opened with Soviet funds in the form of credits which, naturally, were never repaid in full. They all “traded” at a heavy loss which would later be written off “at the request of the Friends”. The cost varied, depending on place, time and circumstance. The re-opening of Collets Bookshop in the centre of London, for instance, cost Moscow £80,000 (or 124,000 hard-currency roubles), and the contract with the firm explicitly envisaged “covering a possible deficit from the sale of Soviet publications in the first years of the shop’s existence” [20]. The opening of a similar shop in Montreal a few years earlier had cost only 10,000 Canadian dollars. The total debts written off in the late 1960s varied. They ranged from 12,300 hard-currency roubles for the Israeli Communist Party’s Popular Bookshop and 56,500 hard-currency roubles for the Belgian Communist Party’s shop “Du monde entier”, up to $300,000 in 1968 for the firms run by the US Communist Party (“Four Continents Book Corporation”, “Cross World Books & Periodicals” and “Victor Kamkin”) [21]. Australia was not forgotten: by 1978 the Socialist Party’s “New Era Books & Records” owed Moscow 80,000 hard-currency roubles.

Without full information, it is hard to determine the overall loss from this bold commercial activity. The report submitted by Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga to the Central Committee in 1967 showed that the total volume of the firm’s “exports to capitalist countries” was worth 3.9 million hard-currency roubles for that year; the overall sum of deferred debts was 2.46 million, while bad debt amounted to 642,000 hard-currency roubles. These were considerable sums at the time. Nonetheless, the exports continued. By the early 1980s there was a new series of debts to be written off, including $460,000 owed by “Imported Publications” and “International Publishers”, other firms run by the US Communist Party (5 January 1982**, St 44/7).

Then there was paper for fraternal publications, supplied gratis and in enormous quantities. The decision to establish a special fund for this purpose was taken by the Central Committee in the mid-1970s [22]. It was impossible to estimate how much the Soviet Union spent on such matters since the cost of producing and transporting anything in the USSR was not evaluated in real money but arbitrarily expressed in “non-cash transfers”. It was, in simple terms, a bottomless well. In 1980 alone this special fund supplied the brothers abroad with 13,000 tonnes of paper [23]. I had no idea how much this would cost in the West but a rough estimate based on a provisional assessment of the costs yielded a figure of 3.5 million roubles per annum. Finally, as of 1 January 1989, the fund ceased to exist. The Soviet Prime Minister, Nikolai Ryzhkov, instructed that “Expenses relating to the production and supply of newsprint covered by the special fund set up to meet the needs of fraternal parties will now be covered by USSR budget allocations for aid to foreign countries” (24 December 1988, No 578). Probably we shall never learn exactly what this cost a country where toilet paper was a luxury and the shortage of paper for printing so acute that one had to submit 20 kilos of books and newspapers for pulp to be sure of getting a new title that would be in heavy demand.

But that was not all. There was yet another form of aid for fraternal publishing: the direct purchase of this output by the Soviet Union, allegedly for sale to foreign students and tourists in the USSR. Again, I had no systematic, year-by-year information on the subject, but as the crisis deepened the Soviet authorities were forced to review all their revolutionary expenses. By the late 1980s the purchase and transportation of 90 titles from 42 countries consumed 4.5 million hard-currency roubles per annum – around $6 million at the exchange rate of the time.

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.

This related only to “foreign correspondents”. There was also the cost of looking after visiting Communist leaders, who were received in much grander style. In those days, it should not be forgotten, medical treatment, housing and education were all considered free of charge in the Soviet Union and thus were not included in the arithmetic. Nonetheless, in 1971 alone the hospitable Central Committee assigned 3.2 million hard-currency roubles in the expectation of receiving 2,900 very dear guests, of whom at least one hundred were expecting to receive medical treatment (28 July 1971*, St 123/30).

There were also services which cannot be measured in either dollars or hard-currency roubles. I uncovered a handwritten request sent by Gus Hall, the General Secretary of the US Communist Party, in October 1969 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, say, with the Moscow State University? Why, of course not, comrades. No problem whatsoever! As noted in the accompanying memo from the International Department [24], not only would this serve “to raise his authority in democratic negro circles”, it would also “make it possible for him to secure a teaching post at New York University, where the party has lately been working actively.” It paid to have Friends in the right places. The President of the United States could not make you a professor at New York University; the Politburo could.

These more innocent Communist shenanigans did receive some coverage in the Western press. The documents themselves were not cited but there was passing reference to them in some newspapers, mainly in humorous form: Look at those silly Russians, fancy throwing money away on such nonsense. Moscow’s assistance to the US Communist Party was regarded as the biggest joke of all: why on earth was it necessary? There were only 40,000 Communists in the entire country. The newspapers’ amusement, however, was wide of the mark. Moscow needed the US Communist Party not for elections to Congress but for a quite different reason. This was not a party in the traditional sense but, rather, a paid Soviet network of agents, and having 40,000 agents in your enemy’s midst is no mean achievement. Back in 1917, Lenin also started out with only 40,000 comrades.

As for the books, newspapers and magazines, there was not much to laugh at, either. Following in Lenin’s footsteps, they all began with the printed word and ended with terror. Here in a Top Secret (Special File) memorandum from the KGB to the Central Committee is one example of what the US Communist Party was up to at the time (28 April 1970*, 1128-A).

Of late the radical negro organization the Black Panthers has been subjected to harsh repression by the US authorities, headed by the FBI, which regard the Black Panthers a serious threat to national security. Police provocation, the trials of the Black Panthers and the wide 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.

The KGB suggested it would be “advisable to implement certain measures aimed at supporting this movement and assisting its growth” because the rising protests would create “certain difficulties for the ruling classes of the USA” and, more specifically, would “distract the Nixon administration from pursuing an active foreign policy”. The KGB therefore requested authorisation to use its “assets” in African countries

to incite political and public figures, youth, trade union and nationalist organizations to put forward petitions, and submit demands and declarations in defence of the rights of American negroes to the UN, to US embassies in their countries and to the US government; to publish articles and letters in the press of various African countries, accusing the US government of genocide. Use KGB assets 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 towards American negroes to an end.

    By implementing the above-mentioned measures, we believe, it will be possible to mobilize public opinion in the US and in other countries in support of the rights of American negroes and thereby stimulate the Black Panthers into further activation of their struggle.

… Like a murky dream, I recalled my cell in Vladimir Prison, and Pravda headlines screaming: “Free Angela Davis!” When you had been sentenced to 7 or 10 years’ imprisonment for reading a proscribed book or for one word of criticism it was comical to read this. To those of us schooled by prison, the scenario was crystal clear: it was a straightforward case of being an accomplice to murder. She gave her Black Panther boyfriend the weapons with which he killed court officials and policemen, while attempting to escape. What could be simpler? But the world was going mad: she was “a courageous woman”, an “activist of the negro movement”.

Frightened lawmakers in California abolished the death penalty in their state, to be on the safe side, and the no less frightened members of the jury cleared Davis of every charge, to the delight of all progressive mankind. She was a latter-day Vera Zasulich [25], no less! Only much later, after the court had acquitted her, did Pravda proudly refer to “Angela Davis, member of the Central Committee of the US Communist Party “. They could get away with anything, including murder.

1.5 “Special Aid”

There was yet another form of “international solidarity” which could not be measured in dollars or roubles, and it was not as harmless as scrounging an honorary degree. This kind of aid was so veiled in secrecy that any related documentation automatically bore the “Special File” designation. The Central Committee chose to cloak the subject further in vague terms such as “special training”, “special equipment”, “special materials”. The more specific details were added by hand: the Committee’s vetted typists were not sufficiently trusted (in the texts that follow hand-written insertions are indicated in underlined italic script).

Woe betide the country which became the recipient of this sort of “aid”. It would shortly become one of the world’s “hot spots”, although it might hitherto have been prosperous and peaceful. This is how special training was detailed in one such Central Committee document (27 December 1976*, St 37/37):

Meet the request made by the leadership of the Argentinean Communist Party, 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 Uruguay in the USSR for up to 6 months in 1977 for training in matters of party security, intelligence and counter-intelligence.

The training would be organised by the KGB; the International and Administrative Departments of the Central Committee were to receive, accommodate and look after the visitors; while their round-trip travel expenses to Moscow from Buenos-Aires, Panama City, San Salvador and Montevideo, respectively, “should be charged to the Party budget”.

As KGB Chairman Kryuchkov and the head of the International Department Falin reported [26], more than five hundred activists from 40 Communist and “Workers’” parties in various countries underwent such training between 1979 and 1989, including members of their Politburos and Central Committees. Such “special training” by the KGB was usually only the first step. For one of the four countries mentioned in 1976 the next step was marked, a few years later, by the following Central Committee Resolution (18 August 1980*, St 224/71):

Meet 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 Salvadoran Communists who are currently in the USSR.

    The reception, accommodation and provision, and the organization of training for 30 Salvadoran Communists, as well as their travel expenses from Moscow to El Salvador to be entrusted to the Ministry of Defence.

    Results of vote (signatures): For, Kirilenko; for, Zimyanin; for, Gorbachev; for, Kapitonov; for, Dolgikh

To get to the heart of the matter, though, one had to examine the documents attached to such a resolution, or the request from the comrades itself. And here it was, translated from the Spanish, an appeal in late July to the Central Committee:

Dear comrades!

I am writing to ask your agreement that 30 of our young Communists, currently in Moscow, be accepted for courses in military training for a period of 4-5 months in the following fields:

6 comrades for army intelligence,

8 comrades to be trained as commanders of guerrilla units,

5 comrades to be trained as artillery commanders,

5 comrades for training as commanders of sabotage squads,

6 comrades for training in communications.

Thanking you for the assistance which the CPSU gives our party.


General Secretary of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of El Salvador

More documents followed (20 August 1980*, St 225/5). The Central Committee adopted a Resolution and telegrams were sent to the Soviet ambassadors in Havana and Hanoi:

  1. Meet 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 Salvadorian 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.

Approve the texts of telegrams to Soviet ambassadors in Cuba and Vietnam (appended)

    (signed: A. Chernyaev)




Inform the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the El Salvador Communist Party, Comrade Shafik Handal, or, in his absence, a representative of the leadership of the El Salvador Communist Party, that the request for the transport of Western-manufactured firearms from Vietnam via Cuba has been examined at the appropriate level and received a positive response. Also inform the Cuban Friends’ leadership of the above, stressing that we took this decision knowing that Comrades F. Castro and S. Handal have reached agreement on this matter.

    For your information: the firearms will be delivered by Aeroflot. Give all necessary assistance in organizing the transfer of this cargo via Cuban comrades to our Salvadorian Friends. Report upon completion.

    (signatures: Chernyaev, Rusakov)




Comrade Shafik Handal, Central Committee General Secretary of the El Salvador Communist Party, tells us that the Vietnamese leadership has reported its readiness, from 1 September onwards, to begin loading a batch of Western-made weapons to be sent to Salvadorian comrades in Havana.

    Contact the Friends and find out who the Aeroflot office must establish contact with in order to receive the said weapons. Provide the necessary support in ensuring that this cargo is received and despatched.

    Report when the task is completed.

Then came the final stage of the process, after which the world press was filled with reports about a “crisis” in that unfortunate country, the suffering of its people and the evil doings – not of Moscow-trained Communists, but of the beleaguered government, which was stigmatized by the media as a “bloody junta”. And why not? The government was a visible entity. Its members could be shown on television and bombarded with wrathful protests with complete impunity. The comrades in Moscow were a different kettle of fish. It was better not to tangle with them.


I selected this, from dozens of similar examples, because of the outcry in the left-liberal press over subsequent events in El Salvador. This was prompted by the government of that country which, instead of bowing to the historically-inevitable advance of progressive forces (and then dying quietly in the Salvadorian Gulag), had the temerity to fight back.

The greatest outburst of righteous indignation was directed, of course, at Ronald Reagan, who decided to help El Salvador instead of sitting back and waiting his turn. Heavens above, what a to-do there was! What hoarse cries greeted the “violations of human rights” by the Salvadorian army, as though one can talk of human rights in the middle of an epidemic. As if there has been a single civil war in history (including the US Civil War) in which the sides behaved in strict accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Did any 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 a historical necessity. The left intelligentsia, as I recall, wrote that “the birth of a child is always accompanied by pain, suffering and blood”. So, one should be careful what kind of child to have: if it is a “progressive” baby, then the bloodshed is justified.

Incidentally, the left-liberal intelligentsia went into similar hysterical convulsions over neighbouring Nicaragua. No effort was considered too great to help ensure victory for the Sandinistas and to wipe out all opposition. The US Congress dreamt up the most unbelievable stratagems for tying President Reagan’s hands while there was a noisy world-wide campaign of “solidarity” with little, defenceless Nicaragua, “a victim of American aggression”. In 1985, a group of friends and I addressed a petition to Congress [27] in which we expressed our support for Reagan’s policy in Nicaragua and pointed out, inter alia, that the Sandinistas’ aim was to establish a totalitarian, Communist regime with the help of the USSR. Western democracies, therefore, should support the opposition of the Nicaraguan people to this prospect. The outcry was hard to believe. At best, we were depicted as victims of paranoia who saw Reds under every bed. Yet now, in black and white, I read [28]


CPSU Central Committee

On the signing of a plan of ties between the CPSU and the Sandinista Front of National Liberation (SFNL) of Nicaragua

At a meeting with the temporary Soviet charge d’affaires in Nicaragua (encrypted telegram from Managua, spec. No. 47, 26 February 1980), Henri Ruiz, a member of the national leadership of the SFNL, suggested that there should be a discussion of ties between the CPSU and the National Front, to which the Nicaraguan side attributes great significance, during the visit of the Nicaraguan Republic’s party-government delegation to the USSR.

    The SFNL is the ruling political organization. The SFNL leadership considers it essential to create a Marxist-Leninist party based on the Front, with the aim of building socialism in Nicaragua. At present, for tactical reasons and in view of the existing political situation in Nicaragua and in the Central American region, the SFNL leadership is making no public statements about this ultimate goal.

    We believe it would be possible to accept the offer made by the SFNL leadership, and suggest that the delegation sign a plan for such links between the CPSU and the SFNL for 1980-1981 during its visit to Moscow.

    Expenses for undertakings envisaged by the plan for bilateral ties could be covered by the Party budget. The matter has been agreed with Comrade E.M. Tyazhelnikov.

    Draft resolution of the CPSU Central Committee appended.

The Nicaraguan revolution occurred on 17 July 1979. Within less than a year, an agreement was signed in Moscow by Ponomarev on behalf of the Communist Party and by Henri Ruiz for the SFNL. By December 1980, the SFNL newspaper Barricada was already being printed on Soviet paper (15 October 1980, St 233/8), and up to one hundred Sandinista activists received “special training” each year in Moscow. At the time of our petition in 1985, this “small, defenceless country” was a Soviet puppet, plain and simple. And yet the uproar…

Ten years later there was no reason to write in the past tense. All those vocal champions of liberty were still thriving and “shaping” public opinion. It had not entered their heads to repent, or at least apologize for the past. Investigations into the US financing of the “Contras” continued in the United States. In March 1993, a body set up by the United Nations (it bore the Orwellian title “The Truth Commission”) completed its review of the violent events in El Salvador over the previous 13 years. It recommended the retirement of several army officers but said nothing about punishing the commanders of “guerrilla units” or “sabotage squads”. The Commission made no mention in its conclusions about Soviet aggression, the “special training” received in Moscow by Communist thugs and the delivery of “Western-made” firearms, all of which, mark you, took place before Ronald Reagan became President of the USA. Yet his administration was subjected to severe censure. Learning of the conclusions of this eminent body, I could not help but wonder, had the Cold War ended or not? And if it had, who won?

This was just one example. A small, jungle-covered country which was really of no use to anyone. Yet there were countless similar examples. My desk was covered with hundreds of “resolutions” and “decisions” concerning dozens of countries, the whole blood-soaked history of the twentieth century. On rare occasions, the whim of Fate turned potential tragedy into farce. This only served to underline the criminal nature of Communist “business”, as in this Top Secret (Special File) document, on “special aid to the Communist Party of Italy” (5 May 1974*, Pb 136/53):

– Meet the request of the leadership of the Italian Communist Party and receive, for special training in the USSR, 19 Italian Communists, including 6 for training in radio communications, work with BR-3U radio stations and encryption (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); 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).

… – The Committee for State Security of the USSR Council of Ministers 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 ciphered documents for re-ciphering within the two-way radio network.

– Meet the request of the PCI leadership and prepare 500 blank and (for senior PCI workers) 50 named Italian foreign and internal identity 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 CPSU Central Committee and the Committee for State Security of the USSR Council of Ministers.

– Approve text of telegram to the KGB station chief in Italy.

The story, it seemed, is as follows. In 1974, the Italian Communists raised such a hullabaloo about a possible “right-wing” coup that they finally came to believe it themselves. They took fright and sent tearful pleas to Moscow to help them prepare to go underground. One can only imagine how tickled the comrades in the Kremlin were by the mental picture of 50 Italian comrades, sneaking across France in wigs and false beards like villains in a comic opera, clutching French passports forged by the KGB!

The episode was an amusing exception. Usually there was nothing to smile about in these secret documents. On the contrary, behind their dry, official clichés one could imagine the scenes of death and destruction, so familiar from the nightly TV news broadcasts of those thirty years. Almost every such tragedy had its beginnings in a neatly-typed resolution of the Central Committee, voted in the customary “round robin”, with the invariable clarion call in the top right-hand corner “Workers of the World, Unite!” The extent of this murderous activity across five continents amazed me. Hitler could not have dreamed up anything like this. The tempest they unleashed swept away millions of lives in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Central America and it threatened to rage on in Angola, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan long after the last Communist regime had vanished from the face of the earth.


The Middle East was one more part of the globe where blood and violence had become so commonplace, that nobody now recalls how it began. Because of the Gulf War in 1991 there was renewed discussion of the role played in the region for decades by the Soviet Union through its support for the regime of Saddam Hussein. Yet this was only one episode in a long-term strategy, and not the worst at that. Lebanon was all but annihilated as a State with the active involvement of the Soviet Union.

“Special assistance” for Lebanese “Friends” began at the end of the 1960s and continued, on a vast scale, until the early 1990s. The supply of arms, usually channelled through Syria, went back at least to 1970 and within five years had grown so immense that a single 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 (10 October 1975**, Pb 192/6). By the mid-1980s, the USSR Ministry of Defence reported, the Soviet Union was training at least 200 Lebanese thugs each year, of whom 170 were activists of the Lebanese Communist Party and 30 from the Progressive Socialist Party (9 February 1987**, St 39/65) [29]. Another example is Cyprus, where an agreement about the same “special assistance” to the “Progressive Workers’ Party” was reached in 1971 [30]. The delivery of arms began just before the outbreak of civil war //(8 June 1974, 1853-A).

Finally, there was Palestinian terrorism, any connection with which was vehemently denied by the Soviet leadership and its Western apologists. Several eloquent documents, such as this memorandum from Andropov to Brezhnev (23 April 1974*, 1071-A/ov) – it was classified as Top Secret (Special File) and “Of Particular Importance” – gave the lie to those assertions:

Since 1968 the KGB has maintained secret working contact with Wadie Haddad, Politburo member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), head of the PFLP’s external operations section.

    In a confidential conversation in April this year at a meeting with the KGB station chief in Lebanon, Wadie Haddad outlined a long-term program of sabotage and terrorism by the PFLP, which can be summarised as follows.

    The main aim of special actions by the PFLP is to increase the effectiveness of the struggle of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel, Zionism and American imperialism. Arising from this, the planned sabotage and terrorist operations will mainly be directed towards:

– 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 Centre, whose basic capital derives from Israeli, British, Belgian and West German companies.

    To implement the above measures, the PFLP is currently preparing several 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 and Kenya, an attack on the Diamond Centre in Tel Aviv, etc.

Haddad has requested that we help his organization to procure several kinds of special technology necessary for carrying out certain sabotage operations.

    In cooperating with us and appealing for our help, W. Haddad is fully aware of our opposition to terrorism in principle, and has not raised any questions with us concerning this area of the PFLP’s activities.

    The nature of our relations with W. Haddad allows us a degree of control over the activities of the PFLP’s external operations section, to exercise an influence favourable to the USSR, and to achieve some of our own aims through the activities of his organisation while preserving the necessary secrecy.

    In view of the above, we feel it would be expedient, at the next meeting, to give a generally favourable response to the request of Wadie Haddad for special assistance to the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As for specific issues in the supply of such aid, it is envisaged that every instance will be decided on an individual basis, in accordance with the interests of the Soviet Union and averting any possible harm to the security of our country.

Across the top of the first page, Brezhnev wrote: “Inform Comrades Suslov, M.A., Podgorny N.V., Kosygin A.N., Grechko A.A., Gromyko A.A. (circulate)”. The signatures of the named comrades, in the above order, follow that of Brezhnev 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 April 1974.”

Obviously, they did not feel this was against the interests of the Soviet Union because the romance with Haddad continued. Later that year the Politburo sanctioned his secret visit to Moscow and gave its blessing to further cooperation (16 May 1975*, 1218-A):

To Comrade L.I. BREZHNEV

In accordance with the decision of the CPSU Central Committee, 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 (53 submachine guns, 50 hand guns including 10 fitted with silencers, 34,000 rounds of ammunition).

    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 Soviet Navy.

    Haddad is the only foreigner who knows that the arms were supplied by us.


Naturally, the Politburo had dealings not only with the PFLP, but also with other terrorist organizations. At Yasir Arafat’s request, it supplied “special equipment” to the PLO in Tunisia (21 June 1983**, Pb 113/110), issuing the necessary directives to the Council of Ministers and instructions to Soviet ambassadors. They were not squeamish, apparently, about buying stolen goods from the Palestinians or, rather, exchanging them for weapons. Only two of the five “Named Recipients”, the Minister of Defence and the KGB chairman, received all four sections of this highly classified document (27 November 1984*, Pb 185/49):

1. To endorse the suggestions of the Ministry of Defence and the USSR Committee for State Security, 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 value of 15 million roubles 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 USSR Ministry of Culture in taking the necessary steps concerning the legal aspect of acquiring the collection of artefacts.

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 roubles (within the scope of the list of supplies permitted 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 USSR Ministry of Culture 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 (“The Golden Hoard”), its secret expert study and future exhibition. In consultation with the USSR Ministry of Finance, submit an estimate according to standard procedure for the necessary financial assignations

c) confer with the KGB of the USSR about the display of individual items or parts of the collection.

On a visit to Moscow I tried to track down this collection. Most of it, apparently, was kept in a safe in the Kremlin Armoury. Nobody had opened it or dared to touch it, though the Politburo and the KGB no longer existed. It remained a mystery what the collection contained and where it was stolen. How many people, I wondered, were killed with the “special equipment” it paid for?

1.6 Sympathizers and Fellow-Travellers

It seemed unlikely we would ever learn the answers to all these questions. The powers that be had little interest in digging for the truth. Who knew what they might find? You might start with the Communists but end up with yourself. As the English wisely say, people in glass houses should not throw stones.

Of course, it was not good that foreign Communists received handouts from Moscow. But were they the only ones? One resolution of the CPSU Central Committee concerned “A request by the American public figure and financier Cyrus Eaton to be presented with a new troika of horses by the Soviet government” in September 1968 [31]. Such a well-to-do gentleman would be able buy the horses he fancied, one would imagine, without going bankrupt [32]. Think of the honour, though – a gift from the Soviet government! This was shortly after Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia. He could drive his troika grandly over American soil at the same time as Soviet tanks occupied Prague. Any more questions to the Communists about handouts?

Yes, the Communists were undoubtedly agents of evil and used their money to spread Communist lies throughout the free world. They were not alone in this, however. In 1966, the Central Committee received the following proposal (27 August 1966*), marked Secret:

The Novosti Press Agency [APN] has received a request from representatives of the American television company ABC to produce a joint report on the life of a worker’s family from the agricultural machinery 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) has no objections to the project.

The deputy chairman of APN thought it would be “advantageous” to accept the offer and requested authorization to proceed further.

I accumulated a pile of documents showing the involvement of most of the world’s leading television companies with the Soviet Union – and they paid the USSR hard currency for the privilege. It went further than that, however. US soldiers were fighting the Soviet “Friends” in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a leading American TV network considered buying a Soviet propaganda film about that country (6 March 1967*):

The senior APN correspondent in the USA, Comrade G.A. Borovik, has sounded out the possibility of broadcasting a program about Vietnam on the network of one of the largest American television corporations. The program is based on Soviet documentary films with a commentary by Comrade Borovik. The company will pay between 9,000 and 27,000 dollars for the program.

    The US department of the USSR Foreign Ministry (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 in the program.

The chairman of APN forwarded this proposal to the Information Department of the Central Committee, which in turn requested authorisation from the Central Committee and suggested that it would be “expedient”:

  1. to endorse Comrade Borovik’s suggestion that a television program on Vietnam be prepared for American television, bearing in mind that the commentary to the program will be vetted by the USSR Foreign Ministry;
  2. to authorise Comrade Borovik to negotiate with American television companies about broadcasting a programme about Vietnam on propagandist and economic terms that are favourable to us.

This went on, year after year, and it was not limited to the USA. It happened in Japan, Britain, Finland and 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 only be shown on American [British, Japanese, etc.] television after it has been approved by APN.” There was so much material that I finally gave up noting it down.

Here is a brief resume of what I did record from the Central Committee archives:

  • 6 January 1969. “On APN negotiations with the New York Times on the joint preparation in 1969-70 of materials about the USSR.”
  • 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 (Britain) television program “Soviet Women”.
  • 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 [World at War].
  • 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 supervision 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 and consultation assistance to the BBC in the making of a feature film about the Soviet conductor Alexandrov.
  • 9 April 1976 [33]. On the joint APN and London Weekend Television production of a program, “The Soviet Union After the 25th Congress of the CPSU”.
  • 26 May 1976 [34]. On the joint production by APN and Yorkshire Television of a film about “A Soviet Family”.
  • 10 July 1979 (St‑166/12). 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.
  • 3 April 1980 (St‑205/31). 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.

Last in this list was a proposal for “Consultation and production assistance to the English television company Granada in filming a documentary on the history of Soviet cinema” (1 July 1980, St 17/10). What was wrong with that, you may ask. It seemed a perfectly innocent subject. Yet the USSR embassy believed “a series of films about Soviet cinema could have a desirable propaganda effect, especially in view of the current situation in England”. It was sad but true that Western television companies, always so proud of their independence, constantly made programmes under the ideological control of the Central Committee – and paid hard cash to do so. In short, they served as channels for Soviet propaganda. How could we expect them to censure the Western Communists who had done just the same as a duty to the Party?

Beyond any doubt, the activities of the Communists undermined and threatened the security of the West. Yet in this dangerous game they were not the only ones who danced to Moscow’s tune. There were the mass marches for “peace” and for unilateral (!) disarmament. Millions of people were infected by this madness, including a significant part of the intelligentsia. They hardly now wished to dig through the archives to find indisputable proof of their folly. In The Peace Movement and the Soviet Union (1982) [35] I wrote about Moscow’s cynical manipulation of this movement, which became a virtual instrument of Soviet foreign policy. It was amusing to recall how the liberal intelligentsia then castigated me for my views. Now I had documents which justified every word I had written, but nobody wanted to publish them.

There were certain documents which I found disconcerting. Some concerned the creation of the Palme Commission and its activities. Set up in September 1980 on the initiative of Olof Palme, former Prime Minister of Sweden, this organization rapidly became the most authoritative Western forum on matters of disarmament and security. One of the most important reasons was the Commission’s reputation as an “objective”, non-governmental body, independent of any “blocs”. That, and 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, federal secretary of the West German Social Democratic Party Egon Bahr, General Obasanjo of Nigeria, and the leader of the Dutch Labour Party Joop den Oyl. It was, in other words, a veritable political Olympus of the time, and its opinions could not be ignored by any Western government.

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” (10 November 1980, 18-S-1989) [36]. So successful did it become, that it appeared to be trying too hard and began to be accused of prejudice: “Many of the proposals and recommendations approved and adopted by the Commission for inclusion in the final document reflect the Soviet position on the key issues of disarmament and security in direct or indirect form,” stated the Soviet “Commissioner”, Georgy Arbatov, in his end-of-year report for 1981 to the Central Committee:

        However, despite agreeing in general 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’s policies’ (indicating, in this connection, that a number of articles had appeared in the Western press, particularly in the USA, which accuse the Palme Commission of doing just that.)

As God is my witness, “paranoid” though I may be, I never would have expected such cynicism, especially from Dr David Owen. However, he was not the only prominent person I respected who proved to be a bitter disappointment. Much as I wanted to spare them and not mention their names, I did not think I had the right to do so.

There was one Secret communication to the Central Committee from the chairman of the USSR State Film Committee, which I found extremely upsetting (17 July 1979*, St 167/18):

During the visit of the USSR Goskino delegation to the 32nd International Film Festival at Cannes (France) in May this year, there was a meeting with the prominent American film producer and director Francis Ford Coppola.

    Coppola told the chairman of Goskino that he had talked with the President of the United States, J. Carter, who expressed an interest in making a joint Soviet-American film about disarmament. According to Coppola, the president linked this project with the forthcoming summit in Vienna and the signature and ratification of the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT-2). The American side feels that such a film would promote the growth of mutual trust between the Soviet and American peoples, the formation of a positive international attitude to the treaty, and serve the further development of Soviet-American cultural cooperation.

    Speaking on behalf of his own company, Zoetrope Films, Coppola said he was ready to take on the financial and organizational aspects of the project for the American side. Since Coppola is acknowledged to be one of the most influential American cinematographers in both business and creative circles, his participation could ensure a definite guarantee of high artistic merit and the subsequent 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 production. The most outstanding Soviet and American film-makers could be assigned to write the scenario and shoot the film. Under such conditions, it would seem expedient to agree to the Soviet-American production of such a film.

    To advance the implementation of the film at this stage, there must be negotiations with Coppola and the signing of a preliminary agreement. This could be achieved when he comes to the 9th International Film Festival in Moscow in August this year.

I was unable to find out whether Francis Ford Coppola made this film. I sincerely hope that something happened to prevent it. It was too distressing to think of this wonderful director making a film about disarmament “under the ideological and artistic control” of the Kremlin godfathers.

So, the press, the business world, the public figures and cultural heroes of the West did not preserve their innocence. Communism collapsed, but they remained pillars of society and the establishment. They were the most vociferous in claiming that the Cold War was over, but refused to say who were the losers. As I sat writing these words the BBC World Service was broadcasting an episode in a series about the Cold War. The cynicism of its participants astounded me: the same people were interviewed, repeating the same clichés about “anti-Communist paranoia”, “McCarthyism “, and the poor intelligentsia (Western, of course) which suffered such persecution. There was no hint of penitence, not the slightest effort to reassess their own past, not a grain of honesty. Unbidden, lines from a poem by Alexander Galich came to mind:

And the looters stood around the grave
As guards of honour…


No matter how cynical people might be, it was extremely naive to think that we could step over mountains of corpses, wade through rivers of blood, and keep going, without looking back, as though nothing had happened. The past would inevitably come back to haunt us, poisoning public life for generations. Yet our “looters” did not care about the future: all they wanted was to preserve their position, if only for a few years more, by suppressing the truth at any cost. They proved remarkably successful, moreover, despite all the vaunted freedom of the press.

The best illustration I can offer is the fate of this book in the United States. It was bought by Random House in August 1995 for a considerable amount of money, but they did not finalise or sign the contract. Instead, over the next five months (!), their senior editor, Jason Epstein, tried to make me re-write the whole text from a liberal-left perspective [37]. Of course, he did not say that he disagreed with me politically – on the contrary, in almost every fax he emphasized his sympathy for my views. He just wanted to “improve” the book by correcting “certain factual inaccuracies and overstatements”. American readers would be “surprised to read” this, they “would not understand” that…

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” concerned the most fundamental concepts underlying this 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 [contrary to my assertions] was 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” of dollars 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 Accords was, in fact, the predominant view among Russian dissidents, and had been publicly expressed by us on numerous occasions; that the source of my information on the policy of the “liberal” foundations in the 1980s was a New York Times article (which, in turn, quoted the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation) [38]; while the source for the critical view of Helsinki Watch was one of their own publications. As for “surprising” the American public, I firmly responded in October that I would be happy to do so [39]:

    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 the 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, the documents themselves. Some of those objections verged on the absurd:

    …I think you are making more of the Sorsa memorandum than the language justifies. Was Sorsa really “Moscow’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. Yet 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 innocence. If you mean to imply that the press, etc. were in the service of the USSR, nobody here will take you seriously. …

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 others 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 more than I could stand. Politely but firmly, I explained to Mr. Epstein in December 1995 [40] 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 about ‘Soviet Women’, 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 Women’ made with the approval of Dr. Goebbels in 1938? Would you need a particular ‘proof’ that it is, indeed, 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 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, be they in the East or in the West. 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 and in almost all former Soviet republics, in Poland, Hungary, Rumania and 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 responded with the advice that he call Georgy Arbatov and find out how far his memo on the Palme Commission proceedings was “self-serving”.

This was our last exchange: Mr. Epstein dropped the contract. In a 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 Francis Ford Coppola of unpatriotic – or even treacherous – behaviour.

I hardly need add that Random House is one of the biggest and most influential publishers in the English-speaking world. Its rejection was bound to affect any other attempts to publish Judgment in Moscow in the USA or in Britain. Meanwhile the book had already been successfully published in France and Germany.

The most disturbing aspect of this story was that a blatant attempt at political censorship in a country so proud of its freedom did not provoke public indignation. I talked to many journalists and people in positions of authority, offering them my correspondence with Mr. Epstein as a proof. They shrugged it off. “So what? Who cares?” As someone aptly said: “This is worse than a conspiracy – this is consensus”.

1.7 So, who won?

And that was how this war, the strangest war of our times, came to an end. It began without declaration and ended without celebration. We could not precisely date its start or its finish. It probably swallowed more lives than World War Two, but we had no desire to count its victims.

No monuments would be erected to mark this war; no eternal flame would burn on the grave of its Unknown Soldier. It was decisive for the fate of humanity, but its soldiers did not march away to the sounds of a band or return to be greeted with flowers. It was, it seems, the most unpopular war we had known, at least, for the winning side, but there was no rejoicing now it was over. The losers signed no instruments of capitulation, the victors received no medals. On the contrary, the supposed losers were now dictating the terms of peace and writing the war’s history, while the supposed victors maintained an embarrassed silence. Could we say who were the victors and who, the vanquished?

A minor incident in Western society often comes under the scrutiny of some commission or other, especially if people have been killed. Whether it is a plane crash, a railroad disaster, or an industrial accident experts will argue, conduct tests and checks; they determine the relative guilt of contractors, builders, service personnel, conductors, inspectors and the government itself, if it has the slightest connection with what happened. As for any armed conflict between countries – that will certainly not escape examination. Yet here we had a conflict which lasted 45 years or, possibly, all the 75 years of the Soviet Union’s existence, and affected almost every country in the world. It claimed millions of lives, cost billions of dollars and (as was often asserted) almost brought about global destruction, but it was not investigated by a single country or international organization.

A petty crime is subject to investigation, judgment and punishment in the West. War crimes are no exception. I am not talking about the Nuremberg Tribunal and the subsequent trials which, to this day, investigate crimes committed during World War II. When I started writing this book there was a current example: the war in Bosnia had not finished but an international tribunal had already been established to investigate the crimes then committed. Our strange war was again an exception to the rule. Was it over, or not? Had we won, or had we lost?

In many instances, it was not necessary to convene a special court. The mass murder of captive Polish army officers in the forest near Katyn was acknowledged at Nuremburg in 1946 as a crime against humanity. In the mid-1990s the man in charge of that atrocity, Pyotr Soprunenko, then head of an NKVD directorate, was alive and well, living on a good pension in the centre of Moscow. Everyone was aware of the fact. Muscovites willingly pointed out the building on the Garden Ring where he lived and the windows of his apartment. MGB investigator Daniil Kopelyansky, who interrogated Raoul Wallenberg, was also thriving; as was the organizer of Trotsky’s assassination, General Pavel Sudoplatov. Yet Poland, Sweden and Mexico did not seek to extradite these criminals. A more recent example was that of former KGB General Oleg Kalugin. On his own admission, he orchestrated the 1978 murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgy Markov in London, the famous case of the poisoned umbrella: “I Organized Markov’s Execution” was the title of his article in the popular British newspaper Mail on Sunday (4 April 1993). It appears that the grateful Bulgarian “brothers” rewarded him with a hunting rifle. Kalugin then travelled abroad frequently, promoting his book and giving interviews to the press, and it never entered anyone’s head to arrest or question him, though the Markov case was still open. (In 1994, much to his indignation, General Kalugin was detained overnight at Heathrow airport, questioned, and released the following day.)

Thousands of thugs who received KGB “special training” were still at large and living among us. So were those who received illegal funds from the USSR and its “commercial” Friends; so too were the countless sympathizers and accomplices who had justified or concealed its crimes, and the millions who set the intellectual fashion whereby “all animals are equal”, but the Communists were “more equal” than others. If anyone had really wanted it would not have been hard to track down these individuals. They would have been much easier to find than former Nazis in Paraguay. No one was ready to tackle this task for one simple reason: before a Nuremberg-style international tribunal could be convened there must first be a victory. Rudolf Hess died in Spandau prison while Boris Ponomarev was a pensioner living freely in Moscow, because National Socialism was defeated but International Socialism was not.

It was easier with Nazism. It was more open about its reliance on brute force and made less effort to masquerade as humanism. It forced its neighbours to resist and, if at first unwillingly, they took up the challenge. Just imagine, however, that the “phoney war”, which began in 1939, had continued for the next forty to fifty years with no further military action. Life would have gone on as usual, despite a certain chill in relations with Germany. In time, the regime would have “mellowed”: there would have been nobody left to kill or put in concentration camps. Eventually, domestic reformers would have appeared, especially after Hitler’s death, and proponents of “peaceful coexistence “, especially after Germany acquired nuclear weapons. Trade and common interests would develop. In other words, the Nazi regime would become quite respectable, without changing its nature one iota; it would acquire contacts and well-wishers, fellow-travellers and apologists. Some fifty years later it would collapse, 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 Tribunal.

Events took a different course. After finding the courage to resist evil, humanity also found the honesty to look into its own soul and, no matter how painful the process, to condemn all forms of collaboration. Yes, it was easier for those people; they had won and had something to be proud of. They had a moral right to judge those who capitulated. The Nuremberg Trials were not beyond criticism but their achievement was immense: they restored absolute norms for human behaviour by reminding 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 collective insanity and indiscriminate terror, they affirmed the simple truth, known since Biblical times but lost to sight in the bloody tribulations of the 20th century: neither the opinion of the majority, nor an order from a superior, nor a threat to one’s own life, releases us from personal responsibility.

What happened after the Soviet regime disappeared was in direct contrast to Nuremberg. The world has nothing of which it can be proud. It found neither the courage to withstand evil nor the honesty to admit its failure. Our misfortune was that we did not win: Communism collapsed of its own accord, despite universal efforts to rescue it. This, if you like, was the greatest secret contained by the Central Committee documents lying on my desk. Was it really any surprise, then, that nobody wanted to publish them? A readiness to examine everyday accidents was accompanied by a refusal to investigate the greatest catastrophe of our time. For in our heart of hearts we already knew the conclusions such an investigation would yield, as any sane person knows full well when he has colluded with evil. The intellect might provide specious, logical and outwardly acceptable excuses, but the voice of conscience whispered: our fall began from the moment we agreed to a “peaceful coexistence” with evil.

This manifested itself when Stalin was acclaimed, before Nuremberg, as a great defender of democracy; when the Soviet Union sat among the prosecutors, and not the accused, at the Nuremburg Tribunal; and, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Khrushchev’s term “Peaceful Coexistence” entered the political lexicon. Each time a price was paid, as in any pact with the devil, by shedding the blood of the innocent: the blood of the Cossacks handed over to Stalin, the blood of East European nations betrayed at Yalta, the blood of the Hungarians, Cubans, Cambodians…

The final pact with evil was concluded in our own day, however, when Brezhnev was in power. It is useless to plead ignorance and claim we did not know how to resist. When in the West we refused to maintain “good neighbourly relations” with evil, rejecting it as unacceptable, we knew perfectly well what to do. If racism, for example, was declared 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 not a single sportsman could tour South Africa without destroying his career. Yet it was considered acceptable to attend the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow at the height of mass arrests in the USSR and Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. I should like to see what would have happened to anyone who suggested holding the Olympic Games in Johannesburg or Pretoria…

As racism was proclaimed an evil, moreover, not a single newspaper would publish anything by supporters of apartheid, notwithstanding all the proud declarations about freedom of the press. Racist groups were subject to open harassment by the police, and anyone suspected of racist sympathies would be unable to make a career in any field. Yet there were no outcries about “witch-hunts.” Surrounded by a cordon sanitaire of intolerance, racism was unable to spread further or become an accepted fact of life. Communism, however, was made respectable and accepted. It was improper to fight against it, “broadening contacts” was the recommended approach. So, it grew and flourished, engulfing half the world. This was painfully obvious. Was there a single person on earth who did not understand this?

Western politicians who encouraged the growth of economic relations with the Soviet bloc realized that they were breeding Hammers, Maxwells and Bobolases. When they welcomed delegations of Soviet leaders and “people’s deputies” they knew these were not statesmen and parliamentarians, but cut-throats and their puppets. When they signed agreements on “cultural exchanges”, “scientific cooperation” and “human contacts” they were buttressing the power of the KGB over society, for it would be the KGB choosing “the right candidates” for such contacts.

Everyone understood. They knew or guessed the truth but they did not want to discuss it because their aim was not to combat Communism but to survive. To survive at any cost, sacrificing conscience, reason, innocent people and entire countries in the process. In the final instance, they were sacrificing their own future, because the logic of survival has its roots in the attitude of the concentration camp inmate: you die today, I’ll die tomorrow.

The world was immeasurably lucky that “tomorrow” did not come. The monster died before it reached the world’s jugular. Communism collapsed and the Iron Curtain fell, exposing a vista of poverty and devastation. The crimes of the Soviet regime could no longer be swept under the rug, “coexistence” could be seen for what it really was. The myth was dispelled, fear took flight, and “coexistence” stood exposed as no more than moral capitulation to evil and criminal complicity. What could we say in justification to future generations? That we had to survive? But the Germans also needed to survive after the First World War, so they followed Hitler. Why, then, were they judged at Nuremberg? Because they had sacrificed Jews, Gypsies and Slavs – just as we sacrificed dozens of other nations, to secure our own survival. Just like the Germans in 1945, we were reluctant to scrutinize ourselves, we did not want to “dig up the past” or risk a public row. Like them, we closed our eyes and reiterated that we “knew nothing” and “took no interest in politics”. And, had we known, “what could we have done?”

But was it, really, just a German phenomenon? I can well remember the perplexity of my parents’ generation when the crimes of “the Cult of Personality”, of Stalin, were aired for the first time. They knew nothing about it, of course. And if they knew just a little, they believed that it had all been for the good of mankind. Confronted with indisputable facts (it was hardly possible not to notice the slaughter of 60 million people), they suggested, as the ultimate justification for their behaviour, that they had been scared. Scared when they marched under red banners and sang revolutionary songs; scared when they raised their hands at 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…


As a youth in post-Stalin Moscow I remember watching a film in which every frame, every word, was like a breath of fresh air. It was about a wise old judge who had come to Germany from small-town America and was trying to understand how seemingly normal, honest and hard-working people with an old and established culture could have sunk to the horrors of Auschwitz. I can recall the closing scenes as if I watched them only yesterday. I can hear the words of the judge, pronouncing sentence:

    The real complaining party at the bar in this courtroom is civilization. But this tribunal does say that the men in the dock are responsible for their actions…. The principle of criminal law in every civilized society is the same: any person who sways another to commit murder; any person who furnishes a lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime; any person who is an accessory to that crime: is guilty.

Then, as now, it was not easy to say these simple words. Political interests, the very same need to survive, and the moral blindness of Man which prevents him from seeing his own part in a crime against humanity. What could he do, a lone individual? He ignored the voice of his conscience, like everyone else, but he could not possibly have known that this would lead to mountains of corpses and torrents of blood. “Why bother?”

“I’ll make you a wager. In five years time those you have sentenced will be released,” says the smart young defence lawyer.

“What you suggest may very well happen,” responds the wise judge. “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 ever make it right.”

A lifetime has passed, but I have not forgotten this film 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 ever make it right. The film was called Judgment at Nuremberg [41].

Chapter Two …



[1] See Biographical Notes.

[2] 16 December 1980* (St 241/108), p. 3.

[3] “Archives show that Sorsa had Moscow’s special favour”, Ilta Sanomat, 10 July 1993.

[4] “Pact with the Devil: Egon Bahr’s back-channel to the Kremlin”, Der Spiegel, 13 February 1995.

[5] See also 28 February 1968 (St 45/4)^.

[6] Tim Weiner, “CIA spent millions to support Japanese Right in 1950s and 1960s”, New York Times, 9 October 1994.

[7] The British Communist Party reportedly received £100,000 a year from Moscow between 1957 and the mid-1970s. See Anderson & Davey, Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British Left, Woodbridge (UK), 2013, p. 102 fn.

[8] 11 December 1989 (St 175/3), p. 1 in 5 December 1989* (no number).

[9] 5 December 1989* (no number).

[10] 30 November 1987* (Pb 95/21), p. 6.

[11] 28 December 1988* (Pb 144/129), p. 1.

[12] 11 December 1989 (St 175/3), p. 1 in 5 December 1989* (no number).

[13] See 30 November 1987* (Pb 95/21), pp. 3-6.

[14] 30 November 1987* (Pb 95/21), p. 1.

[15] 30 November 1987* (Pb 95/21), pp. 3-5.

[16] 28 December 1988* (Pb 144/129), p. 1.

[17] 16 December 1980 (St 241/99), pp. 3-4.

[18] The Socialist Party of Australia was set up in 1971 by members of the Australian Communist Party who did not approve of the leadership’s “Eurocommunist” tendencies and criticism of the USSR.

[19] 11 April 1980 (St 206/58), pp. 5-6.

[20] 3 February 1976 (St 203/10)^. From the mid-1930s onwards the wealthy British Communist Eva Collet Rickett financed left-wing bookshops in London, Hull, Cardiff and Glasgow. Following her death, the new agreement secured the future of Collet’s Bookshop on the Tottenham Court Road.

[21] 15 April 1968 (St 50-148), p. 16.

[22] 28 May 1974 (St 126/7)^.

[23] 15 October 1980 (St 233/8), p. 5.

[24] 1 October 1969 (25-S-1765), p. 1.

[25] A revolutionary known to every Soviet schoolchild, Vera Zasulich (1849-1919) seriously wounded the governor of St Petersburg when she attempted to assassinate him in 1887. She was put on trial but acquitted.

[26] 10 April 1989* (St 99/248), p. 5.

[27] See New York Times (18 April 1985), Frankfurter Allgemeine (30 March 1985), Le Monde (21 March 1985), De Telegraaf (27 March 1985), Le Soir (27 March 1985).

[28] 18 April 1980 (St 204/57)^.

[29] See also 20 April 1985 (318/5/0219).

[30] 19 July 1971 (St 10/53)^.

[31] 20 September 1968 (1712, St 13/9)^.

[32] The Pugwash Conference took its name from the small fishing community in Nova Scotia (Canada) where Eaton grew up. He hosted the first conference there in July 1957.

[33] 9 April 1976 (St 5/6)^.

[34] 26 May 1976 (St 10/23)^.

[35] “The Peace Movement and the Soviet Union”, Commentary, New York, 5 January 1982 (published as a separate booklet by the Orwell Press, London, 1982). https://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-peace-movement-the-soviet-union/

[36] 14 November 1980 (St 237/54), p. 4.

[37] In the late 1960s Epstein reacted indignantly to revelations about covert funding of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, “The CIA and the Intellectuals”, New York Review of Books, 20 April 1967.

[38] Kathleen Teltsch, “Philanthropies focus concern on the Arms Race”, New York Times, 25 March 1984.

[39] Faxed letter from Vladimir Bukovsky to Jason Epstein, 5 October 1995.

[40] Faxed letter from Vladimir Bukovsky to Jason Epstein, 27 December 1995.

[41] Spencer Tracy played the judge and Maximilian Schell, the young German lawyer. Schell and Abby Mann, scriptwriter for the 1961 film, won Academy Awards for their contribution. (It was directed by Stanley Kramer.)