Moscow's Gold: Soviet Financing of Global Subversion
Addressing the 28th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in July 1990, Eduard Shevardnadze pointed out that over the preceding two decades the Soviet Union had spent the extraordinary sum of 700 billion roubles as part of the " ideological confrontation" — the Cold War against the West.
The financing of the Soviet Union's global subversion and terrorism has been a controversial issue in Cold War politics. Soviet spokesmen vehemently denied Soviet funding and support for foreign communist parties and terrorist groups and organizations. Members of Western Communist parties and leftist movements and organizations have consistently derided claims of "Moscow Gold" and demanded "smoking gun" evidence, that is, evidence that would meet strict evidentiary Western legal standards.
Conversely, critics and opponents of Moscow's role assumed or at least suspected that financing by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (ID-CPSU), which was responsible for liaison with non-ruling communist and leftist parties, international front organizations and liberation (terrorist) movements, took place on a large scale.
The ID-CPSU was the linear descendent of the Comintern and responsible for Moscow's co-ordination of Russia's Cold War programmes. Most significantly, from the perspective of this article, the ID-CPSU was responsible for co-ordination and liaison with the illegal apparatus of foreign communist parties and the training of foreign communists in clandestine techniques.
Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the subsequent opening of Communist Party, and to a considerably lesser extent, Committee of State Security (KGB) archives, Western analysts and commentators had little detailed knowledge of the clandestine role of the ID-CPSU. Information was derived primarily from KGB defectors, notably, Kuzichkin (Iran;1982) and Levchenko (Japan; 1984), and the central role of the KGB as the organization specifically tasked by the Politburo and the ID-CPSU to transfer clandestinely funds and material through their secret channels was largely unknown.
Technical surveillance and penetrations within Western communist parties and terrorist organizations conducted by Western and pro-Western intelligence services provided valuable collaborative information, but source protection and collection methods prevented public disclosure. Furthermore, until recently the KGB was not seriously regarded as an object of academic study, despite the prevalence of institutional studies of the CPSU.
The purpose of this article is to open a window into the clandestine world of the Soviet Union and, through documentary analysis, to examine the role of the CPSU, the Politburo, the ID-CPSU and the KGB in relation to Moscow's global subversive and terrorist operations.
All sources used are Soviet sources, namely, (a) Government investigations, launched by Yeltsin after the August 1991 coup and the declassified secret documents (formerly "top secret, special file" and "personal") released by Yeltsin's government as a core element in its case against the CPSU, (b) participant accounts of former senior officials of the CPSU and ID-CPSU, (c) writings of Russian investigative journalists, commentators and political analysts who had access to former officials and archival material, (d) previously unavailable archival material from CPSU(CC) and ID-CPSU and KGB records and (e) collaborative secondary sources.
On 10 October 1991, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation began a twelve-month investigation into the finances of the CPSU. An eighty member investigative team from the Russian Prosecutor General's office (case no 18/ 6222-91) comprising forty legal experts, eleven investigators and twenty-nine police investigators was formed to assist the court.
Six areas of investigation were assigned: the legality of sending foreign currency abroad, the existence of CPSU deposits and personal accounts of CPSU functionaries in foreign banks, the definition of CPSU as distinct from State finances, the inventory of the CPSU's immovable property and the establishment of the amount of money invested in the market economy. Portions of the documentation, which consisted of 3,000 documents totalling approximately 10,000 pages, were made publicly available and received widespread publicity in Russian newspapers and media.
Prior to the August 1991 coup, the CPSU had taken precautionary measures to prevent inspection of its records (former CPSU Deputy Secretary Vladimir Ishako had ordered the destruction of approximately 25 million files to prevent their use against the party) and had invested massive funds in foreign countries and companies.
In 1991, Pavel Voshchavov, press secretary to Boris Yeltsin, disclosed that CPSU confidential memoranda revealed that to acquire foreign currency the CPSU had set up an "invisible party economy" which enabled it to launder money in joint ventures and a network of domestic and foreign banks. The CPSU had allegedly sold 280 billion rubles for $12 billion in United States currency and funneled the money through CPSU-controlled Soviet banks and top secret accounts in Western financial institutions.
Investigators stated that as many as 700 such hard currency accounts operated around the world, with a total value of $100 billion. Voshchavov compared the CPSU to a criminal cartel which financed its "friendly firms" abroad and claimed to have examined a list of 60 companies, all established by Western communists.
The KGB played the pivotal role in the transfer of these funds. For example, $70 million was deposited by the CPSU, with the operational assistance of the KGB, in the Finnish Bank prior to the coup.
The KGB's clandestine experience gained from political operations had been converted into commercial activities.
As Handleman, the leading commentator on Soviet organized crime, summarized in 1994:
"The uncanny similarity between post-Soviet mob actions and KGB and party manipulations is borne out by materials from Central Committee archives published in the early months following the coup. Greed as well as ideology encouraged the Kremlin to network beyond Soviet borders. In 1983, the Politburo allegedly transferred crude oil to Italian companies for windfall profits. At the same time, Soviet diamonds were secretly sold on the international market to fund clandestine operations from Afghanistan to Southeast Asia. The archives documents confirmed Soviet governments provided aid to terrorist groups from Italy to Libya. KGB agents carrying briefcases stuffed with cash also delivered annual subsidies to communist parties in Italy, France, the United States and dozens of other countries."
Evgenni Lisov, the deputy prosecutor of the Russian Federation, also stated that the CPSU had supported ninety-eight foreign communist parties including guerrilla and terrorist organizations. Lisov disclosed that the CPSU had spent over $200 million on funding foreign communist parties from 1981-1991. Participant accounts verified this assessment.
In 1992, the former head of the CPSU (CC), Anatoly Smirnov described how he was authorized by the former head of the Secretariat of the CPSU International Department, Valentin Falin, to operate a " a highly secret international fund for supporting leftist workers' organizations around the world". According to Smirnov, the account contained $11.5 million. An additional $2 million was kept at the Soviet embassy in Washington for the United States Communist Party. Smirnov also took "a package, cryptically defined in the accompanying letter from the Vice-Chairman of the KGB (Shebarshin) delivered through KGB channels, and containing $600,000 in cash as a repayment of a zero interest loan from the CPSU to the first secretary of the Polish Workers Party Central Committee, Rakowski".
Smirnov referred to the sum of "$14.1 million at my disposal" and stated that the majority of the communist parties had received the donations by the middle of March 1990. Smirnov also described a clandestine plan devised by Valentin Falin to ensure that the International Department's funds would be protected:
"In September 1991, you told me to visit your first deputy who explained to me your idea; to put the money in circulation in order to earn an easy living for the Department. Considering the utmost importance of the matter, it was decided that the memo to the Central Committee would be handwritten. The plan was to transfer the money, through KGB channels, to the Swiss Bank del Gottardo. The name of the bank was verified on your instructions by your trusted man Osintevv, from the group concerned with their work of clandestine agents and production of fake documents, including foreign passports. Professionals whom the CPSU (CC) trusted were to be commissioned with implementing the banking operations. The plan was approved by KGB leaders."
Smirnov pointed out that despite official denials the "majority of the communist parties, had already received their donations by the middle of that March : France, $2 million; Chile, $0.7 million; Germany and Portugal, $0.5 million each; Lebanon, $0.4 million; India and Argentina, $0.25 million; Brazil, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia and Uruguay, $0.2 million each; and Iraq, Peru, Spain, Cyprus, Ecuador, Bolivia, Sweden and Norway $0.15 million each."
According to Smirnov, over thirty additional communist parties received donations from the CPSU, including the communist parties of Finland, Denmark, Austria and Nigeria. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of dollars were channelled abroad in the summer and fall of 1990:
"$150,000 went to the communists of Cyprus on June 28, $300,000 to the Israeli communist Party on August 15, and Argentine Communists received $100,000 on October 18 1990. Paradoxically, the smuggling of the money out of the country by the KGB was happening at the time when the USSR was receiving massive humanitarian aid from abroad."
An indication of the disarray and consternation of the ID-CPSU functionaries following the failure of the 1991 coup is found in the curious deaths of three of its most senior office holders. N.E. Kruchkina, CPSU Treasurer since 1983, Andropov protege, was found dead on the pavement beneath his apartment in Moscow. He had allegedly committed suicide. Kruchkina had been the keeper of the CPSU's accounting secrets and possessed the numbers of the secret accounts. Six weeks later, G.S. Pavlov, his predecessor, was also discovered dead, on the pavement below his high rise building. A few days later, the official responsible for channeling aid to foreign communist parties met his death from a twelfth floor window.
Russian Investigative Reports
Russian researchers writing in Isvestia (31 March 1993) verified Smirnov's account in their analysis of the dispersal of CPSU funds in 1993 and pointed out:
"The amount that actually remained in deposit no. 1 by September was $11,582,214.25. Just where did the foreign currency go and to whom? The bulk of the money went to support the world communist movement. The record of expenditures lists friends of the CPSU from 93 countries, under every letter of the alphabet. The top three (in terms of the size of the foreign currency "gift") were the communists of Italy ($44 million), of the United States ($40 million) and of France ($40 million). It is clear how communism in other countries was financed — everything came out of our pockets.
Deposit no. 1 was a special foreign currencies account at the Bank for Foreign Economic Activity that was controlled by the head of the CPSU's International Department. The money deposited there came from the CPSU and from some of the communist parties in Europe. In the period from 1972 to 1990 alone, the CPSU borrowed $325 million from the state for its international friendship.
Apart from deposit no. 1, millions of dollars went abroad from special account no. 14000025 at the Bank for Foreign Economic Activity. That account belonged to military unit 54282 or in other words, the ... KGB."
CPSU Payments to Foreign Communist Parties
In 1991, the Russian publication New Times published details of CPSU funding of foreign communist parties. In the same year, the Russian publication Moscow News Weekly published entries from the ledger of the ID-CPSU. Document 1, relating to the period from 10 February 1989 sets out actual amounts paid to communist parties in ten foreign countries, which amounted to a total of $10,700,000.
It was estimated by the Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, in 1994 that for the period 1981-1991, the following funds were sent by the CPSU to the following communist parties amongst others:
French Communist Party $24m
U.S. Communist Party $21m
Finnish Communist Party $16.5m
Portugese Communist Party $9.5m
Chilean Communist Party $6m
Israeli Communist Party $6.5m
Lebanese Communist Party $5.2m
Indian Communist Party $5.1m
Bukovsky examined a collection of the CPSU archives and in his published account concluded that over a short period the following payments had been made:
"[There were] 34 beneficiaries. The largest share went to the Italian Communist party — a hefty $3.7 million for the first six months of the year alone. The French Communist party was granted $2 million; and the United States Communist Party, a cool $1 million. The Mozambique Liberation Front received only $100,000, and the Chairman of the Sri Lankan Communist party, Comrade Vikremasithke, $6,000. By 1990, its budget had swelled to $22 million, and the roster of recipients to seventy-three different 'Communist, workers and revolutionary democratic parties and organisations'. Moscow gave away $400 million over twenty years and that does not include other, indirect forms of financing (also clear in the documents). In that period the French Communist party received, by my calculations, no less that $44 million worth of 'international solidarity', the Communist Party of the United States $35 million."
Bukovsky noted that the documents he examined revealed that the Gosbank, the USSR State Bank, had "picked up the tab"; Moscow gave away $400 million over twenty years.
Bukovsky pointed out that the CPSU's role was not limited to propaganda or political influence and referred to Soviet aid for subversion and terrorism in South America: [The matter was] "so veiled in secrecy that the pertinent documents carry the designation 'special file' and their contents are strewn with euphemisms like 'special training', 'special equipment' and 'special materials'. Special instructions were written in handwriting, to ensure that directions could be removed."
Bukovsky set out examples of correspondence relating to foreign terrorism:
"December 27, 1976
TO BE RETURNED WITHIN 3 days to the CC CPSU (General department Section 11) CC CPSU
Request by the International Department of the CC CPSU
Satisfy 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 Paraguay in the USSR for up to six months in 1977 for training in matters of party security, intelligence and counter-intelligence. Organization of the training is to be handled by the Committee for State Security [KGB] of the Council of Ministers of the USSR; reception, services and maintenance by the International department and by the Administrative Department of the CC CPSU. Sent to Comrades Andropov, Ponomarev, Pavlov."
Bukovsky pointed out that in the ten year period, 1979 to 1989, "special training" was provided for over 500 "activists" from forty Communist and workers' parties.
Further typical correspondence was set out by Bukovsky including the following:
"August 18, 1980
Top Secret (Special File)
SECRETARIAT OF THE CC CPSU
Satisfy the request of the leadership of the Communist Party of El Salvador to give military training instruction for up to six months duration in 1980 to 30 Salvador Communists who are currently in the USSR
Results of Vote [signatures]"
The original request read:
"July 23 1980
Top secret. Translated from the Spanish
I should like to ask your consent to undertake the military training of 30 of our young Communists who are currently in Moscow for a period of 4-5 months in the following fields:
6 comrades for army intelligence
8 comrades to be trained as commanders of guerrilla units
5 comrades to be trained as commanders of artillery
5 comrades to be trained as commanders of sabotage units
6 comrades for training in communications
Thanking you for the assistance, which the CPSU gives to our party
General Secretary of the CC of the Communist party of El Salvador."
The Crucial Operational Role of the KGB
Many of the clandestine techniques used to transmit funds and material derived from the Communist Party's historical Leninist revolutionary traditions of conspiracy and secrecy. However, the CPSU's global operations necessitated an international infrastructure. Indeed, the CPSU apparatus was a multinational corporation of a new type.
The principal organizations and entities, in order of importance, were the Politburo of the CPSU, the International Department (ID-CPSU) and the no. 1 foreign currency account (special account) at the Vneshekonombank (the Soviet Foreign Trade Bank) and special account no. 14000025, the account maintained by the Committee for State Security (KGB). Former KGB Chairman, Vadim Bakatin described the International Department as "the KGB's main consultant and client".
The KGB was tasked by the ID-CPSU with the clandestine delivery of funds and material for terrorist organizations and to recruit and fund "agents of influence for influence and active measures operations". John Barron, a leading Western authority, has noted the role of the KGB in the following terms:
"The KGB also assists the International Department in sustaining foreign Communist Parties. Many of the parties only survive through secret Soviet subsidies, often delivered by the KGB. Local security services have detected, and in some cases, photographed, KGB officers handing over cash to Communist party functionaries in Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil.
For some time, the KGB funneled money to the West German Communist party through clandestine meetings in Copenhagen. During the 1970s, KGB officers frequently met members of the illegal Filipino Communist Party in deluxe Japanese hotels and gave them large sums of cash in false bottoms of suitcases."
Stanislav Levchenko, a former KGB officer stationed in Japan, has testified that the KGB had provided funding to a small splinter Communist party in Japan, to which the International Department through KGB officers delivered directly money in cash. According to Levchenko:
"I had to go to the Communist party headquarters in Moscow. And there was an accountant who brought a sack with money and this money went into a special suitcase and I had to give him a receipt and then this money was special couriered. And in Japan a KGB officer who knows spy tradecraft technique delivered that money."
Oleg Gordievsky, a former KGB officer, has provided an eyewitness account of the role of the KGB in transmitting funds in Denmark:
"Each year the ID used the KGB to transmit to the Danish Party one million kroner (then worth about ten thousand English pounds), over twelve per cent of the party budget, in four quarterly installments. The Copenhagen Rezident (KGB Chief of Station) handed over the money in person to the Danish party leader, who sometimes requested additional funds to finance election campaigns. As in other countries, the subsidies were known only to a small circle in the party leadership."
Soviet subventions were predominantly channeled through the illegal (secret apparatus) of the respective Western European and third world communist parties by KGB officers of Line N ("illegals") of the First Chief Directorate. "Illegals" (Soviet intelligence officers and agents operating under deep cover in foreign target countries) played the crucial operational role in delivering funds. Russian commentators, writing in Isvestia in early 1992, described the process in the following terms:
"The money had to be conveyed to the recipients. This was done simply. The roles were assigned ahead of time and carefully learned by heart. And no superfluous words or explanations were required. A staff number of the CPSU's International Department would telephone the Bank for Economic Activity, name the required amount, and soon a briefcase with the required amount would turn up at Straya Square. There would be another telephone call, this time to the USSR State Security Committee [KGB]. Specifically to the department for the First Chief Administration which handled foreign intelligence. Over the telephone, only the time of the meeting was mentioned. The person who appeared later picked up the money, and after leaving a receipt, disappeared. Finally, the foreign currency cargo was sent through the illegal channels of Soviet intelligence to the recipients abroad. The Politburo members did not resolve the question of the method used to transfer the money, they only instructed the KGB to do so."
Soviet investigative writer, Albats, cited a 1953 document signed by then KGB Chairman Ignatov, noting the receipt of $300,000 sent via the KGB resident in Paris "to Marcel Sevron, head of the personnel department of the French Communist Party ... The transfer was made in observance of all safety precautions, and successfully completed."
Soviet ambassadors have also acted as intermediaries in, for example, Hungary (1987) and Bulgaria (1986) in dealings between the Soviet Union and foreign communist parties. In 1980 the then Soviet Ambassador to New Zealand, Vsevolod Sofinsky, was expelled from New Zealand for passing money to the pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party. The money changed hands in a New Zealand hotel and was detected by the New Zealand intelligence service as part of routine surveillance of Soviet Embassy staff.
CPSU Funding of Australian Communists
CPSU/ KGB funding of the Australian Communist Party has long been denied by party spokesmen and supporters. However, records from the Soviet archives — primarily the International Department of the CPSU — established the funding beyond doubt, as the following extracts from Soviet archival documents indicate:
CPSU Funding of the Australian Communist Party — Typical years:
1959: $112,000 (for two years)
1973: (SPA) $40, 000
It has been estimated that a total of $6.06 million was provided to the Communist Party in this way.
At the Royal Commission into Espionage, conducted in 1955, the Soviet defector, Vladimir Petrov, testified that he had delivered $25,000 to Communist Party Secretary Lance Sharkey in 1953. Petrov's testimony was predictably ridiculed by local communist spokesmen and in communist media. However, recently discovered Soviet Politburo records verify Petrov's claim. Petrov informed the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) that he had delivered the cash to Tass representative, and KGB officer, Victor Antonov, who had in turn passed the money to Sharkey.
The Soviets also provided $40,000 to the breakaway Pro-Moscow, Socialist Party of Australia (SPA) in 1973. The SPA was established with the assistance of KGB officers located in Canberra with the advice and assistance of visiting ID-CPSU personnel. Clandestine liaison was made with SPA members in clandestine meetings in Sydney.
The transfer of funds was regarded by the CPSU as a hazardous and sensitive enterprise, which required elaborate cover techniques, including:
• direct cash subsidies and large orders for commercial purposes, including paid advertisements in communist media,
• the provision of cost free stock for communist party funds,
• free-of-interest loans for property purchases by communist parties,
• the use of commercial firms as cover for covert funding,
• the transmission of funds by diplomatic bag with handovers in the Soviet Embassy compound,
• the payment of "black bagged" money and direct cash subsidies to local communist party officials and funneled through the Soviet embassy in non-traceable US dollar bills,
• direct payments by Soviet Embassy officials, KGB officers and Soviet Ambassadors,
• the payment of inflated commissions or prices to firms controlled by the communist parties,
• the provision of low cost or free goods to be sold by communist parties,
• the provision of goods and gifts including capital equipment, cars and lorries, plant and newsprint and propaganda material.
KGB Active Measures and Political Influence Operations
Writing in 1985, Soviet intelligence expert John Barron pointed out:
"The Soviet Union spends millions on the foreign parties, because, even though bedraggled and small, they still contribute significantly to active measures. Their members can still be counted upon to circulate pamphlets and daub walls of cities with political graffiti promulgating Soviet themes, which then creep into respectable discourse. Members elected to democratic parliaments can insert these same themes into the reportage of the non-Communist press, by echoing them in official debates. The parties constitute a ready reservoir of obedient demonstrators who can take to the streets simultaneously in different cities and nations to foster an illusion of widespread popular concern spontaneously expressed."
Baron's assessment is particularly applicable to India, which has been described by a former KGB general and deputy head of the KGB First Chief (Foreign) Directorate "as a model of KGB infiltration of a third world government". Oleg Kalugin stated that the Soviet Union provided "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to Indira Ghandi's Congress Party: "The Indian Communist Party got wind of under the table gifts and was understandably upset, but we were not naive and put our money on the party that was likely to continue leading India." The KGB had several agents and informers in Indira Ghandi's entourage.
On 28 August 1969, the KGB wrote to the USSR Council of Ministers, advising that
"KGB permanent agents are able to organize a protest demonstration outside the United States Embassy. Up to 20,000 locals Muslims can be recruited for the action. The costs involved will be 20,000 rupees, which will be met by the CPSU Central Committee allocations for special actions in India for 1969-71."
In relation to Sri Lanka, the KGB reported to Gorbachev of the CPSU Central Committee:
"The leading opposition party, the Sri Lanka Freedom party, (headed by S. Bandaranike) which has received financial support for its electoral campaign (CPSU Central Committee Resolution No. 126, February 3 1989) has increased its representation at the country's supreme legislative body from 8 to 67 seats. Moreover a number of KGB confidants have been infiltrated into parliament as MPs from the FP and the United National Party, the UNP. The more than 8-fold growth of its parliamentary representation makes the party the most numerous and influential opposition force in parliament, where the ruling party has 125 seats."
In 1982, the soon-to-be Chairman of the KGB, Victor Chebrikov, noted:
"The USSR KGB maintains contact with the son of Premier Rajiv Ghandi [of India]. R. Ghandi expresses deep gratitude for benefits accruing to the Prime Minister's family from the commercial dealings of an Indian firm he controls in co-operation with Soviet foreign trade organizations. R. Ghandi reports that substantial portions of the funds obtained through this channel are used to support the party of R. Ghandi."
In 1985, the KGB Chairman, Victor Chebrikov, forwarded a top secret letter to Mikhail Gorbachev concerning the case of Sergei Danilovich Kauzov, whose marriage to Christina Onassis achieved considerable media publicity. The letter pointed out:
"Using the financial aid and influence of C. Onassis, S.D Kausov founded several of his own companies abroad, acquiring total or partial ownership of ten ships, and concentrating about 25 million dollars of capital in his own hands, of which 3 million were deposited in Swiss and London bank accounts. Starting in July 1982, S.D Kausov, in accordance with an agreement reached with him, transferred large sums of foreign currency as his Party contribution for the trust vested in him by allowing him to remain in the ranks of the CPSU. To date he has transferred $450,000. The last contribution, in the sum of $100,000, was made in April of this year."
A KGB memo to Soviet leaders concerning United States Senator Edward Kennedy noted:
"In 1978, American Senator Edward Kennedy appealed to the KGB to assist in establishing cooperation between Soviet organizations and the California firm Agritech, headed by former Senator J. Tunney.
This firm in turn was connected to a French American company, Finnitech S.A., which was run by competent KGB source, the prominent western financier, D. Carr, through whom opinions had been confidentially exchanged for several years between the General Secretary of the Communist Party and Senator Kennedy. D. Carr provided the KGB with technical information on conditions in the United States and other capitalist countries which were regularly reported to the Central Committee."
Soviet Funding of the Communist Party of the United States
In 1958 the Soviets began funding the CPUSA through trusted communist leaders. In 1960 KGB officers provided party representatives with the funds through clandestine techniques and using code words at meetings. The KGB officers were based in the United Nations, and met their contacts in locations around New York.
The role of the KGB in transmitting covert funds to the CPUSA and the use of the United Nations were outlined in 1967 by the KGB Chairman, Yuri Andropov:
"On assignment from the Central Committee of the CPSU, the KGB residency in New York maintains secret contacts with the head of the US Communist party to exchange information with friends and send them money. Taking into account the above mentioned, I ask that the question of establishing an additional post of First Secretary of the USSR Representation at the UN in New York, to be assigned to V.A. Chichuriong, be investigated."
The following funds inter alia were provided by the CPUSA on this basis:
This funding continued. For example, in 1987, the CPUSA received $2 million; on 19 March 1988, it received $3 million and in 1989, $2 million. From 1981 onwards, the CPUSA received over $21 million, and the CPUSA was funded by the Soviets as late as 1989.
In 1992, a Canadian media report provided details of secret training courses conducted by the CPSU to selected members of the Communist Party of Canada. From 1978 to 1989, the Soviets provided nearly $2 million to the Canadian Communist Party. At secret courses in Moscow and Leningrad, the students were taught to make covert contacts, gain knowledge of corporate data banks, infiltrate and gain control of coalitions, communicate in newspaper advertisements, detect intruders in their organizations, transfer fingerprints from one object to another, gain access to government documents, use multicultural differences to further Communist Party objectives, use unions to influence public policy, and infiltrate and control social movements and protest groups.
Soviet Support for Subversion and Terrorism in Italy
In 1976 the Italian Communist Party (PCI) derived 25 to 35 per cent of its revenue from Moscow and Eastern Europe. Direct contributions were estimated at $5 million per year. The party was also subsidized by " cuts" on trade with Soviet Bloc countries and the PCI's monopoly on tourism within the bloc.
Shortly after World War II, the ICP leader, Togliatti, had financed the party through bank "loans" from Moscow. An export import company was established — SIMES — with a monopoly of the Sicilian citrus trade. Stalin reportedly personally stood behind this arrangement. Other companies, which were established by the Soviets and the PCI, included GI and GI, Soresco, URE, STAP, AICA, Pulital, Italcontrol and AMCIA, and the tourist agencies Italtourist, Tourist Roma and ETLI. The Russian subsidy to the PCI's daily publication L'Unita reportedly rose to $2.5 million in 1976. Between 1948 and 1953, the PCI received over $50 million dollars. From 1971 to 1987, the CPSU provided the PCI with $87 million dollars.
On 4 May 1974, the CPSU (CC) forwarded a top secret memo entitled "on rendering special assistance to the Italian CP" to the head of the KGB and the ID-CPSU. The memo verifies the Soviet involvement in both international and domestic terrorism. The document is noteworthy in that it is solely focused on clandestine and counter intelligence and terrorist operations:
"CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Special TOP SECRET SPECIAL FILE
To Comrades Andropov, Ponomaryov. From Protocol No.136 of the Central Committee Politburo sitting on 5 May 1974: On rendering assistance to Italian CP.
To grant the request of the Italian CP leadership and to receive in the USSR for special training 19 Italian communists, including 6 radio operators and cipher clerks (for a period of up to 3 months), 2 instructors in radio telegraph operation and ciphering (for a period of 3 months), 9 specialists in party techniques (for a period of up to 2 months), and 2 specialists in disguise (for a period of up to 2 weeks), as well as one specialist in special forms of intercom networks for consultations (for a period of up to one week).
To charge the reception and service of the trainees of the international and administrative departments of the CPSU Central Committee. Training in radio communications and ciphering, and the selection of interpreters for all kinds of special training shall be entrusted to the Committee for State Security under the USSR Council of Ministers, while training in party techniques and disguise will be handed to the International Department of the CPSU CC and the Committee for State Security. All expenditures related to their stay in the USSR and round-trip travel from Italy to Moscow shall be accounted for as reception of foreign party workers.
To instruct the Committee for State Security [KGB] under the USSR Council of Ministers to develop the schedule of communications and ciphers for the one-way broadcasting of circular ciphered messages to regional centres of the Italian Communist Party, in addition to more ciphers for recyphering the messages for two-way broadcasts.
To grant the ICP leadership's request for 500 blank foreign passports and domestic papers (the latter for the leading officials of the ICP), plus 50 reserve sets of similar Swiss and French forms, as well as wigs and other means of disguise. To charge the manufacture of blank papers and means of disguise on the International Department of the CPSU CC and the Committee for State Security under the USSR Council of Ministers.
To approve the text of the telegram addressed to the KGB Head of Station in Italy."
Interviewed by the Moscow News in December 1994, Beneddeto Craxi, former leader of the Italian Socialist Party, revealed Soviet funding of Italian Communists:
"The ICP, and later the ICP/DPLF, from the very beginning and right up to the collapse of communism received continuous financial subsidies from the USSR as well as from other countries of the Warsaw Treaty Organization.
They were financed directly from the joint fund set up by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and East European Parties as well as indirectly, thanks to the deals conducted by Italian firms in the Communist countries, as well as various export-import operations."
A file marked TOP SECRET SPECIAL IMPORTANCE SPECIAL FILE from the KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov to the USSR Council Of Ministers clearly delineated KGB operational support for Middle East terrorism, notably the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine:
"USSR Committee for State Security
Under the USSR Council for Ministers
April 23 1974
No 1071- a/ OB
To: L. I. Brezhnev
The Committee for state security has been secretly maintaining business contacts with members of the Politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, Wadi Haddad (1) head of the PFLP external operations department.
At a meeting with the KGB resident agent in Lebanon this April Wadi Haddad presented during a confidential conversation, a programme of future terrorist activity as follows:
The main objective of special actions by the PFLP is boosting effectiveness of the Palestinian resistance movement's struggle against Israel, Zionism, and United States Imperialism. Proceeding from this, the main directions of terrorist activity of that organisation are:
• continuation of the "oil war" waged by the Arab nation against imperialist forces supporting Israel, by special means,
• carrying out actions against the US and Israeli personnel in third countries, with the aim of procuring reliable information concerning the plans and intentions of the USA and Israel,
• carrying out of terrorist acts on Israeli territory, and
• organisation of acts of sabotage against mainly Israeli, British, Belgian and West German companies."
Referring to KGB assistance to the PFLP, it was pointed out by Andropov:
"W. Haddad turned to us with a request of help for his organisation in the acquisition of certain kinds of special technical means necessary for carrying out specific terrorist operations. The nature of our relations with W. Haddad allows us to exercise partial control over the PFLP External Operations Department and influence it in the interests of the Soviet Union, as well as to carry out actions in the interests of the Soviet Union through W. Haddad's organisation under necessary secrecy."
Soviet leaders, Brezhnev, Kosygin, Gromyko, Podgorny and Syuslov endorsed this document. A handwritten note at the bottom of the document reads: the USSR KGB (Comrade P.P.Laptev) has been notified about the agreement, April 26, 1974. (Laptev at that time was Head of the KGB Secretariat. Until the disbanding of the CPSU in 1991, Laptev was deputy head of the General Affairs Department of the CPSU Central Committee.)
The response from the KGB, dated 16 May 1974, read:
"USSR Committee for State Security
Under the USSR Council of Ministers
May 16 1975
To: L.I. Brezhnev
In keeping with the decision of the CPSU Central committee, KGB confidant W. Haddad leader of the external operations section of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was given, on May 14 1975, a batch of foreign made weapons and munitions (58 sub-machine guns, 50 pistols including 10 equipped with silencers and 34,000 rounds of ammunition).
The secret transfer of weapons was carried out in neutral waters of the Gulf of Aden at night, without direct contact, and in strict conformity with secrecy demands, via an intelligence gathering vessel of the Russian navy. Haddad is the only foreigner aware that the source of the weapons is Soviet
Haddad's position in the PFLP and the venue of the meeting with the KGB Resident agent were completed in handwriting, in accordance with a KGB instruction to prevent any leaking of information.
Chairman of the KGB, Andropov"
During the Cold War, Soviet spokesmen and leaders continuously rejected any criticism of the Soviet Union as interference in their "internal affairs", denied that they were providing patron state support for international terrorism and claimed to represent "peace" and "peace-loving" forces.
The archival documents examined in this article are of necessity incomplete yet they provide a unique glimpse into the Soviet real and operational objectives as opposed to their stated and declaratory objectives; it is important to understand that these documents underlined the primary Soviet global objective — to increase Soviet power. Clearly, the full and unrestricted release of all archival collections of the Soviet period entirely undermine Soviet claims to be "peaceful" and to have adopted a defensive posture during the Cold War.
The full extent of the Soviet protracted commitment to the Cold War will never be fully available. However any assessment of the Cold War, its origin and meaning, would be incomplete and distorted, without reference to the clandestine networks which carried Moscow's Gold.
National Observer No. 40 - Autumn 1999