Yuri Andropov, Part II
Having assumed control of the KGB in 1967, Yuri Andropov and
the Soviet Communist Party hierarchy were faced with another
crisis in the spring and summer of 1968. Czechoslovak Party
boss, Alexander Dubcek, was trying out his own brand of
"communism with a human face."
Andropov was responsible for a strategy based on a mixture of
deception and military might. He infiltrated the Czech Party
infrastructure with agents posing as Westerners, looking to
provide assistance from "their Western brethren in communism."
The Politboro, however, wasn''t keen on an invasion, so
Andropov whipped up the fear that "Czechoslovakia could fall
victim to NATO aggression or to a coup." There is absolutely no
proof that such a plan ever existed. But it worked and in August
Soviet tanks swept in.
The explanation given to the West for the crushing of the Prague
Spring (though largely bloodless compared to Hungary in 1956)
was that it was the only way to preserve Soviet security and the
new European order which had emerged from the Great Patriotic
War. Just as was the case in Hungary, the Czech people were
told to forget the past and their rights in return for food and a
quiet life. To Andropov, the Prague Spring was another reason to
begin a massive crackdown on dissidence throughout the Soviet
Later in 1968 he issued KGB Chairman''s Order No. 0051, "On
the tasks of State security agencies in combating ideological
sabotage by the adversary." It called for greater aggression in the
struggle against both dissidents at home and their imperialist
At the same time, Andropov also conducted a wide-scale,
independent investigation into Party business and the general state
of the country''s economic system. Through investigations like
these, as well as his personal experience in the field, he saw the
glaring contrast between external strength (the military) and
internal decay (the economy). Dissidents would pay.
Author Norman Davies writes of the early years of Andropov''s
"He had no need to use mass terror; instead, he curtailed their
access to the population at large, while consigning the obdurate
to psychiatric hospitals or to foreign exile. [See my 2/3/2000
piece on Alexander Solzhenitsyn]. He countered the growing
disaffection of Soviet Jewry by giving them access to emigration.
As the files passed over his desk, he could only have wondered
why the finest talents in the land had no love for communism:
Solzhenitsyn, Rudoph Nureyev, Rostropovich, and "public enemy
#1," Andrei Sakharov. These people must necessarily have
figured prominently in Andropov''s long talks with the bright
young Party Secretary from Stavropol who attended him at the
nearby spa where he stayed to treat his kidneys." Mikhail
In a report to one of the KGB''s divisions, Andropov commented
further on the dissident issue:
"Our enemies - and even certain comrades from Communist
Parties in Western countries - often bring up this question: ''If, as
you say, you have constructed a developed socialist society, then
do various anti-social phenomena or the negative activities of an
insignificant handful of people really represent a threat to it? Are
they really capable of shaking the foundations of socialism?''"
"Of course not, we reply, if one takes each act or politically
harmful trick individually. But if one takes them all together,
combining their content with their purpose as regards ideological
sabotage, then every such act represents a danger. And we
cannot ignore it. We simply do not have the right to permit even
the smallest miscalculation here, for in the political sphere any
kind of ideological sabotage is directly or indirectly intended to
create an opposition which is hostile to our system - to create an
underground, to encourage a transition to terrorism and other
extreme forms of struggle, and, in the final analysis, to create the
conditions for the overthrow of socialism."
Andropov''s chief frustration was his inability to infiltrate
American intelligence. And as for Americans themselves, oh, if
only the truth were known of those turbulent times in the late 60s
/ early 70s. You see, Andropov was constantly looking to exploit
racial tension in America.
In 1971, Yuri personally approved the fabrication of pamphlets
full of racist insults purporting to come from the extremist Jewish
Defense League, headed by Meir Kahane, calling for a campaign
against the "black mongrels" who, it was claimed, were attacking
Jews and looting Jewish shops. Thirty pamphlets were mailed to
a series of militant black groups in the hope of producing "mass
disorders in New York." [Source: "The Sword and the Shield"]
Some years later, ironically, Kahane was assassinated not by a
black militant but by an Arab.
It should upset every American to understand what was taking
place and the complicity of many in our news media, whether
wittingly or unwittingly.
But luckily, Andropov''s efforts largely failed. Frustrated, after
Nixon resigned in August 1974, Andropov instructed the
Washington residency to establish contact with five members of
the former administration, including Pat Buchanan and William
Safire, advisers and speechwriters to Nixon. All highly
improbable recruits. Of course these efforts met without success,
too. And later, Andropov even tried to cultivate President
Carter''s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, as well as National
Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Next week, we wrap up the story of Yuri Andropov, the man
who Vladimir Putin emulates. And we gain some valuable insight
from Margaret Thatcher.
Sources: Same as Part I.