By: J.R. Nyquist
In Part 3 of this series former KGB analyst Victor Kalashnikov criticized the West’s academic experts on Russia. He said that these experts have never understood that Lenin was a “practical politician who discovered new methods for power.” According to Kalashnikov there is “a tremendous chain of continuity across all the ideologies from Soviet to Russian,” from the time of Lenin to present day Russia under Vladimir Putin. This continuity helps explain the problems we face today.
The failure of understanding in the West is not merely academic. There is also a failure of the West’s intelligence services and politicians to understand Russia’s continued affinity with Lenin’s terrorist ideas; and this failure of understanding has profound consequences, in Kalashnikov’s view, especially illustrated by the defection to Russia of Edward Joseph Snowden, a former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Last 14 June U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage after he had left the United States for Hong Kong on May 20 and began releasing information about classified projects. On 23 June Snowden arrived in Moscow. Shortly thereafter the incompetence of American officials in dealing with the matter made itself felt.
Hostile to the United States, President Evo Morales of Bolivia was departing Moscow on 2 July and seemed to offer Snowden a ride to Bolivia. After flying out of Moscow Morales’s plane was denied access to the air space of France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. In other words, his passage out of European airspace was blocked. The Bolivian was then forced to land in Austria so that U.S. officials might grab Snowden off the plane. But Snowden was not on the plane.
“How was it that the plane to South America with Snowden didn’t have Snowden? Who leaked that disinformation?” asked Kalashnikov. “And Putin is making tremendous gains all the time in this situation. He is the big winner because there is now tension between the U.S. and NATO, between the U.S. and Latin America. We may speculate that’s why Mrs. Napolitano [of Homeland Security] was fired.”
I asked Kalashnikov about Snowden’s revelations that the United States is monitoring international telephone and internet traffic. He replied scornfully, “Everyone knows that all major intelligence services are monitoring phone and internet traffic. This is no secret. And making such gains out of nothing, I must confess it is a huge achievement for Moscow! Your side keeps losing, and losing. With the landing of the Bolivian plane in Austria, I must say, somebody submitted the wrong information.”
The implications of the Snowden affair are far from insignificant, Kalashnikov explained. “It implies that the Americans have lost their technical edge and professionalism. And now the U.S. government has to make excuses. Worse yet, almost twelve years after 9/11 there is obviously no improvement in U.S. intelligence capabilities. In the Soviet system the consequences of such bungling would involve severe punishment. Here we see deficiencies in U.S. intelligence security.”
As for Snowden’s judgment or status, Kalashnikov said, “The Russians are going to exploit Snowden again and again. He seems to have no understanding as to what he is doing. Russia is not a friendly country to the United States. Presently the Russian armed forces have conducted the biggest military exercises since the collapse of the Soviet Union, involving 160,000 men, and if someone thinks it’s just a show, well, they are mistaken.”
Kalashnikov sees the present international situation as colored by Western misunderstandings. If Snowden was confused and disoriented enough to flee to Russia, not realizing he was running into the arms of a hostile state, the United States intelligence community proved unequal to the task of stopping him. Before that, Snowden’s educators and parents failed to provide him with that modicum of friendly indoctrination that would have allowed him to see that Russia was not an appropriate destination for a contract employ of the NSA. Because nearly everyone in America is misinformed about Russia, nearly everyone has the wrong idea.
And why do they all have the wrong idea?
“I recently met with the chief archivist in Moscow,” Kalashnikov told me. “The archivist said that one half of the documents related to the Second World War are still secret. My point is: there is no normal historical research in this country because the most important records are sealed.”
It is important to understand why communist history remains hidden, locked away in archives that are kept secret. Communist power (i.e. Soviet power) was always based on deception. Ten thousand small deceptions were always being maintained in support of a few “big” deceptions. “To me the story started with the Bolsheviks coming to power in Russia,” Kalashnikov explained. “My own knowledge and expertise comes from the fact that I met with people who participated [in the Bolshevik system] and gave orders. There is a tremendous chain of continuity across all the ideologies from Soviet to Russian, and it would be reasonable to show that continuity up to the present day.”
Perhaps the great parallel to today is in the period between the First and Second World Wars. Moscow’s machinations against the West did not stop with Stalin’s death in 1953. Neither did it stop with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. To understand World War II and the rise of the Nazis, noted Kalashnikov, “you have to understand that Germany was under Comintern-Russian control until the Nazis came to power.”
Moscow’s forte has been the control of countries through agent networks. Long before the Roosevelt administration was heavily penetrated by Soviet agents in the 1930s and 40s, Weimar Germany was penetrated in the 1920s. “The Weimar Republic was more or less aware of this situation,” Kalashnikov explained. “When Hitler came to power he basically gave the green light to German intelligence to solve this problem and tackle the Russian spy networks. That is why, after 1933, the relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union deteriorated, then it improved again later on [with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact].”
It was Moscow’s way – the Bolshevik way – to infiltrate and manipulate all important countries in a constant effort to bend their policy to fulfill Moscow’s goals. “Russian intelligence was very successful,” said Kalashnikov. “Russian penetration of Germany up until 1933 was such that they were able to block German counter-intelligence, and this was something the Nazis had to do something about.”
Just as Moscow controlled Weimar Germany in the 1920s and early 30s, Moscow’s networks continue to control or heavily influence many countries today.
This control offers the possibility of undermining the security of any targeted nation during a military crisis or war. “I can tell you one thing about Hitler,” Kalashnikov noted. “I knew people who were involved in affairs before the Second World War. In order to mobilize against the Versailles Treaty, the German military elite were in desperate need of political party like the Nazis because they assumed that the First World War was lost because of domestic betrayal and they didn’t want such a betrayal to undermine German security again.”
The real causes of the Second World War are not fully appreciated in the West. “Germany and Russia considered themselves the losers of the First World War,” said Kalashnikov, “and from the very beginning they came to a kind of joint understanding for a military alliance to destroy the Versailles system and to crush Poland. So the strategy of Germany and Russia shared the same objectives, and had great continuity going back. So the [Molotov-Ribbentrop] Pact of 1939 [that started World War II] was a logical outcome.”
So why did Hitler break the pact he had made with Stalin?
“I agree with Victor Suvorov’s analysis that Stalin tricked Hitler into starting World War II,” Kalashnikov replied. “Stalin guaranteed that Hitler would be caught in a two-fronted war. He was happy about this, and kept his options open – keeping his hands free. Stalin made Hitler attack Russia in 1941, and Hitler wasn’t properly prepared.”
So what is the lesson we should take from this?
“The last century has been one continuous war,” said Kalashnikov. “This fact is covered up. The written history of the official Soviet historians is lie after lie. Take the memoirs of Marshal Zhukov. There have been 17 editions. After his death more and more ‘improvements’ have been included. One of his daughters found a stolen manuscript. So this memoir can continue to evolve. This week the Russian defense ministry has announced that historians can be drafted into the Russian military in order to combat the falsification of military history.”
As George Orwell once explained, whoever controls the past controls the future. It follows, therefore, that the Russian political system seeks to shape our understanding of the past so that its strategies can succeed in the future. “Everyone who raises doubts and challenges to the official history is an enemy who would be targeted,” Kalashnikov explained. “This is why few scientifically valid histories are published in Russia. And if you want to talk about the history of the Cold War, or the prolongation of a chain of wars, the whole situation is developing according to its own logic. This war … involved a grand global strategy developed by both sides, and it’s still not over.”
According to Kalashnikov the Cold War did not end in 1991. “Putin was installed into power with a special purpose in mind,” he explained. “Putin was installed to facilitate the restoration of the Russian Empire in a new shape, not necessarily as a territorial unity, but as a more profitable formation with a near abroad and much else besides.”
Bit by bit the old empire is being reassembled. “Penetration is growing in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, and growing in Poland and Germany as well,” noted Kalashnikov. “Look, Georgia is already back, and Armenia is more Russian than Belarus. Did you know that Russian missiles tests are conducted in Kazakhstan? Ukraine is a big issue, of course, and is quite controversial. Here the method is to control certain strategic points while leaving the population alone.”
The Cold War continues and few care to notice. The Soviet Imperium is put back together, piece by piece. At the same time, America disarms in the face of Russian military preparations. But who understands this? Who is willing to treat this information seriously?
At the highest levels of the U.S. government nobody is paying attention.
Watch for Part 5 of this series.