LETTER TO THE [CWIHP] EDITOR FROM VASILY MITROKHINCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationLetter to CWIHP from Vasiliy Mitrokhin on the submission of the KGB in Afghanistan Manuscript. This letter places the KGB in Afghanistan entry into further context. Please read this before using the materials."Letter to the [CWIHP] Editor from Vasily Mitrokhin" July, 2000, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Sent to CWIHP by Vasiliy Mitrokhin and published in Working Paper No. 40, "The KGB in Afghanistan." http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112822
VIEW DOCUMENT IN
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I have seen an issue of your Bulletin, which deals with matters in which I have a professional interest. I am working on a large number of pieces on the subject of the Cold War. I am sending you one of these works in progress, "Okayanshchina"--the Afghanistan Chapter--for you to read, in response to your invitation to readers to join the debate on the issue.
The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the Soviet KGB to which I had access and does not bring in material from any other sources.
This was a deliberate decision, and it is what makes the work special--in terms of both its strengths and its weaknesses! In writing it I have stuck strictly to the facts, but I wrote it in a hurry and as a result certain notes which I wrote to accompany my account took an emotional tone, creating a rather unbalanced narrative. This was a way of expressing my personal perception of events and my rejection of the criminal intentions, calumnies and deeds of the Soviet nomenklatura.
The Afghanistan Chapter is the first study for a planned series of books entitled "In the Footsteps of Filth." I was writing it in the Soviet Union, working in complete secrecy, and it was completed in January 1987. Thirteen years have passed and the world has changed beyond recognition. Can a political essay written long ago about the events of a long gone era mean anything to a reader of today? I believe that it can, the criterion today is the same as it always was because it speaks the truth. Admittedly, the potential readership has been depleted, but I assume that the readers of your Bulletin might be interested in the material, not just because it has a strong basis in fact, but also because the information comes from a new and highly prolific source.
Some points in the piece are topical even now. For example, reference is made to intelligence service methods for combating basmachestvo--an anti-Soviet movement in Central Asia-- between 1918 and 1930. The same methods were employed in Afghanistan and, according to witnesses, are still used today in Chechnya. There are strong similarities between the steps taken by the authorities in relation to Afghanistan and Chechnya, including the desperate search for support from the locals on the ground, the management of military operations, the running of preventive measures operations, and the flood of disinformation.
The Afghanistan Chapter was written "to be put by for afterwards," or, as we used to say about things which we knew would never pass the censors and be published, "for the desk drawer." Only in my case it was actually written "for the secret cache." For obvious reasons it could not be published, and even talking about it had to be deferred until circumstances allowed.
Now this same piece of work, a document of its time, is once again being offered to the Americans for publication. I have made absolutely no amendments, additions, excisions, or rearrangements of the material. The piece remains in its original form. Only 2 words have been replaced, and one explanatory phrase has been moved from the main text into attachment The shortcomings of the piece, both those I have spelled out and those I have not, are a gift to anyone seeking to shoot it down. I hope that the wheat will not be thrown away with the chaff in the winnowing process. The errors cannot detract form the main purpose of the work, which is to unmask lies, uncover crimes and reestablish the truth.