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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 10, 1980

NOTE ABOUT THE SITUATION AMONG THE NATIONAL GROUPS OF IRAQI STUDENTS IN THE SOVIET UNION

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    In the early months of 1980, Iraqi students are studying in cities all over the Soviet Union. However, Ba'athist students attempt to provoke a mass brawl with the communist students, especially in the city of Tashkent. The Iraqi government then tries to place the blame entirely on the communist Iraqi students, and evidence suggests that the Iraqi government may have been guiding the Ba'athist students.
    "Note about the Situation Among the National Groups of Iraqi Students in the Soviet Union," March 10, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, ZA, HA II, 22602. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114447
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114447

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Ministry for State Security

Operative Group Moscow

Moscow, 10 March 1980

T r a n s l a t i o n [from Russian]

SECRET

N o t e

about the situation among the national groups of Iraqi students in the USSR

950 Iraqi students study in 33 cities of the USSR at educational institutions. Among those there are

500 communists,

400 members of the ruling Baath Party and

50 individuals who have a neutral position.

Recently a fierce escalation of relations between Baathists and communists was noted. In January of this year students (Baathists) attempted to provoke a mass brawl with their compatriots in the city of Tashkent. Through certain measures this was prevented in time. As a result, a group of Baathists went to Tashkent airport and demanded to be brought to Moscow. A large number of cold weapons were seized from the students, and they were removed from the airport. Members of the Iraqi Embassy who came in from Moscow attempted to put the entire blame for the incident on the communist students.

Reports from agents show that the Baathist students act under direct guidance from the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow. There also occurred clashes between Iraqi citizens of different party affiliations in the cities of Moscow, Leningrad, Baku, Donetsk and Rostov-on-Don.

The provocative activities by the Iraqi Baathists are met with negative reactions by other foreign students. In Tashkent, 17 organizations of foreign students sent protest letters to the addresses of the Arab embassies in Moscow and the Soviet Ministry of Education. The KGB is aware that such clashes among students might be exploited by the Iraqi side to the detriment of existing bilateral agreements. Thus the KGB will undertake appropriate measures to localize and crush such incidents.