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November 13, 1969

Stasi Note on Meeting with KGB Officials, 13 November 1969

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation

Highly confidential!


Berlin, 17 November 1969




N o t e

On a Meeting with the Soviet Comrades on 13 November 1969

between 1300 and 1530 hours in Moscow





Comrade Zvigun, First Deputy of the KGB Chairman

Comrade Bobkov, Head of Department V

Comrade Seryogin, Deputy Head of Department V

Comrade Fedorchuk, Head of Department III

Comrade Fadeykin



Comrade Minister [Erich Mielke]

Comrade Colonel Damm


The subject of the meeting was issues of fighting against ideological subversion.


Comrade Zvigun:


Please allow me, Comrade Mielke, to express our thanks for your support so far in the fight against the anti-Soviet organization NTS [National Alliance of Russian Solidarists], various nationalist centers, and organizations in West Germany.[1] We appreciate that you met with us in person and have placed such a strong emphasis on the fight against ideological subversion and are directing your personal attention to these issues.


I want to provide you with a brief overview about the status of KGB activities pertaining to the fight against ideological subversion.


The CPSU Central Committee attributes major importance to the fight against ideological subversion. This is based on the decisions of the XXIII CPSU Party Congress and the Central Committee Plenary Session from April 1968. The latter was especially devoted to ideological questions, and CPSU General Secretary Comrade Brezhnev has made important statements there about the struggle in the area of ideology. Currently, the issue of ideological subversion represents the most important form of imperialism’s fight against the Soviet Union and the other socialist states. It is a part of imperialism’s global strategy. In this vein, many different theories have been invented and exploited.

I do not have to speak about this in more details since Comrade Mielke has talked about these issues extensively and clearly in his meeting with [KGB Chairman] Comrade Andropov.


Through participation of intelligence services from the United States, England, France, West Germany, and Austria, imperialism’s ideological subversion has made its most important statement during the well-known events in Czechoslovakia. They aimed, in conjunction with domestic counter-revolutionary enemies, at the elimination of the socialist order and the restoration of capitalism in Czechoslovakia.


Special attention has to be paid in this context to the splittist activity by the Mao Clique. In spite of ongoing border talks, Chinese radio stations continue their 24-hour harsh anti-Soviet propaganda. They do not just broadcast in Russian but also in languages of other nationalities living in the Soviet Union.


The main ideological weapon behind all this is anti-communism. Nixon has phrased it this way: “The main struggle is the fight over ideas.”


Our main enemy, the United States, has created a special committee for strategy and ideological operations which reports directly to the US president. Similar organizations have also been established in other imperialist states. In England there exists a respective state organization with the prime minister. In the Federal Republic [West Germany] there is the Ministry for All-German Affairs, the Ministry for Expellees, and the Federal Chancellery. I want to remark here that we do not have updated information about changes that occurred in the meantime [after the change in the Bonn government in October 1969]. We ask you to support us here with intelligence.


The US as the main enemy spends more than hundred times as much money for ideological subversion as Hitler did for his war against the Soviet Union. Its main organizations are the intelligence services closely linked to the ideological centers. According to our KGB information, the CIA has 120,000 employees of which 80,000 are active abroad. They have at their disposal 200 million US dollars and huge financial means provided by the monopolists. They issue 85 different journals, 60 newspapers and publish annually about 100 different books with a circulation of 5 million copies. They publish in over 50 languages. Also they have several radio stations broadcasting in many languages, like “Voice of America” and “Radio Free Europe” [RFE].


In addition, there is a large number of so-called “Eastern Europe Research Institutes” and other academic institutions studying the situation in the Soviet Union and other socialist states, for instance at Harvard University, etc. In the Federal Republic alone there are more than 90 such institutes and organizations. There exists a special institute for the study of Marxism-Leninism that continuously examines more than 1,000 Soviet publications.


The enemy devotes major attention to anti-Soviet organizations and émigré associations. This concerns in particular the NTS. I again want to take the opportunity to thank you for your support in this regard.


Comrade Mielke:


We could have done more but you eliminated the program.


Comrade Zvigun:


Though various measures applied by the state security services, the NTS had already suffered heavy blows and was about to evaporate.


Before Comrade Andropov took over the KGB leadership, we thought that the NTS was no longer active and operative attention was no longer required. However, later on we received new information about a re-activation of NTS activities.


Several contact people have already been arrested in the Soviet Union. You certainly know about the trial. NTS activities remain a serious threat and operative work against them will have to resume.


Furthermore, émigré organizations of Ukrainian, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Armenian nationalists are very active. They have recruited their cadres especially from traitors who collaborated during the war with the fascists and moved with them to the West. There is a close collaboration with the English, French, and West Germans. These organizations also consist of people deported by the fascists who did not return to their homeland seduced by anti-Soviet propaganda.


Currently about 400 ideological centers and organizations work against the Soviet Union and the other socialist states. For their ideological subversion, the enemies exploit all modern scientific and technological means and results.


A particularly important role in the struggle against the Soviet Union is played by radio propaganda. In addition to legal radio stations like the BBC, RFE, and “Voice of America,” there are also illegal stations directly run by intelligence services like “Radio Baikal,” “Radio Caucasus,” “Free Russia,” and “Free Ukraine.”


Some of them are mobile stations broadcasting from ships or trucks. They broadcast daily for many hours the vilest slander in Russian and the different languages of the Soviet peoples. They exploit certain negative phenomena from Soviet life based on the central and local press. Also they receive information from émigré circles. It is difficult to rebuke this slanderous propaganda. Usually the broadcasts are shrewdly embedded in music. Wavering people, youths in particular, are getting softened up by this, and individual people are led in the wrong direction.


In Krasnodar, a 21-year-old citizen was arrested after he produced and disseminated anti-Soviet leaflets. During interrogations he said his political opinions were formed when he was 14 and he began to listen to Western radio stations. When he listened to those stations he dreamt about the Western lifestyle and freedoms. He committed his criminal actions influenced by this type of bourgeois propaganda.


There are also scattered cases of formations of anti-Soviet groups. Citizen Gorey and five people of his group were arrested for anti-Soviet activity. Their point of departure was constantly listening to Western radio stations. Beginning with the creation of doubts about the correctness of the Soviet Union and the Soviet government’s policy, they developed hostile positions and formed an anti-Soviet group that disseminated leaflets and other anti-Soviet writings.


Influenced by ideological subversion, an anti-Soviet group in Leningrad of 15 to 20 students emerged under the direction of an assistant professor. The main focus of this anti-Soviet group’s actions was the dissemination of anti-Soviet pamphlets, brochures, books and journals. [The material] was distributed via different paths, like through tourist travel, diplomatic representations, legal visits abroad, and in particular through Czechoslovakia. The enemy exploits multiple means to smuggle material. It was noticed, for instance, that such slanderous material entered via tubes and other imported equipment. Recently, balloons have turned out to be one of the most important methods to transport slanderous material. This method was first tested using weather balloons. The material is camouflaged through various covers. For instance as “Pravda,” “Isvestija,” or printed on banknotes with currency on one side and slanderous material on the reverse. Matrixes are smuggled with instructions for dissemination. In the case of balloons, the material gets spread out over a very wide swath of territory. Such slanderous material is collected by the population and turned in for shredding. However, there are individual cases where this gets read and disseminated. These cases are investigated and dealt with in a preventative manner.


These disseminated slanderous publications mostly deal with material about Khrushchev and Stalin in the context of personality cult, etc.


Hostile organizations resort to an active approach towards Soviet citizens traveling abroad. The number of Soviet tourists is increasing annually. The restrictive exit system for legal travel has been eased.


Immediately after the arrival of tourists in the West, the enemy infiltrates its agents under the cover of interpreters or travel guides. They aim to influence politically and morally solid people in an anti-Soviet way. They make suggestions like not to return to the homeland, or they offer contacts with US intelligence and the intelligence services of other imperialist states. Usually these offers are turned down, but there are also individual cases where Soviet citizens respond to them positively.


Such a case is the affair of [writer Anatoly V.] Kuznetsov [who defected during a visit to London in July 1969]. Here mistakes have been made in regard to operatives. The local agencies were aware of his moral weaknesses, in particular of his affairs with women, possession of pornographic literature, etc. The 2nd district secretary of the party was informed about all this by the local agencies. Yet the former defended Kuznetsov and declared he would personally solve the matter through a party investigation. Thus the local agencies ceased to continue any operative work. When Kuznetsov asked for a travel permit to England, the local security services did not raise the issues again.


Kuznetsov had been in contact with local security services in Tula. He himself had turned in material to the security services of which the validity was confirmed. The local agencies opened a preliminary file to explore Kuznetsov with the perspective of potential later recruitment [as an agent].


As a result of the investigation of the entire case, the 2nd district secretary was fired and the KGB district chief severely disciplined. At the same time an evaluation was undertaken for all other agencies. Operative measures were used to compromise Kuznetsov using the pornographic literature we found, in order to achieve his extradition [from Britain] for crimes.


Comrade Mielke:


This does not make much sense, to my mind. People will ask, why were these issues not raised earlier?


Comrade Zvigun:


Currently the situation in the country is very good. There is strong unity between the party and the people. The peoples of the Soviet Union are preparing for new results in the context of Lenin’s 100th birthday.


Still, there are various hostile phenomena. We are not underestimating the enemy. We are devoting major attention to nationalist organizations. The focus of ideological subversion is nationalism, the exploitation of national feelings, and their utilization by all those diverse nationalist émigré organizations to undermine the Soviet Union’s policy towards ethnicities.


Inspired by bourgeois propaganda, individual small groups have been formed in certain republics like, for instance, Armenia. They were liquidated. Mostly they consisted of re-emigrants and university students. They called themselves “Union of Armenian Patriots” and “National United Party.” They attempted to establish contact with Armenian émigré organizations abroad, i.e. in Turkey, France, and the United States. This group published its own slanderous journal titled “Majak” (“lighthouse”).


Recently we had to note an activation of Zionists. They are particularly active against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Currently there are still 3 to 3.5 million Jewish citizens living in the Soviet Union.


The centers of Zionist global organizations are located in the US. This concerns in particular the organization called “Joint.” A new center to coordinate activities has been established in Brussels. From there they have close connections to Romania and Israel. Israel itself has been producing anti-Soviet propaganda for some time already. They spend a lot of money for this. Sponsors are mainly international Jewish organizations and various Jewish billionaires.


Especially during the events in Czechoslovakia, the Zionists have played a very hostile role. In the context of Israeli aggression against the Arab states they produced increasingly anti-Soviet propaganda in the Soviet Union itself. In Moscow as well there were Zionists visible though we could not directly identify groups. They used in particular Jewish holidays and religious ceremonies in synagogues for their meetings. In part up to 3,500 people joined, youth included. They raised public demands to support Israel.


It had a negative effect that political-operative work in this vein was underestimated and aborted in the past. Following an exact analysis, we noted that certain Zionist elements passed on important secret information in meetings with Zionist elements who visited from abroad.


Certain concentrations were identified in different academic institutes and medical facilities, as well as in the cities of Odessa, Kiev, and Kishinev. A certain number of Jewish citizens work in trade, others in radio committees, and among journalists, filmmakers, and writers. In one case, they succeeded in publishing a poem titled “I” with strong anti-Soviet tendencies in the journal “Moskva.” The editor was punished.


Currently we devote major attention to the fight against foreign Zionist centers. In the Soviet Union, Jewish citizens have only a few central functions. There are even less of them in the republics of the Union and, as already mentioned, concentrations are located in Odessa, the Moldavian Republic, the Ukraine, and Belorussia (Gomel).


We have composed a comprehensive operative plan against Zionist nationalist elements covering the entire Soviet Union. The main task is to prevent Zionist elements from gaining influence in important secret centers and from leaking secret material abroad. This why they spread rumors abroad that there exists something like anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.


Yet this claim is absolutely contrary to the facts. Even Ben Gurion had to admit that Jewish citizens in the Soviet Union live very well.


Emigration from the Soviet Union to Israel is completely insignificant. Currently we have just 30 applications for exit permits. Interestingly, there are none at all from a hub like Odessa. To the contrary, there are many requests by emigrated Jewish citizens to return to the Soviet Union. Even such Jewish citizens who were under operative surveillance have applied to return.


The enemy is currently focused on infiltrating primarily the ranks of the intelligentsia. Currently there are 27 million members of the intelligentsia in the Soviet Union. 750,000 of them are academic researchers. The enemy attempts to put the intelligentsia at odds with party and government, in order to convince the intelligentsia that there is no personal freedom in the country. The enemy wants to instigate the intelligentsia against the socialist order and entice them to betray their homeland when they travel to the West.


On 18 November [1969] we are planning a press conference with the former filmmaker Mikhail. Some time ago he migrated to England but recently he has returned home.


Literature awards and other awards for artistic achievements are playing an important role in this context.


A special problem is the case of [Pyotr] Grigorenko. He is a former Soviet Army general who was expelled from the army for the violation of military laws. He has conducted an active struggle against the Soviet government. In that he was joined by the sons of two former well-known military leaders named Yakir and Krassin (Jewish citizens) and the sons of two well-known functionaries, Litvinov and Bruchmann. They engaged in an active struggle against the Soviet Union. They collected various slanderous material and sent it abroad to Western countries. They penned some anti-Soviet texts themselves and listed well-known writers as senders. In individual cases they successfully collected original signatures without those signatories being aware of the exact contents of these slanderous pamphlets. These materials they mailed to the West. Measures were taken applying criminal law as well as means of a preventative nature. Litvinov, Bruchmann, Grigorenko and some others will be put on trial. Through agent work, Yakir and Krassin were separated from the group as we do not intend to bring them before the courts. The main activists from this group are under arrest.


Some remarks about the case of literary critic Professor Ivan Dziuba. He has published a book titled “Internationalism or Russification.” There he attacks the ethnicities policy of the Soviet Union from revisionist positions. Some nationalist elements attempt to write books or brochures with anti-Soviet content, or to copy hostile material smuggled from abroad, and send them to friends. There are several such cases in Moscow and Leningrad. Usually we solve them preemptively. Still, there are individual cases where those elements succeed in getting anti-Soviet texts abroad where they are copied and disseminated.


The Soviet writer Solzhenitsyn, who is an enemy of the Soviet Union, has played an especially active role. He was rightly imprisoned during the war for slander and cowardice. During the war the investigation could not be conducted thoroughly enough. Thus he succeeded in getting rehabilitated.


Afterwards, however, he continued his anti-Soviet activity and wrote books and pamphlets of slanderous content. He did not take any warnings seriously. Therefore the Writers’ Association excluded him from its ranks. There will be no criminal law proceedings against him in order not to turn him into a martyr.


Interestingly there were no negative reactions among the people after the arrest of Grigorenko. To the contrary, there were increasing demands from party organizations and the population to arrest these anti-Soviet elements and put them on trial.


The academician [Andrei] Sakharov also succumbed to these negative influences. Three times he was awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor. He is an excellent physicist in the field of atomic weapons and knows their effects extraordinarily well. However, his Marxist-Leninist education is lacking. He knows the destructive powers of nuclear weapons and therefore developed the idea of seeking understanding with the West and making peace. He based this on the theory of ideological coexistence. From that position he drafted a pamphlet and disseminated it. There he propagated the convergence theory and a policy of bridge building. This text made it abroad where it has been disseminated.


Sakharov frequently asked for leading representatives of the security services to talk with him. He is no enemy, but he has lost his clear orientation.


Comrade Mielke:


It is a fact, however, that his material was exploited internationally in a wider context.


Comrade Zvigun:


The poet Yevtushenko also acts incorrectly in several circumstances under the influence of bourgeois propaganda. He has also written good pieces, however. He is under scrutiny to lead him on the correct path. There are some other writers who are on incorrect paths. They are taken care of by the party and our agencies to lead them on the correct path. Leading comrades from the security services are in talks with these writers.


Major activities are launched by the enemy to influence the youth with the intention of instigating them to rebel against party and government. This objective is also shared by Chinese propaganda. The attacks on the Chinese border were a test to see how the young Soviet soldiers react. No Soviet soldier went on the retreat although there was Chinese superiority of men and material. All in all, the youth stands firmly on the side of party and government. Still, there are individual negative occurrences.


Another problem consists of attempts to exploit religious feelings and the church for ideological subversion. I just want to refer to the Vatican, the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses and other centers in Western Europe. The enemy assesses that the Bolsheviks have not yet taken over the church centers. The Vatican is recruiting individual priests and smuggles material. They attempt to organize courses to train young priests. There has been a case in the Western Ukraine. A meeting was organized with a priest in Yugoslavia. There he was recruited and ordained as a bishop. He received episcopal insignia and was tasked to organize courses for young priests upon his return to the Soviet Union. The case was rapidly investigated; the priest was arrested and put on trial.


Ideological subversion against the armed forces is primarily aimed at

  • disrupting moral unity,
  • persuading the members of armed units not to put up any resistance, and

arresting the commanding officers.

Comrade Fedorchuk will have some remarks on this issue later on.


The KGB Collegiate has discussed according measures and created a new 5th Directorate for the fight against ideological subversion. In the territory it has four directorates in the largest republics, 112 district offices, and 22 divisions in smaller territories.


Also there are specialists actively dealing with this issue in the framework of military counterintelligence.


The leadership of the 5th Directorate is made up of long-term, seasoned and experienced Chekists like Comrade Bobkov and Comrade Seryogin. The apparatus of the 5th Directorate will be expanded. We were already able to achieve first concrete results. For instance, last year we detected about 1,000 cases of anonymous pamphlets. About 800 people were identified as perpetrators. 66 of them were arrested, the others were subjected to preventative measures.


We already succeeded in building up a good agent network for the fight against ideological subversion. It is especially put into use to deal with foreign tourists from capitalist states. For instance, there are daily about 10,000 foreigners from capitalist states staying in Moscow.


We increasingly organize the work against domestic hostile centers. It is important here for the KGB headquarters to use the potential of KGB facilities in the Soviet republics, in particular for infiltration of these hostile centers.


During the last two years we already accomplished some successful infiltrations. We have to go on the offensive now. The lagging behind of previous years must come to an end.


From our side [MfS] there is a request to organize soon a meeting of the people in charge of this field, either in Moscow or in Berlin, in order to work out joint measures and action plans.


[Zvigun continuing:] For the struggle in the Soviet Union’s interior we have already made an integrative plan. It is based on using the potential of the entire KGB apparatus, including the one in the Soviet republics. We must admit, however, that there are still numerous deficits and gaps. We have not yet registered, and cannot oversee, everything. Appropriate leadership experience is still lacking. Still, we are convinced that the 5th Directorate has already accomplished good results and its establishment was justified.


Comrade Fedorchuk:


We can assess that ideological subversion against our armed forces has not achieved the objectives envisaged by the enemy. Still, we cannot close our eyes before the fact that there have been individual breaches. Under the influence of ideological subversion, there were 2 successful and 10 attempted cases of defection. In addition, during the last four years there were 33 attempts of collecting material for spying purposes of which 12 cases were inspired by ideological subversion.


One case to build a nationalist group occurred in the Baltic Fleet. It was identified. Three people will be put on trial. All other cases will be dealt with by preventative measures. The three arrested individuals are one first lieutenant and two sergeants. They leaked material to NTS and simultaneously contacted the Yakir group. Meanwhile the investigation has been completed.


There are no special methods within the army to fight ideological subversion. Signal-transmitted material is easier to control than in the civilian sector. Officers on duty have the chance to control all signal transmitters in signal stations. Mail exchanges with foreign countries are under surveillance. We also work with agents. There is close cooperation with the political institutions [in the army]. There are joint consultations with those groups to apply measures against ideological subversion. Efforts against ideological subversion were recently activated. There exists a good mutual information system between military counterintelligence and political institutions in army units with regard to the influences of ideological subversion.


Comrade Bobkov:


I just want to add a few remarks.


Despite a variety of methods, we proceed with identical tactics.


Everybody acts as a fighter for the improvement and perfection of communism. We have to note that there are no noteworthy [oppositional] efforts to build a common organized center [since the enemies want] to avoid conflicts with criminal law. Yet all of these [enemies] share a common ideological base. There is a tendency to use foreign mass media, i.e. to sneak out material in order to publish it in the West and re-smuggle it into the Soviet Union.


Currently there are 240 comrades employed in the 5th Directorate. There exists a problem insofar as their average age is relatively high. There are 25 employees up to 30 years of age and 140 employees are over 45. This leads to an age average of 41.5 years.


Comrade Mielke:


I briefly want to summarize a few thoughts.


  • The dangerous role played by ideological subversion has been recognized very late.
  • There was a time when theories about ideological convergence were very popular, and there were efforts to weaken the security services in order to prevent them from placing themselves “above the party.”


  • New theories, new models of democratic socialism, human socialism, and so on emerged.


  • The scientific-technological revolution has had certain impacts. Ideological subversion moved from the slogan of “anti-communism” to “anti-Sovietism.”


Many thanks for the very interesting statements by Comrade Zvigun.


The fighting against ideological subversion is for us [MfS] a task for the entire ministry since ideological subversion exists in every conceivable area. The enemy has already started the third ideological World War in the fourth dimension.


For instance, it is not just the task of military counterintelligence to fight against ideological subversion targeting the army. This is the responsibility of the entire ministry since members of the army are part of social life in general through multiple relations and ties. The adversary has a comprehensive system to pull the people towards tendencies of liberalization. In this context, a policy of contacts is of high importance [to the adversary].


I therefore agree to have a meeting of people in charge from both organizations to discuss questions of how to fight against ideological subversion.


And just a brief remark to Comrade Bobkov’s statement on age composition within the 5th Directorate: In my opinion, the fight against ideological subversion especially requires many years of experience in political-operative matters. When fighting against the dangerous methods of the enemy, young comrades sometimes have problems arriving at proper assessments. Therefore I think the age average is not bad at all.


[1] NTS, the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists, an anti-communist Russian exile organization.

Meeting between KGB First Deputy S. K. Zvigun (Tsvigun) and East German Minister for State Security Mielke. They discuss anti-Soviet "ideological subversion" on the part of the United States and other enemies, as well as Soviet dissidents such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov.

Document Information


Office of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (BStU), MfS, MfS, SdM 577, p. 88-110. Translated from German for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer.


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