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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June, 2007

    On Human Rights. Folder 51. The Chekist Anthology.

    Outlines the KGB’s response to the USSR’s signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975. The accords obligated signatories to respect their citizens’ human rights. This gave Soviet dissidents and westerners leverage in demanding that the USSR end persecution on the basis of religious or political beliefs. Some of the KGB’s active measures included the establishment of a charitable fund dedicated to helping victims of imperialism and capitalism, and the fabrication of a letter from a Ukrainian group to FRG President Walter Scheel describing human rights violations in West Germany. The document also mentions that the Soviet Ministry of Defense obtained an outline of the various European powers’ positions on human rights issues as presented at the March 1977 meeting of the European Economic Community in London from the Italian Foreign Ministry. The KGB also initiated Operation “Raskol” [“Schism”], which ran between 1977 and 1980. This operation included active measures to discredit Soviet dissidents Andrei Sakharov, Yelena Bonner, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, measures designed to drive a wedge between the US and its democratic allies, and measures intended to convince the US government that continued support for the dissident movement did nothing to harm the position of the USSR.

  • June, 2007

    The Solzhenitsyn Case. Folder 40. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Mitrokhin states that in 1974 the KGB prepared a plan to repress Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s anti-soviet activities in the West. The plan emphasized the importance of separating Solzhenitsyn from his supporters as well as using their testimony from interrogations against Solzhenitsyn. KGB chief Yuri Andropov approved this plan on September 19, 1974. Mitrokhin provides two pages of the signed plan in this entry, where Solzhenitsyn’s code-name was “Spider.” In 1975 the KGB prepared a more detailed and specific plan to take Solzhenitsyn’s activities under control. It was also crucially important to control the context of “The Continent” magazine. The plan called for KGB agents in the West to publish provocative materials about Solzhenitsyn that would give the impression that he was an undercover agent for the KGB. The plan was prepared by the First, the Second, and the Fifth Chief Directorates of the KGB. The plan is provided by Mitrokhin in the entry. In 1978, when Solzhenitsyn delivered his speech at Harvard University, the KGB was very pleased with its turnout and used it against him in his further anti-socialist activities. Representatives of the KGB in the Soviet Union and the Ministry for State Security of East Germany prepared operation “Vampire – 1.” This operation was focused on publishing many materials about “Spider” that would put him in a compromising position in the West. In 1978 “Neue Politik,” a western German magazine, published an article “Confessions of an agent “Vetrov,” also known as Solzhenitsyn” stating that Solzhenitsyn had been an active KGB undercover agent. This article was published in major magazines and newspapers in many Western countries. Mitrokhin states that this provocative publication almost ended Solzhenitsyn’s career.

  • June, 2007

    The Operational Situation as Reported in 1971, 1975, and 1981. Folder 35. The Chekist Anthology.

    In folder 35 Mitrokhin discusses the KGB’s assertion of an increase in domestic dissent and unrest in the 1970s and early 1980s as well as the methods the KGB utilized to combat this threat. Soviet intelligence believed that this increase in domestic unrest was due primarily to an increased effort by the United States and its allies to promote internal instability within the USSR. In response, the KGB continued to screen foreigners, increased the harshness of penalties for distribution of anti-Soviet literature, and monitored the activities and temperament of nationalists, immigrants, church officials, and authors of unsigned literature within the Soviet Union. Mitrokhin’s note recounts the KGB’s assertion that foreign intelligence agencies were expanding their attempts to create domestic unrest within the USSR. These activities included the support and creation of dissidents within the Soviet Union, the facilitation of the theft Soviet property such as aircrafts, and the public espousal of a position against Soviet persecution of dissidents and Jews. Responding to public exposure of these activities, the KGB proclaimed its legality and trustworthiness while also beginning to assign some agents verbal assignments without written record.

  • June, 2007

    The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast. Folder 17. The Chekist Anthology.

    Mitrokhin observes that having surveyed Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, codenamed “Pauk” (Spider), for a long time, the KGB had sufficient evidence to prosecute him. However, their intention was to debunk his teachings. The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast invited agent “Marina”—Natalia Reshetovskaya— to participate in their actions against Solzhenitsyn. Mitrokhin indicates that Marina went through an intensive course of operative and psychological preparation. The KGB familiarized her with the nature of ideological subversion practiced by security services dealing with Solzhenitsyn. Marina also gained necessary expertise by performing practical tasks, learning the surroundings of Solzhenitsyn, and taking a look at his literary works. Beyond Solzhenitsyn, the KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast also oversaw various clubs and organizations attended by intelligentsia that might have had harmful political inclinations. There were several instances of such developments recorded in Ryazan Oblast. In 1967, Belik, teacher at a music school in Ryazan, founded the Olymp Society, whose policy was to combat government censorship. Bigalko, teacher of Russian language at the Pedagogical Institute, started a discussion club called “Disk” that encouraged students to think critically and challenge authority. The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast compiled reports on teachers and representatives of intelligentsia who held anti-Soviet views. Professor Vilensky was one of them. He urged the introduction of another political party, listened to foreign radio programs, and drew comparisons between the Soviet and bourgeois ways of life. Such behavior contributed to an atmosphere of impunity among citizenry, which further encouraged unwanted generalizations.

  • June, 2007

    Solzhenitsyn, Codenamed Pauk [Spider]. Folder 40. The Chekist Anthology.

    This folder contains information about KGB active measures directed at author Alexander Solzhenitsyn following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1974. The operational directives prepared by the KGB’s leadership for 1974 and 1975 are reproduced verbatim. They included plans to limit Solzhenitsyn’s influence in the West, discredit him and the pro-democracy literary journal “Continent” with which he was closely associated, and make his family fear for their personal safety. Many of the specific measures undertaken by the KGB are described in the document. These included televised interviews with men featured in “The Gulag Archipelago” in which they claimed that Solzhenitsyn fabricated or misrepresented their statements to him, the publication of personal letters between Solzhenitsyn and his close male friends which were intended to reveal the “intimacy of their relations,” and the publication of an article claiming that Solzhenitsyn failed to pay his taxes while he resided in Switzerland. The 1978 operation codenamed “Vampire 1” involved planting a news story which suggested that Solzhenitsyn was a KGB spy, and having it reprinted in prominent newspapers and journals throughout Europe and the US. The document concludes with an index of acronyms, people, and codenames mentioned in the folder.

  • June, 2007

    Non-conformism. Evolution of the 'democratic movement' as a politically harmful process since the mid-1950s. Folder 9. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this transcript, Mitrokhin points out that according to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) bourgeois ideology affected cohesion of the Soviet society in three major ways: 1) by creating opposition and manipulating people’s personal weaknesses in order to pull apart the Soviet organism; 2) by inflaming disputes between younger and older generations, members of intelligentsia and working class; 3) by building up everyday propagandist pressure.