Active measures

Active measures

Active Measures (Russian: "Активные мероприятия") were a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services (Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB, and SVR) to influence the course of world events, "in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it". Mitrokhin, Vasili, Christopher Andrew (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7. ] Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to "special actions" involving various degree of violence". They were used both abroad and domestically. They included disinformation, propaganda, counterfeiting official documents, assassinations, and political repression, such as penetration of churches, and persecution of political dissidents. "Active measures" included the establishment and support of international front organizations (e.g. the World Peace Council); foreign communist, socialist and opposition parties; wars of national liberation in the Third World; and underground, revolutionary, insurgency, criminal, and terrorist groups. The intelligence agencies of Eastern Bloc and other communist states also contributed in the past to the program, providing operatives and intelligence for assassinations and other types of covert operations.

Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin described "active measures" as "the heart and soul of Soviet intelligence": "Not intelligence collection, but subversion: active measures to weaken the West, to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs." [ Interview of Oleg Kalugin on CNN] ]

"Active measures"' was a system of special courses taught in the Andropov Institute of KGB situated at SVR headquarters in Yasenevo, near Moscow. The head of "active measures department" was Yuri Modin, former controller of Cambridge Five spy ring

Puppet rebel forces

Trust operation

In "Trust Operation" (1921–1926), the State Political Directorate (OGPU) set up a fake anti-Bolshevik underground organization, "Monarchist Union of Central Russia". The main success of this operation was luring Boris Savinkov and Sidney Reilly into the Soviet Union, where they were arrested and executed.

Basmachi revolt

During Basmachi Revolt in Central Asia, special military detachments were masqueraded as Basmachi forces and received support from British and Turkish intelligence services. Operations of these detachments facilitated collapse of Basmachi movement and led to assassination of Enver Pasha Yossef Bodansky "The Secret History of the Iraq War" (Notes: The historical record). Regan Books, 2005, ISBN 0-060-73680-1 ]

Post World War II counter-insurgency operations

Following the World War II, various partisan organisations in the Baltic States, Poland and Western Ukraine (including some previous collaborators of Germany) fought for independence of their countries against the Soviet forces. Many NKVD agents were sent to join and penetrate the independence movements. Many puppet rebel forces were created by the NKVD and permitted to attack local Soviet authorities to gain credibility and exfiltrate senior NKVD agents to the West.

Puppet rebel forces in Chechnya

Some journalists and workers of international NGOs were kidnapped by FSB-affiliated forces in Chechnya who pretended to be Chechen terrorists: Andrei Babitsky from Radio Free Europe, Arjan Erkel and Kenneth Glack from Doctors Without Borders, and others. [ Special services of delivery (Russian)] - by Vyacheslav Izmaylov, "Novaya Gazeta" 27 January 2005 ]

Political assassinations

The highest-ranking Soviet Bloc intelligence defector, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa claimed to have a conversation he had with Nicolae Ceauşescu, who told him about "ten international leaders the Kremlin killed or tried to kill": Laszlo Rajk and Imre Nagy from Hungary; Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej from Romania; Rudolf Slansky and Jan Masaryk from Czechoslovakia; the Shah of Iran; Palmiro Togliatti from Italy; John F. Kennedy; and Mao Zedong. Pacepa provided some other claims, such as a plot to kill Mao Zedong with the help of Lin Biao organized by the KGB and alleged that "among the leaders of Moscow’s satellite intelligence services there was unanimous agreement that the KGB had been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy." [ The Kremlin’s Killing Ways] - by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review Online, November 28, 2006]

The second President of Afghanistan Hafizullah Amin was killed by KGB OSNAZ forces. Presidents of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria organized by Chechen separatists including Dzhokhar Dudaev, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Aslan Maskhadov, and Abdul-Khalim Saidullaev were killed by FSB and affiliated forces.

Other widely publicized cases are murders of Russian communist Leon Trotsky and Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov.

There were also allegations that the KGB was behind the assassination attempt against the Pope John Paul II in 1981. The Italian Mitrokhin Commission, headed by senator Paolo Guzzanti (Forza Italia), worked on the Mitrokhin Archives from 2003 to March 2006. In a draft report, senator Guzzanti revived the "Bulgarian connection" theory concerning Mehmet Ali Agca's 1981 assassination attempt against the Pope John Paul II. Guzzanti declared that "beyond any reasonable doubt "the KGB was behind the assassination attempt against the Pope John Paul II in 1981 [ Italian Panel: Soviets Behind Pope Attack] ] [ "Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican"] - by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review Online, January 25, 2007] The commission draft report has no bearing on any judicial investigations, which have long been closed. The Italian draft report said Soviet military intelligence - and not the KGB - was responsible. In Russia, Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Boris Labusov called the accusation "absurd." [ Italian Panel: Soviets Behind Pope Attack] ] The Italian Mitrokhin commission received criticism during and after its existence."L'Unità", 1 December 2006.] It was closed in March 2006 without any proof brought to its various controversed allegations, including the claim that Romano Prodi, former and current Prime minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission was the "KGB's man in Europe." One of the informer of Guzzanti, Mario Scaramella, has been arrested for defamation and arms trade end of 2006. "The Guardian", 2 December 2006 [,,1962357,00.html Spy expert at centre of storm] en icon]


Promotion of terrorist organizations worldwide

Soviet secret services have been described as "the primary instructors of terrorists worldwide" Stanislav Lunev. "Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev", Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-89526-390-4 ] [ Viktor Suvorov " [ Inside Soviet Military Intelligence] ", 1984, ISBN 0-02-615510-9 ] [ Viktor Suvorov " [ Spetsnaz] ", 1987, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-11961-8 ] According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, KGB General Aleksandr Sakharovsky once said: "In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon." [ Russian Footprints] - by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review Online, August 24, 2006 ] He also claimed that "Airplane hijacking is my own invention". In 1969 alone 82 planes were hijacked worldwide by the KGB-financed PLO. George Habash, who worked under KGB guidance , explained: :"Killing one Jew far away from the field of battle is more effective than killing a hundred Jews on the field of battle, because it attracts more attention."

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa described operation "SIG" (“Zionist Governments”) that was devised in 1972, to turn the whole Islamic world against Israel and the United States. KGB chairman Yury Andropov allegedly explained to Pacepa that:"a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on America than could a few millions. We needed to instill a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States."

The following liberation organizations have been allegedly established by the KGB: PLO, National Liberation Army of Bolivia (created in 1964 with help from Ernesto Che Guevara); the National Liberation Army of Colombia (created in 1965 with help from Cuba), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1969, and the Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia in 1975. [ From Russia With Terror] ,, interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, March 1, 2004 ]

Modern Russian-made anti-tank weapons played significant role in Hezbollah operations against Israel Defense Forces during 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. It was noted that "Israel has been attacked with Soviet Kalashnikovs and Katyushas, Soviet-designed Fajr-1 and Fajr-3 rockets, Soviet AT-5 Spandrel antitank missiles and Kornet antitank rockets." [ Russian Footprints] - by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review Online, August 24, 2006 ]

Alleged domestic terrorism

In September 4, 1999 a series of four Russian apartment bombings began. Three FSB agents were caught while planting a large bomb at the basement of an apartment complex in the town of Ryazan in September 22. Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Rushailo congratulated police with preventing the terrorist act, but FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev had declared that the incident was a training exercise just an hour later, when he had learned that the FSB agents are caught. Next day, Boris Yeltsin received a demand from 24 Russian governors to transfer all state powers to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to Sergei Yushenkov [ Sergei Yushenkov: That was a coup in 1999] .] Second Chechen War began on September 24. That was a successful coup d'état organized by the FSB to bring Vladimir Putin to power, according to the allegations of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, lawmaker Sergei Yushenkov, and journalist David Satter, a Johns Hopkins University and Hoover Institute scholar Yuri Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, and Geoffrey Andrews. Blowing up Russia: Terror from within. New York 2002. ISBN 1-56171-938-2.] . [ Sergei Yushenkov: That was a coup in 1999] .] David Satter. "Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State." Yale University Press. 2003. ISBN 0-300-09892-8. ]

Another provocation designed to start the Second Chechen War and bring Vladimir Putin to power was allegedly Dagestan War initiated by Shamil Basayev. It was reported that Alexander Voloshin from Yeltsin administration paid money to Basayev to stage the Dagestan War [ The Second Russo-Chechen War Two Years On] - by John B. Dunlop, ACPC, October 17, 2001 ] , Paul Klebnikov: Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism, ISBN 0-15-601330-4 ] [ The Operation "Successor"] by Vladimir Pribylovsky and Yuriy Felshtinsky (in Russian).] that Basaev worked for Russian GRU at this time [ Western leaders betray Aslan Maskhadov] - by Andre Glucksmann. Prima-News, March 11, 2005 ] , [ Checehn Parliamentary speaker: Basaev was GRU officer] The Jamestown Foundation, September 8, 2006 ] [ Analysis: Has Chechnya's Strongman Signed His Own Death Warrant?] - by Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, March 1, 2005 ] and that Russian military forces provided safe passage for Islamic fighters back to Chechnya from Dagestan [ Politkovskaya, Anna (2003) "A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya"] ] Former FSB officer Aleksander Litvinenko and investigator Mikhail Trepashkin alleged that Moscow theater hostage crisis was also organized by Chechen FSB agents. [cite web
last = Lazaredes
first = Nick
title = Terrorism takes front stage — Russia’s theatre siege
work =
publisher = SBS
date = 4 June 2003
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-28
] ru iconcite web
title = М. Трепашкин: «Создана очень серьезная группа»
publisher = Chechen Press State News Agency
date = 1 December 2006
url =
accessdate = 2006-12-01
Yulia Latynina and other journalists accused FSB of staging many smaller terrorism acts, such as market place bombing in the city of Astrakhan, bus stops bombings in the city of Voronezh, the blowing up the Moscow-Grozny train. [ Special services stage undermining activities] - by Yulia Latynina, Novaya Gazeta, 3 April 2006. ] [ The marketplace was blown up by photorobots] by Vjacheslav Izmailov, Novaya Gazeta, 7 November 2005. ]

upporting political movements

GRU alone spent more than $1 billion for propaganda and peace movements against Vietnam War, which was a "hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost", according to the allegations of GRU defector Stanislav Lunev. Stanislav Lunev. Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-89526-390-4 ] He claimed that "the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad". According to Oleg Kalugin, "the Soviet intelligence was really unparalleled. ... The KGB programs -- which would run all sorts of congresses, peace congresses, youth congresses, festivals, women's movements, trade union movements, campaigns against U.S. missiles in Europe, campaigns against neutron weapons, allegations that AIDS ... was invented by the CIA ... all sorts of forgeries and faked material -- [were] targeted at politicians, the academic community, at the public at large."

In the book "Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War" Sergei Tretyakov makes the claim that the KGB "created the myth of nuclear winter." Sergei, a former Colonel in the Russian KGB/SVR that defected to the United States in 2000, says during the 1970s the KGB wanted to prevent the United States from deploying Pershing II cruise missiles in Western Europe. The plan, under KGB Director Yuri Andropov, aimed at fostering popular opposition to the deployment included a massive disinformation campaign requiring false scientific reports from the Soviet Academy of Sciences and funding to European anti-nuclear and peace groups opposed to arms proliferation. The Soviet Peace Committee, a government organization, spearheaded the effort by funding and organizing demonstrations in Europe against the US bases.Pete Earley, "Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War", Penguin Books, 2007, ISBN-13 978-0-399-15439-3, pages 169-177] [ Opposition to The Bomb: The fear, and occasional political intrigue, behind the ban-the-bomb movements] ] [ 1982 Article "Moscow and the Peace, Offensive"] ] The KGB propagandists then went to work creating two different scientific studies to be released from the Main Geophysical Observatory and the Institute of Terrestrial Physics but never submitted for peer review. The second study, using the findings from the first, concluded that temperatures across Europe would plunge after the use of nuclear weapons in Germany from dirt launched into the atmosphere blocking the sun's rays. The Soviet propaganda was then distributed to sources within environmental, peace, anti-nuclear, and disarmament groups including the publication "Ambio".Pete Earley, "Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War", Penguin Books, 2007, ISBN-13 978-0-399-15439-3, pages 169-177] The concept hit mainstream from there and propelled into popular culture with the help of Carl Sagan. The book goes on to mention that while "Ambio" was targeted that there is no evidence to suggest that Birks or Crutzen were aware of the KGB's goal. Claims of KGB involvement have existed for years fueled in part by the strange disappearance of Vladimir Alexandrov, the man that created the mathematical model for the Nuclear Winter theory released in the study from the Institute of Terrestrial Physics, in 1985. [,8816,960025,00.html A 1985 "Time" magazine account of Alexandrov's disappearance] ]

Installing and undermining governments

After World War II Soviet security organizations played key role in installing puppet Communist governments in Eastern Europe, Mongolia, People's Republic of China, North Korea, and later Afganistan. Their strategy included mass political repressions and establishment of subordinate secret services in all occupied countries Antonov-Ovseenko, Anton, Beria, Moscow, 1999 ] Gordievsky, Oleg; Andrew, Christopher (1990). KGB: The Inside Story. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-48561-2. ]

Some of the active measures were undertaken by the Soviet secret services against their own governments or Communist rulers. Russian historians Anton Antonov-Ovseenko and Edvard Radzinsky found that Stalin was killed by associates of NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria, based on the interviews of a former Stalin's body guard and circumstantial evidence. Edvard Radzinsky Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives (1997) ISBN 0-385-47954-9 ] According to Yevgeniya Alabts allegations, Chief of the KGB Vladimir Semichastny was among the plotters against Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. KGB chairman Yuri Andropov reportedly struggled for power with Leonid Brezhnev. Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova (translated by Guy Daniels) "Yuri Andropov, a secret passage into the Kremlin" London: R. Hale, 1984. ISBN 0-709-01630-1 ] Soviet coup attempt of 1991 against Mikhail Gorbachev was organized by KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov. Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia--Past, Present, and Future. 1994. ISBN 0-374-52738-5. ] Gen. Viktor Barannikov, then the former State Security head, became one of the leaders of uprising against Boris Yeltsin during Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

Current Russian security organization FSB allegedly works to undermine governments of Baltic states [ Special services of Russian Federation work in the former Soviet Union (Russian)] - by Andrei Soldatov and Irina Dorogan, Novaya Gazeta, 27 March 2006. ] and Georgia. [ Moscow Accused of Backing Georgian Revolt] - by Olga Allenova and Vladimir Novikov, Kommersant, September 7, 2006. ] During 2006 Georgian-Russian espionage controversy several Russian GRU officers were accused by Georgian authorities of preparations to commit sabotage and terrorist acts.

Active measures against the "Main Adversary"

A few examples of active measures against the United States were described in the Mitrokhin Archive:
*Promotion of false John F. Kennedy assassination theories, using writer Mark Lane.
*Discreditation of the CIA, using historian Philip Agee (codenamed PONT).
*Spreading rumors that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was a homosexual.
*Attempts to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr. by placing publications portraying him as an "Uncle Tom" who was secretly receiving government subsidies.
*Stirring up racial tensions in the United States by mailing bogus letters from the Ku Klux Klan, placing an exposive package in "the Negro section of New York" (operation PANDORA), and spreading conspiracy theories that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination had been planned by the US government.
*Fabrication of the story that AIDS virus was manufactured by US scientists at Fort Detrick; the story was spread by Russian-born biologist Jakob Segal


Further reading

*Vasili Mitrokhin and Christopher Andrew, "The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World", Basic Books (2005) hardcover, 677 pages ISBN 0-465-00311-7

External links

* [ Bibliography]
* [ Crash Course in KGB/SVR/FSB Disinformation and Active Measures] - by The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, USA
* [ Disinformation] - from Encyclopedia of Intelligence
* [ Identifying Misinformation] - by US State Department
* [ Disinforming the Public] - by Lawrence Bittma
* [ Soviet Active Measures in the "Post-Cold War" Era 1988-1991] - by US Information Agency
* [ Russian Secret Services' Links With Al-Qaeda] (AIA information agency)

ee also

*Front organization
*World Peace Council
*Chronology of Soviet secret police agencies
*Mitrokhin Archive (smuggled records of KGB)
*First Chief Directorate
*FSB (the post-Soviet successor organization to the KGB)
*Agents provocateurs
*Agent of influence

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