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Eight-Episode TV Documentary Series: Preparing for Danger in Times of Safety, Episode Eight

{Editor’s Note: In June 2006, Beijing released an eight-episode TV documentary series: Preparing For Danger In Times Of Safety – Historic Lessons Learned from the Demise of Soviet Communism. It was a research project conducted by the government think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Science. Afterwards, the Chinese Communist Party instructed party members across the nation to watch the series and launch serious discussions. The script of the prelude of the documentary quotes Hu Jintao’s words, “There are multiple factors contributing to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, a very important one being Khrushchev throwing away Stalin’s knife and Gorbachev’s open betrayal of Marxism-Leninism.” The full text of the narratives has been translated. What follows is the eighth episode.}

Episode Eight: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Response to the Western World’s Strategy of Westernization and Dissolution

In 1988, former U.S. President Richard Nixon published a book titled, “1999: Victory Without War.”
In a straightforward way, he stated in his book, “What the Russians pursue is victory without war… What we should pursue is also victory without war.” “The Russians firmly adhere to their goal of constructing a communist world. We should firmly adhere to the goal of constructing a free world.” [1]

Before the arrival of 1999, just at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, the CPSU was defeated without a war.

Ever since the Soviet regime came into being, Western hostile forces had been trying to kill it in its cradle. However, under Lenin’s leadership, the Russian Communists led people of all ethnic groups to struggle bravely, overcoming many hurdles and challenges, and successfully safeguard the world’s first regime of the people led by the working class.
After Lenin passed away, Stalin led the CPSU and people of all ethnic groups to continue advancing on the socialist path, despite many severe challenges including the German Fascist’s full-scale invasion, thus keeping the socialist flag flying continuously in the Soviet Union.

Seeing the impossibility of using force to defeat the mighty Soviet Union, the Western countries adopted the “Peaceful Evolution” strategy.

“Peaceful Evolution” is a word first used by the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, George Kennan, in July 1947. He predicted, “Adopting the peaceful evolution strategy will eventually lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

After Stalin’s death in 1953, based on the new situation after Khrushchev took control, Western anti-communist forces increasingly intensified their “peaceful evolution” strategy, trying to westernize and disintegrate the Soviet Union.

When Nixon took office, he adopted the “Balance of Power Diplomacy,” trying to infiltrate the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries on ideological and cultural fronts, to promote Western values of freedom, democracy, and human rights that all focused on individual interest to contend with Marxist ideology.

U.S. President Reagan stated that in the battle between the two social systems of capitalism and socialism, “The final determining factor is not nuclear bombs or missiles, but the battle of wills and ideas.” He vowed to “relegate Marxism to the garbage heap of history.” [2]

When Gorbachev took power, he greatly promoted the so-called “New Thinking” in international politics. He declared, “Human survival is above everything,” and stressed, “The collective interest of the entire human world is above everything.” The Soviet Union and the U.S. “have no other choice but to comprehend this great truth of co-existence.” Thus, at the international level, he fundamentally negated the iron facts that serious struggles between socialism and capitalism and between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie still exist.

His political declaration soon spread to Western society. The Western anti-communist forces, grasping the opportunity, started the full-scale “peaceful evolution” offense.

In the face of the West’s “peaceful evolution” campaign, Gorbachev, as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, widely opened the door to welcome it.

The first approach of the westernization and disintegrating strategy adopted by the U.S. and other Western countries against the Soviet Union was: using mass media to conduct ideological infiltration.

The U.S. set up large radio stations of “Radio Free Europe” and “Radio Liberty” in Western Europe, targeting the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. On a daily basis, they “broadcast major events around the world and in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe” in six languages, promoting Western society’s “achievements,” life style, and value system. “The British Broadcasting Company (BBC)” and “Deutsche Welle” also broadcast to the world in 40 and 35 languages, respectively. These four radio stations took on the responsibility of exporting Western ideology to the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. Reagan once quoted the words of the leaders of the Polish “Solidarity” trade union, “From a long-term perspective, it may prove that broadcast is the most economical and effective choice.” [3]

The focus of the Western ideology infiltration is to deny the CPSU’s revolutionary history, exaggerate the social problems in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries, stir up dissatisfaction among the people, and direct that dissatisfaction toward the communist party and socialism. The U.S. CIA also sponsored research institutes to design a “Harvard Plan” to extinguish the Russian people’s affection for Lenin and Stalin. The plan included filling newspapers, radio, TV, and movies with anti-Lenin and anti-Stalin materials and persuading the Russians to accept the idea of burying Lenin’s remains. They also praised Gorbachev’s “New Thinking,” supporting his reform to weaken and remove the party’s leadership and the socialist system, and take the opportunity to promote the so-called Western “wonderful life” and the superiority of capitalism.

Allen Welsh Dulles, then Director of the CIA during the Cold War, once confidently stated about the U.S. strategy to subvert the Soviet Union, “If we taught the young Russians to sing our songs and dance to them, then sooner or later we would teach them to be able to think in the way that we want them to think.” [4] The West paid particular attention to using their lifestyle and consumerism to influence the Russian people, especially the young generation.

Facing this propaganda campaign, Gorbachev not only lost his vigilance by providing no patriotism education to the Russian people, but he also encouraged people to accept Western ideas instead. He once stated in a Politburo meeting in August 1985, “The Russians must have direct contact with foreigners. Don’t be afraid… some people will see, the world is really large and colorful.”

In December 1988, the Soviet Union stopped jamming the signals from those once viewed as anti-revolutionary Western radio stations. At the same time, it also decided to spend 4 million rubles to import 20 Western newspapers and openly sell them in public. This strengthened the West’s media campaign.

Because the CPSU widely opened the door to the West’s ideological attacks, around 1990 the thought waves of abandoning socialism reached a peak in Soviet society. A nationwide survey showed that, when asked, “Which path should the Soviet Union choose?” 32% of those surveyed responded to follow the U.S.; 17% chose Germany; and 11% picked Sweden. Quite a few political forces decided to take a so-called “completely revolutionary” approach, abandoning “this shore” of socialism and, in one leap, joining “the other shore” of capitalism. This completely fit the U.S. National Security Council’s definition for “the most effective propaganda:” “The targeted audience follows the direction that you set, while believing that it has made the choice.”

The second approach of the westernization and disintegration strategy that the U.S. and other Western powers used against the Soviet Union was: using economic trade and technological assistance to guide the Soviet Union’s reform towards the West’s desired direction.

Since World War II, the U.S. has used the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom), secretly established in November 1949, to impose embargos and trade restrictions against socialist countries, as a means of pressuring these countries to make political concessions.

Seeing that Gorbachev’s “reform” in the Soviet Union suited their demands, one after another Western countries expressed their support. Gorbachev also bet the success of the “reform” on the West’s charity. In 1989, Gorbachev’s launch of “fundamental reform” of the political system quickly led to social unrest, ethnic conflicts, and an economic recession. Unprepared, he groveled and begged for help from the West. The West took this “golden opportunity” to impose strict terms and speed up the implementation of its “peaceful revolution” strategy.

In May 1991, Gorbachev sent economist Grigory Yavlinsky to the U.S. to work with experts at Harvard University to develop a “Harvard Plan.” The plan would provide $30-50 billion aid annually to the Soviet Union for a total of $150-250 billion over 5 years; the Soviet Union would implement “a free market economy,” “privatization,” thorough “democratization,” and an offer of autonomous status to member republics. The plan also prescribed a close tie between Western aid and the Soviet Union’s reform, with a semi-annual review. According to the West’s description, the plan was “more aid for major reform, less aid for minor reform, and no aid for no reform.”

However, the West’s aid was only “bait.” Former U.S. President Nixon once said, “The key U.S. strategic interest is not to save Moscow economically, but to destroy its communist system.” [5] Truly, it was. On July 16, 1991, Gorbachev took the files, including the Harvard Plan, to London to meet the G-7 heads, seeking large amounts of aid, but the end result disappointed him. The G-7 countries didn’t commit any aid. Nevertheless, Gorbachev continued to follow the concept of the “Harvard Plan,” taking the Soviet Union’s reforms down a “path of no return,” under the guidance set up by the West.

Gorbachev, therefore, won the West’s praise as a “great reformer,” a favorite of the media, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize. The bourgeois monopolistic groups in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and other Western countries also provided Gorbachev himself with a lot of cash in the form of “royalties.” His Chief of Staff, Valery Boldin, recollected that shortly after Gorbachev took office, he received many bonuses, prizes, and royalties; his personal bank account soon reached one million dollars. Later his wife Raisa’s first book was published in the U.S. and she was paid three million dollars for it. [6] The West’s flattery and bribes were among the original incentives that led Gorbachev to completely betray socialism in the Soviet Union. As early as in December 1918, Lenin had pointed out in “The Speech at the Third Worker Co-operatives Representatives Conference,” that, “In the U.S., people like Wilson had a lot of U.S. dollars; they could buy the entire Russia… or the whole world.” [7] Lenin also pointed out that bribery was the core of the problem.

The third approach of the westernization and disintegration strategy that the U.S. and other Western countries adopted against the Soviet Union was: using the so-called “human rights” issue to interfere in the Soviet Union’s internal affairs and support and grow the anti-communist forces within the Soviet Union.

For years, the U.S. and Western countries have been using the “human rights” issue to attack and slander socialist systems, raising a fuss that “the communist world tramples on citizen’s rights.”

The U.S. government even linked “human rights diplomacy” to ideological and political infiltration, openly using human rights issues to pressure socialist countries. After the Helsinki Accords were signed in 1975, Western countries used its stipulations to provide support to “political dissidents” in the Soviet Union. The support included material and monetary support, and also “honor” or “moral” support.

Shortly after Carter took office in 1977, he met Solzhenitsyn, the author of The Gulag Archipelago. Carter also wrote a personal letter to the most famous dissident, Sakharov, expressing that the U.S. “will continue to fulfill its commitment of promoting human rights overseas.”

In April 1979, the U.S. released two arrested Soviet spies in exchange for five Soviet Union dissidents, including Ginsberg, to support and encourage more dissidents to step forward in the Soviet Union.

In December of the same year, the Carter Administration organized a “Human Rights Week” to pressure the Soviet Union and encourage dissidents in the Soviet Union.

In 1983, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to fund “Project Democracy.” By 1989, the funding that Congress provided to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) alone had reached $25 million. This funding was mainly for “developing democracy” and supporting opposition in socialist countries, primarily the Soviet Union. The West used ideology infiltration and the “human rights” campaign, along with huge amounts of capital, to support those who were dissatisfied with the CPSU, helping to establish NGOs, providing financial aid to produce publications promoting bourgeois liberalization, encouraging them to grab power from the CPSU, and providing political shelter.

In the early 1980s, dissident activities gradually faded. However, as Gorbachev advanced his “openness” and “democratic” policies, NGOs and all kinds of publications promoting the bourgeois liberalization mushroomed again.

Gorbachev completely submitted to the U.S. “human rights” campaign and pressure. The most typical case was restoration of the reputation of the most famous dissident Sakharov. Sakharov was the Soviet Union’s “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb.” But with support and financial help from the West, he spent all his energy against the socialist system and frequently gave anti-communist speeches. He even formed a “Human Rights Committee” in the Soviet Union. In early 1980, the government forced him to move out of Moscow to live in Gorky city. But on December 16, 1986, Gorbachev himself called him to invite him to move back to Moscow to encourage him to participate in political activities, giving him two residences and a villa. At his request, the Soviet Union released 140 dissidents. In March 1989, Sakharov ran for the Soviet Union people’s representative but failed. Gorbachev immediately increased the quota for the Russian Academy of Sciences to help him to become a people’s representative. Later, Sakharov became one of the leaders of the “Cross Regional Representatives” that strongly opposed the CPSU in the Soviet Union’s People’s Representatives Conference. He strongly proposed to amend Article Six of the Soviet Union’s Constitution, which guaranteed the CPSU’s ruling party position in the Soviet Union. He also drafted a “Constitution” himself and took the word “Socialist” out of the name of the USSR (“Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics”). Sakharov died of illness in December 1989. Gorbachev expressed great sorrow, claiming it was a “huge loss.” Because of Gorbachev’s “clear” position and attitude, more dissidents and larger dissident movements soon became open and legal.

Facing the political opposition that took the form of NGOs, the CPSU allowed and indulged the anti-communist and anti-socialist forces’ rampant attacks. In June 1988, Gorbachev said at the CPSU’s 19th National Conference that an “obvious characteristic” of the reform was the fast growth of NGOs and that “(they) are the outstanding representation of people’s original spirits and worth our full support.” [8] On July 18, 1989, he said at another meeting that these NGOs were “positive,” “in-line with the reform’s objective,” and therefore, “(the government) should have conversations and cooperation with them.” He not only allowed the establishment of all kinds of informal organizations, but he also agreed to the establishment of opposing parties on an informal organizational basis, the adoption of a multi-party system, and he eventually allowed the opposing parties to take over many local governments under the umbrella of “free election.”

On December 28, 1987, a Pravda editorial stated that there were more than 30,000 informal parties in the Soviet Union. The number increased to 90,000 by August 1990, among which there were 500 political parties and 20 national level parties. These parties and organizations openly promoted anti-communist concepts and encouraged forming independent labor unions to become opposing parties.

The fourth approach of the westernization and disintegration strategy that the U.S. and other Western countries adopted against the Soviet Union was: interfere in the Soviet Union’s ethnic problems, destroy the relationships between ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, and create internal turmoil.

The Soviet Union had long-standing ethnic group conflicts. Since Gorbachev pushed to “democratize inter-ethnic relationships,” these problems were continuously intensified and became severe conflicts. The West then jumped in and tried to make things worse.

After the Soviet Union began reforms in 1986, some members of the U.S. Congress went to Latvia to stir up tension among different ethnic groups, publicly stating that the U.S. had never acknowledged the Soviet Union’s “occupation” of the Baltic countries and that the Baltic people had the right to decide whether to become independent.

In the spring of 1989, when the national separatist movements along the Baltic coast became a rising tide, the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union met the representatives of local separatist forces to find out their intentions and plans. He also expressed support for them. This directly caused the two million Baltic people’s hand-in-hand “Baltic Way” movement, greatly strengthening the will and determination of local separatists. During the event, they openly put forth, “Bring Down the CPSU” and “Independence from the Soviet Union.”

On December 1, 1989, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union held a summit in Malta, Bush pressured Gorbachev, warning that the Soviet Union should not use force against the national movement of the three Baltic countries; otherwise, anti-Soviet Union sentiment would spread all over the U.S. Bush also met with the Baltic separatist leaders to express support.

In January 1991, when the Lithuania situation intensified, the U.S. immediately issued a statement, blaming the Soviet Union army’s “provocation,” and asking the Soviet Union “to go back to the negotiating table.” It also made its firm position known to the Soviet Union through many diplomatic channels. Bush himself also called Gorbachev and sent him a secret letter, asking him to fulfill his promise of not using force against the Baltic countries; otherwise, the U.S. would stop the financial aid to the Soviet Union.

Under the U.S.’s intense pressure, Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union, ordered the withdrawal of the air-born units and internal troops that were sent to Lithuania to restore order. He also guaranteed to the Americans that he wanted to advance political reform on the basis of the Constitution and have a conversation with the Baltic separatist force. After that, the Soviet Union’s central government lost control over these three republics.

The Baltic separatists’ success began a domino effect that led to the Soviet Union’s disintegration.
The fifth and the most fatal approach of the westernization and disintegration strategy that the U.S. and other Western countries adopted against the Soviet Union was: support the insurgent forces within the CPSU and greatly support the gravediggers for the CPSU and the Soviet government.

As early as the summer of 1987, before Yeltsin clashed with Gorbachev, the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union contacted Yeltsin. The “frankness” of his anti-communist and anti-socialist ideas strongly impressed the U.S. Ambassador. The U.S. then made him a special target, fully supporting his actions to oppose the CPSU Central Committee, oppose the federation government, and split the CPSU and the Soviet Union.

When Yeltsin had an open clash with Gorbachev and was dismissed from the Politburo, the U.S. used many opportunities to maintain even closer ties with him. In 1989, Yeltsin was elected as a Soviet people’s representative and entered the Supreme Soviet. When he visited the U.S. in September that year, the U.S. organized an exceptional reception for the “unofficial visit” of this “unofficial figure,” arranging the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, former President Reagan, and many political leaders to meet him.

When Yeltsin returned, he expedited his anti-communist activities. On one hand, he tried to amend the Constitution to remove the CPSU’s leadership of the country, and on the other hand, he led the Democratic Faction within the communist party, trying to “completely reform” the CPSU and take over the party leadership. The U.S. got directly involved in the internal political struggle of the Soviet Union by trying to “mediate” between Gorbachev and Yeltsin, pushing both of them to “work together.”

In June 1991, when Yeltsin was elected the President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the U.S. immediately invited him to visit the U.S. and gave him presidential treatment though he was not yet sworn in. Besides President Bush’s long meeting with him, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Commerce, leaders of the Senate and House, the AFL-CIO president, the CEOs of some large companies, and some social organization heads all met with Yeltsin.

Yeltsin reciprocated as well. In December 1991, when he plotted with the leaders of the Ukraine and Belarus to dissolve the USSR, he first informed the U.S. President and obtained U.S. support.

Right before the “8.19” event, a famous dissident, Popov, used a piece of paper to inform the U.S. Ambassador that someone was plotting a coup. When the “8.19” event happened, the U.S. President called Yeltsin twice to calm him down and encourage him to fight. All major Western capitalist countries clearly stated their position in support of Yeltsin; the Prime Minister of Canada announced freezing $200 million in aid to the Soviet Union and criticized that the Soviet Union was likely to return to the Cold War; Japan criticized the actions of the State Emergency Committee as illegal and announced a freeze on all aid programs to the Soviet Union; German leaders one after another expressed their support for Yeltsin’s requested to return to the order of the Constitution; the French leader vehemently attacked the State Emergency Committee, requesting the Europe Commission (EC) to hold a summit to discuss the Soviet Union’s situation; and the World Bank announced a temporary suspension of discussions on providing technical aid to the Soviet Union.

At that time, Gorbachev stayed on Yeltsin’s side, jointly fighting against the “State Emergency Committee” that was trying to save the USSR.

The Gorbachev-led CPSU leaders who yielded to the West’s strategy of westernizing and disintegrating the Soviet Union, plus the collaboration with Western hostile forces by the Yeltsin-led rebel force within the CPSU, left the CPSU with no chance of victory in this war without smoke. When Yeltsin stood in front of the tanks that came to surround the “White House,” the “ceremonial gun” for the funeral of the CPSU and Soviet socialism was ready to fire.

The CPSU’s decline from prosperity to defeat, and the Soviet Union’s change from a super power to collapse, has left the world a precious historic legacy.

The collapse of the CPSU, the termination of the Soviet socialist system, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a unified multi-ethnic country, is a complicated political event caused by many factors, which are international and domestic, inside the party and outside the party, historical and realistic, economic, political, ideological, cultural, and social.

However, the CPSU, the backbone of the former Soviet Union and Soviet people, once the ironclad framework for the Soviet socialist cause, had an internal transformation and broke apart. That was undoubtedly the most critical factor in the collapse of this monolith.

When the Russians looked back for the reasons for the Soviet Union’s disintegration, more and more people turned their eyes to the CPSU itself. The former famous dissident Alexander Zinoviev said in his book The Russian Tragedy, when analyzing the responsibility, “The CPSU’s organizations, the entire CPSU, including all party members are primarily responsible for the disaster.” [9]

Now, global socialism is undoubtedly at low tide, but shouldn’t all communists who unyieldingly and persistently fight for socialism and communism pause to think deeply about this?

[1] (U.S.) Nixon, 1999: Victory without War, World Knowledge Publisher, 1989 edition,page 13.
[2] Liu Jing, Materials on the Western World’s Foreign Strategies and Tactics, Contemporary China Publishing House, 1992 edition,page 35.
[3] Liu Jing, Materials on the Western World’s Foreign Strategies and Tactics, Contemporary China Publishing House, 1992 edition,page 35.
[4] Liu Jing, Materials on the Western World’s Foreign Strategies and Tactics, Contemporary China Publishing House, 1992 edition,page 39.
[5] Liu Jing, Materials on the Western World’s Foreign Strategies and Tactics, Contemporary China Publishing House, 1992 edition,page 312.
[6] Valery Boldin, Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era As Witnessed by His Chief of Staff, Central Compilation and Translation Press, 1996 edition, Page 4
[7] The Complete Works of Lenin, 2nd edition,page 346.
[8] Gorbachev, About Implementation of the Resolution of the 27th Congress of the CPSU and Tasks of Deepening the Reforms – Report at the 19th National Conference of the CPSU, Moscow, 1988 edition, page 88.