Trump Era Russophobia vs. Western Intervention in the U.S.S.R 1970-1991

Trump Era Russophobia vs. Western Intervention in the U.S.S.R 1970-1991:
Sean Gervasi’s study from 27 years ago puts the present derangement in the correct perspective

The article from 1992 follows. For the original report, see Covert Action Information Bulletin
(low quality pdf scan)

About the author:

Scan Gervasi (1933-1996) was an economist who worked on military and political affairs for many years at the United Nations. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He wrote periodically for Covert Action Information Bulletin. He spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book, Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

About the journal, last published in 2005:

Covert Action Information Bulletin (CAIB) (formerly Covert Action Quarterly) was founded by former CIA officer turned agency critic Philip Agee and others in 1978. It was created in order to carry on the work of the preceding publication, Counter Spy Magazine, which had been shut down as a result of CIA harassment. Contributors included well-known critics of US foreign policy such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Michael Parenti. The publication was targeted by Congress in 1982 with the passage of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which made the practice of revealing the name of an undercover officer illegal under U.S. law. The magazine was based in Washington DC. Several articles from Covert Action Quarterly were collected in two anthologies, Covert Action: The Roots of Terrorism and Bioterror: Manufacturing Wars The American Way, both published in 2003.

The Mitrokhin Archive of KGB files, leaked in 1992, indicate that CIA defector Philip Agee worked with the KGB to discredit the CIA through the Bulletin, though there is no evidence that other people involved with the Bulletin knew about the KGB link.
Agee was the Edward Snowden of his day, though Snowden has no known links to foreign intelligence agencies. Like Snowden, Agee was stripped of his American passport and lived outside the U.S. after his dissent. He ended up in Cuba and passed away there in 2008.

Sources for this information can be found in the Wikipedia article on the CAIB. (

For the book about the Mitrokhin Archive that describes Agee’s links to the KGB, see Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (Basic Books, 1999), Kindle edition location 6191~.

EXTRA: See this video and transcript of the lecture on the topics covered in this article, including additional discussion of the crisis in American democracy, as it was understood by the author in 1992.

The article “Spyless Coups...” can be obtained from the links below, but I’ve created an accessible and screen-friendly version of it here in the hope that it will reach an audience that has forgotten, or never knew about, world events in the period between 1970 and 1991. One might say that with so many urgent problems of the present, it is pointless and irrelevant to expect people to care about what happened in the last years of the Soviet Union, but obviously I disagree. There is something extremely bughouse crazy going on in American society these days, as once-sensible people have lost their minds, suffering from the delusion that a social media marketing scheme in St. Petersburg threatens to destroy the foundations of their society.

This article from 1992 might be able to do something to cure this delusion by reminding Americans of the tremendous resources that their own government has devoted to influencing, destabilizing and overthrowing foreign nations. It might also help Americans understand why Vladimir Putin is much more reluctant than Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin to follow advice from foreign leaders. Twice bitten, once shy, or fool us twice...

Back in the day, the Soviet Union, China and France responded in kind to American pressure as they pushed their own agendas, but they were always vastly outmatched by the resources the U.S. could devote to spying and information warfare, to say nothing of military budgets. In the article that follows, Sean Gervasi estimates that $100 million a year (1980s dollars!) was being spent to undermine the Soviet Union. The current paranoid and irrational American reaction to a perceived “foreign interference” may be arising from a repressed guilty conscience or fear of retribution. What else could explain the obsession with a trivial amount of “Russian interference” that appears to have been just a commercial, ideologically neutral venture to get Americans clicking on internet ads? 

What might be most remarkable about the old days, in contrast with the present hysteria, is that all players in the game knew the score and they didn’t go into fits of outrage and shut down diplomacy when they learned about their adversaries’ spy operations. The spies on both sides even felt a little sad when the game was over—a recurrent theme in Hollywood movies of the 1990s. In the old days, tensions were strained for a while when a spy was caught or secrets were lost, but everyone shrugged off their setbacks. Like cattle ranchers deciding not to start a feud over a trampled fence, they “lumped it.” Take the hit and move on. Why act surprised that your adversary is doing exactly what you expect him to do?

Detente and disarmament talks were held throughout the 1970s and 1980s because leaders were wise enough to realize they had to get beyond their differences and settle the more important problems. Gorbachev was not stupid. He knew what was happening. His memoirs contain some fine words describing Yeltsin as a double-crossing snake in the grass.

I suspect that in the background, away from the screaming talking heads on cable news, Russia has real and serious intelligence operations going on in the U.S. which Americans know about and are not alarmed by. It’s the normal course of things: “We do it to them. They do it to us.” The biggest mystery is what is being done not to other nations but to the domestic population. What is driving this need to crank up the fear about Russia and why is the public falling for it and counting on the FBI and CIA to be their saviors?

For the related article about the National Endowment for Democracy, published in the same issue of the Bulletin, see this related post.

Sean Gervasi, “Spyless Coup or Democratic Breakthrough? Western Intervention in the U.S.S.R, Covert Action Information Bulletin Number 39 (Winter 1991-92)

1988: Times Square, New York greets hammer, sickle and Gorbachev
On August 23, Allen Weinstein, the President of the Center for Democracy in Washington and the architect of the National Endowment for Democracy, received a fax from Moscow which began:

I thank you for the sincere congratulations you sent me in connection with the victory of the democratic forces and the failure of the attempted August 19,1991 coup. We know and appreciate the fact that you contributed to this victory. (1)

This communication between Boris Yeltsin, the new de facto leader of the U.S.S.R. and Weinstein, the man who invented the privatization of covert operations, raises the question of exactly what role the U.S. played in facilitating the seizure of power by a neoconservative movement in the Soviet Union.

Yeltsin was thanking not only Weinstein, but also the U.S. government, its allies and all the organizations they had for years mobilized to help the Soviet opposition.

The present article extends the analysis presented in “The Destabilization of the Soviet Union” one year ago, (2) and will begin to document answers to the difficult questions raised by the fax quoted above. What was the Western strategy of intervention in the Soviet Union? How did the Western powers and the “private” organizations they mobilized intervene in that country? How important was that intervention in forcing an end to communist rule and bringing Boris Yeltsin to power?

“[Overt operatives] have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private-providing money and moral support for pro-democracy groups, training resistance fighters, working to subvert communist rule.”
-David Ignatius

“Full Court Press”

In the early 1980s the Reagan Administration had adopted a plan to destabilize its major adversary. The strategy combined intense open and covert attacks. It utilized political pressure, economic operations, military force around the world, propaganda, and assistance to anticommunist opposition groups in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. A consultant to the National Security Council had, in a background briefing, called this strategy a “full court press” against the Soviet Union. (3)

Evidence from classified government documents, RAND Corporation reports and international sources (4) indicated that the U.S. had carefully planned and mounted a global strategy to exacerbate Moscow’s economic problems in order to create popular discontent and to push the Soviet leadership toward vaguely defined reforms. (5) The sharp escalation of the arms race was only the most obvious way in which the Soviet Union was forced to divert enormous social and financial resources into military spending.

In the wake of the August putsch, communist rule in the Soviet Union has collapsed, and Western-style neoconservatives now occupy most of the principal centers of power. They have declared their intention to create a capitalist system. Not surprisingly, U.S. conservatives, and some others, are openly stating that the U.S. helped bring about that recent upheaval.

In late September, the Washington Post carried one of the first reports that for at least a decade, the U.S. had been promoting a pro-Western opposition inside the Soviet Union.

In “Spyless Coups,” David Ignatius gave an unusually frank account of what the U.S. had been doing in the years which led up to “Yeltsin’s countercoup,” as he called it. Ignatius wrote:

Preparing the ground for last month’s triumph was a network of overt operatives who during the last 10 years have quietly been changing the rules of international politics. They have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private—providing money and moral support for pro-democracy groups, training resistance fighters, working to subvert communist rule. (6)

This is an extraordinary statement. Ignatius was saying that for a decade the U.S. openly carried out operations which had once been conducted in secret—creating havoc for Moscow (“training resistance fighters”) and building the opposition led by Yeltsin. These efforts, furthermore, were at least partially responsible (“preparing the ground”) for the countercoup which brought Yeltsin to power (“last month’s triumph”).

Ignatius is not, of course, an official spokesperson for the U.S. government. But this statement by an experienced and influential journalist with close connections to the intelligence agencies should be seen as authoritative and significant.

Even more recently, the Post reported that Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas, a Democratic presidential candidate, had credited Ronald Reagan with hastening the collapse of Soviet communism. (7) “We forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy,” he said, “[and] I think it hastened their undoing.” (8)

Clinton’s statement is important. It further confirms the thesis that “spending them into bankruptcy” was more than a RAND Corporation theory—it was an official policy. By praising the president’s role “in advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back,” (9) he also gives tacit support to covert intervention in the U.S.S.R.

Government sources now appear to be deliberately leaking information about Reagan’s “full court press.” For conservatives may well believe that the public will rally round in support of what Ignatius called this “global anti-communist putsch.” (10) If Clinton’s statement is any indication, we may see a “bipartisan campaign” to justify the U.S. and allied role in the collapse of communism, brushing aside the United Nations Charter and international law.

Engineering a “Democratic Breakthrough”

Although the general outline of a concerted U.S./allied destabilization campaign is increasingly clear, its extent and objectives remain to be clarified. Evidence is growing that the purpose was not to encourage reform, but to provoke the outright overthrow of communist rule.

The drafters of a recent NED “Strategy Paper” for instance, state that “the Endowment’s mission was from the very outset conceived not as anti-communist but as pro-democratic. Its aim was not only to assist those seeking to bring down dictatorships, but also to support efforts to consolidate new democracies.” (11) The paper acknowledges that the Soviet Union was among the major targets of NED operations, stating openly that the Endowment provided “vital assistance” to “democratic forces” there and helped them to “triumph” in August of 1991. (12) U.S. propaganda has consistently and erroneously defined democracy and communism as mutually exclusive opposites. Since NED is clearly an arm of U.S. foreign policy, (13) when it calls for the establishment of democracy, it is also implicitly advocating the overthrow of the Soviet system.

Clearly, the United States and its Western allies could not have brought about such a change by themselves. They needed local partners, and these were soon found.

The success of industrialization, the growth of urban centers and the rise of living standards in the postwar period produced new educated strata in the Soviet Union, just as they did elsewhere in an earlier time. By the 1960s its members numbered in the millions, and were often discontented or alienated. Since the ruling elites of the Soviet Union did not absorb them in large numbers, their advancement was restricted and their living standards remained modest. Members of this new strata lived, for the most part, in urban centers plagued by shortages of housing, inadequate facilities and other problems. (14) The unrelenting pro-capitalist propaganda barrages of CIA-run Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty exacerbated the resulting tensions.

There was bound to be considerable pressure for rapid economic and social progress in such a situation—what has been called the “revolution of rising expectations.” When economic growth slowed in the latter half of the 1970s and progress became much more difficult, discontent began to spread. The “full court press” compounded the economic difficulties, further intensifying social unrest. The Western allies set about encouraging and harnessing this discontent, in order to turn it against communism and to engineer a “democratic breakthrough.” Following a pattern which has been documented around the world, the U.S. employed covert and overt means to weaken Soviet leadership, and to begin building an opposition movement and an alternative leadership.

NED’s role was crucial. The Endowment distinguishes four different kinds of countries in framing its “programs,” that is, operations. Three of these categories are relevant here. “Closed societies... repress all institutions independent of the state.” (15) “Closed society” was how the U.S. described the pre-Gorbachev U.S.S.R. “Transitional societies” are ones in which “repressive political authority is collapsing and democratic groups committed to...the establishment of alternative structures exist and need support.” (16) With perestroika and glasnost, the Soviet Union became a “transitional society.”

Then, somehow, there is what NED calls a “democratic breakthrough.” When power passes from “repressive political authority” to “democratic forces,” a third type of society is established: an “emerging democracy.” (17) While such societies have taken a critical step “forward,” they have “not yet consolidated democratic institutions.” (18)

This description is not substantially different from those which can be found in the documents and manuals on covert action written in the 1950s. It merely sounds more palatable. The language is pompous and deceptive, but the substance is John Foster Dulles and Bill Casey.

The problem that NED is really talking about is how to move a country from the square marked “closed society,” past the “breakthrough” to the square marked “emerging democracy.” NED’s analysis sheds light on how it went about solving the problem. Engineering a “democratic breakthrough” in the Soviet Union, according to NED, involved three essential tasks. The first was “strengthening democratic culture.” The second was “strengthening civil society.” And the third was “strengthening democratic political institutions.” (19)

“Strengthening democratic culture” meant launching programs inside the Soviet Union that supported “publications and other media, training programs for journalists, the publication and dissemination of books and materials to strengthen popular understanding and intellectual advocacy of democracy,” etc. (20) The first task, in fact, was an old one: spreading Western ideas and persuading people to adopt them. This activity is usually called propaganda.

“Strengthening civil society” meant “developing strong private-sector institutions, especially trade unions and business associations and including as well civic and women’s organizations, youth groups and co-operatives.” (21) Again, the idea was taken from the old covert action manual “Preparing the ground” for a coup or a controlled election requires building institutions. Propaganda is useless if it cannot take root and shape a set of institutions across a wide spectrum of dissent. Nurtured, trained and guided, such “democratic groups” can become very troublesome for a targeted government.

Table 1: NED in Europe, 1984-1990
Center for International Private Enterprise
$1.5 m.
Natl. Republican Institute for International Affairs
$2.8 m.
Natl. Democratic Institute for International Affairs
$3.4 m.
Free Trade Union Institute
$17.1 m.
$15.7 m.
$40.5 m.
Includes administrative costs. Calculated from GAO Draft Report on Promoting Democracy, Improvements Needed in the National Endowment for Democracy’s Evaluation and Monitoring of Grants, Washington, D.C., 1990.

“Strengthening democratic political institutions” meant building pro-Western political parties. In NED’s language, it involved “efforts to promote strong, stable political parties that are committed to the democratic process.” This third task also required “strengthening the unity and effectiveness of the democratic forces in transitional situations.” (22) When the authority of the Soviet government began to fail, a political challenge to that authority could be mounted. Mounting the challenge effectively meant building a movement composed of anticommunist parties, organizations and individuals.

The end result was a “democracy” defined almost exclusively by the existence of elections. The U.S. has used this strategy before in Chile, Jamaica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Zambia, and other countries where U.S. money and propaganda expertise can tip the balance in favor of U.S. interests. Such exercises are doubly effective in that voting is instantly translated, through international media coverage, into prima facie evidence of “democracy.” (23)

It appears that this was the broad strategy which the U.S. and its allies followed in their attempt to shape political developments inside the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It was anything but occasional or casual meddling. And, as we shall see, the resources used to implement it were enormous.

The Scope of Operations by One Agency

There are two main difficulties in measuring the “full court press,” quite apart from the lack of sufficient space. The first is that a large number of government departments, agencies, “quasi-governmental” organizations, foundations, private groups and businesses were involved. Collecting the relevant information would in itself be an almost impossible task. The second problem is that, despite Ignatius’s claim that the U.S. now foments “coups” openly, what is visible is only the tip of an enormous iceberg; most of the detailed information on intervention continues to be closely held. Given these circumstances, the best course is to look at and analyze what data are available.

NED gives two kinds of grants, “core” and “discretionary.” “Core grants” go to business, labor and the Republican and Democratic parties. Each of these entities has an “institute” which channels NED grants overseas. “Discretionary grants” are made directly by NED to foreign recipients or to U.S. recipients involved in foreign projects.

Table 1 shows total NED grants to Europe from 1984 to 1990, more than ninety per cent of which went to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

In the 1980s, NED was probably spending an average of $5 million annually in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, with the amount rising in recent years to take advantage of developing opportunities as the “democratic breakthrough” came into view. It should be noted that dollars could be changed on the black market at several times the official rate, greatly expanding the local impact of NED funds. (24)

NED was obviously carrying out extensive operations inside the Soviet Union, even if only half its annual funds for the Socialist Bloc were spent there. A better idea of exactly what it was doing inside the Soviet Union can be gained from NED Annual Reports, which provide selected data on specific projects. (See Table 2)

The Networks

To grasp the scope of intervention in the Soviet Union, as distinct from the operations of a single agency or organization, one must account for all the channels which the U.S. and its allies have used to send funds and influence events there. These were, for the most part, governmental and business channels about whose activities very little information is available. Many of these channels were also functioning in secret. Table 3 lists the principal channels by institutional sector, indicating as well whether they were open, clandestine, or both. The names of some non-profit and religious organizations are given because these have been much talked about, even though the non-profit sector, which often channels funds and projects for government agencies, has played a minor role in intervention operations. (See Table 3 )

Another point needs to be added in order to estimate the scope of the intervention. One of the government channels listed above, the CIA, is currently reputed to have an annual covert action budget of $600 million. (25) Very likely the real figure is two, three, or even four times that. (26) To be modest in our estimate, assume that the CIA’s covert action budget is actually $800 million per year. Also assume that the CIA allocated the same proportion of its covert action funds to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as NED did during the 1980s, that is, approximately 20 per cent.

Table 2: NED in the U.S.S.R.
$50,000; book exhibit, “America through American Eyes,” at the 1985 Moscow Book Fair.
$50,000; Andrei Sakharov Institute in Moscow: feasibility study on establishing a Center for Human Rights and Peace at the Institute.
$70,000; via the Free Trade Union Institute, to Soviet Labor Review (UK), for research and publications on Soviet trade union and worker rights and socio-economic trends.
$50,000; Committee for the Absorption of Soviet Emigres, for handbooks, pamphlets and an information bulletin on getting mail into and out of the Soviet Union.
$75,000; Sakharov Institute In Moscow, “to establish a free university” for “students who have been denied admission to Soviet higher education.”
$84,000; Freedom House (NY), to expand the operations of two Russian-language journals published in the U.S. and distributed in “the higher levels of the Soviet bureaucracy and intelligence;
$175,000; Center for Democracy (D.C.), “to support the cause of democracy in the Soviet Union.”
$15,000; Center for Democracy (D.C.), to publish three issues in English of Glasnost, a bulletin circulated unofficially in Moscow.
$40,000; Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights (D.C.), a conference to put “pressure on the Soviet government to abide by” the Helsinki human rights accords.
$55,000; Freedom House (NY), for the Atheneum Press, a Russian-language publishing house in Paris, to publish “unofficial research conducted [in the U.S.S.R.] by established scholars writing under pseudonyms.”
$27 500; Swedish-based Relief Centre for Estonian Prisoners of Conscience in the U.S.S.R., to help “strengthen democratic ideas and re-establish an independent culture in that country.
$50,000; Keston College, U.S.A., to expand its work “encouraging religious freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights” in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe.
$125,000; Center for Democracy (U.S.S.R.), to gather information on human rights for distribution to “Western scholars, editors of newsletters, foundations and human rights and professional organizations that follow events in the Soviet Union.”
$195,000; Center for Democracy (U.S.S.R.), for “a broad program of technical assistance to independent groups and publications,” as the Center works “to meet the great demand for unbiased information about Western society.”
$20,000; Americans for Human Rights in the Ukraine “to assist Ukrainian human rights activists and support attempts by independent Ukrainian groups to revive and develop an independent culture.”
$25 000; Alliance for Self-determination of Armenia for support of publications “which provide a forum for the discussion of ecological and ethnic problems, culture and politics from an Armenian perspective.”
$195,000; Center for Democracy (U.S.S.R.), for assistance to independent and nationalist groups, including the Crimean Tatar movement “for human and national rights.”
$40,000; Free Congress Research and Education Foundation (D.C.), for the Initiatives Foundation of the Inter-regional Group in the Congress of Peoples’ Deputies, Moscow, for a communication center, including “computers, desktop printers, video equipment and fax machines.”
$164,976; National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, for international seminars and consultations on the problems of city governments in Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad during the transition to “pluralism and free markets.” (core grant)
$349,826; Free Trade Union Institute (D.C.), to open offices in Moscow and Warsaw, supporting industrial unions and “regional structures” in the Baltic States, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine, and for the purchase of printing facilities in Kiev, Moscow and Donetsk, (core grant) (Source: NED Annual Reports)

Table 3: Channels of Finance and Influence into the U.S.S.R.
(Note that this list does not include media organizations.)

Governmental, clandestine

Central Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
Service intelligence agencies
(U.K., French, German and Israeli secret services)

Governmental, open

Department of State
Department of Labor
Department of Commerce
(Government departments in various allied countries)

Inter-governmental, open

European Economic Community (others?)

“Quasi-governmental,” open (and clandestine?)

National Endowment for Democracy:
Center for International Private Enterprise
Free Trade Union Institute
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
National Republican Institute for International Affairs

Corporate, open and clandestine

CIA proprietaries
Department of Defense proprietaries (?)
Importers and Exporters
Banks and finance companies
Insurance companies
Joint ventures
Corporations in various allied countries

Labor, open and clandestine

International unions

Non-profit organizations, open and clandestine

The Atlantic Council
Heritage Foundation
Freedom House
International Rescue Committee
Center for Democracy
Soros Foundation
Congressional Human Rights Foundation
Free Congress Foundation
Free Congress Research and Education Foundation
Center for East-West Security Studies
Institute for Soviet-American Relations
American Foundation for Resistance International
Cato Institute
Center for Democracy in the U.S.S.R.
U.S. Baltic Foundation
Ukrainian Coordinating Committee of America
Estonian National Committee
Lithuanian-American Community, Inc.
American Latvian Association
Alliance for Armenia

Religious organizations, open and clandestine

Keston College
James Madison Foundation
Unification Church
Lithuanian Catholic Religious Aid
Christian Solidarity International
Union of Councils for Soviet Jews
Puebla Institute
Slavic Gospel Association

Given these assumptions, the CIA was probably spending $160 million per year on intervention operations in the Socialist Bloc. Assume that half of this amount was going toward Soviet operations. What does this suggest?

1. NED, using open channels, was spending $5 million per year on such operations.
2. The CIA was secretly channeling some $80 million into anti-Soviet operations, many of them inside the U.S.S.R.
3. Money and influence were flowing from the U.S. through scores of conduits into the Soviet Union. (27)
4. Several major powers, including the UK, Germany, France—and possibly Japan—were doing the same thing through assorted additional channels.

The minimal conclusion that can be deduced from all this, even taking into account the complex channeling and re-channeling of funds and projects through intermediaries, is that during the 1980s, Western governments, businesses and private organizations were devoting something on the order of $100 million per year to intervention in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union.

Everything considered, the scope of Western intervention in the Soviet Union in the last ten years was very great. The intervention side of the “full court press” was probably one of the largest coordinated covert operations ever set in motion. (28)


Although incomplete, the evidence for the existence of the “full court press” is already strong. Given the unwillingness of the government to reveal what it is doing with tax dollars, educated speculation is the only option.

Even if dollar estimates are inaccurate, the implications of this analysis are serious. No one would want to overestimate the role of the Western allies in the crisis which has been unfolding in the Soviet Union for some years. The U.S.S.R. entered into a serious economic and political crisis more than a decade ago. And the Soviet leadership, adrift in a country riven by social conflict, showed itself less than adroit in finding solutions.

Under Gorbachev, however, the U.S.S.R. set out on the path of serious reform. The crucial question is the following: how did a movement for socialist reform come to be supplanted by a neoconservative movement bent upon creating a capitalist society? Ten years ago no such movement existed. How did it come into being? How important was the strategy of intervention outlined in NED documents?

Conservatives in this country are now giving their own answers to these questions. Newspapers boast of a “global anti-communist putsch” and of “spyless coups.” NED privately speaks of its “vital assistance” to the “Victories of the democratic movements,” and Mr. Yeltsin thanks the founder of that organization for his “contribution.” A candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination praises Mr. Reagan for “rolling back communism.”

If the conservatives are right, and, as we have seen, there are good reasons to believe they are, then the “great democratic revolution” of which so many speak is something very different. An “anti-communist putsch” or “coup” is not a “democratic revolution.” Conservatives in this country cannot have it both ways: If the U.S. and others intervened in the Soviet Union in the ways and to the extent that the evidence suggests, then we have not witnessed a “democratic revolution” but a victory in a new kind of warfare. The debate about the “collapse of communism” needs to be seen for what it is: the propaganda which accompanies this new kind of warfare—a kind of warfare which, given its (at least) short-term success, is bound to be reproduced and exported around the world.


1. Translation from the Russian of the fax from “B. Yeltsin” to “Allen Weinstein, President, Center for Democracy, Washington, DC, U.S.A.,” August 23,1991.

2. Sean Gervasi, “The Destabilization of the Soviet Union,” CAIB, Number 35 (Fall 1990), pp. 21-26.

3. Robert Scheer, With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 131.

4. These sources included the Pentagon’s “fiscal Year 1984-1988 Defense Guidance.” Sec Richard Halloran, “The Pentagon Draws Up First Strategy for Fighting a Long Nuclear War,” New York Times, May 30,1982.

5. See: John van Oudenaren, “Exploiting the ‘Fault Lines’ in the Soviet Empire,” RAND Corporation, August 1984.

6. David Ignatius, “Spyless Coups,” Washington Post, September22,1991, p. CI.

7. EJ. Dionne, Jr., “Clinton Credits Reagan for Fall of Communism,” Washington Post, October 17,1991, p. A4.

8. Ibid

9. Ibid.

10. Ignatius, op. cit.

11. NED, draft “Strategy Paper,” October 9, 1991.

12. Ibid., p. 1.

13. For documentation, see: Sklar and Berlet, “NED, CIA and the Orwellian Democracy Project,” Covert Action Bulletin, Number 39 (Winter 1991-92) p. 10.

14. For a useful background summary, see: Paul Sweezy, “Perestroika and the Future of Socialism - I,” Monthly Review (New York), March 1990.

15. NED, op. cit., p. 8.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., p. 22

19. Ibid., p. 3.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid., p.4.

22. Ibid.

23. For the best general description of this strategy, see: Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead, Demonstration Elections: U.S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and El Salvador (Boston: South End Press, 1984).

24. It is known that grant recipients have converted funds on the black market. The GAO found that NED grant recipients were not complying with requirements to report on the use of funds and to submit evaluations for each program. See: GAO “Draft Report” of 1990, p. 20.

25. George Lardner, Jr., “Amid Defense Cuts, Intelligence Funding Allocations May Shift,” Washington Post, October 9,1990.

26. Ibid. Lardner cites the figure currently being used for the total CIA budget $15 billion. Informed sources, however, say that it is on the order of $10-12 billion.

27. These figures are compiled from NED records and grant sheets, and are estimated in Table 3.

28. The operations against Angola, with an estimated price tag of $50 million, are generally considered second to operations against Vietnam, which cannot be accurately estimated.

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