For a PDF of this book, go here.
EDIT (2012): Actually, No Novosti is Good News is a different publication.
NOVOSTI PRESS AGENCY (APN) - KGB FRONT FOR
ACTIVE MEASURES AGAINST THE FREE MEDIA
By Tomas D. Schuman, former press officer of the Soviet embassy in India and a KGB-APN operative, defected to the West in 1970.
[I worked for the Devil and he was a bore and mediocrity. Although the methods and goals of Novosti are devilishly evil, its daily routine is so boring that it does not produce outrage. It simply debilitates. For those in the West (and East), whose knowledge of our system is based on spy thrillers, the reality is much less exciting. If the free world wants to survive, it has to mobilize itself to take dominion over this deadly dangerous disease called in APN's newspeak “ideological subversion.”
[Novosti Identity Card, proof of the absence of any identity - both it and honesty had been handed over to the 'special department’ in exchange for this red-covered card which opens more doors to the bearer than the 'American Express' credit card.]
During the last months of my career with Novosti, while contemplating defection, I often tried to assess the volume of evil I personally contributed to that done by my organization and my country. Was I really that guilty? Why should I feel guilty at all? My Soviet colleagues did not feel uncomfortable with their share of guilt. Neither did the foreign collaborators of Novosti. Nor the intellectuals and “progressive” Indians receiving our “blood money” in the form of some fraud like the “Jawaharlal Nehru Peace Prize.” Then how come, I thought, I single out myself for doing the evil?
Observing the world-wide destruction of human minds caused by my motherland, unresisted and unpunished, and meditating about how easily all that mind-warping could be stopped, I wanted to believe that there, in the West, some people and organizations we call “reactionary circles” know the situation and how to deal with our subversion. They had not done it, for some reason unknown to me at that time. But when needed, I thought, they would stop us, for their own good.
Later, in India, I was surprised to realize that no one even thought we were doing anything wrong to their country. Are they blind and deaf? Or is there something that makes them unaware of impending danger? “I must defect and open up their eyes,” I thought. So I defected and started trying to open up their eyes. But no one wanted either my information, or to open up their eyes. People prefer to remain comfortably, blissfully unaware of things unpleasant. When I arrived in Canada I used to bother all sorts of supposedly knowledgeable people: the CIA, the media, politicians, “kremlinologists” and political scientists. And finally I realized that despite the abundance of reliable data, most of them simply don't CARE. “We don't give a damn,” as my former boss at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said to me when I presented him my ideas on ideological subversion. They are “sitting pretty.” Wars are being fought somewhere far away from their three-bedroom homes. They dazzle the public (and themselves) with all sorts of illusions such as “peace talks,” SALT agreements, detente, etc. Some of the people I talked to were simply enfeebled snobs who wanted to be regarded as energetic and knowledgeable protectors of public interests (whatever that may mean). My impression is that they are mainly concerned with their own interests, their pathetic self importance. “What can we do about half of Cambodia being MURDERED?” Really, WHAT?
No, there are no “reactionary circles” hysterical about Communist genocide in Asia, Africa and Latin America. There are circles hysterical about apartheid in South Africa though. Hypocrites! The most “reactionary,” and “hysterically” so, are the Western lib-leftist literati, usurping well-salaried positions in the civil services, bureaucratized media monopoly, academia-- everywhere the public opinion is being forged and forced. It was these people who discouraged and obstructed publication of this material IN ANY FORM for almost a decade of “detente.” It was a well-educated ignoramus in one of the Western centers of “Sovietology” who wrote me that the information in my book is “obsolete and outdated.” One thing he should have known: nothing is outdated if we talk about the goals and methods of KGB-Novosti. Nothing has changed since the Chinese genius of subversion Sun-Tzu for the last 2,500 years of human history. Some of the nameplates on the doors of Novosti's bosses may have become obsolete though, and some of statistics (but again, always on the rise). Some new names have been added to the list of Novosti correspondents expelled from some countries for espionage and subversion. But what I have written about Novosti will not become outdated until and unless Novosti itself disappears, together with the whole Soviet regime and the “World Communist Movement.” Until that time my book will remain an accurate, though impressionistic and highly opinionated, description of the largest subversion system in the history of mankind.
Of course, I present only a part of the whole picture. I have a suspicion that no one, including Novosti's top brass, knows the complete picture. In the Soviet secrecy-maniacal society it is typical for a right hand not to know what the left one is doing. My purpose here is not to present academic research on the Novosti Press Agency and the KGB (although some of my chapters may look as boring and as informative as that). My intention is to give you both feeling and substance in a somewhat personalized form. This is a narration, a collection of facts, stories, boring statistics and funny rumors, profound statements and superficial observations, moral assessments and dirty jokes-- all put together for one purpose: to help you to realize that you, the people, are being had by the Soviets, and seem to enjoy it. The sooner you will realize that, the better chances for your survival in the “Bright Future for All Mankind” (Soviet expression meaning-- One World System controlled, naturally, by the “Big Brother.”)
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
Press Agency “Novosti” (which incidentally means “news” in Russian) was founded in 1961 as an “independent, non-government,” almost a “grass'root,” organization, which in itself is implausible in a country where everything, from sputniks to washrooms, belongs to “the People,” that is, controlled by the State. The Prospectus of the Novosti says that A.P.N. “is an information agency of the Soviet public organizations... facilitating in every way the promotion and consolidation of international understanding, confidence and friendship by widely circulating ABROAD (capitals mine --T.S.) true information about the Soviet Union and acquainting the Soviet public with the life of other peoples...”
From the very moment of its foundation, APN was subordinated, in fact, to two bosses: the Department of Agitation and Propaganda of the Central Committee of the CPSU (Agitprop), and the Department of Disinformation of the KGB, for the purpose of planning, coordinating and conducting active measures against the public and governments in non-Soviet (not controlled by the Soviets or their surrogates) countries, mainly through the media of these countries.
The targets for APN-KGB manipulation also include public and political organizations, religious groups, educational systems, the entertainment industry (cinematography, TV, companies promoting “cultural exchange,” etc.), as well as individuals: politicians, members of parliament, bureaucrats of civil service, labor union activists and leaders, businessmen, publishers, intellectuals (university professors, writers, scientists)-- in other words, everyone who is or could be an influential person, able to shape public opinion and the policies of his (or her) nation on the level of both their attitudes (and patterns of behavior) and decision making.
Propaganda of Marxism-Leninism as such (or the “advantages” of Socialism and a “planned economy”) and denunciation of “decadent Western imperialism” are only a part of Novosti's activity. At the time of Novosti's foundation, the new post-Stalin era was demanding new methods and approaches. Frontal attacks on Western ideology had often proven to be ineffective and even counter-productive, especially in the “Third World” developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The modern age of communication dictated the necessity of a more subtle and sophisticated approach to public opinion outside of the USSR. The short-term process of subversion of key personalities in foreign countries had to be combined with a long-term, but more effective and irreversible process of changing the perception of reality in the minds of millions of voters in pluralistic societies.
Under Yuri Andropov, the new generation of the KGB's “public relations” experts started to emerge: highly educated and well-trained graduates from Soviet schools, fluently speaking two or more languages, familiar with the history, literature, religion, ways of life, and socio-political structures of the target countries.
That was the time of the new “general line” of the CPSU CC (Central Committee). A new propaganda cliché was coined-- a “third way” of development for former colonies of the West (non-communist, and yet non-capitalist, but definitely an “anti-imperialist,” mainly anti-American, way of development). Implementation of such a policy required thousands of professional media workers, well trained in the Western style of reporting and in the processing of information and presentation of opinions and ideas in the most effective emotional way, appealing to the most basic, fundamental and primitive instincts of humans: fear (of nuclear war and/or nuclear confrontation with the USSR); self-preservation (would you rather live in a “cruel, polluted, profit-oriented capitalistic society” or in a “scientifically planned, rational, pollution-free, kind society with just re-distribution of wealth”); and love (of children, motherhood, peace, friends, class and race brothers, etc.)
At that time the ideologues and experts of the CPSU CC had worked out a new line for the KGB operations which later became known as “active measures.” These measures had little to do with the classic, romantic style of espionage and subversion of Stalin's era. Reliable sources confirm my estimate that only about 15% to 20% of the time, money and labor force was planned to be used by the KGB's affiliates such as Novosti for “James Bond” type espionage. The remaining 80% of the effort was directed to the creation of an ideological climate in the target countries which would enable Soviet agents of influence simply to buy (or “borrow”) the required intelligence data, using mostly rather legitimate and overt methods.
The ultimate objective of the new policy and of the activity of such an instrument of this policy as the Novosti Press Agency is not to learn more secrets about the adversary, and not even to teach the masses in the West in the spirit of Marxist-Leninist ideology, but to slowly replace the free-market capitalist society, with its individual freedoms in economic and socio-political spheres of life-- with a carbon copy of the “most progressive” system, and eventually merge into one world-wide system ruled by a benevolent bureaucracy which they call Socialism (or Communism, as the final and supreme stage of this “progress.”)
To effect this gradual change, it is much easier and less painful (and less noticeable for the populace) to change the perceptions of reality, attitudes, patterns of behavior and to create wide-spread demands and expectations, leading ultimately to the acceptance of totalitarianism. Thus the media is the main target of manipulation by the KGB-controlled “independent, non-government, non-political, public organization” known as the Novosti Press Agency.
Structure and Functions
Unlike TASS (The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union) or the foreign bureaus of the Soviet official newspapers (Pravda, Izvestia etc.), Novosti's main thrust is directed from the USSR to the outside audience. Domestic services of APN are meant to play only an auxiliary role of “fabricating the truth” about the beautiful Soviet Socialism, re-circulating some of the foreign news and features in the local Soviet media and publishing Western “progressive” writers (such as British James Aldridge; Finnish Marti Larnee; Chilean Pablo Neruda; Canadian Farley Mowat, etc.)-- mainly depicting the West in the most negative terms.
Novosti Press Agency's structure is the most evident indicator of its GLOBAL ambitions. It consists of three major departments:
I. Chief Editorial Board for Political Publications (Glavnaya Redaktsia Polit Publikatsii-- GRPP), previously located separately from the main office, in Kutuzovsky Prospect in Moscow. This is, in fact, a large research centre for APN-KGB, mainly staffed by KGB officers working as journalists and research analysts, shoveling through large volumes of foreign media;
2. Publishing House, turning out thousands of booklets, magazines, books, etc., in foreign languages as well as in Russian; and
3. Editorial Headquarters (in Pushkin Square) divided into a) Periodical Section and b) Press Section.
Editorial Headquarters are by far the largest part of APN, employing more than 3,000 journalists, editors, translators and public relations officers. It has an extensive teleprinter and communication system, part of which, through the APN-controlled Departments of Information of every USSR embassy, simply steals information from all major telegraph services of the world by tuning their receivers to their frequencies (which is obvious from the number and configurations of the forests of antennas on the roofs of Soviet embassies all over the world).
Editorial Headquarters controls Novosti bureaus and correspondents' offices in every major city of the world. It is divided geographically into a dozen editorial boards, each dealing with a specific target area: Africa (GRSAF, Glavnaya Redaktsia Stran Afriki); Central Asia (GRSAZ); South-East Asia (GRSUVA); Latin America (GRSLAM); Western Europe (GRSZE); Eastern Europe (GRSVE); USA & Canada (GRSAM).
Each geographical subdivision has its own Press Section and Section of Periodicals. As is clear from the title, the section of Periodicals is responsible for the preparation of materials for hundreds of magazines and newspapers, published and distributed legitimately and overtly by every Soviet embassy, consulate and other representation, in the language(s) of the target country. With rare exception, most of the articles, photographs, photo-blocks, artwork, and even typesetting for these periodicals are prepared in Moscow. Some color photographs are made in “friendly” countries such as Finland, Austria, East Germany, or even in less friendly countries such as Japan or USA or West Germany. The most impressive color printing work is normally contracted to companies in Japan or West Germany.
The Press Section of each geographical subdivision deals with preparation of articles, news items, press releases, interviews, reports, features, backgrounds and “exclusive letters from Moscow,” to be planted in various foreign media through the Novosti bureaus or Departments of Information of the Soviet embassies.
P.R. Men-- The Friendly Mind-Benders
Even the most sophisticated and attractive propaganda has little chance to influence the public unless and until it is actively promoted or “sold” by an army of “Public Relations Officers” of APN-KGB. And Novosti propaganda is NOT attractive. When I was concocting stories and backgrounders for the foreign media, sitting at my desk at the headquarters of Novosti in Moscow, I simply refused to believe that my boring stuff could be of any interest to anyone in the free world, least of all to convince anyone of the “advantages of Socialism” and even motivate anyone in the “struggle for progress and social change.” I was wrong. I did not realize at that time, that before my article would reach the page of a foreign newspaper, it had to travel a long way through the sewers of the APN-KGB system, and then, nicely packaged, be presented to an editor or a commentator in a foreign capitol after a long process of cultivating that editor.
After initiation into the secrets of the APN kitchen, I was given extensive training in P.R. activity with numerous delegations of foreign guests of Novosti visiting the USSR. A typical “package tour” would include not only regular visits to “average” collective farms and kindergartens, talking to smiling milkmaids and to nicely-dressed Eskimos who spoke fluent English and played the grand piano in the woods in Siberia. More importantly, every foreign guest must be made a part of the process of deception. And that takes a person like myself: easy-going, friendly, knowledgeable about the country of my guest, with a small weakness for foreign liquors, slightly cynical about the thugs in the Politbureau, able to crack an anti-Soviet joke at an appropriate moment, but above all, able to arrange meetings with newsmakers, people who are usually unavailable to an average journalist.
By skillfully isolating foreign correspondents and other visitors from any sources of information and any important people in the USSR, Novosti and the KGB artificially create what we called a “deficit” of newsworthy information, whereby a foreign guest would gladly swallow a “bite” offered by a Novosti P.R. man: a visit to a nuclear research center, an interview with a “dissident” writer, an informal boozing session with a group of highly-placed Soviet apparatchiks “close to Politbureau,” etc. In the absence of any other legitimate and safe access to a source for a “story,” a foreigner would normally accept an invitation from a “friendly mind-bender,” even if a suspicion were there that the Novosti P.R. man may in fact be a KGB plant. After all, a correspondent of an influential Western newspaper has to file some story, someday, upon arrival in Moscow.
Novosti P.R. men are given unprecedented freedoms and are able to contact Soviet bureaucrats on the highest levels-- just to impress an important foreigner and to lay the groundwork for further “cultivation” by establishing their credibility. When I was assigned to important guests, the entire communication center of APN, including the “Vertushka” (Ultra-high frequency telephone network, used only by the inner Party apparatus all over the USSR), was at my service. After appropriate sanction by my superiors, I could “arrange” anything, from an interview with a Party boss to a pretty sex object working as an interpreter, for an obliging and “flexible” foreigner.
Similarly, outside of the USSR, Novosti P.R. men are often able to “navigate” an influential person to important contacts within the Soviet bureaucracy and facilitate arrangements beneficial to that person, or even to his party, government or corporation.
It all depends on a foreign counterpart's motivation, on his (or her) personal interests, moral standards, and integrity (or lack thereof), whether they will go along with the APN contact and pretend it is just “business as usual,” or resist manipulation or even reject the “arrangement.” In my own practice and throughout my 12-year career with the Novosti, I have seldom met foreigners who would refuse to cooperate categorically. Most of my guests or foreign contacts would prefer to go ahead, hoping that they were smart enough to see through the trickery and at the right moment stop short of becoming a collaborator with APN-KGB. Most of them did not stop.
Most of Novosti's editorial and journalistic (in other words, “creative”) staff belongs to the “proletarian intelligentsia” class, or obraazovanshchina by A. Solzhenitsyn's definition. None of Novosti's employees are hired from the street, only and always through the protectsia of some influential friends and/or relatives, with processing by the personnel department, i.e. the KGB. The latter provides no guarantee of loyalty. As a matter of fact, the KGB security check guarantees nothing, except perhaps the accumulation of private information filed with the department of personnel. The most carefully checked comrades, like myself, with impeccably “proletarian” Komsomol backgrounds, may turn out to be defectors. On the other hand, the more “trusted” an APN man, the more mediocre he is likely to be.
By my own observation, the largest influx of staff into Novosti happened in the three years after APN's foundation, and most of the newcomers were graduates from special, ideologically-oriented colleges. Most typical was my own Institute of Oriental Languages, founded, as rumor goes, by an order of Krushchev, after one of the “old school” Arabic translators failed to convey his words correctly during negotiations with Gamal Abdel Nasser, in 1956. The incident is described by the former editor of the “Al Akhbar” newspaper in his book “Cairo Documents.” The enraged Krushchev cursed Foreign Affairs and ordered a new generation of translators to be trained for all possible languages of the Third World.
On returning from my first assignment to India in December of 1965, I found half of my schoolmates in Novosti. They held first place among the younger generation of ideological subversives. Later we also established the record for number of defectors to the West.
Apart from us, specially trained for foreign assignments, the bulk of Novosti's fodder was hired from the armed forces, the administrative cadres of the Party and Komsomol (Young Communists League), the KGB, provincial media workers, and finally, employees of affiliated state bureaucracies, such as research institutes, art schools, socio-political organizations (e.g. Union of Friendship Societies), etc.
The main core of “journalists-internationalists” consisted of about 500 highly educated and well-traveled men and women, each speaking at least two foreign languages. Of these, about 100, working in Novosti's headquarters in Pushkin square, belonged to the “New class” of nomenklatura in 1965. Needless to say, getting in there was the ultimate goal of most Novosti staffers.
Generally speaking, any position in Novosti is desirable for several reasons, one of which is good pay, by Soviet standards. The average junior editor starts with 120-150 rubles a month. In three years he may make 200 rubles, with promotions to “editor” and “senior editor” positions. Knowledge of a foreign language adds 10% to one's salary. For using English, Hindi and Urdu on the job I got the maximum 25% “language additional” pay. (The level of linguistic ability and its application were tested yearly by a special examination commission.) Comrades who had the courage to write “originals” were paid honorariums, which often amounted to another 100 rubles a month. Thus, my own salary, after only three years within Novosti, was close to 300 rubles (compared with an industrial engineer's salary of some 100 rubles).
The average workload per Novosti soul is hard to calculate. In theory, each APN editor must process about 30 double-spaced typewritten pages per working day. I seldom saw any of my colleagues achieve this quota. On the other hand, I myself sometimes made more than 30 pages a day. I soon discovered that it is not the number of pages, but the number of rubber stamps you must collect on these pages, that matters. The main work consists of running up and down staircases to obtain signatures.
As to conditions of work, I have discovered, after defecting to the West and working for a newspaper and a radio station in Canada, that Novosti may only look a bit crowded: 15-20 souls in a room 20 by 40 feet, but they don't sit at their desks all the time; most of the day is spent in the corridors or cafeteria.
Apart from easy work and high monetary gains, Novosti offered a number of other benefits, extremely attractive in Soviet conditions: proximity to ideological power and access to uncensored information (the second most desirable currency in the USSR after the American dollar). There is the possibility of travel abroad (and defection); and one may create for oneself and family a way of life resembling that of the West (so, there is no need to defect). For sociable people, Novosti offers the chance to meet very interesting people, including sons and daughters of high-ranking Soviet officials. For a commoner a marriage into a nomenklatura family means speedy promotion and a secure career. Finally, for Soviet hedonists, Novosti gives a chance to enjoy such forbidden pleasures as casual sex, sometimes with foreigners (when working for KGB); indulgence in drinking and drugs; and the accumulation of foreign objects, from cigarette lighters to cars.
If for nomenklatura and loafers Novosti offers a relatively comfortable life with a touch of “creativity,” for idealists APN may provide the illusion that one is doing something for “peace and understanding.” I knew a number of junior colleagues, who though realizing the sinister nature of Novosti, still hoped that after obtaining some power they would “change the system from within.” These people had a tough time preserving their ideals, integrity and sanity. Many made the painful transition from high idealism to deep cynicism. Only a negligible minority of “true comrades” could stubbornly believe in the possibility of “socialism with a human face.” These would not advance: the Party does not need such dedicated idiots in its higher ranks. I do not remember an instance of an honest man atop Novosti. What I do remember is the fact commonly known in Moscow, that Novosti perhaps holds first place in the number of mentally ill, alcoholics, sadists, masochists, schizoids, graphomaniacs, etc., and is something of an asylum for all sorts of mental cases never reported to the Serbski Institute-- that is, as long as they continue to pretend to be loyal to the Power. And these are the cadres who “decide all” in the business of ideological warfare against the rest of the world.
PARTY LINE OF NOVOSTI
Novosti's link with the Central Committee's Agitprop is a commonly known secret some “progressive” foreign collaborators somehow overlook. But for an average Soviet citizen, illiterate or otherwise, it is as clear as day that everything, including the people of our country, belong to the Party. Every Novosti staffer is aware of the fact that our “non-partisan, non-government and independent” news agency is tied to Agitprop administratively, financially, ideologically, and by telephone.
In the Central Committee's apparatus there is a large group of referents, comrades responsible for the ideological brainwashing of mankind. Unsuspecting people throughout the world are born and die, eat or starve, make love or war, supposedly in strict accordance with the plans of the Central Committee of CPSU, elaborated by the referents. I met several comrades responsible for the Indian subcontinent. One was called Kutzobin, a skinny, sickly fellow of about 60, then head of the Indian section. Another was Yakunin, a tall, blue-eyed Aryan of about 45. Later, one of our Novosti men, characteristically my former schoolmate, Vadim Smirnov, joined the CC's Indian section and was placed in charge of the very same thing he had previously done, in India, at the orders of others.
Some of the referents are known KGB agents and informers. This fact does not bother either the Central Committee or, for that matter, the governments, parliaments, security services and media, of countries where the comrades are accepted and accredited as diplomats and journalists.
Naturally, the responsibility for the Communist remaking of the world is shared by the Central Committee with the “progressive” and “realistically minded” representatives of foreign media, actively cultivated by the APN and KGB.
On October 27, 1967, I brought a large group of editors and publishers of India's leftist and Communist papers to the Central Committee to meet comrade Yakunin; and later comrade Ulyanovski, a boss in Agitprop. The Indians had just finished a three-week tour of the Soviet Union. I showed them all the “typical” collective farms and kindergartens Novosti could arrange, and the comrades were full of impressions and “provocative questions.” They were what we call “unscared idiots” and “truthseekers,” who wanted to show they took our propaganda seriously and expected us to do what we preach. They looked as if they believed they were invited to Moscow to exchange opinions.
Why, they asked, does Novosti use such incomprehensible language in propaganda literature? Isn't it possible to explain the advantages of socialism to the Indian masses in plain language? Why is the artistic form in the USSR always a standard Russian-bourgeois, whether the content is socialistic (as in the opera about an Uzbek collective farmer), or capitalistic (as in “Swan Lake”)? Why had the Soviets selected from all the many Indian movie-makers a vulgar and trivial profiteer, Raj Kapur, and neglected a progressive realist, Satyajit Roy, who had won the film festival prize?
The general secretary of the Communist Party of Gujarat state, comrade P.B. Yaidhya, asked questions for which a Soviet comrade would get into deep trouble. Why, he asked, do Novosti and other Soviet public organizations in India fraternize with radical students on one extreme, and capitalist politicians on the other? The majority of young Indians, he said, want to know more about the Motherland of Socialism, but they are ignored. It seems too, said another Indian guest, that the CPSU is reluctant to expose Soviet youth to Indian culture: the sitar player Ravi Shankar gathers hundreds of thousands of young listeners in the USA, but in Moscow he was allowed to play only to a handful of Komsomol members in a tiny hall of the Soviet Composers Club. Why?
Comrade Vaidhya was very critical of Soviet scientists, too. In the Institute of Peoples of Asia, he said, there are dozens of Soviet indologists with academic degrees and volumes of published works, but they never visit India, do not speak Indian languages, and do not bother to attend any international conferences. Instead, year after year Indian colleagues see the same Soviet functionaries, acting as scholars, visiting Delhi, often on very unscientific missions. Why?
Comrade Gopalan, a member of CPI's Central Committee, ventured into areas other than arts and sciences. I noticed that he made the Soviet apparatchiks rather nervous by asking repeatedly in what specific way Soviet workers participate in the administration of Soviet industry. Also he was interested in how the Central Committee resolves conflicts between federalism and self-government in, say, the Ukraine, Asian Republics and Baltic “states.”
The answers of the CC comrades were cynical and straightforward. The Indian comrades were told that it is not Agitprop which must learn the “plain language” of the developing masses, but the masses who must learn the future language of all mankind: the language of scientific Communism. Artistic forms, cultural exchange, youth contacts, they were told, are the concerns of the Central Committee only so much as they contribute to the “struggle for peace and progress” (which includes cultivating radicals and terrorists to destabilize your country, making your capitalists pay for it, and your politicians legitimize it). Workers in the USSR, they were told, are to work first, and then to “participate.” As to the “conflict” between Moscow and national republics it simply does not exist.
My job, as a Novosti guide, was to popularize these Party directives to our guests, and as a KGB cooperative, to notice and report the reaction of the guests, and the degree of their loyalty (or hypocrisy). With each visit to the top, our developing little brothers shed more of their naïveté and acquired more understanding that being a fellow-traveler is a serious and full-time job, and often hazardous. Like recruits to the Mafia, our guests were made to realize that they could not “retire.” Fortunately, I was able to report “mutual understanding” and “gratitude.”
Continued in Part Two.