IN THIS ISSUE:
Perspective: Soviet Union
The unexpected sudden death of Soviet President Yuri Andropov, while unannounced as yet, has created a time of heightened dangers. The Soviet Union has a strong impact on U.S. policies, both in reality and as a convenient excuse for many actions. Therefore this issue deals entirely with the situation in Russia and where it is leading.
The Legacy of the Late Yuri Andropov
After just one year as acknowledged leader of the Soviet Union, Andropov died suddenly on Nov. 5, 1983. This followed a year which saw the fastest consolidation of power by any Soviet leader in history. Andropov was a guiding force in the overthrow of the old Bolsheviks from top power by an anti-Bolshevik new group years ago. Now a new and more massive phase is beginning in a from-the-top-down revolution to de-Bolshevize life in Russia. It is intended to completely remake the unsatisfactory economic structure inherited from the Bolsheviks. Entrenched Bolshevik bureaucrats are to be rooted out and replaced with a new breed of local and regional leaders. And Andropov has paved the way for the takeover soon of a new generation of Kremlin leaders, of whom Grigory Romanov and Mikhail Gorbachev are most prominent.
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Perspective: Soviet Union
Our Lord Jesus Christ used to ask His disciples: "Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?" Rich or poor, young or old, powerful or weak, we all depend upon our Creator for life itself. He exhorted us to be about our respective missions in life, instead of becoming so tangled up in daily cares that our lives become unfruitful.
It seems safe to say that not many Americans would look to the Kremlin to see any illustration at all of what Christ taught. We are constantly told by our own leaders, and most Americans believe it, that Russia's rulers are totally evil, that they are a deadly menace, and that they have not changed. But the fact is that major changes have taken place in Russia's ruling circles in recent years.
They are changes for the better, and they are still underway.
The principal architect of change for several years now has been Yuri Andropov--first behind the scenes, and finally as the acknowledged leader of the Soviet Union.
After one short year in the world spotlight his life has ended, This has not been announced; a ceremonial double is being prepared if needed to buy time during the transitional period now in progress.
Andropov was a man with a mission, living on borrowed time. Instead of giving in to serious ailments that would sideline most people, Andropov accepted the burden of leadership at a critical time. Right up to the last, he was planting seeds for a future which he will never see. If they bear fruit as he hoped, they will someday constitute his lasting legacy.
NewsALERT believes it is vitally important that you know and understand the present situation in the Soviet Union. This is true because the U.S. Government uses Russia as its excuse for practically every aspect of its foreign and military policies. Now it is even being used increasingly on the domestic level, as bogus demands for all-pervasive secrecy (NewsALERT #7) chip away at our basic freedoms. The recent sudden death of Yuri Andropov has created new dangers in an already dangerous time. If the "Reagan" Administration tries to exploit this moment of Kremlin vulnerability with new military moves, it will endanger--not just Russia--but our own country as well.
The Legacy of the Late Yuri Andropov
One year ago this month, on November 10, 1982, the Soviet Union announced that its leader, Leonid Brezhnev, had died. He was replaced only two days later by a new leader, whose name was unfamiliar to most Americans: Yuri Andropov.
During the past year, the Andropov name has become anything but unfamiliar. His lightning-fast takeover of the reins of the Kremlin was followed by the fastest consolidation of power in Soviet history. His predecessor, Brezhnev, had been the first Soviet ruler to obtain all three top Soviet offices--General Secretary, President of the Supreme Soviet, and Chairman of the National Defense Council. It took Brezhnev thirteen years to accomplish that; it took Andropov only 7 months to do the same thing.
Andropov has made news with everything from arms control initiatives (and threats) to inviting a young New England girl to visit Russia and see for herself what it is like. But lately his name is in the news for a different reason. It is not his dominant presence on the scene that is making news, but his absence His last public appearance was on August 18, in an important Moscow meeting with visiting U. S. senators (NewsALERT #2).
Any number of times over the past two decades, Andropov has bounced back from seemingly debilitating illnesses to carry on, stronger than ever in will if not in body. For example, in 1966 he suffered a heart attack, yet a year later he was made head of the KGB. He proceeded to master the KGB and transform it in important ways while running it for 15 years.
During this past year it has been much the same story. He was hospitalized for two weeks in March, appeared weak and shaky in public appearances in June, missed a meeting with the visiting West German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, in July. Yet before and after each of these episodes, Andropov has forged ahead with a wide range of initiatives, especially on the domestic front.
When his latest bout with illness developed this fall, his Kremlin colleagues were counting on him to somehow make another comeback. Key Andropov projects are entering a critical stage over the next few months, and his continued leadership would have been invaluable. But it was not to be.
Andropov was hospitalized in the latter part of October for treatment of some of the same ailments which have afflicted him for years. It is believed that the crisis this time involved diabetes and a recurring kidney problem. During late October his condition worsened dramatically enough that his son, Igor, delayed attending a conference in Helsinki for a week. When he finally arrived on Nov. 4, he told reporters that his father's health was "not bad. "
Andropov's condition had improved, and seemingly just in time.
The following day, Nov. 5, was the day of the annual rally in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses to mark the anniversary of the 1917 revolution. It is attended by some 6,000 Communist Party officials, including--without fail--Russia's top ruler. Two days later, Nov. 7, was to be the day of the annual military parade through Red Square, at which attendance is even more mandatory.
While Andropov was still in no condition to be appearing in public, the circumstances left little choice. His failure to appear would send dangerous signals to the West.
It was also considered dangerous to substitute a double for Andropov, even though that could have been done. Even the most convincing doubles, while they easily fool the public, run a high risk of detection by intelligence operatives. No one in Russia knew the possibilities and risks in that area better than Andropov: it was Andropov who, as then-head of the KGB, masterminded the "intelligence war of doubles" which erupted in early 1979 (AL#45 on).
Andropov decided that he had to make the appearance, as scheduled, on Nov. 5. Exactly what went wrong is not clear. Circumstantial evidence suggests that stimulants and other medication intended to prop up Andropov for his appearance at the rally backfired, overtaxing his weakened body. In any case, what is clear is that Soviet President Yuri Andropov died, suddenly and unexpectedly, shortly before the Kremlin rally on Nov. 5, 1983.
Soviet officials had been cheerfully assuring journalists that Andropov would attend the rally, almost up to the moment that it began.
When he failed to appear, the thousands of officials packing the vast hall were stunned.
The unexpected sudden death of Yuri Andropov sent shock waves through the Kremlin, producing initially confused and contradictory public responses. First there was the lame excuse for Andropov's absence from the Kremlin rally, offered to reporters afterward by spokesman Leonid Zamyatin. He said Andropov had a cold, and that he would miss the parade through Red Square two days later for the same reason. On the day of the parade itself, Soviet sources "privately" amended their story by telling western reporters that Andropov was seriously ill, but expected to recover. They were buying time while deciding how to proceed.
There are only two choices open to the Kremlin. Either they can publicly report that Andropov has died, or they can keep it a secret for awhile. Both approaches have their hazards. If they publicly admit Andropov's death, then they must publicly replace him with a new leader--and they are not ready to do that yet.
If instead they continue to pretend that Andropov is alive, it provides a veneer of apparent continuity--but only at the expense of using doubles and other measures to maintain the impression of Andropov's continued presence. As already mentioned, these measures run an ever-increasing risk of detection as time goes on. Once the charade is known by, say, the CIA, it will signal Washington that the Kremlin is in a period of relative vulnerability.
The anti-Bolshevik new rulers of the Kremlin (AL#38) want, above all, to avoid conveying any such impression of weakness. They are convinced that their bitter enemies, who have transplanted a new Bolshevism into the U. S. Government, will take full advantage of the situation. In their view, the Grenada invasion was only a small dress rehearsal for much larger military adventures which the Pentagon would like to stage if it can get away with it.
In the wake of Andropov's death, Russia's top remaining leadership spent five intensive days deciding upon the best course of action. Their decision: the image of continued Andropov leadership will be continued for the time being. Meanwhile a shadow government dominated by the military and the KGB will run the show on an interim basis. Contingency arrangements will also be made so that, if circumstances make it advisable, the shadow government can announce Andropov's death and take over publicly. Otherwise, efforts will be concentrated on expediting measures which Andropov had set in motion to bring about sweeping changes in Russia's government.
Some U. S„ commentators are saying, as they evaluate the possibly terminal Andropov "illness, " that he has left no real mark on the country he has run. That is a long way from the truth. Like a farmer at the end of planting season, the late President Yuri Andropov planted a lot of seeds which will take time to bear fruit. If the things he set in motion are not aborted through errors, opposition or war, dramatic transformations lie ahead for the Soviet Union. And history will record eventually that they are the living legacy of Yuri Andropov.
To comprehend the Andropov legacy, it is necessary to begin with his career as head of Russia's combined intelligence and secret police organization, the KGB. Andropov was a member of the anti-Bolshevik group which originally joined with the Bolsheviks in the 1917 revolution but later turned against them on moral grounds (AL#28, 38).
In 1967 Andropov was given the assignment of heading the KGB by another member of the anti-Bolshevik faction, Leonid Brezhnev. Andropov's assignment was to bring the KGB under control and root out Bolshevik power there (AL#80)„ It was a tall assignment, and a key one. A decades-long overthrow of the former Bolshevik rulers of Russia was underway, and was being accomplished without the Bolsheviks fully comprehending what was happening. Of all governmental entities in Russia, the KGB was least susceptible to such tactics.
But Andropov succeeded.
In 1973 Andropov became a full member of the ruling Politburo, while still remaining as head of the KGB. From that twin base of power, Andropov devised plans for the final, complete overthrow of the Bolsheviks from the top echelon of power in Russia. His targets were the ruling Politburo and the Central Committee with its 300-plus members. As in the past, the changes would be carried out in ways generally invisible to the public, so as not to alarm them: extensively trained doubles with their appearance changed by plastic surgery were a key tool.
But what Andropov was planning was to turn the long-term overthrow of the Bolsheviks into a rout at the top.
The gradual overthrow of the Bolsheviks from top power in Russia erupted into a full-fledged coup d'etat behind the scenes during 1976 and 1977, This destroyed the long-standing covert Rockefeller-Soviet alliance (AL#1, 7), because the Soviet side of that alliance consisted of the Bolsheviks. The era of so-called detente came to an end, as the New Kremlin prepared for an expected imminent conflict with the United States,
At the same time, many of the old Bolsheviks were being expelled from Russia under cover of a torrent of "Jewish emigration. " Some of the emigres were legitimate; many were not. Dr. Beter first reported in Dec. 1977 (AL#29) that many of these old Bolsheviks from Russia were being welcomed into powerful positions here in America by the Rockefeller interests. That was a deadly mistake: it set the stage for a silent Bolshevik coup d'etat right here in America, starting with the murder of Nelson Rockefeller in early 1979 (AL#42). Much of the U.S. Government has since been Bolshevized, particularly in the military realm. For nearly 5 years now, a bitter power struggle between the new U. S. Bolsheviks and their former allies, the Rockefeller Cartel, lias divided the U. S. Government.
Bolshevism was injected into Christian Russia in 1917 with the backing of U.S. financiers; now it has returned to infect the United States itself. Meanwhile the opposite has been taking place in Russia. The power struggle there to root out Bolshe-vism--an enormous job--is continuing. And the key strategist in this struggle has been the late Yuri Andropov.
As Dr. Beter described in detail over 5 years ago (AL#38), the anti-Bolsheviks of the New Kremlin are engaged in a revolution from the top down, not from the bottom up.
One reason is that by attacking the very top of the power pyramid, they obtain maximum leverage from their efforts. The other reason, which is closely related, is the fact that the New Kremlin power faction is numerically a relatively small group. They are, as Dr. Beter detailed, an old native Russian religious sect, very tough and very tightly knit.
They do not publicly advertise their beliefs in the present circumstances, because to do so would enable the Satanic Bolsheviks to target and eliminate them relatively easily. Instead they are encouraging the gradual rebirth of Christianity in Russia in more subtle ways, with results that sometimes startle foreign visitors (AL#45, 75).
Under the Andropov-designed strategy, the anti-Bolshevik group has succeeded in consolidating its control over the ruling Politburo, the Central Committee, and the all-important military services, while retaining control over the KGB. These steps have rendered the new group relatively secure against any direct attempt at a counter-coup d'etat by the Bolsheviks. The takeover at the top by the New Kremlin anti-Bolsheviks is now essentially complete.
However, that does not mean that all Bolshevik power in the Soviet Union has now been destroyed. Far from it. The new group has penetrated only selected areas and strata below the top. They are confronted with an entrenched bureaucracy that is still predominantly Bolshevik in many areas. They have also inherited an economic structure which was created by the Bolsheviks to stress centralized control instead of productivity. Changing that economic structure and replacing entrenched lower-level Bolsheviks is the next great challenge in the top-down revolution of the New Kremlin. In terms of the sheer magnitude of the problem and the hundreds of thousands of officials who will ultimately be affected, it is a staggering task.
It is this task, more than any other, which led to Andropov's selection by his colleagues to lead Russia a year ago. They anticipated a lull of about one year before the U. S. -based Bolsheviks would start setting off a new round of crises (AL#80). In that time they hoped Andropov could lay out the blueprints and set events in motion toward bringing about these changes.
Andropov wasted no time in getting this new phase of the top-down revolution underway.
When he took office last November, he inherited an economy troubled by declining productivity, slackening industrial growth (and actual decline in some areas), problems of labor discipline, shoddy quality of many consumer items, and corruption. As a first step to achieve some short-terms gains, Andropov launched a drive to improve labor discipline and begin introducing novel (for the Soviet Union) financial incentives to encourage better work. He also launched a highly visible anti-corruption drive. This is being carried out by a former Andropov lieutenant at the KGB, Vitaly Fedorchuk, through his new assignment at the Interior Ministry. Fedor-chuk's anti-corruption drive provides one very effective way to go after entrenched Bolsheviks and root them out quickly.
While initiating these moves to achieve some short-term gains, Andropov was also laying the groundwork for more comprehensive changes over the longer term. Last June Andropov convened an ideological party plenum--only the third such plenum since World War II. The fact that Andropov was able to convene it shows how thoroughly in command he was, and how fully his leadership was accepted among the New Kremlin group. The focus of the plenum was economics — the very heart and soul of the Soviet system.
As long ago as 1976, a Russian mathematician proved that socialism in any form is inherently destructive, both economically and otherwise. Dr. Beter reported in July 1978 (AL#36) that Russia's new anti-Bolshevik rulers had accepted this verdict.
Russia's formerly totally collectivized agriculture was already beginning to move partially toward private enterprise. (By ironic contrast, American agriculture is moving in the opposite direction: due in large part to government policies, the small family farm is gradually disappearing. Collectivizing is on the increase here, under the banner of "agribusiness. ") When Andropov called the ideological plenum on economics last June he started the ball rolling toward eventual dismantling of the unworkable economic system created by the Bolsheviks. In its place there is intended to be a system of financial rewards and penalties that are governed by marketplace factors. There is also to be increased authority and responsibility of local factory managers.
In other words, a step-by-step process is about to begin in the direction of free enterprise in Russia. It is to get started right away with localized "experiments" in selected industries.
Some U.S. commentators have lately pooh-poohed steps like these as being insignificant. If they really believe that, then they do not understand either the thinking of Russia's new rulers or the problem they face. The New Kremlin anti-Bolsheviks want to make, sure that they are moving in the right direction in a way that will work. They also are leery of rapid moves that invite both mistakes and intervention by the Bolsheviks to make mischief. They are patient; they will take their time; but they are on the move.
An equally important factor in changing the economic system is changing the people who will administer it.
At the economic plenum last June, Andropov obtained endorsement to call elections for some 5, 000 to 6, 000 local and regional party leaders. In this, Andropov succeeded in turning the monolithic party system created by the Bolsheviks against them. "Elections" in the Soviet Union are one-candidate affairs: whoever picks the candidates controls the outcome.
By this maneuver, Andropov achieved what could prove to be a master stroke of combined economic and political change. The man whom Andropov placed in charge of selecting these new local and regional leaders is Mikhail Gorbachev, who at 52 is the youngest member of the Politburo. Gorbachev has until lately been associated mainly with the agricultural program, which he has been working to improve.
(This year he has apparently succeeded: the Soviet harvest for 1983 is the best in at least 5 years, by a large margin. ) Now he is moving beyond agriculture to wider areas of responsibility, ranging from party organization to foreign policy. He is a forceful leader and very intelligent. . . almost a younger Andropov, by some accounts. Andropov was acutely aware of the need to groom a new generation to take leadership in Russia, and in his assignment to Gorbachev he took a major step in that direction.
Gorbachev's day is not here just yet. His task of ousting Bolsheviks in local and regional positions through "elections" will extend well into 1984, and it is hazardous. If the Bolsheviks can find a way to stop him, they will. But if he succeeds, Gorbachev will become a leader of the New Kremlin's new generation.
Another Politburo member who is closer to his zenith of power is Grigory Romanov, 60. When the present interim shadow government steps aside by announcing that Andropov has died, the present plan is for Romanov to be installed as titular leader. But Romanov will not have anything like the degree of authority exercised by the late Yuri Andropov.
More likely is a period of shared authority between Romanov and Gorbachev, as happened in the mid-1950's with Bulganin and Khrushchev. Just as Bulganin faded away after awhile as full authority was granted to Khrushchev, Romanov eventually will be eclipsed by the still-rising Gorbachev. Initial installation of the Romanov-Gorbachev team is not likely, though, until well into 1984.
Yuri Andropov did not live to see the outcome of the new initiatives he set in motion to change the economy of the Soviet Union. Indeed, he did not expect to do so. From the time of his accession to power just a year ago, Kremlin officials said hopefully yet nervously: "If only he has time. "
Now, a year later, it can be said that Andropov did have the time to plant some very important seeds.
How important? Consider this:
The Soviet Union, contrary to what you often hear from U.S. Government spokesmen, is a scientific and technological powerhouse. Russia is a chained giant--chained by a stupid and unworkable economic system imposed by the Bolsheviks beginning in 1917. If the New Kremlin succeeds in throwing off those chains, the results will be nothing short of spectacular.
We hear constantly about the efforts of Soviet spies to obtain information about U. S. technology, as if that were proof that the Russians could not do these things for themselves. That may make us puff up with pride, but it happens to be wrong. Long ago the late Gen. Thomas Power, former head of the U„ S. Air Force Research and Development Command and then of the Strategic Air Command, explained what the Russians are up to (AL#32).
Quite simply, they do not believe in wasting resources to duplicate work which someone else has done--and they aren't too proud to obtain good information wherever they can find it. They use what Gen. Power called "uncanny" technical intelligence to keep abreast of us in military technology we are developing. And they save their best technologists to--again in Gen. Power's words--"leapfrog" over us with more advanced or specialized weapons. As a result, in the military area, the Russians end up having pretty much what we have--plus some more besides.
Likewise in non-military scientific areas, the Russians are far, far better than most Americans are led to believe. Just a few days ago, for example, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology achieved a major milestone in nuclear fusion termed "breakeven. " It brings us one step closer to clean, plentiful fusion power. It was done with a machine called a tokamak--conceived by Russian researchers years ago to solve a critical problem called plasma instability.
Russian researchers of all kinds are strongly encouraged to publish the results of their work. On the average, they publish more than their counterparts here in the U„ S. In certain fields, in fact, the technical literature of the Soviet Union exceeds that of the entire rest of the world combined. Some of it is below our own standards, but much of it is also very good. And we are talking here, not about secret reports, but about the "open" literature which is available to anyone in the world who wants it.
While the Russians eagerly seek out the information we produce here, the U. S. makes no comparable effort to benefit from what the Russians produce. We could, but we don't. Instead, the Bolshevized Reagan Administration is increasingly obsessed with just trying to hide whatever we do learn, in an all-pervasive drive for secrecy (NewsA LER T #7). That kind of attitude is typical of Bolshevism, and if it is not stopped, it will chain the U.S. just as surely as it has chained Russia.
What prevents the scientific and technical prowess of the Soviet Union from benefiting its people more is the economic structure. It is so inefficient and unwieldy that the Russians have actually overcompensated by churning out even more engineers and scientists than they should need. Every Russian factory of any size, for example, has its own research department: that is easier than trying to get special problems worked on by a centralized research laboratory controlled by an overfed Bolshevik bureaucrat.
Thus, the weakness of the economic system has paradoxically created a latent strength in the form of widespread know-how that has yet to be properly tapped.
With its economy set free, the resultant release of technological potentials could some day turn Russia into a kind of super-Japan. Even more importantly, such an economic revolution would sound the final death knell for Bolshevism in Russia. That would fling the doors open wide for the spiritual rebirth which is already visible in Russia today. If it happens, that will be the real legacy of the late Yuri Andropov.
Next scheduled issue: Dec. 2, 1983
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|Peter Beter News Alert 8: Perspective: Soviet Union & The Legacy of the Late Yuri Andropov|