Saturday, July 11, 2015

Russian insiders' accounts: How the KGB planned and executed the destruction of the USSR and communism

On my FB feed I came across an article that tries to put together a down-to-the-bottom story of how communism was actually overthrown in the USSR from within and,together with it, the whole world socialist system, the lynchpin of which was the USSR.

Based on interviews with insider veterans, this article argues that the overthrow of the communist regime in the USSR originated or was mainly harbored within the KGB and that's the phase of the transition already started at least under Andropov already. The first off-shore, shell companies were found back in 1981, 1984. The early form of the plan (one of its key teams was led by Chubais) foresaw a Pinochet-like dictatorship for the transition (counter-revolution). From the very beginning, it was neo-liberalism (in its Russian form) which was adopted the model to pursue to the exclusion of all the other alternatives, including the "Swedish model," which for the KGB was for some reason not interesting (too sensible?). 

Andropov's original template was also strictly oriented against the communist party as an organization. The KGB believed that the party outlived itself. Thus to change the system, the original expectation was that the communist party would be banned and dissolved and, in case the trade union would resist, they too would be abolished.

The only thing, which, in the article, indicates any of the possible reasons of why the KGB became attached to neo-liberalism within the communist system is that, as people with exclusive access to Western ideas and schools at that time, they came to believe that ne-liberalism was the most modern of available systems and that all the others were in that regard outdated.

In the face of the tremendous scope of the task, in the end, the KGB decided to strike a compromise with the other factions of the elites or nomeklatura provided that they agreed to embrace the new liberal order.

The August Coup was for most part a phony, orchestrated coup, which allowed Gorbachev to disband the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was the main goal. The 1993 shelling of the parliament was forcible suppression of resistance to the regime change from elected deputies (the article also says as much on this). The article argues that the main (but not sole) force for the regime change was, indeed, in the KGB.

The August (largely phony) "coup" allowed Gorbi and the new liberal ex-communists (still communists formally though) to dissolve the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which had nothing to do with the coup anyway. But some reason was needed. Had the Communist Party not been outlawed, the dissolution of the USSR in the next few months might have a tiny bit harder, though, since the party was much of a huge corpse anyway. Not much. But precaution needed to be taken.

After the story moves close to our more recent time, the article also says: "Поэтому и фамилия у него все-таки Путин. Он, я думаю, обеспечил максимальный уровень западничества, на который была согласна силовая элита, которая, в свою очередь, обеспечивает проведение модернизации." The article thus argues here that Putin's goal was to achieve maxim possible Westernization of Russia, which the new post- and anti-communist elite built around the KGB, which turned to oligarchy, would be able to stomach and support.

The article says that by 2000 the only two real candidates for Russian president were two KGB officers--Primakov and Putin. Primakov became Punti's mentor.

If one wants to go back further, you can start with Stalin who effectively ossified the party and changed it into a dead order-executing machine. However, when we talk of how the USSR and its communism were destroyed in the 1980s, 1990s, then the story above is directly relevant.

Gorbachev was no dupe. Only those who believed him were.

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