Soviet Active Measures in The
'Post-Cold War' Era 1988-1991
Looking To The Future
While disinformation and active measures operations conducted by Russia would logically be aimed at enhancing Russia's power by denigrating its opponents and emphasizing conciliatory and alarmist themes with the West, disinformation and active measures operations conducted by the former communist hard-liners would most likely be anti-Yeltsin and anti-American. The chief opponent of former communists is the democratic regime in Russia. Thus, the democratic elements within the Yeltsin government and Yeltsin himself would logically be the main targets of their disinformation and active measures campaigns. This group also remains hostile to the West and the United States and thus would logically consider the West to also be their target, although a secondary one at this time. The activities of the "Committee of Public Organizations to Promote a Near East Settlement" typify the anti-Yeltsin, anti-Western thrust embraced by these elements.
There are clear signs that former communist hard-liners are using their remaining power and connections to form organizations opposed to the Yeltsin government. For example, the former ideological chief of the hard-line Russian Communist Party, Gennadi Zyuganov, now heads the coordinating council of an organization called The Movement of Popular and Patriotic Forces, which acts as an umbrella group to "bring together socialist-oriented parties" in Russia, according to an ITAR-TASS report of February 8, 1992. Zyuganov's group has organized anti-Yeltsin demonstrations and has suggested that the Russian government "sit down at the negotiating table with representatives of parties of socialist orientation rather than label them as 'red-brown.'"
On February 22, 1992, the Moscow newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta published excerpts from a report by the "Russian Federation-Politika" analytical center. It warned about the dangers posed by the nomenklatura - CPSU-appointed officials, many of whom still occupy powerful managerial positions in the government, industry, media, and other societal structures of the former USSR. The report stated:
within Russia and around it a process of all-embracing, widespread, and very aggressive nomenklatura revanche is in train which has as its goal the restoration and consolidation of a nomenklatura-totalitarian regime not only in Russia but also in all the Commonwealth republics.
...Legal, quasi-underground, and underground structures of the former Communist Party nomenklatura are being developed everywhere.
...The work of the "Coordinating Council of the Popular-Patriotic Forces" - set up in spring 1991 at the initiative of the Russian Communist Party Central Committee, I. Polozkov, and G. Zyuganov, who heads it to this day - has been renewed.
...information is available on the operation of underground CPSU oblast committees that in some regions maintain a direct, directive influence on the organs of power and a powerful information and communications network linking the "center" with the regions (in fact, according to some information an underground CPSU Central Committee has been created).
...The apparatus of the so-called independent trade unions (what is meant here is the Federation of Independent Trade Unions) has recently sharply increased its activity in provoking strikes. In some regions there are cases of the trade unions coercing workers to strike, including threatening to cut off supplies, bring production to a halt, and so forth.
...At the same time, specific activity is taking place in certain circles among the Armed Forces and the KGB. There is talk in the military about the possibility and expediency of a change of power because "the president is very ill."
...On 4 February at a closed "meeting on question of economic and national security" certain regional leaders, about 500 directors of major enterprises in the military-industrial complex, and military people formed a parallel government "commission" .... It can be stated with a high degree of probability that this commission, with the "expert advice" of 0. Lobov and A. Volskiy of the "Russian union of industrialists and entrepreneurs" may become a unique kind of "officers' assembly" for the nomenklatura economy, an organizational base to insure coordinated measures of nomenklatura revanche in the economy, sabotage, and a virtual rolling back of the economic reforms.
Cadre control by the military-industrial complex over the leadership in industry is intensifying.
...Economic opposition to reform policy is intensifying, and is often expressed by sabotaging decisions of the president and government passed on for "execution."
...Deliberate sabotage of land reform and the desperate struggle to preserve the kolkhoz system continue unaltered.... The organs of power and management are refusing to issue appropriate documents, under absurd pretexts ("there is no paper to print information about the forms required").
...on this basis a system of "nomenklatura enclaves" inherited from Soviet times is being formed and consolidated politically.
On March 4, 1992, the Moscow newspaper Rossivskaya Gazeta reported on a press conference held by Vladimir Varon, chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet Subcommittee on Political Reform, who was accompanied by experts from the "Russian Federation-Politika" analytical center. Varon stated:
The official power not so much even the CPSU, but the party nomenklatura has apparently left the arena. I stress: apparently. In actual fact it has moved into the structures of state power in the so-called center and at the local level. In other words, we are witnessing today the process of party-nomenklatura revenge in various forms - primarily hidden forms. In other words, whereas the powers-that-be used to sit in their well-known party offices and control all and sundry, and control it illegally, today they are apparently almost always controlling things legally, but from different quarters. In fact, it sometimes happens that they control things from the same offices.
...There are corresponding party nomenklatura positions in social organizations and in the organs of state power. And when we analyze the data, we are forced to note with great regret that in the majority of regions, and in the center as well, the party-state nomenklatura constitutes up to 70-80 percent, and in some regions, even more.
...Unfortunately, we are forced to note that this tendency is also typical for Russia's top structures.
An expert from the "Russian Federation-Politika" center, Dmitri Yuryev concluded, "The nomenklatura era is probably over, but the nomenklatura system remains."
In addition to the continuing strength of party-appointed bureaucrats in the state structure and social organizations, the "Russian Federation-Politika" experts claimed that, "there are fake displays of 'mass support' by the population for the most odious nomenklatura leaders; moreover, the population is frequently subjected to pure and simple food blackmail."
The former communists and communist-appointed officials have joined with extreme Russian nationalists to form what has been called a "red-brown" alliance opposed to the Yeltsin government. On March 10, 1992, Sovetskaya Rossiya published a joint declaration by these groups entitled "Justice, Nationality, Statehood, Patriotism." On March 17, the efforts of the hard-liners to convene a extraordinary sixth Congress of USSR People's Deputies as a vehicle for protesting the policies of the Yeltsin government failed miserably, but these groups have considerable assets at their control and could pose a serious threat to democratic development in the former Soviet Union for years to come.