Below is our interview, which was conducted via email. It has been abridged for readability. All citations are courtesy of Lt. Gen. Pacepa.
Communist imagery during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. (Image source: Twitter user @Bachscore)
Playing devil’s advocate here, some might argue that since the Soviet Union was defeated, Americans shouldn’t care about a book on Soviet disinformation tactics. What would you say to these people?
Pacepa: The very idea that the Soviet Union was defeated is disinformation in itself. The Soviet Union changed its name and dropped its façade of Marxism, but it remained the samesamoderzhaviye, the historical Russian form of autocracy in which a tsar is running the country with the help of his political police.
During the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within the state. Now the KGB is the state. Over 6,000 former KGB officers are running Russia’s federal and local governments. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. In 2004, Russia had one FSB officer for every 297 citizens.
During the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within the state. Now the KGB is the state.
How would you describe today’s Russia?
Russia today is the first intelligence dictatorship in history. It is a brand new form of totalitarianism, which we are not yet familiar with. Now the KGB, rechristened FSB, is openly running Russia.
On Sept. 11, 2002, hordes of former KGB officers gathered in Moscow at the Lubyanka—the headquarters of the old and new KGB. They had not congregated to sympathize with America’s national tragedy of the previous year, but to celebrate the 125th birthday of Feliks Dzerzhinsky—the man who created the most criminal institution in contemporary history. One of my former bosses, KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny, groused to a crowd: “I think a goal was set to destroy the KGB, to make it toothless.” A few days later, Moscow’s mayor, Yury Lushkov, one of Russia’s most influential politicians, reversed himself by saying he now wanted to restore Dzerzhinsky’s statue to its place on Lubyanka Square.
It will not be easy to break Russia’s five-century-old tradition of being a police state. Nevertheless, man would not have learned to walk on the moon had he not first studied Continue reading