In the midst of NATO’s bombing in the Balkans, President Boris
Yeltsin has dismissed his prime minister. This move could lead to the
dissolution of the Russian Parliament and new elections. If elections
take place, the Communists are bound to win. If the Communists win, all
bets are off in the Balkans.

So why would Yeltsin fire Prime Minister Primakov? Yeltsin’s position
is one of extreme weakness. Last week his approval ratings hit an
all-time low of 2 percent. Worse yet, Yeltsin faces an impeachment vote
within days or hours. Already the Duma has asked for Boris Yeltsin’s
resignation in a non-binding resolution. In a speech last weekend,
Russian Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov said, “We are about to
strip Boris Yeltsin of his duties.” And worse yet, Prime Minister
Primakov has refused to support Yeltsin. So Yeltsin dismissed him.

But that probably won’t stop an impeachment vote. Under these
circumstances, if Yeltsin is removed from office, presidential elections
will be held. Given Russia’s anti-NATO hysteria, a radical
Communist/nationalist candidate would easily win.

Whether Yeltsin dissolves the Parliament, or Parliament impeaches
Yeltsin, the ensuing election will result in a massive political
strengthening of the Communists and nationalists in Russia. It’s a
win/win situation for those in Russia who view America as the “main
enemy.” By the same token it’s a lose/lose situation for America and

Western observers of Russia should not take all this at face value,
however. Much of what we’re seeing is suspiciously “convenient” in terms
of Russia’s “secret structures” — the KGB (SVR/FSB), Interior Ministry,
Mafia and Communist Party. Taking a larger view, Boris Yeltsin has fired
one KGB prime minister only to offer up yet another KGB prime minister.
Odd, isn’t it? Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Primakov was head of Russia’s foreign
intelligence service (SVR) — a former branch of the KGB. Lt. Gen.
Sergei Stepashin, the newly proposed prime minister, was head of the
domestic intelligence service (FSB) — yet another branch of the old
KGB. One KGB general is slated to replace another.

Primakov’s background as a Communist functionary and “fixer” is well
known. His contacts with radical Arab leaders, his actions in support of
Communism in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, have been documented. Sergei
Stepashin, on the other hand, has been presented as a liberal reformer.
But this is certainly a false picture. In the 1980s Stepashin was a
commissar in the Interior Ministry (MVD) special forces. He taught
political history at the MVD’s Higher Political School. Stepashin tries
to pass himself off as a Marxist-Leninist who suddenly turned liberal.
There are others who go along with this idea. It would seem, from
Stepashin’s record, that he’s an unprincipled opportunist. Or is he?
Perhaps the true story is more complicated.

After the August coup of 1991 Stephashin said, “the KGB should be
liquidated.” A short while later he was running the domestic side of the
“former” KGB structures. Should we be surprised?

Stepashin hails from the deepest bowels of Russia’s Interior
Ministry. This ministry is at the center of Russia’s repressive police
state, its GULAG camp system (which still continues), its political and
psychiatric prisons, etc. Stepashin is clearly a creature of this
ministry. His roots go deep. Perhaps, even now, he is the secret
creature of hidden Soviet-era structures that may soon reemerge. In
fact, he may be vital to their reemergence.

According to KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn, the collapse of the
Soviet Union was orchestrated by various secret structures set up by the
late Soviet interior minister, Aleksandr Shelepin. Golitsyn writes of a
long-range strategy to deceive and disarm the West. Part of that
strategy was a fake split with Communist China. In this context,
Golitsyn predicted that once the Sino-Soviet split had achieved its
goals, Russia and China would join forces to form “one clenched fist.”
They would then move against the West in unison.

Now this alliance is a reality.

If the collapse of the Soviet Union was orchestrated by Russia’s
secret structures, as Golitsyn claims, then Stepashin is a key player in
the deception. His appointment only signifies a new phase in a grand

If, on the other had, there has been no “plan” to deceive and disarm
the West through Soviet collapse, then Stepashin’s appointment
nonetheless signifies the disintegration of Russian democracy.

The attempted elevation of a Russian secret police chief to the prime
minister’s office marks a decided turning away from genuine democracy in
Russia. Every American should take note. The ultimate consequences of
this could be serious.

At the Communist Party rally where Gennady Zyuganov spoke last
weekend, one of the participants held up a sign. It said, “CHINA —
drown the American serpent.” There is danger abroad, and the United
States had better be prepared.

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