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Immediately after the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, they decided
to wipe out most of the criminals. This was the “Red Terror” of 1918, in
which some 1.5 million people were executed. It was an astonishing
experiment in preventing crime through the extermination of anyone with
least criminal background — excepting the Communist Party members
themselves. And according to some accounts, there were many professional
criminals within the Communist Party.
One prominent example should serve to illustrate. Lenin’s trusted
lieutenant, Josef Stalin, had been a bank robber for Bolsheviks in the
first two decades of this century. In fact, Stalin had no aversion to
crime as such. While he was exiled to Vologda Province, it is alleged
that Stalin preferred to associate with convicted robbers, gunmen and
murderers. Khrushchev remembered Stalin’s words about those days:
- There were some good guys among the criminals during my exile. I
hung around mostly with the criminals. I remember we used to stop at the
saloons in town. We’d see who among us had cash, then we’d … spend it
all on alcohol. These criminals were nice, salt-of-the-earth fellows.
But there were lots of rats among the political convicts.
Karl Marx, the founding father of modern communist thought, once
said, “The mind of the criminal has more grandeur and nobility than the
wonders of the heavens.” In this context, the Russian anarchist Mikhail
Bakunin wrote that “In Russia, the robber is the only revolutionary.”
The Russian Social Democratic Party — of which Lenin’s miserable
Bolsheviks claimed to be the “majority” faction — was divided on the
question of using robbery as a way of raising money. Many leading Social
Democrats thought robbery was counterproductive. But Lenin disagreed and
acted on his own. He set up a secret center for bank robbery, in which
Stalin played a leading role.
On June 13, 1907, the Russian State Bank was moving a huge sum of
money from St. Petersburg to Tiflis. It was escorted by a troop of
Cossacks. Lenin’s agents attacked the shipment. Seven bombs were thrown.
The horses of the Cossacks were panicked, the escort was dispersed.
Eight people were killed, 50 were wounded. The loot went to Lenin. It
was the first of many Bolshevik robberies.
According to Colonel Stanislav Lunev, the highest-ranking defector
from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff
(GRU), the Bolshevik leaders were typical criminals. What characterizes
the criminal, says Lunev, is that he is a misfit. “Lenin was a lawyer
who could not win a
case,” Lunev points out. In terms of ordinary life these people were
failures. The founder of their movement, Karl Marx, was also a misfit.
About the Bolsheviks in Russia, historian Robert Conquest says that
“many observers noted the lack of real talent among their leaders.”
People who cannot succeed by legitimate means sometimes turn to criminal
methods. The reason that crime is an attractive path for misfits, is
that crime offers monetary rewards that misfits are normally denied, and
more significantly it offers the psychological reward of revenge. In
addition, there is a logic and advantage in outrageous criminality. Most
people are decent and law-abiding. Extreme criminality therefore catches
society off guard.
Lenin and Stalin’s crimes did not end when they came to power. Their
criminality was incorporated into a new kind of state. The Soviet Union
embodied a lawless system of government. After 1917 the victims of
Bolshevik extortion, murder and robbery numbered in the millions. The
Communist Party Soviet Union and its secret police became the world’s
ultimate mafia. As such, they did not tolerate competition from lesser
criminals. That is the real meaning of the “Red Terror” of 1918. Lenin
knew he had come to power through criminal activity. Others, following
his example, might take a similar course. To safeguard his regime
against those like himself, he took the extreme measure of the mass
execution of criminals. Because of these mass “liquidations,” the
Russian black market came under the control of the Communists and their
agents. The only Russian criminals to survive were under direct Kremlin
Using the black market and the surviving Russian underworld as a
helpmate, Soviet socialism ruled its empire without serious challenge
for decades. Finally, in 1955, Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev decided
to make use of organized crime as a weapon in the Cold War. The main
target of the KGB’s organized crime operation was to be the United
States, though all the world’s mafias were slated for infiltration.
According to Prof. Joseph D. Douglass Jr. a scholar who has done
extensive research into Kremlin-sponsored organized crime,
- The Soviets reasoned that if they could successfully infiltrate
organized crime, they would have unusually good possibilities to control
many politicians and would have access to the best information on drugs,
money, weapons, and corruption of many kinds.
In 1956 the East bloc strategic intelligence services were
instructed to infiltrate the world’s mafias. Communist Czechoslovakia,
for example, was instructed to infiltrate seventeen organized crime
syndicates, including the mafias in France, Italy, Austria, Latin
America, and Germany. In the case of
Italy, the Italian Communist Party assisted the Czech operation.
According to Douglass, 20 percent of Italy’s policemen were members of
the Italian Communist Party. These foot soldiers in the “class struggle”
were instructed to help Soviet bloc intelligence agents in their work of
infiltrating the three main Italian mafias.
Under Khrushchev the Soviets also engaged in a massive drug
trafficking program. This operation was code-named “Druzhba Narodov,”
which can be translated as “Friendship of Nations.” Khrushchev was said
to be amused by this innocuous sounding name.
Ironically, the Kremlin’s organized crime and drug strategy was
supervised by the Administrative Organs Department of the Communist
Party Soviet Union. This department was also in charge of the Soviet
KGB, the regular police and the Justice Ministry.
The penetration of international organized crime also proved useful
in terms of stealing Western technology. Organized criminals frequently
engage in industrial espionage, selling important technology to
interested parties. The possibility of gaining Western technology
through organized crime was very appealing. And the price was usually
right. Organized crime, it seems, was a back door to the technological
treasures of the West.
According to defector sources, by 1965 the Soviet bloc had
infiltrated, created, or taken over 1,500 organized crime syndicates
worldwide. This was a tremendous achievement, and the strategic benefits
were many. According to Professor Douglass,
- The Soviet strategy to infiltrate organized crime … is
especially sobering when the extent to which U.S. Presidents,
intelligence officials, and other high-ranking political leaders are
known to have requested favors from members of organized crime.
Consider, for example, the CIA’s bungled attempt to use the
mafia in an assassination scheme against Fidel Castro in the early
1960s. Why did the attempt fail? Probably because Castro and the
Russians had already infiltrated the four mafias involved in the
operation, and they knew what was
The politicians of the United States are not alone in their
connections to organized crime. In Western Europe the logic of
corruption also operates. What these politicians don’t understand, is
the underlying clandestine forces that they expose themselves to when
they take up relations with
organized crime groups.
In the early 1960s Khruschev’s deputy, Andrei Kirilenko, spoke to top
Czechoslovak officials about the organized crime operation. He wondered
why Czech intelligence had not taken control of the larger mafia groups.
“When you deal with the criminals,” he lectured, “you must be tougher
than they are.”
Sabotage was another strategically significant part of the
infiltration operation. Through organized crime you could get into the
back door of many legitimate companies. And you could cause mayhem in
these companies. In fact, according to two of the Soviet bloc’s leading
defectors — Jan Sejna and Anatoliy Golitsyn — an ultimate goal of
Moscow’s strategy was to crash the West’s economy at an opportune
In this context, we ought to wonder about the laundering of $15
billion through the Bank of New York and other Western banks (especially
in Switzerland and England). Where is this money ultimately going? Could
the astronomical rise in the Stock Market have anything to do with it?
According to a source formerly employed in U.S. banking, the Russians
and Chinese have been laundering huge sums of money, and much of this
money has been invested in our stock market. This source speculates that
these funds have been used to purposely push the market to the record
levels we have witnessed since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Imagine the game that may be unfolding. Has Russian money been
strategically employed in our stock market? Consider the way things
work: to invest heavily in stocks is to buy influence in leading
American companies. And what if the aforesaid funds were suddenly
withdrawn? Would the market deflate? Would there be a financial crisis
— a depression as happened after the stock market crash of 1929?
And then there is the political angle. Some readers may remember that
President Clinton was photographed with a leading Russian mobster,
Grigori Loutchantsky, head of the now infamous Nordex company. This
company is alleged by some investigators to be a KGB front. Loutchantsky
himself began his career as an employee of the Latvian Communist Party
Today the headlines are full of sinister financial news. The Bank of
New York is being investigated for laundering over $200 million from
Russia. Russian mobsters have been discovered worming their way into the
banks in Switzerland and England. The news wires are full of speculation
Russian moles in Western banks. Has anyone considered what is actually
Vice President Al Gore has been criticized by leading Republican
presidential candidates because he sat on a reform commission with
Kremlin leaders whose ties to the Russian mafia are now well known. But
Gore gave the green light to assisting the mobsters in the Kremlin,
agreeing that billions should be sent to them. It is well known that the
CIA attempted to warn Gore about his Russian colleagues on the
commission, especially about Viktor Chernomyrdin. When Gore read the CIA
report on Chernomyrdin he scrawled four letter words across it and sent
Gore’s reaction was hardly appropriate or responsible. Nor was it
very smart for President Clinton to have his picture taken with
Loutchantsky, who has since openly bragged that he was bribing the U.S.
More significantly, let us turn to Prof. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Friday
article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “Bombshells lurk in the
Russian Scandal.” Here we find the major pieces of the puzzle fitted
together. According to Brzezinski, “something has gone fundamentally
wrong with the
financial aid for Russia that U.S. taxpayers have so generously been
Brzezinski says there are two explosive questions about these
emerging scandals. First, is Russia really a democracy? And second, who
in the West has benefited by the billions sent to Russia.
In answering the first question, Brzezinski points out that today’s
rulers in Russia are hardly democrats. To a man, writes Brzezinski, they
“would have felt fully at home in any government of the former Soviet
Union.” In fact, according to Brzezinski, the current governing elite in
composed in toto of former Communist Party … aspirants.” Truthfully,
it can be said that the leaders of democratic Russia are no more
attached to democracy than they are to capitalism.
Brzezinski has noticed that the organized crime front in the Kremlin
has served a sinister propaganda purpose. It has served to associate
capitalism and democracy with criminality in the thinking of the Russian
people. What Brzezinski doesn’t mention, is that Russia’s crime problem
— which the KGB controls and directs — has been used to justify the
suspension of basic civil rights throughout the Russian Federation. Yes,
that’s right, in Yeltsin’s Russia the police can arrest you and jail you
for a month without charging you with a crime. They can search your home
without a warrant. They can pry into your financial records without
cause. All of this is justified because Russia is overrun by criminals.
Consequently, in Russia, there are no procedural rights, no presumption
of innocence by the accused. Former Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is
famous for declaring, while he
headed the secret police, that “I am in favor of violating human rights
if the person involved is a bandit or a criminal.”
Needless to say, this is an attitude typical of the Stalin era.
Toward the end of Brzezinski’s Wall Street Journal article, he
touches on the second explosive question related to the Russian
financial scandals. He asks whether the “political process in the West”
has remained immune from corrupting influences? Obliquely referring to
President Clinton’s photo opportunity with Loutchantsky, Brzezinksi
suggests that “the political process in America may be vulnerable to
contamination as the result of the massive inflow of illicit money from
Russia.” This, he further says, raises “grave and disturbing questions.”
Unfortunately, Brzezinski does not go far enough. If he had consulted
the testimony of various Communist defectors he would know about the
Kremlin’s longstanding employment of organized crime as a weapon against
the West. He would know that Russia’s continued war preparations,
Russia’s alliance with China, and its continued use of organized crime
to penetrate our most
important institutions demonstrates that the Cold War never ended. In
truth, the old gang in the Kremlin merely converted the Soviet Empire
into a false democratic front, from which they daily rob us of our money
and our vital technology. This, by now, is indisputable. It is part of
the historical record of our century. And yet, people like Brzezinksi
fail to state this truth in plain terms.
Cutting through all that has been said about the unfolding financial
scandals, there is a definite threat to our nation’s security. It must
be admitted that Russia’s penetration of our banks and markets is not an
innocent development. It must not be viewed as an isolated case that
stands alone. It is part of an overall pattern. Under the circumstances,
our government should be reacting as if it were under attack — because,
in fact, it is under attack. But our government does almost nothing. In
fact, our financial and political leaders want to go ahead and send an
additional $4.5 billion to Russia, so the Russians can service the
interest on their huge debt to the West.
There is something rotten in New York and there is something even
more rotten in Washington. The enemy advances on every front —
political, financial, criminal and diplomatic. When are we going to meet
that enemy with strength and put an end to his manipulations?