The Magazine

MOSCOW'S SECRET GOLD

Mar 4, 1996, Vol. 1, No. 24 • By ARNOLD BEICHMAN
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LONG AGO AND LONG FORGOTTEN at least in today's Kremlin, is Boris Yeltsin's decision on November 6, 1992, to outlaw the Communist party as a criminal organization. Party leaders challenged that decision in the Constitutional Court. Today the Communist party is making its comeback. And with a vengeance.


Yeltsin defended himself by saying that the Communist party had suppressed basic human rights during its 70-year rule and that, in the interests of promoting world communism, it had violated the principles of international law by intervening in the internal affairs of other countries. As evidence, the Yeltsin government presented more than 3,000 documents, comprising some 10,000 pages, in the form of secret memoranda or reports made over the years to the Central Committee of the Communist party. A great many of these formerly "eyes-only" documents, now known as Fond 89, are available for study. Even the most cursory examination confirms that throughout its history, even during the Gorbachev years, the Communist party administered an immense, no- expense-spared conspiracy against the non-Communist world. A more detailed but still incomplete analysis of the documents unveils the tactical details of the party's subversion strategy.


Most of these files are reports of the illegal distribution of funds to Communist parties abroad or to Communist fronts by Moscow and its battalions. What overwhelms a reader of these documents, especially one who has followed Soviet history, are the billions of dollars spent to sponsor Moscow- controlled revolutionary movements while the Soviet peoples were suffering man-made famines and low standards of living (except, of course, for the Kremlin leadership and their regional satraps).


A 1919 document details the contents of six packages containing diamonds and pearls worth more than $ 1 million at the time. These packages were delivered through the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs to the Comintern to be laundered abroad and thereby finance the Soviet Union's subversive activities. Russia was then in the midst of a devastating civil war that created widespread hunger and destitution. No matter; the revolution came first.


A 1974 document contains a letter to the Central Committee from the chairman of the South African Communist party asking for 100 fake South African passports to enable the party's agents to enter South Africa. Another document is from Yuri Andropov, then KGB chief and later party general secretary, confirming that 100 guns with ammunition had been delivered to the Workers' party of Cyprus.


One remarkable document dated December 31, 1975, states that the party had approved Andropov's proposal to request from the Vietnamese defense minister 10,000 Western-made automatic rifles with 10 million rounds of ammunition in exchange for the same number of Soviet-made weapons. The Western-made weapons would be distributed to unnamed foreign Communist parties and representatives of "national liberation" movements. (Andropov is all over these documents -- the same Andropov who, when he came to power in 1982, was hailed in the West as a fellow liberal by American liberals.)


One of the most important archival collections deals with the creation in 1950 of an "International Trade Union Trust for the Support of Leftist Workers' Organizations" with a first-year budget of $ 2 million. The Soviet party contributed $ 1 million, Communist China $ 200,000, the rest coming from East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The intent of this war chest was to create in the World Federation of Trade Unions (to which the American Federation of Labor refused to belong) a bulwark of support for Stalin and Soviet foreign policy. In 1955, the war chest reached $ 5 million.


From 1950 to 1973, the Soviet "Trade Union Trust" distributed $ 100 million to Communist parties the world over. And since the Central Committee archive is in the process of study and translation, we can be sure that this preliminary report is the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how much the Communist Party of the Soviet Union handed out between 1973 and 19917 We have already learned of the receipt of $ 2 million by Gus Hall, the secretary of the American Communist party, in 1989 -- the receipt countersigned by Anatoly Dobrynin, onetime Soviet ambassador in Washington.