Did Communism Fake Its Own Death in 1991?

In a bizarre 1984 book, ex-KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted the liberalization of the Soviet Bloc and claimed that it would be a strategic deception. Let's examine the facts.

In his spy book Wedge, Mark Riebling claims that "of Golitsyn's falsifiable predictions, 139 out of 148 were fulfilled by the end of 1993 -- an accuracy rate of 94 percent" [1]. Riebling's statistic, compiled from Golitsyn's 1984 book New Lies for Old, has been used in several other books and articles (including here at AT) since Wedge was first published in 1994.

New Lies for Old is not light reading, and all of Golitsyn's predictions appear in the last two chapters, some 327 pages in. Golitsyn began drafting the manuscript in 1968 [3], completed it in 1980 [9], cleared the CIA in 1982 [2], and then finalized and published it in 1984 with seven additional pages [10].

Golitsyn published his second book, The Perestroika Deception, after the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. This book contained further analysis of the liberalization, in addition to previously classified memoranda submitted by Golitsyn to the CIA. The two books must be read together to get a complete picture of Golitsyn's thesis.

Despite taking 22 years to write and publish New Lies for Old, Golitsyn nonetheless asserted that "the substance of the argument has changed little since 1968" [4]. Put simply, Golitsyn's argument was that beginning in about 1960, the Soviet Union embarked on a strategy of massive long-range strategic deception which would span several decades and result in the destruction of Western capitalism and the erection of a communist world government. Throughout his works, he refers to this future event as "convergence" [5]. On page 339 appears a series of Goltisyn's predictions:

The "liberalization" would be spectacular and impressive.  Formal pronouncements might be made about a reduction in the communist party's role:  its monopoly would be apparently curtailed.  An ostensible separation of powers between the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary might be introduced.  The Supreme Soviet would be given greater apparent power, and the president of the Soviet Union and the first secretary of the party might well be separated.  The KGB would be "reformed."  Dissidents at home would be amnestied; those in exile abroad would be allowed to return, and some would take up positions of leadership in government.

Sakharov might be included in some capacity in the government or allowed to teach aboard.  The creative arts and cultural and scientific organizations, such as the writers' unions and Academy of Sciences, would become apparently more independent, as would the trade unions.  Political clubs would be opened to nonmembers of the communist party.  Leading dissidents might form one or more alternative political parties

There would be greater freedom for Soviet citizens to travel.  Western and Unitized Nations observers would be invited to the Soviet Union to witness the reforms in action.

Golitsyn concluded that "the deceptive liberalization will be accepted as genuine and spontaneous and will be blown up out of all proportion by the media" [11].

These fifteen predictions are from just one page and most foretelling of events then ten years away. I chose to cite this particular page because many of the readers here at AT would be able to readily identify these claims empirically as true or not true. Of particular note are Golitsyn's predictions of separate legislative, executive, and judicial powers -- Americans would naturally embrace such a move by the Soviets wholeheartedly (and without asking questions). Making such claims about the Soviet Union in 1980 was no less absurd than would be making similar claims about North Korea today.

Foretelling the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev, Golitsyn wrote:

One cannot exclude that at the next party congress or earlier, Andropov will be replaced by a younger leader with a more liberal image who will continue the so called "liberalization" more intensively [6].

In a July 1984 memo to the CIA, Golitsyn writes: 

The Soviet strategists may replace the old leader, Konstantin Chernenko, who is actually only a figurehead, with a younger Soviet leader who was chosen some time ago as his successor -- namely, Comrade Gorbachev. One of Gorbachev's primary tasks will be to carry out the so-called liberalization [12].

Comrade Gorbachev took office as leader of the Soviet Union the following year.

Golitsyn also gave clues on the eventual replacement of Boris Yeltsin, describing the Chechnyan crisis "not as a likely cause of a military coup, but as a possible planned prelude to a change of government" [13]. Yeltsin resigned unexpectedly on New Year's Eve in 1999, installing then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency. Putin was elected just months later, riding a wave of Russian nationalist sentiment stemming from renewed hostilities in Chechnya.

Critics will rightfully point out that the timeframes in Golitsyn's books are wrong -- he postulated the emergence of a radical left U.S. government around 1992 and "convergence" by about 2000 [14], and he states throughout his works that NATO would be dissolved, causing U.S. forces to leave Europe. He also predicted a military alliance between the U.S. and China [7]. Taken as a complete work, however, Golitsyn got most of it right.

So how did Golitsyn do it? He explains it this way:

The assessment has been based partly on secret information available only to an insider; partly on an intimate understanding of how the communist strategist thinks and acts; partly on knowledge of political readjustments, the use of strategic disinformation, and the extent of KGB penetrations of, and influence on, Western governments; and partly on research and analysis, using the new methodology, of open records of Soviet and communist developments over the last 20 years [8].

There is other evidence that corroborates Golitsyn's thesis. In his 1982 book We Will Bury You, Czech defector Jan Sejna also claimed the Berlin Wall would be torn down and the Warsaw Pact dissolved for reasons of deception [15]. Additionally, there are the 1992 and 2005 Mitrokhin Archives. More recently, weird 25-year-old videos of another KGB defector detailing a decades-long process of purposeful U.S. demoralization by Soviet intelligence services have appeared on You Tube.

Jeff Nyquist, an independent writer and the author of the worst-selling book Origins of the Fourth World War, seems to be the only Western journalist who not only noticed but paid much attention to Golitsyn. Nyquist has written hundreds of articles discussing both Golitsyn's thesis and the slow moral and economic decay of America. Nyquist and Golitsyn both dedicated books to J.J. Angleton, who in 1954 founded the CIA's counterintelligence division.

The present moral and economic bankruptcy emanating from Washington, D.C. and plaguing America portends something far more dangerous than the unintended consequences of electing so many ideological flunkies with bad educations and misguided ideals. The purpose of warfare is not to kill and maim your enemy; it is his social, economic, political, and religious reorientation. Somewhere Sun Tzu is smiling, and it isn't at America.

Jason McNew is a 36-year-old IT professional. He can be contacted at jasond@mcnew.org.