Tsar Putin

In April 2002, former CIA director James Woolsey dismissed PLO claims that its chairman had been democratically elected. "Arafat was essentially elected the same way Stalin was, but not nearly as democratically as Hitler, who at least had opponents," he said.[1] Now the re-coronation of Russia's Vladimir Putin has set a new record for such "democratic" elections.

The "democratic" rise to power of the former KGB officer Putin began in 1999 with a KGB coup.  On December 31, the first freely elected Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, stunned the world by announcing his resignation. "I understand that I must do it and Russia must enter the new millennium with new politicians, with new faces, with new intelligent, strong, energetic people,"[2] Yeltsin solemnly stated. He then signed a decree transferring his power to the former head of Russia's political police, Vladimir Putin.  For his part, the newly appointed president signed a decree pardoning Yeltsin -- who was allegedly connected to massive bribery scandals -- "for any possible misdeeds" and granting him "total immunity" from being prosecuted (or even searched and questioned) for "any and all" actions committed while in office. Quid pro quo.

During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within the state. Soon after Putin self-enthroned, the KGB became the state.  By 2003, over 6,000 former officers of the KGB -- an organization that had in the past shot millions after framing them as Zionist or Nazi spies -- were running Russia's federal and local governments.  Nearly half of all top administrative positions were held by former officers of the KGB.  The old Soviet Union had had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. In 2004, Putin's Russia had one FSB officer for every 297 citizens.[3] That was like "democratizing" Nazi Germany after the war by putting former Gestapo officers in charge of the country.

Once firmly settled on the throne, Putin defined Russia's new political future: "The state must be where and as needed; freedom must be where and as required," he wrote in a 14-page article entitled "Russia on the Threshold of a New Millennium."[4]

Next, Putin and his ex-KGB officers began moving their country firmly back into the campgrounds of the former Soviet Union's traditional clients. They started out with precisely those three terrorist governments named by President Bush as an "Axis of Evil."  In March 2002, Putin reinstituted Russia's sale of weapons to Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khamenei and began helping his terrorist government to construct a 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr, with a uranium conversion facility able to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Hundreds of Russian technicians also began helping the government of Iran to develop an intercontinental missile capable of carrying nuclear or germ warheads to any target in the Middle East and Europe.[5]  In August 2002, Putin concluded a $40 billion trade deal with Saddam Hussein's tyrannical regime in Iraq. Then, just before September 2002, while the United States was preparing to mourn its victims of the previous year's terrorist attack, Putin rolled out the red carpet in Moscow to receive North Korea's despicable dictator Kim Jong Il with grand honors.[6]

On April 12, 2003, Putin hosted the first meeting of a new anti-American axis of Moscow-Berlin-Paris, attended by then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (later revealed to be a well-paid secret director of the Russian Gazprom) and French president Jacques Chirac (now on trial for corruption). It was surely no accident when on that same day huge anti-American demonstrations erupted in both Europe and the U.S. They were organized by the World Peace Council, a revived KGB cover organization, the chairman of which was still the same KGB-appointed Romesh Chandra, who in the 1970s had organized countless anti-American demonstrations around the world.

Some former KGB agents of influence providing the ideological impetus for Putin's new anti-American offensive became even more disturbing than the Kalashnikovs the al-Qaeda terrorists were pointing at us. French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who claimed he had broken with Marxism but still choked up with emotion whenever he heard the "Internationale,[7]" began proclaiming that the Islamic war against the United States was justified, because the U.S. was culturally alienated. Derrida therefore called for a "new International" to unite all the environmentalists, feminists, gays, aboriginals and other "dispossessed and marginalized" people who were combating American-led globalization.[8] Antonio Negri, a professor at the University of Padua who once was the brains behind the Italian Red Brigades -- one of the KGB-financed leftist terrorist groups of the 1970s -- and who served time in jail for his involvement in kidnapping and killing former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, co-authored a virulently anti-American book entitled Empire. In it, Negri justifies Islamist terrorism as being a spearhead of "postmodern revolution" against American globalization -- the new "empire" -- which he claims is breaking up nation-states and creating huge unemployment.[9] The New York Times (which omitted any mention of Negri's involvement in terrorism) went so far as to call his modern-day Communist Manifesto "the hot, smart book of the moment."[10]

Last September, anticipating Putin's re-coronation, another old Cold War warrior, Mahmoud Abbas, moved to the front burner. To rapturous applause in the General Assembly, Abbas submitted "his" request to the U.N. for the recognition of a Palestinian state having the pre-1967 borders. A number of international political figures have been sympathetic to Abbas's "independent" solution -- just as The New York Times was sympathetic to Negri's "independent" fight against the "new empire."  Few people knew, however, that the PLO had been created and financed by the KGB.  Few people also knew that the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, where Abbas matured politically, had in those days been secretly subordinated to the KGB, and that only foreigners recommended by the KGB had been accepted as students there.

Few people also knew that Abbas's adviser for his PhD thesis was an undercover KGB officer named Yevgeny Primakov (later to become "democratic" Russia's spy chief), who was at the same time also an adviser to Saddam Hussein.  Few people noticed that Abbas's PhD thesis (entitled "The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement") flatly denied the Holocaust, alleging that the Nazis had killed "only a few hundred thousand" Jews. Even fewer people know that in August 1998, two months after Primakov became Russia's prime minister, one of my former Soviet colleagues, General Albert Makashov, now a member of the Russian Duma, called for the "extermination of all Jews in Russia."  Countless times Russian television replayed Makashov's screaming in the Duma: "I will round up all the Yids [pejorative for Jews] and send them to the next world."

Primakov quietly agreed, and on November 4, 1998, the Duma endorsed Makashov's call for a pogrom by voting (121 to 107) to defeat a parliamentary motion censuring his hate-filled statement. At the November 7, 1998 demonstration marking the 81st anniversary of the October Revolution, crowds of former KGB officers showed their support for the general, chanting "hands off Makashov!" and waving signs with anti-Semitic slogans.[11]

On December 20, 2000, numerous former top KGB officers gathered at the Lubyanka museum to commemorate 83 years since the founding of the ruthless Cheka. One of my former bosses, Vladimir Semichastny, who authored thousands of domestic and foreign political assassinations, was among the organizers. "I think a goal was set to destroy the KGB, to make it toothless," he groused at a news conference.[12]

Eleven days later, the KGB installed Vladimir Putin as president of Russia. On September 11, 2002, numerous former KGB officers again gathered at the KGB museum. They had not congregated to sympathize with us on the date of our national tragedy, but to celebrate the 125th birthday of Feliks Dzerzhinsky[13] -- the man who created one of the most criminal institutions in contemporary history.

Attempts by the Baltic states to bring the former KGB to book for the millions of their citizens killed in the past are met with howls of protest from the Kremlin. "In Russia today, nobody is willing to recognize the horrendous crimes of the past," said Valeryia Dunayeva, of the Russian human rights group Memorial. Her mother was framed by the KGB as a spy and shot, and her father died in a Siberian gulag where he had spent 25 years as a political prisoner. "There are 17,000 of us who lost parents under Stalin in Moscow alone, but the authorities simply pretend we don't exist."[14] 


The Cold War is indeed over, but, unlike other wars, it did not end with a formal act of surrender and with the defeated enemy throwing down his weapons. We are now learning the hard way that the loser's mindset cannot be changed from one day to the next. Today we may no longer be dealing with the threat of a mortally dangerous Russia, but Putin's new reign could change all that at the drop of a hat. Slowly but surely, he is transforming Russia into the first intelligence dictatorship in history. It is dangerous for us to keep on simply pushing the reset button instate of redefining our foreign policy.

Since 1792, elections have been the American way of correcting the past and improving the future. Let us hope that in November 2012 the voters will decide to restore America's leadership of the Free World. Now more than ever, the world's peace and freedom depend on the power of United States and the unity of our public opinion, as was the case in the past. Make no mistake -- if America's national unity goes, so will our prosperity, our security, and the peace of the world.

Lt. Gen (r) Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc.  He is currently writing a book on disinformation together with Prof. Ronald Rychlak.

[1] Joel Mowbray, "Arafat elected?" National Review Online, April 25, 2002.

[2] Barry Renfrew, "Boris Yeltsin Resigns," The Washington Post, December 31, 1999, 6:48 a.m.

[3] Yevgenia Albats, The KGB: The State Within a State 23 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1994).

[4] "Putin rocked Russians with ruthlessness," AFP, December 31, 1999, internet edition, ruthlessness.html.

[5] William Safire, "Testing Putin on Iran, The New York Times, May 23, 2002, internet edition.

[6] Ben Shapiro, "Keep an eye on Russia," townhall.com, August 23, 2002.

[7] Mark Lilla, The Politics of Jacques Derrida, The New York Reviews of Books, June 25, 1998 (intyernedt vedrsion).

[8] Waller R. Newell, Postmodern Jihad: What Osama bin Laden learned from the Left, The Weekly Standard, November 26, 2001, p. 26

[9] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (London: Harvard University Press, 2000), p. 28.

[10] David Pryce-Jones, Evil Empire, the Communist 'hot, smart book of the moment,' National Review Online, September 17, 2001.

[11] Jean Mackenzie, "Anti-Semitism is resurfacing in Russia," Boston Globe, November 8, 1998,as published on the Internet at www.fsumonitor.com/stories/11098mak.shtml

[12] "Russian Spies Mark Secret Police Day," The New York Times, December 20, 2000, published on www.freeserbia.net/Articles/2000/KGBday.html.

[13] Douglas J. Brown, "Chekists Around the World Celebrate 9/11," NewsMax.com, September 19, 2002, published in www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/18/170000.shtml.  

[14] Julius Strauss, "False teeth for children of Stalin's victims," The Age, January 29, 2003, published on the Internet at www.theage.comau/articles/2003/01/28/1043534055349.html

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