G. Edward Griffin: Our conversation is with Mr. Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov. Mr. Bezmenov was born in 1939 in a suburb of Moscow. He was the son of a high-ranking Soviet army officer. He was educated in the elite schools inside the Soviet Union and became an expert in Indian culture and Indian languages. He had an outstanding career with Novosti, which was the—and still is, I should say—the press arm or the press agency of the Soviet Union; it turns out that this is also a front for the KGB. One of his interesting assignments was to brainwash foreign diplomats when they visited Moscow. And he’ll tell us a little bit about how they did this, and how they planted information which eventually wound up in the press of the free world. He escaped to the West in 1970, after becoming totally disgusted with the Soviet system, and he did this at great risk to his life. He certainly is one of the world’s outstanding experts on the subject of Soviet propaganda and disinformation and active measures. Mr. Bezmenov, I’d like to begin by having you tell us a little bit about some of your childhood memories.
Yuri Bezmenov: Well, the most vivid memory of my childhood was [the] second World War, or to be more precise, the end of the second World War, when all of a sudden [the] United States, from a friendly nation which helped us to defeat Nazism, turned overnight into a deadly enemy. And it was very shocking, because all [the] newspapers were trying to present an image of belligerent, aggressive American imperialism. Most of the things that we were taught [were] that [the] United States is [an] aggressive power which is just about to invade our beautiful, free socialist country; that [the] American CIA is dropping Colorado beetles on our beautiful potato fields to eliminate our crops, and each schoolboy had a picture of [a] Colorado bug on the back page of his notebook, and we were instructed to go into collective fields to search for those little Colorado bugs. Of course we couldn’t find any. Neither [could we] find many potatoes, and that was explained again by the encroachments of the decadent, imperialist power.
The anti-American paranoia [and] hysteria in the Soviet propaganda was of such a high degree that many less skeptical people (or less stubborn) would really believe that [the] United States is just about to invade our beautiful Motherland, and some secretly hoped that it [would] come true.
Griffin: That’s interesting. Well, getting back to life inside the Soviet Union, or inside Communist countries in general: In this country, at the university level primarily, we read and hear that the Soviet system is different from ours, but not that different. And that there is a convergence developing between all of the systems of the world, and that really it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference what system you live under because you have corruption and dishonesty and tyranny and all that sort of thing. From your personal experience, what is the difference between life under Communism and life in the United States?
Bezmenov: Well, life is obviously very much different for [the] simple reason that the Soviet Union is state capitalist economically. It’s a state capitalism, where an individual has absolutely no rights, no value; his life is nothing; it’s just like an insect. He is disposable. Where[as] in [the] United States even the worst criminal is treated as a human being, he has a fair trial, and some of them capitalize on their crimes; they publish their memoirs in their prisons, and get handsomely paid by your crazy publishers.
The differences of course in the daily life are very various, depending on who were are talking about. In my own private life, I never suffered from Communism, simply because I was brought up in a family of [a] high-ranking military officer. Most of the doors were open for me, most of my expenses were paid by the government, and I never had any troubles with the authorities or with the police. So, in other words, I would say I enjoyed, or I had good reasons to enjoy, all the advantages of [the] so-called ‘socialist’ system. My main motivations to defect had nothing to do with affluence. It was mainly moral indignation, moral protest: rebellion against the inhuman methods of the Soviet system.
Griffin: Well, specifically, what did you object to?
Bezmenov: I objected, first of all, [to the] oppression of my own dissidents and intellectuals, and that was the most disgusting thing that I witnessed as a young man, young student, who was brought up at [a] very troublesome period in our history, from Stalin to Khrushchev, from total tyranny and oppression to some kind of liberalization.
Second, when I started working for the Soviet embassy in India, to my horror I discovered that we are millions [of] times more oppressive than any colonial or imperialist power in the history of mankind, that my country brings to India not freedom, progress, and friendship between the nations, but racism, exploitation, and slavery, and of course economical inefficiency to this country. Since I fell in love with India, I developed something which by KGB standards is [an] extremely dangerous thing. It’s called ‘split loyalty’: when an agent likes a country of assignment more than his own country. I literally fell in love with this beautiful country, a country of great contrasts, but also great humility, great tolerance and philosophical and intellectual freedoms. My ancestors used to live in caves and eat raw meat when India was [a] highly civilized nation, six thousand years ago. So obviously the choice was not to the advantage of my own nation. I decided to defect, and to entirely disassociate myself from the brutal regime.
Griffin: Mr. Bezmenov, we’ve read a lot about the concentration camps, and the slave labor camps under the Stalin regime. Now the general impression in America is that those things are part of the past. Are they still going on today, or what is the status?
Bezmenov: Yes, yes. There is no qualitative change in the Soviet concentration camp system. There are changes in [the] numbers of prisoners. Again, [these are] unreliable Soviet statistics. We don’t know how many political prisoners are there in the Soviet concentration camps. But we sure know from various sources, that at each particular time, there are close to 25 to 30 million of Soviet citizens who are virtually kept as slaves in [the] forced labor camp system. [The] size of [the] population of [a] country like Canada is serving terms as prisoners. (G: Incredible) So I would say that those intellectuals who try to convince [the] American public that [the] concentration camp system is a thing of the past are either conscientiously misleading public opinion or they are not very intellectual people; they are selectively blind; they lack intellectual honesty when they say that.
Griffin: Well, we’ve spoken about the intellectuals in this country, and also the intellectuals in the Soviet Union. What about down at the broad, mass level? Do the people in general, the working people, the workers in general in the Soviet Union, do they support the system, do they tolerate it? What is their attitude?
Bezmenov: Well, [the] average Soviet citizen, if there is such an animal of course, does not like the system because it hurts; it kills. He may not understand the reasons; he may not have enough information or educational background to understand, but I doubt very much there are many people who are conscientiously supporting the Soviet system. There are not such people in [the] USSR. Even those who have all the reasons to enjoy socialism, people like myself, who are member[s] of [the] journalistic elite—they also hate [the] system for different reasons, though. Not because they lack material affluence, but because they are unfree to think, they are in constant fear. (Duplicity, split personality.) And this is a [great] tragedy for my nation.
Griffin: Well what do you think are the chances of the people actually overcoming their system or replacing it?
Bezmenov: There is a great possibility that [the] system will sooner or later be destroyed from within. There is a self-destructive mechanism built into any socialist, or communist, or fascist system, because there is [a] lack of feedback, because the system does not rely upon loyalty of [the] population. But until the Soviet junta is [no longer] being supported by the Western so-called ‘imperialists,’ that is, multinational companies, establishments, governments, and, let’s face it, intellectuals. (So-called ‘academia’ in the United States is famous for supporting the Soviet system.)
As long as the Soviet junta [keeps] on receiving credits, money, technology, grain deals, and political recognition, from all these traitors of democracy or freedom, there is no hope—there is not much hope—for changes in my country. And the system will not collapse by itself, simply because it’s being nourished by so-called ‘American imperialism.’ This is the greatest paradox in [the] history of mankind, when [the] capitalist world supports and actively nourishes its own destroyer (destructor).
Griffin: I think you’re trying to tell us something… to this country.
Bezmenov: Oh yes. I am trying to tell you that it has to be stopped, unless you want to end up in [a] gulag system, and enjoy all the advantages of socialist equality, working for free, catching fleas on your body, sleeping on planks of plywood, in Alaska this time, I guess. That’s where Americans will belong unless they will wake up, of course, and force their government to stop aiding Soviet fascism.
Griffin: Well you told us a moment ago why you left the system. I’d like to hear the details of how you did it. It must have been a very dangerous thing.
Bezmenov: It was not so dangerous; it was crazy. First of all because defecting in India is virtually impossible, thanks to very strong pressure from the Soviet government…
Griffin: Excuse me. You were in India, on assignment, at the time?
Bezmenov: Yes. I was working for the Soviet embassy in New Delhi as a press officer, and defecting for a Soviet diplomat is next-to-impossible; it’s a suicide, as I said, because ‘Great Friend’ Indira Gandhi pushed a law through Parliament, which says, and I quote: “No defector from any country has a right of political asylum in any embassy on the territory of [the] Indian Republic.” Which is a masterpiece of hypocrisy; no other defector but the Soviet one needs a political asylum.
So knowing that perfectly well, I planned [the] craziest possible way to defect. I studied counter-culture in India. There were thousands of young American boys and girls with no shoes, long hair, smoking hash and marijuana, studying sometimes Indian philosophy, sometimes simply pretending that they studied, and they greatly annoyed Indian police and they were [the] laughingstock of Indians. (Because obviously they were good-for-nothing students.) I studied carefully where they congregate, what routes they travel, what language they speak, what do they smoke, and one day I simply joined a group of hippies to avoid detection [by] Indian police. I was dressed as a typical hippy with blue jeans, long camise shirts with all kind[s] of nice decorations like beads—long hairs… I bought a wig because for several weeks I had to turn myself from a conservative Soviet diplomat into a very progressive American hippy. And that was the only way I could avoid detection.
It was [a] very interesting experience, but it was necessary because from my own knowledge as a member of [the] Soviet embassy staff, I knew that there were many cases when Soviet defectors were betrayed by Indian police, and also some Western embassies played a very dirty role in betraying the Soviet defectors. According to our information, there were some—I wouldn’t call them ‘double agents’—but simply immoral people, working for the United State embassy, and confiding in people like this would be a suicide. So I had to be extremely careful; I could not trust anyone. And that was the reason for such a crazy way to defect.
Griffin: Well, had you been caught in the act of trying to get out, what would have happened to you?
Bezmenov: Oh, most likely I would end up in [a] concentration camp. Or, depending on the situation, on the whim of some bureaucrat in [the] KGB, maybe even executed (this is normal practice), quietly of course, not publicly. But that would be the end of my defection, of course.
Griffin: Well, when did you finally make it to the United States?
Bezmenov: In 1970, after about six month[s] of debriefing in Athens by the CIA, and I presume FBI too, they let me go, first to Germany, then to Canada. That was my decision; I had to change my identity to protect my family and my friends in [the] USSR. And also I was [a] little bit paranoid knowing that both Soviet KGB and probably some double-agents within [the] American system may be after me. So I wanted to settle down as far away as possible. I requested [for the] CIA to give me some kind of new identity, and just let me go on my own. And I settled in Canada. I was a student; I changed many professions, from farm help and laundry truck driver to language instructor and broadcaster for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Montreal.
Griffin: Have you had any threats on your life, or any unpleasantries…?
Bezmenov: Yes. In about five years, [the] KGB eventually discovered that I [was] working for Canadian broadcasting. I made a very big mistake. I started working for [the] overseas service of [the] CBC, which is similar to Voice of America, in Russian language, and of course [the] monitoring service in [the] USSR picked up every new voice—every new announcer they would make it a point to discover who he is—and in five years, sure enough, slowly but surely, they discovered that I am not Tomas [David] Schuman, that I am Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, and that I am working for Canadian broadcasting, and undermining [the] beautiful détente between Canada and [the] USSR. And the Soviet ambassador Aleksandr Yakovlev made it his personal effort to discredit me; he complained to Pierre Trudeau, who is known to be [a] little bit soft on socialism, and the management of CBC behaved in a very strange, cowardly way, unbecoming of representatives of an independent country like Canada. They listened to every suggestion that [the] Soviet ambassador gave, and they started [a] shameful investigation, analyzing [the] content of my broadcasts to [the] USSR. Sure enough, they discovered that some of my statements were probably too… would be offending to the Soviet politburo. So I had to leave my job.
And of course, subtle intimidations: They would say something like, ‘Please cross the street carefully, because, you know, traffic is very heavy in Quebec.’ And fortunately I know about the psychology and the logic of activity of the KGB; I never allowed myself to be intimidated. This is the worst thing. This is what they expect a person, a defector, to be: intimidated. Once they spot that you are scared, they keep on developing that line, and then eventually you either have to give up entirely and work for them; or they neutralize you, they would definitely stop all kind[s] of political activity, which they failed to do in my case. Because I was stubbornly working for the Canadian Broadcasting [Corporation], and in response to their intimidations, I said that, ‘Look: this is a free country, and I am as free as you are, and I also can drive very fast, and gun control is not yet established in Canada, so I have [a] couple of good shotguns in my basement, so [you are] welcome to visit me some day, with your Kalashnikovs, machine guns.’
So obviously it didn’t work; intimidation didn’t work. So they tried [a] different approach, as I described the approach: on the highest level, on the level of Canadian bureaucracy.
Griffin: On that level they were successful.
Bezmenov: On that level they were successful. On [the] individual level, they failed, flat.
Griffin: Mr. Bezmenov has brought a series of slides with him that he has taken from the Soviet Union, and I think this is a good time to take a look at the slides. Now, the viewers will be able to see these slides as we talk about them.
Bezmenov: Yes. This is a collection of slides which are… some of them are snapshots from my family album, some of them are documents which I smuggled from the Soviet embassy, and some are reproductions from local mass media. I usually show them to establish my credibility as a defector.
This is a picture of my native town Mytishchi, about twenty miles north [of] Moscow. Characteristically there is a statue of Comrade Lenin in the central square.
This [me] at the age of seven, again characteristically, under [a] statue of Comrade Stalin extending his friendly hand to peoples of the world. At that age of course I was still [an] idealistically-minded young Communist, and I still believed that sooner or later, things [would] go for [the] better, but I realized that the system stinks, that something is fishy, and that [the] ideology is fake, and the propaganda about advanced Soviet agriculture simply didn’t meet the criteria of reality. If they talk about abundance of food and there is none in the stores, there must be something wrong.
My father was—he is on the left here—my father was [an] officer of the general staff of the Soviet army; he was inspector of Land Forces, Soviet troops stationed in countries like Mongolia, Cuba, [and] East European countries. Were he alive today, most likely he would be inspecting Soviet troops in Nicaragua, Angola, and many other parts of the world. Fortunately, he died and he didn’t see the disgrace, because deep inside he was a Russian patriot; he didn’t like the idea of expanding Soviet military might, especially in the areas where we were not welcome at all.
Unlike many other military officers, he was reporting directly to the Minister of Defense, bypassing [the] KGB and [the] Diplomatic Service. In other words, he was a trusted military professional, and [it is] my impression that this type of people [is] much less hawkish and adventuristic than [the] Party bureaucrats in [the] Kremlin. When American mass media describes [the] Soviet military as [a] potentially dangerous counterpart for [the] Pentagon, I simply laugh, because I know better. I know that the most dangerous part[s] of the Soviet power structures are not military at all; most likely if they come to power in my country they’ll be more sensible negotiators for nuclear disarmament and withdrawal of the Soviet troops from many parts of the world.
Griffin: But if someone from the Party structure, or the KGB structure, were to give the orders for military…
Bezmenov: They have to obey, yes, because they are professional military. But they… you see, the triangle of power and hate in [the] USSR is the Party at the top (the Party elite, the oligarchy of the Party), then the military and the KGB at the bottom. They hate each other. And the most hated corner of the triangle is the Communist Party bureaucrats. They are the most adventuristic, senile megalomaniacs. They can start war—I wouldn’t be surprised—not the military. They know what war is. At least my father did.
This is [a] picture taken at the entrance of my Institute of Oriental Languages. It’s a part of Moscow State University. I graduated in 1963, and I…
Griffin: Excuse me. Which one were you?
Bezmenov: I am on the right. And on the left is my colleague, my schoolmate Vadim Smirnoff, who later was [an] apparatchik in the Central Committee of the Soviet Union Communist Party.
Griffin: What is an apparatchik?
Bezmenov: It’s a functionary, something like civil service in [the] British Empire, someone who is never fired from the service; he stays there internally. He may not be promoted too high, but he is a dependable bureaucrat, who will stay forever.
I studied not only languages but also history, literature, [and] even music. [In] this picture I am trying to learn how to play [an] Indian musical instrument.
I even tried to look like an Indian when I was [a] second-year student.
Griffin: Not bad, really.
Bezmenov: Yes. Actually, it was strongly encouraged by the instructors in my school because the graduates of my school were later on employed as diplomats, foreign journalists, or spies.
As every Soviet student, I was quote-unquote ‘volunteering’ for harvesting grain in Kazakhstan. This is a [big] agricultural blunder of the Soviet government, but I didn’t have much choice of course, because the Communist motto, borrowed from The Bible, says, ‘Those who do not work, shall not eat,’ and as you can see me eating, therefore I was working, and you can see how happy I was about it.
I went through a very extensive physical and military training,
including the military games in the suburban areas of Moscow; and here, for example, we are [on tour] in [the] [Arkhangelsk ?] area.
And by the end of my training in school, I was recruited by the KGB. This picture was taken on that day and you can see, again, how happy it feels to be recruited by the KGB.
Bezmenov: All right. As every student in [the] USSR, I went through very extensive physical and military training, and civil defense training too. Unlike in [the] United States, where civil defense in virtually nonexistent—zero—in [the] USSR, every student, whatever his major subject, has to go through very extensive four-year military and civil defense training. You can see me here with a group of students during one of the ‘war games’ near Moscow. [Previous page, bottom left.] The main idea, of course, is to prepare [a] huge reserve army of the USSR. Each student has to graduate as a Junior Lieutenant. In my case it was Administrative and Military Intelligence Service.
My first assignment was to India as a translator with the Soviet [Economic] Aid Group, building refinery complexes in Bihar State and Gujarat State. At that time I was still naively, idealistically believing that what I was doing contribute[d] to the understanding and cooperation between the nations. It took me quite a number of years to realize that what we were bringing of India was a new type of colonialism, [a] thousand times more oppressive and exploitative than any colonialism and imperialism in [the] history of mankind. But at that time I was still hoping that well, maybe it’s not that bad, [it] could be worse, and things may go for [the] better. And I even tried to implement the beautiful Marxist motto, ‘Proletarians of all the countries unite!’
I tried to unite with a nice Indian girl. And actually I was fascinated by the Indian culture, by family life in this country. But obviously [the] Communist Party had different plans for my genes, so I had to marry this beautiful Russian girl:
In the span of my career, I married three times. Most of these marriages were marriages of convenience on advice from the Department of Personnel. This was [a] normal practice in [the] USSR. When a Soviet citizen is assigned to a foreign job, he has to be married, either to keep [his] family in [the] USSR as hostages, or, if it’s a convenience marriage like mine, so that the husband and wife are virtually informers on each other, to prevent defection or contamination by ‘decadent imperialist or capitalist ideas.’ In my case, I hated that girl so much that the moment I landed in Moscow we were divorced and I married later a second time.
By the end of my first assignment in India, I was promoted to the position of Public Relation Officer. You can see me here, translating a speech by a Soviet boss…
Griffin: And you’re on the right?
Bezmenov: I am on the right here, yes. The occasion was [the] commission of the refinery complex in Bihar [in] Barauni.
Back in Moscow, I was immediately recruited by Novosti Press Agency, which is a propaganda and ideological subversion front for the KGB. 75% of the members of the Novosti are commissioned officers of the KGB. The other 25 are, like [me], co-opted agents who are assigned to specific operations. In this particular case you can see me talking to students of Lumumba Friendship University in Moscow.
This is a huge school under the direct control of the KGB and [the] Central Committee, where future leaders of the so-called ‘National Liberation Movements’ are being educated and selected carefully, and some of them have absolutely…
This, for example, is a group of students from Lumumba. They don’t look like students at all; they look more like military, and that’s exactly what they were. They were dispatched back to their countries to be leaders of the so-called ‘National Liberation Movements,’ or, to be translated into normal human language, leaders of international terrorist groups.
Another area of activity when I was working for the Novosti [Press Agency] was to accompany groups of so-called ‘progressive intellectuals’: writers, journalists, publishers, teachers, [and] professors of colleges.
You can see here in [the] Kremlin, I am [the] second on the left, with a group of Pakistani and Indian intellectuals. Most of them pretended [that] they don’t understand that we are actually working on behalf of the Soviet government and the KGB. They pretended that they are actually being guests—VIP intellectuals—that they are treated according to their merits and their intellectual abilities. For us they were just a bunch of political prostitutes to be taken advantage [of] for various propaganda operations.
Therefore you can see perfectly well the senior colleague of mine on the left doesn’t really have that much respect on his face, and [me] with a very skeptical smile, [a] typical KGB sarcastic smile, anticipating another victim of ideological brainwashing.
This is how a typical conference in [the] Novosti headquarters in Moscow [looks]. Sitting in the middle is Boris Burkov, the then director of Novosti Press Agency, [a] high-ranking Party bureaucrat in the Department of Propaganda. I am standing next to a famous Indian poet, Sumitranandan Pant. He was famous because he was the author of a famous poem, [entitled], ‘Rhapsody to Lenin.’ That’s why he was invited to [the] USSR, and everything was paid [for] by the Soviet government.
Pay special attention to [the] number of bottles on the table. This is one of the ways to kill the awareness, or curiosity of foreign journalists. One of my functions was to keep foreign guests permanently intoxicated. The moment they landed at Moscow Airport, I had to take them to the VIP Lounge and toast to friendship and understanding between the nations of the world. [A] glass of vodka, then a second glass of vodka, and in no time my guests would be feeling very happy, they would see everything in [a] kind of pink, nice color, and that’s the way I had to keep them permanently for the next fifteen or twenty days.
At [a] certain point in time, I had to withdraw alcohol from them, so that some of them who are the most recruitable would feel a little bit shaky, guilty, trying to remember what they were talking [about] last night… That’s the time to approach them with all kind[s] of nonsense such as ‘Joint Communiqué’ or [a] statement for Soviet propaganda. That’s the time they are the most flexible. And of course what they didn’t understand—they didn’t realize or pretended not to realize that [I], who was drinking together with them, was not drinking at all; I had ways to get rid of alcohol through various techniques, including special pills which were given to me by colleagues. But they were taking it seriously; in other words, they would consume quite a large [volume] of alcohol and feel quite uneasy [the] next morning.
In 1967, the KGB attached me to this magazine, Look magazine. A group of twelve people arrived in [the] USSR from [the] United States to cover the 50th Anniversary of [the] October Socialist Revolution in my country.
From the first page to the last page, it was a package of lies: propaganda cliché[s] which were presented to American readers as opinions and deductions of American journalists.
Nothing could be [further] from [the] truth. These were not opinions; they were not opinions at all. They were the clichés which the Soviet propaganda [wanted the] American public to think that they think—if [that makes] any sense at all. It sure does, because from the viewpoint of the Soviet propaganda, although there are some subtle criticism[s] of the Soviet system, the basic message is that Russia today is a nice, functioning, efficient system, supported by [the] majority of [the] population.
That’s the biggest lie, and of course, American intellectuals and journalists from Look magazine elaborated on that untruth in various different ways. The intellectual lies that lie… they found all kind[s] of justifications for telling lies to [the] American public.
And this is…
Griffin: Excuse me. It was partly your job to make sure they got these ideas…
Griffin: …and accepted them as their own ideas.
Bezmenov: Right. Actually, before they arrived to [the] USSR, and they paid [an] astronomical sum of money for that visit, they were submitted… the Novosti Press Agency developed so-called ‘backgrounders,’ 20, 25 pages of information and opinions which were presented to the journalists even before they bought their tickets to Moscow. They had to analyze the situation, and judging on their reaction to that backgrounder, the local Novosti representative or local Soviet diplomat in Washington, D.C. would assess whether they [should] be given [a] visa to [the] USSR or not.
Griffin: They were selected ahead of time?
Bezmenov: Oh yes. They were pre-selected very carefully, and there is not much [of a] chance for honest journalists to arrive to [the] USSR , to stay there for one year, and to bring this package of lies back home.
This, for example, is a centerfold of the Look magazine. They presented this monument, erected by [the] Communist Party in Stalingrad, as the symbol, [the] personification of Russian military might. And they said in the article, which is published on the side, that Soviets are very proud of the victory in the Second World War. This is another big myth, a lie. No sensible people would be proud to lose twenty [million] of their countrymen in a war which was started by [?] Hitler and Comrade Stalin, and paid [for] by American multinationals.
Most of the Soviet citizens look at [these types] of monuments with disgust and sorrow, because every family lost [a] father, brother, sister, or child in the Second World War. Yet, American journalists who were trying to appease—to please—their hosts presented this picture on the centerfold as the symbol and personification of Soviet national—they call it ‘Russian’—national spirit. And it was [the] greatest, greatest misconception and a very tragic misunderstanding. Of course, Look magazine was not distributed in [the] USSR. The main audience was in [the] United States, but I presume that many Americans—millions of Americans—who were reading Look magazine at that time had [an] absolutely wrong idea about the sentiments of my nation, about what the Soviets are proud of, and what they hate.
This is a group—you see the same lady with the sword, in Stalingrad—of journalists. [I am] in the center with the same devilish smile, and Mr. Philip Harrington is on the extreme left there, with his camera.
This is the gentleman [who] was so daft or so uninterested in what I had to say to him. [Close-up of Harrington] This is the same picture, a blow-up of the same picture.
Many guests from various countries—in this particular case from Asia and Africa—were taken by me, as a Novosti Press Agency employee, for a tour across Siberia, for example. We would show them [a] typical kindergarten, you see? Nothing special by American standards: just nice children sitting eating their breakfast, or lunch. What they could not understand, or they pretended not to understand, [is] that this is an exemplary kindergarten; this is not the kindergarten for [an] average person, or average family in [the] USSR. And we maintain that illusion in their minds. You can see [me] under the red spot in the needle there, with the same businesslike expression. I am doing my job; that’s what I am assigned to do and that’s what I was paid to do. But deep inside, I still hoped that at least some of these useful idiots would understand that what they are looking at has nothing to do with the level of affluence in my nation.
This is a better picture, which reflects the true ‘spirit’ of the Soviet childhood. This picture was printed in a Canadian government publication by mistake. In the middle, you can see children playing on a small courtyard. And the caption goes, ‘This is a typical kindergarten in Siberia.’ What these idiots didn’t understand [was] that it is not [a] kindergarten at all. It is a prison for children of political prisoners. But there was not a single [mention] that what they were visiting actually was an area of concentration camps. And [it was] the job of people like myself, to help them not to notice that they are actually talking to prisoners. Most of the children were dressed, especially on the occasion of the foreigners’ visit. Of course there were no corpses on the ground. There were no machine gun guards. And well it looks not very pleasant as you see; it looks dull, but obviously does not create an impression that this is actually a prison.
Griffin: Well, did any of the journalists have the curiosity to ask about prisons and that kind of thing? They were in Siberia; this is what you associate with it.
Bezmenov: Yes, yes. Some of them asked questions, and naturally we would give them… for the stupid question, we’d give them [a] stupid answer. ‘No, there are no prisons in Siberia. No, most of the people who you see are free citizens of [the] USSR; they are very happy to be here, and they are contributing to the glory of the socialist system.’ Some of them pretended that they believed what I was telling them and most of them—we may discuss it later: What are the motivations of these people? Why would they stubbornly bring lies to their own population through their own mass media? I have various answers to this; there is not a single explanation. It’s a complex of explanations.
It’s fear: pure biological fear. They understand that they are on the territory of an enemy state, a police state, and just to save their rotten skins and their miserable jobs, their affluence back home, they would prefer to tell a lie than to ask truthful questions and report truthful information.
Second, most of these schmucks were afraid to lose their jobs, because, obviously, if you tell [the] truth about my country, you will not last long as a correspondent of [The] New York Times or [The] Los Angeles Times. They will fire you. ‘What kind of correspondent are you? You obviously cannot find common language with Russians if they kick you out within 24 hours.’ So just by trying to be conformist to their own editorial bosses, they tried not to offend the sentiments of the Soviet administrators and people like myself. Deep inside, I hoped they would insult or offend my sentiment. Obviously they preferred not to.
Another reason—I refuse to believe it, but obviously there is another reason—obviously it’s agreed: these people earn a lot of money. When they come back to [the] USA, they claim that they are experts on my country. They write books which [sell] a million copies. Title[s] like ‘Russians: The Truth about Russia.’ Most of it is [a] lie about Russia. Yet they claim to be ‘Sovietologists.’ They play back [the] myth about my country, the propaganda clichés. Yet they stubbornly resist the word of truth if a person like Solzhenitsyn is either defecting or kicked out of [the] USSR. They try all their best to discredit him and to discourage him. I don’t have much chance to appear on [a] national network with the true story about my country, but a useful idiot like [Hedrick] Smith or Robert Kaiser… They are big heroes; they come back from [the] USSR; they say, ‘Oh we were talking to dissidents in Russia!’ Big deal! Soviet dissidents are chasing American correspondents in the streets. And they are cowardly escaping from these contacts.
For some strange reason, if you want to know more about Spain, you refer to Spanish writers; if you want to learn more about [the] French, you read French writers; even about Antarctica, I bet, you would read penguins. Only about the Soviet Union, for some strange reason, you read Hendricks and Schmendricks and all kind[s] of Kissingers. Because they claim they know more about my country. They know nothing, or next to nothing. Or they pretend that they know more than they actually do. I would say they are dishonest people who lack integrity and common sense and intellectual honesty. They bring back all kind[s] of stories like that—[indicates the slide of children on a playground]—‘a kindergarten in Siberia,’ omitting the most important fact: it’s a prison for children of political prisoners.
Another [great] example of [the] monumental idiocy of American politicians: Edward Kennedy was in Moscow, and he thought that he [was] a popular, charismatic American politician, who is easygoing, who can smile, dance at the wedding in [the] Russian Palace of Marriages. What he did not understand—or maybe he pretended not to understand—[was] that actually he was being taken for a ride. This is a staged wedding especially to impress foreign media or useful idiots like Ed Kennedy. Most of the guests there, they had security clearance and they were instructed [about] what to say to foreigners.
This is exactly what I was doing. You can see me in the same damn Wedding Palace in Moscow, where Ed Kennedy was dancing here, you see, smiling. He thinks he is very smart. From the viewpoint of [the] Russian citizens, who observed this idiocy, he is [a] narrow-minded, egocentrical idiot, who tries to earn his own popularity through participation in propaganda farces like this.
Here you can see [me]. On the right: again, exemplary Soviet bride. On the left: three journalists from various countries [in] Asia, Africa and Latin America. Obviously they [are] enjoying the situation. They will go back home and write the reports: ‘we were present [at a] regular Soviet wedding.’ They were not present [at a] regular Soviet wedding. They were present; they were part of a farce, of a circus performance.
Another thing which I had to… sometimes risking my life to explain to foreigners: Time magazine, for example, is very critical of [the] South African racist regime. The whole article was dedicated to the shameful internal passport system, where blacks are not [being allowed] to leave [as whites are]. For some strange reason, for the last fourteen years since my defection, nobody wanted to pay attention to my passport.
This is my passport. It also shows my nationality, and it has a police rubber stamp which is called prapiska in [the] Russian language, which assigns me to a certain area of residence. I cannot leave that area. [It is the] same way as this black man cannot leave [his] area in South Africa. Yet we call [the] South African government [a] ‘racist regime.’ Not a single Jane Schmonda or Fonda is brave enough, courageous enough, to come to [the] media and say, ‘Look, this is what happens in [the] USSR.’ I sent a copy of my passport to many American liberals and civil rights defenders and all the other useful idiots. They never bothered to answer me back. This shows what kind of integrity, what kind of honesty these people [have]. They are [a] bunch of hypocrites, because they don’t want to recognize a good example of racism in my country.
This is the first stage of befriending a professor. You can see [me] on the left, with the same James Bond smile. On the right is my KGB supervisor, Comrade Leonid Mitrokhin*. And in the middle: a Professor of Political Science in Delhi University.
The next stage would be to invite him to a gathering of [the] Indo-Soviet Friendship Society.
There he is sitting next to his wife, before he is [going to be] sent to [the] USSR for [a] free trip. Everything is paid [for] by the Soviet government. He was made to believe that he is invited to [the] USSR because he is a talented, sober-thinking intellectual. Absolutely false: He is invited because he is a useful idiot, because he will agree and subscribe to most of the Soviet propaganda cliché[s], and when he [comes] back to his own country, he is going for years and years to teach the beauties of Soviet socialism, to newer and newer generations of his students, thus promoting the Soviet propaganda line.
The KGB was even curious about this gentleman (It may look innocent): Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a great spiritual leader, or maybe a great charlatan and crook, depending on from which side you are looking at him. [The] Beatles were trained at his ashram in Haridwar in India [in] how to meditate; Mia Farrow and other useful idiots from Hollywood visited his school and they returned back to [the] United States absolutely zonked out of their minds with marijuana, hashish, and crazy ideas of meditation.
To meditate, in other words, to isolate oneself from the current social and political issues of your own country, to get into your own bubble, to forget about [the] troubles of the world—obviously [the] KGB was very fascinated with such a beautiful school, such a brainwashing center for stupid Americans. I was dispatched by the KGB to check [into] what kind of VIP Americans attend this school.
Griffin: That’s you on the left there?
Bezmenov: Yes, I’m on the left. I was trying to get enrolled in that school. Unfortunately Maharishi Mahesh Yogi asked too much; he wanted 500 American dollars for enrollment. But my function was not actually to get enrolled in this school. My function was to discover what kind of people from [the] United States attend this school. And we discovered that yes, there are some [members of influential families], public opinion-makers of [the] United States, who come back with the crazy stories about Indian philosophy.
Indians themselves look upon them as idiots, useful idiots, to say nothing about [the] KGB who looked upon them as extremely naïve, misguided people. Obviously, a VIP, say a wife of a Congressman, or a prominent Hollywood personality, after being trained in that school, is much more instrumental in the hands of manipulators of public opinion, and [the] KGB, than a normal person, who understands, who looks through this type of fake religious training.
Griffin: Why would they be more susceptible to manipulation?
Bezmenov: I just mentioned it. Because, you see, a person who is too much involved in introspective meditation, you see, if you carefully look [at] what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is teaching to Americans, [it] is that most of the problems, most of the burning issues of today, can be solved simply by meditating. Don’t rock the boat, don’t get involved. Just sit down, look at your navel, and meditate. And the things, due to some strange logic, due to cosmic vibration, will settle down by themselves.
This is exactly what the KGB and Marxist-Leninist propaganda want from Americans. To distract their opinion, attention, and mental energy from [the] real issues of [the] United States, into [non-issues], into a non-world, non-existent harmony. Obviously it’s more beneficial for the Soviet aggressors to have a bunch of duped Americans than Americans who are self-conscious, healthy, physically fit, and alert to the reality.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi obviously is not on the payroll of the KGB, but whether he knows it or not, he contributes greatly to [the] demoralization of American society. And he is not the only one. There are hundreds of those gurus who come to your country to capitalize on [the] naïveté and stupidity of Americans. It’s a fashion. It’s a fashion to meditate; it’s a fashion not to be involved.
So obviously you can see that if [the] KGB were that curious, if they paid [for] my trip to Haridwar, if they assigned me to that strange job, obviously they were very much fascinated. They were convinced that that type of brainwashing is very efficient and instrumental in [the] demoralization of [the] United States.
Bezmenov: This picture shows [part] of the building of [the] USSR embassy, and my supervisors. On the left is Comrade Mehdi, an Indian Communist. And on the right, Comrade Mitrokhin. (My supervisors in the secret Department of Research and Counter-Propaganda.) It has nothing to do with either research or counter-propaganda. Most of the activity of the department was to compile [a] huge amount (volume) of information on individuals who were instrumental in creating public opinion: publishers, editors, journalists, actors, educationalists, professors of political science, members of parliament, [and] representatives of business circles. Most of these people were divided roughly [into] two groups. Those who would toe the Soviet foreign policy, they would be promoted to the positions of power through media and public opinion manipulation. Those who refused the Soviet influence in their own country would be character-assassinated or executed physically, con-revolution.
[It’s the] same way as in the small town of Huế in South Vietnam, several thousands of Vietnamese were executed in one night when the city was captured by [the] Vietcong for only two days. And [the] American CIA could never figure out how [the Communists could possibly] know [of] each individual, where he lives, where to get him; and [how would they] be arrested in one night basically in some four hours before dawn, put in a van, taken out of the city limits and shot?
The answer is very simple: Long before [the] Communists occupied the city, there was [an] extensive network of informers, local Vietnamese citizens who knew absolutely everything about people who were instrumental in public opinion, including barbers and taxi drivers. Everyone who was sympathetic to [the] United States was executed.
[The] same thing was done under the guidance of the Soviet embassy in Hanoi, and [it was the] same thing I was doing in New Delhi. To my horror I discovered that in the files were people who were doomed to execution. There were names of pro-Soviet journalists with whom I was personally friendly.
Bezmenov: Yes! They were idealistically-minded leftists who made several visits to [the] USSR. And yet, the KGB decided that ‘con-revolution,’ or drastic changes in [the] political structure of India, they will have to go.
Griffin: Why is that?
Bezmenov: Because [laughs] they know too much. Simply, because you see, the useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of [the] Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher.
This was my instruction: try to get into large-circulation, established conservative media; reach filthy-rich movie makers; intellectuals, so-called ‘academic’ circles; cynical, egocentric people who can look into your eyes with angelic expression and tell you a lie. These are the most recruitable people: people who lack moral principles, who are either too greedy or too [much] suffer from self importance. They feel that they matter a lot. These are the people who[m] [the] KGB wanted very much to recruit.
Griffin: But to eliminate the others, to execute the others? Don’t they serve some purpose; wouldn’t they be the ones you rely on?
Bezmenov: No. They serve [a] purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in [the] United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.
But they may turn into the most bitter enemies of Marxist-Leninists when they come to power. And that’s what happened in Nicaragua. You remember most of these former Marxist-Leninists were either put [in] prison, or one of them split and now he is working against [the] Sandinistas. It happened in Grenada, when Maurice Bishop was—he was already a Marxist—he was executed by a new Marxist, who was more Marxist than this Marxist.
[The] same happened in Afghanistan, when first there was [Nur Mohammad] Taraki, he was killed by [Hafizullah] Amin, [and] then Amin was killed by Babrak Karmal with the help of [the] KGB. [The] same happened in Bangladesh when [Sheikh] Mujibur Rahman, [a] very pro-Soviet leftist, was assassinated by his own Marxist-Leninist military comrades. It’s the same pattern everywhere. The moment they serve their purpose, all these useful idiots [will] either be executed entirely (or the idealistically-minded Marxist) or exiled, or put in prisons like in Cuba. Many former Marxists are in Cuba—I mean in prison.
So most of the Indians who were cooperating with the Soviets, especially with our Department of Information of the USSR embassy, were listed for execution. And when I discovered that fact, of course I was sick: I was mentally and physically sick. I thought that I [was] going to explode one day during the briefing of the Ambassador’s office; I would stand up and say something [like,] ‘We are basically a bunch of murderers. That’s what we are. It has nothing to do with ‘friendship and understanding between the nation[s]’ and blah-blah-blah. We are murderers! We behave as [a] bunch of thugs in a country which is hospitable to us, a country with ancient traditions.’
But I did not defect. I tried to get the message across, [but] to my horror, nobody wanted even to listen, least of all to believe what I had to say. And I tried all kind[s] of tricks. I would leak information through letters or lost documents or something like that, and still I got no message. The message was not published even in the conservative mass media of India.
The immediate impulse to defect was [the] Bangladesh crisis, which was described by American correspondents as [an] ‘Islamic grassroot[s] revolution,’ which is absolute baloney. There was nothing to do with Islam, and there was no grassroot[s] revolution. Actually there are no grassroot[s] revolutions, period. Any revolution is a byproduct of a highly-organized group of conscientious and professional organizers, but has nothing to do with grassroot[s].
In Bangladesh, it was nothing [to do] with grassroots. Most of the Awami League party members—Awami League means ‘People’s Party’—were trained in Moscow in the high party school. Most of the Mukti Fauj leaders—Mukti Fauj in Bengali means ‘People’s Army.’ [It’s the] same as SWAPO and all kind[s] of ‘liberation’ armies all over the world, the same bunch of useful idiots. They were trained at Lumumba University and various centers of the KGB in Simferopol and in Crimea and in Tashkent.
So when I saw that India—Indian territory—[was] being used as a jumping board to destroy East Pakistan… I saw myself thousands of so-called ‘students’ traveling through India to East Pakistan through the territory of India, and [the] Indian government pretended not to see what was going on. They knew perfectly well, the Indian police knew it, the intelligence department of [the] Indian government knew it, the KGB of course knew it, and the CIA knew it. That was most infuriating because when I defected and I explained to the CIA debriefers [that] they should watch out, because East Pakistan is going to erupt any moment, they said I was reading too many James Bond novels.
Anyway, so East Pakistan was doomed. One of my colleagues in the Soviet consulate in Calcutta, when he was dead drunk, he ventured into the basement to relieve himself, and he found big boxes, which said ‘Printed Matter to Dhaka University.’ (Dhaka is the capitol of East Pakistan.) And since he was drunk and curious, he opened one of the boxes and he discovered not printed matter; he discovered Kalashnikov guns and ammunition in there. Anyway, it’s a long story.
When I saw the preparations for the invasion into East Pakistan, obviously I wanted to defect immediately. The only thing [was that] I couldn’t at that time make up my mind [about] when and where and how.
One of the reasons, of course… you see I was in love with India (I mentioned it before). I spoke the languages, I socialized with people, and I understood that I had to act fast unless I want[ed] this beautiful country to be permanently and irreparably damaged by our presence.
One of the reasons not to defect was (as you can see) [that] I was living in relative affluence.
Who the hell, in a normal [state of] mind, would defect… and do what?
To be abused by your media, to be called McCarthyist and fascist and paranoid, or to drive a taxi in New York City?
What for? What the hell for should I defect? To be abused by Americans, to be insulted in exchange for my effort to bring the truthful information about impending danger of subversion?
As you can see, I was living in quite the comfortable conditions, next to [a] swimming pool (where Indians were not allowed, by the way). I was [a] highly-paid expert in propaganda. I had my family. I was respected by my nation. My career was cloudless.
The third reason: how to defect with the family. To defect with a baby and a wife would be virtual suicide because according to [the] law, that hypocritical law which I quoted before, the Indian police will have to hand me over back to the KGB, and that will be the end of my defection and probably my life. Again, I cannot smuggle my wife, because she was not quite sure what I was doing. She was not that idealistically involved and she was definitely not in the total picture of what I was doing for the KGB. She would be shocked if I, you know, put her in my van and [drove] her to [the] American embassy or elsewhere. That would a [great] danger.
So, again, I had to defect in such a way that my defection would look [like a] simple disappearance. And there were many cases like that, when the Soviet agent simply disappeared, either killed in action; or thanks to their curiosity and their close contact with radicals, some of them were killed by the Marxists, by the way. It happened in many African countries when the Soviet KGB were killed by Africans themselves, not because they hated Marxist-Leninism but because they were simply [a] trigger-happy bunch of unruly characters. If you give them machine gun[s], they will shoot. And some of the Soviets obviously were not careful enough to protect themselves. And they got into embarrassing situations when they were shot [in] the crossfire between factions of so-called ‘liberation’ movements.
Anyway, so I decided, as I said, to study the counter-culture. I decided [that] this probably would be the best way to disappear. I socialized with characters like this on the left; you see he is a barefoot American hippy. It took me quite a long time to study exactly what they were doing and how to mix with them. But eventually I did it. Most of [the] Indian newspapers carried my picture and [a] promise of two thousand rupees for information about my whereabouts, but they were looking for [the] wrong person because they obviously tried to stop a young Soviet diplomat in white shirt and tie, and this is how I looked at the time of defection:
Nobody could possibly think that the Soviet diplomat would be as crazy as to join a bunch of hippies.
Griffin: That’s you?
Bezmenov: Yes. Travel India and smoke hash. So I made it, literally, almost like a Hollywood-style detective story. From under the nose of the KGB in Bombay Airport, I [boarded] a plane and I flew to Greece, where I was debriefed by the CIA. That’s basically most… that’s all for my slides.
Griffin: OK, we can turn off the projector… that’s very interesting. Well you spoke several times before about ideological subversion. That is a phrase that I’m afraid some Americans don’t fully understand. When the Soviets use the phrase ‘ideological subversion,’ what do they mean by it?
Bezmenov: Ideological subversion is the process, which is legitimate, overt, and open; you can see it with your own eyes. All you have to do, all American mass media has to do, is to unplug their bananas from their ears, open up their eyes, and they can see it. There is no mystery. [It has] nothing to do with espionage. I know that espionage intelligence-gathering looks more romantic. It sells more deodorants through the advertising, probably. That’s why your Hollywood producers are so crazy about James Bond-type of thrillers.
But in reality, the main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all. According to my opinion and [the] opinion of many defectors of my caliber, only about 15% of time, money, and manpower [are] spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process, which we call either ‘ideological subversion,’ or ‘active measures’—‘[?]’ in the language of the KGB—or ‘psychological warfare.’ What it basically means is, to change the perception of reality, of every American, to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.
It’s a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow[ly] and is divided [into] four basic stages. The first one [is] demoralization; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people… the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.
Griffin: And yet these people who have been ‘programmed,’ and as you say [are] in place and who are favorable to an opening with the Soviet concept… these are the very people who would be marked for extermination in this country?
Bezmenov: Most of them, yes. Simply because the psychological shock when they will see in [the] future what the beautiful society of ‘equality’ and ‘social justice’ means in practice, obviously they will revolt. They will be very unhappy, frustrated people, and the Marxist-Leninist regime does not tolerate these people. Obviously they will join the leagues of dissenters (dissidents).
Unlike in [the] present United States there will be no place for dissent in future Marxist-Leninist America. Here you can get popular like Daniel Ellsberg and filthy-rich like Jane Fonda for being ‘dissident,’ for criticizing your Pentagon. In [the] future these people will be simply [squashing sound] squashed like cockroaches. Nobody is going to pay them nothing for their beautiful, noble ideas of equality. This they don’t understand and it will be [the] greatest shock for them, of course.
The demoralization process in [the] United States is basically completed already. For the last 25 years… actually, it’s over-fulfilled because demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success. Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to [a] lack of moral standards.
As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures; even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him [a] concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it, until he [receives] a kick in his fan-bottom. When a military boot crashes his… then he will understand. But not before that. That’s the [tragedy] of the situation of demoralization.
So basically America is stuck with demoralization and unless… even if you start right now, here, this minute, you start educating [a] new generation of American[s], it will still take you fifteen to twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality back to normalcy and patriotism.
The next stage is destabilization. This time [the] subverter does not care about your ideas and the patterns of your consumption; whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby doesn’t matter any more. This time—and it takes only from two to five years to destabilize a nation—what matters [are] essentials: economy, foreign relations, [and] defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly that in some areas, in such sensitive areas as defense and [the] economy, the influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas in [the] United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never believe it fourteen years ago when I landed in this part of the world that the process [would have gone] that fast.
The next stage, of course, is crisis. It may take only up to six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You can see it in Central America now.
And, after crisis, with a violent change of power, structure, and economy, you have [the so-called] period of normalization. It may last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in ‘68, Comrade Brezhnev said, ‘Now the situation in brotherly Czechoslovakia is normalized.’
This is what will happen in [the] United States if you allow all these schmucks to bring the country to crisis, to promise people all kind[s] of goodies and the paradise on earth, to destabilize your economy, to eliminate the principle of free market competition, and to put [a] Big Brother government in Washington, D.C. with benevolent dictators like Walter Mondale, who will promise lots of thing[s], never mind whether the promises are fulfillable or not. He will go to Moscow to kiss the bottoms of [a] new generation of Soviet assassins, never mind… he will create false illusions that the situation is under control. [The] situation is not under control. [The] situation is disgustingly out of control.
Most of the American politicians, media, and educational system trains another generation of people who think they are living at the peacetime. False. [The] United States is in a state of war: undeclared, total war against the basic principles and foundations of this system. And the initiator of this war is not Comrade Andropov, of course. It’s the system. However ridiculous it may sound, [it is] the world Communist system (or the world Communist conspiracy). Whether I scare some people or not, I don’t give a hoot. If you are not scared by now, nothing can scare you.
But you don’t have to be paranoid about it. What actually happens now [is] that unlike [me], you have literally several years to live on unless [the] United States [wakes] up. The time bomb is ticking: with every second [he snaps his fingers], the disaster is coming closer and closer. Unlike [me], you will have nowhere to defect to. Unless you want to live in Antarctica with penguins. This is it. This is the last country of freedom and possibility.
Griffin: Okay, so what do we do? What is your recommendation to the American people?
Bezmenov: Well, the immediate thing that comes to my mind is of course, there must be a very strong national effort to educate people in the spirit of real patriotism, number one. Number two, to explain [to] them the real danger of socialist, communist, whatever, welfare state, Big Brother government. If people will fail to grasp the impending danger of that development, nothing ever can help [the] United States. You may kiss good bye to your freedom, including freedoms [for] homosexuals, [for] prison inmate[s]; all this freedom will vanish, evaporate in five seconds… including your precious lives.
The second thing: [at] the moment at least part of [the] United States population is convinced that the danger is real. They have to force their government, and I’m not talking about sending letters, signing petitions, and all this beautiful, noble activity. I’m talking about forcing [the] United States government to stop aiding Communism. Because there is no other problem more burning and urgent than to stop the Soviet military-industrial complex from destroying whatever is left of the free world. And it is very easy to do: no credits, no technology, no money, no political or diplomatic recognition, and of course no such idiocy as grain deals to [the] USSR.
The Soviet people, 270 [million] Soviets, will be eternally thankful to you if you stop aiding [the] bunch of murderers who sit now in [the] Kremlin, and whom President Reagan respectfully calls ‘government.’ They do not govern anything, least of all such [a] complexity as the Soviet economy.
So basic[ally], two very simple… maybe two simplistic answers or solutions, but nevertheless they are the only solutions: educate yourself, [and] understand what’s going on around you. You are not living at [a] time of peace. You are in a state of war and you have precious little time to save yourself. You don’t have much time, especially if you are talking about [the] young generation. There’s not much time left for convulsions to the beautiful disco music. Very soon it will go [he snaps his fingers] just overnight.
If we are talking about capitalists or wealthy businessmen, I think they are selling the rope from which they will hang very soon. If they don’t stop, if they cannot curb their unsettled desire for profit, and if they keep on trading with the monster of the Soviet Communism, they are going to hang very soon. And they will pray to be killed, but unfortunately they will be sent to Alaska, probably, to manage [the] industry of slaves.
It’s simplistic. I know it sounds unpleasant; I know Americans don’t like to listen to things which are unpleasant, but I have defected not to tell you the stories about such idiocy as microfilm, James Bond-type espionage. This is garbage. You don’t need any espionage anymore. I have come to talk about survival. It’s a question of [the] survival of this system. You may ask me what is [in it] for me. Survival, obviously. Because I like… as I said, I am now in your boat. If we sink together, we will sink beautifully together. There is no other place on this planet to defect to.