"Unmasking Moscow's ""Institute of the U.S.A."""

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"Unmasking Moscow's ""Institute of the U.S.A."""

December 17, 1982 18 min read Download Report
James Phillips
Former Visiting Fellow, Allison Center
James Phillips was a Visiting Fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

(Archived document, may contain errors)

234 Decepber 17, 1982 UNMASKING MOSCOW'S INSTITUT E OF THE lJS.AmRR INTRODUCTION In the months following the death of Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev, the United States and the West will be searching for clues that reveal the thinking of the Kremlin's new leadership A key source of such Ifinsi&fitslt into S oviet attitudes surely will be Georgiy Arkadyevich Arbatov who heads a Communist Party-run organization in Moscow called The Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada.

Arbatov has become the darling of the U.S. press in the past decade He visits America frequentl y, speaks English, discusses U.S. politics in a native American idiom and has managed to create the impression that he dares speak candidly, even criti cally, about internal Soviet matters. Is it any wonder that Arbatov is often interviewed by American jo u rnalists, meets with American editors in plush executive dining rooms and even has appeared on American television? Is it any wonder that Arbatov is given the kind of access and forums in the U.S. that abso lutely are forbidden to any American in the Sovi et Union? With the U.S.--particularly American journalists--starved for any contact to Moscow ltinsiders It Arbatov is able to dish up what looks like a feast. What he really serves, however, is a menu of deception and disinformation.

The real Georgiy Arba tov scarcely resembles the image that he carefully has created for' himself. He purports, for example to have a direct pipeline to high-level Kremlin figures and to be one of the top advisers to the Kremlin on matters relating to the United States. There is absolutely no evidence supporting this.

He purports to be, and is widely treated as if he is, the head of a Soviet version of an American independent think tank. He is not.

His Institute was created sole .ly to serve Soviet intelligence organizations and needs. He is what is known in the U.S.S.R. as a llfaithful soldierI1 of the Soviet Communist Party. He and his 2 Institute even have been involved in so-called Active Measures activities that include over t and covert propaganda, manipulation of American and Canadian front organizations, forgeries and other means of deliberate deception.

The time has come in the wake of the Brezhnev death, to view Arbatov and.the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada for what they are=.=important international arms of MOSCOW~S intelligence and disinformation campaigns. To regard Arbatov and his Institute as anything less dangerous will seriously impair America's abi lity to evaluate correctly the policies and actions of the po st Brezhnev Soviet Union.

INSTITUTE OF THE U.S.A. AND CANADA BACKGROUND At least seven of the social sciences institutes of the Soviet Academy of Sciences have very specific functions, some of which do not belong to the ltconventiona1lt institutes of the A cademy of Sciences. These are the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada, the Institute of World Economics and International Re lations (IMEMO), the Institute of the Far East, the Institute of Africa, the Institute of Latin America, the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Institute of International Workers' Movement.

Although some researchers working for these institutes conduct studies in history, economy and,cultural life of foreign countries, the research is not the main reason for their exis tence.

The large army of scientists and researchers, some of whom are full members of the Academy of Sciences, is working on pro jects designated by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR (CC CPSU) and, more specifically by the International Depart m ent (ID of the CC CPSU. This department was established in the mid-1950s. Some of its main aims are to maintain relations with and provide guidance to the Communist Parties of the capitalist countries,.to promote relations between the CC CPSU and socialis t and other opposition parties of the capitalist countries, to establish and maintain contacts with some individuals--members of the ruling parties of developed nations and of the Third World and to supervise the activity of the Soviet itfront" organizatio n s Two functions of the International Department CC CPSU are considered by the Soviet leadership as of utmost importance: 1) to work out long range tactical and strategic plans for the Soviet external policy (in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Aff airs 2 to plan and implement (in cooperation with the KGB and GRU intelli gence agencies) Active Measures1 aimed against the West See: John Barron, "The KGB's Magical War for Peace Reader's Digest October 1982, p. 2

11. Also: Soviet Covert Action. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelli gence, House of Representatives, Ninety-Sixth Congress, February 6, 19 1980, pp. 59-87. 3 It is the International Department CC CPSU which needed the assistance of Soviet s c holars specializing in studies of modern history, economy and military potential of the West. With this the International Department would have the knowledge necessary to implement directives of the Soviet Politburo on foreign policy and on a variety of A c tive Measures been established in the mid-l950s, the Soviet Politburo issued a directive to organize or expand the activities of the Institutes of the Academy of Sciences. Most subsequently were established in the 1950s or 1960s. Since then links between t hese institutes and the CC CPSU have become closer every year by approval of the International Department CC CPSU. The Inter national Department with the help of the KGB also supervises the personnel policy of the institutes. Many key positions are filled by retired officers of the International Department or former or present KGB intelligence officers. The annual plans of research projects are approved by the International Department.

The Academy of Sciences in this sense plays the role of a funding organ ization Almost as soon as the International Department CC CPSU had The director of any of these institutes gets the post only The Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada plays an extremely The important role in the network established by the CC CPSU.

U.S.A. and Canada Institute was organized in November 1967 as the only Soviet Institute initially designed to concentrate its research on one country. Originally known as the USA Institute its activities were expanded to include Canada. in 19

74. Since then, the o fficial name of the institute has been the USA and Canada Institute. Formally it is subordinate to the Economics Department of the USSR Academy of Sciences.2 However, it act ually functions under the International Department CC CPSU The Institute studies e very aspect of U.S. and Canadian affairs, including economics, politics, management, scientific and technological developments, and military potential. The institute has a large number of specialized departments of them are generally considered to be the m ost important. Notes Nora Beloff in an account of a Soviet defector Three The first department, under Vitaly Zhurkin, studies U.S. policies, foreign and domestic. The foreign affairs section is divided regionally into the USSR the Far East, the Near and M i ddle East, Europe, Latin America and the Third World. Each specializes in relations between its area and North America. The department also has a group working on immediate issues and another.on national minorities, including youth 2 "USSR Institute of Ap ril 19

76. Also 1976 p. 128 the United States of America and Canada CIA Bolshaya Sovetskaya Encyclopedia, 3rd edition Report vol. 24(1), The second, which also has foreign and domestic sections, deals with the U.S. economy. The foreign section keeps track, among other things, of American-based multinational corporations with industry, management, and agriculture.

The domes.tic section deals The third, officially listed as ilideology,if is run by a KGB general, Radomir Bogdanov It manages the libraries and secret archives It has a special section looking after foreign visitors This department also includes the section on U.S. military affairs headed by General Mikhail Milshtein, a member of the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence.

The Institute has a scientific secretary, Igor Orlenkov, who works in conjunction with all three departments.

The Soviet defector, Galina Orionova, a former research fellow at the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada, in an 1980 interview with Nora Beloff p rovided rare insight and knowledge of the Institute In addition to publishing books and a monthly magazine for general readership, the Institute is expected to furnish information on demand for the Central Committee the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and th e KGB. Writers are never told for which of the three they are working.

Their main source is Western literature: newspapers periodicals and books those for general as well as for limited circulation oral information from visiting American scholars and diplo matic material when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs chooses to make it a~ailable They also receive Tass dispatches When I was a KGB intelligence officer in the 1970s, I had an opportunity to learn details about the Institute through conver sations with of ficers of the 1st (American) Department of the First Chief Directorate (FCD of the KGB and of the 12th (Intelli gence on the territory of the Soviet Union) Department of the same Directorate.

It is true, for instance, that the Institute provides the International Department CC CPSU and the KGB with comprehensive studies on virtually every aspect of life in the US and Canada.

These studies are mainly used as background material for pre paring the Soviet Union's positions on various issues of bi lateral rela tions. But it not true that the Institute plays a Nora Beloff Escape from Boredom: A Defector's Story Atlantic, November 1980, p. 48.

Ibid p. 44 5 serious role in the Soviet.Politburo's decision making mechanism It influences Kremlin leaders only indirect ly it is the only institution outside the KGB which has detailed knowledge of the political, economic and other processes in the modern North American society At the same time A large number of the Institute's papers are used for pur One of the poses havi n g little to do with scientific research many clients of the Institute is Service ''A Active Measures) of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, which plans and implements global and regional active measures with the approval of the Soviet Politburo. Almo s t every product of the Institute can be utilized for this. For instance, data on the activity of multi the KGB to spread disinformation and forgeries in some of the Third World countries to plant seeds of suspicion towards their activities national corpor a tions is used by the International Department and Data on U.S. military contractors are used by the Soviet propaganda inside and outside of the U.S Soviet front organizations (such as the World Peace Council) in their anti-American "peaceful campaigns" st a ged by Moscow They are used also by I personally was told in Moscow that Radomir Bogdanov deputy director of the Institute, is a high-ranking FCD KGB officer and a former KGB resident in New Delhi who now specia lizes in Active Measures. He has several su bordinates in the Institute who use its name as a cover for their Active Measures activites.

Other departments of the KGB also are actively utilizing the Institute for their purposes. The officers of the 12th depart ment (intelligence on the territory of t he USSR) personally or through their conscr.ipts in the Institute are meticulously collec ting information on political backgrounds, personal profiles, and financial.situations of visiting American scholars and political figures to be able to use these da ta in possible recruitment approaches..

The Institute has direct connections with the most active Soviet front organizations, primarily with the Soviet Peace Committee. Institute Director Arbatov is a member of the Presi dium of the Soviet Peace Committee (SPC) and a member of the World Peace Council. His deputy V.V. Shurkin, is Chairman of Disarmament Commission.of the SPC, Vice President of the SPC5 and a member of the WPC.

Using his credentials as an officer of the Institute, Radomir Bogdanov frequently takes part in disarmament conferences-in Washington, New York and Europe. There he strongly pushes the Soviet line and looks for Americans who can be persuaded to follow it World Peace Council, List of Members, 1908-19

83. Published by the Information Ce ntre of the World Peace Council, Helsinki, pp. 144, 150. 6 The leaders of the Institute are involved in a large scale deception game aimed at the American scholars,'journalists and political consultants. They foster the myth that the Institute has access t o the formulation of confidential positions of the Soviet leaders toward the US and that they are unofficially delivering" "objective" opinions of the Kremlin to respectable American counterparts. There is no evidence to support this. In fact, in Moscow i t is widely known to be untrue. Nonetheless some American journalists and specialists in foreign policy fall for this myth on disinformation .are represented to the readers and TV viewers as the position of Kremlin leaders 2, 1982, issue, the Washinqton Po s t called Arbatov, "director of the Kremlin's think tank on North American affairs In the Some points outlined by the Institute's specialists For instance, in its January December 16, 1980, issue of the New York Times, Arbatov is called a senior adviser on American affairs in the Russian hierarchy."

These nonexistent titles artificially "boost" Arbatov's credibility for the American audience WHO IS GEORGIY ARBATOV?

Doctor of Historical Sciences Georgiy Arkadyevich Arbatov became the director of the Institute when it was established in November 19

67. He was elected to full membership in the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1974 the USSR Supreme Soviet member of the CC CPSU. He is also chairman of the Scientific Council on Economic, Political and Ideological P roblems of the United States--a joint venture of the International Department CC CPSU and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.6 the World Peace Council7 and to the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues (the chairman is Olof Palme Prime Minister of Sweden The same year he became a Deputy to In March 1981 he was elected as a Arbatov belongs to Arbatov was born in the Soviet Ukraine on May 19, 1923, and served in the Soviet Army from 1941 to 1944 uated from the Institute of International R elations (which pro vides cadres for the Soviet Ministry of Foreign.Affairs, Inter national Department CC CPSU and KGB worked for the Foreign Literature Publishing House in Moscow.

During the 1950s he was associated with the journals guestions of Philosoph y (the organ of the CC CPSU), New Times (the organ of the International Department CC CPSU and a cover for KGB opera tives) and Kommunist (the organ of the CC CPSU From 1960 to 1962 Arbatov was a political observer for the magazine Problems of Peace and S ocialism which is published in Prague (the organ of the International-Department CC CPSU Then for two years he was chief of the Ideological Section at the Institute of World Economics In 1943 he grad For several years he CIA report, op. cit April 1976.

World Peace Council List of members, 1980-1983. 7 and International Relations. Since November 1967, he has been Director of the Institute of the USA.8 Arbatov has no academic background. Before he became the Director of the Institute he was a typical Part y journalist actively cooperating with the International Department CC CPSU.

He was what they call in the Soviet Union !!a fighter on the ideological front And, obviously he had very good rapport with the comrades in the Central Committee. He became the Di rector of the Institute when he was 41 years old--very young for a director by Soviet bureaucratic standards. That he was appointed to this post despite his weak academic background strongly indicates that he was a trusted Party cadre well versed in condu cting propaganda and Active Measures operations.

Arbatov proved to his superiors in the Central Committee that he is a !!faithful soldier of the Party. Immediately after the creation of the Institute, he started to provide Itcover1! jobs to the KGB and GRU officers and started to strictly follow the Party guidelines. He personally began traveling abroad several times.a year as a member of scientific groups, delegations or Soviet llpublic organizations-all of which are controlled by the CC CPSU-or by himsel f.

By the early 1970s Arbatov forged contacts and friendly relations with many prominent American and European scholars and political figures. With the help of the KGB's specialists in disinformation he created the myth that he is the "chief spokes man of the Kremlin on Soviet-American relations on problems of disarmament and so on. The Soviets also started to spread the mor that Arbatov was very close to the Leonid Brezhnev and that the latter confided to him his views on prospects for Soviet American rel ations.

On some occasions, during private conversations, Arbatov reportedly has expressed !!unorthodox views on political issues and on the situation in the Soviet Politburo. He has helped create the false impression, for instance, that there are !!dovesi and !!hawksI! in the Soviet leadership. Some of Arbatovls contacts do not realize that it is practically impossible for any Soviet academician, diplomat or journalist to travel abroad and 'openly express views which stray from the Party line. Like everyon e else, before starting a trip abroad, Arbatov is summoned to the International Department of the CC CPSU for instructions on the political line that he is to express in his conversations and discussions. Arbatov reportedly gets these instructions from Int ernational Department chief Boris Ponomarev or from his first deputy, Vadim Zagladin 13 CIA report.

Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR (10 sozyv Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 10th Session) Moscow, 1979, p. 32 A large part of Dr. Arbatov's biography was published in Deputaty 8 I Soviet leaders take part in planning and implementing the Active Measures pursued by Arbatov and his Inqtitute To give Arbatov more Credibility, his Party superiors in 1981 arranged his I1electionl1 to the CC CPSU. This made him a full member of the Soviet establishment. His credentials now include membership in the Academy of Sciences, Deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet and member of the CC CPSU. His titles give credi bility to the other high ranking officials in the Institute, su ch as the KGB officer Radomir Bogdanov, or GRU veteran Mikhail Milshtein.

Arbatov has visited the United States more than ten times and has greeted hundreds of American visitors in Moscow. The scope of his 1tinterests8t is enormous. On some occasions he wi ll meet with the representatives of such reputable think tanks as Brookings Institution or the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

On other occasions he will have discussions in his plush He also has had discussions with prominent American Demo office in Moscow with the leaders of the Communist Party of the US cratic and Republican politicians. For instance, in 1980 he had a meeting in Moscow with Rep. Stephen J. Solarz, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee the First Deputy Chief of the International Department CC CPSU Vadim Zagladin. In the same year, a month later, he met.with a private American group headed by former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, William W. Scranton Also present at the meeting was Arbatov further has met with controversial American organi zations such as the Institute for Policy Studies. In April 1981 a group of Americans visited Moscow under the auspicies of the Institute for Policy Studies of Washington members of the delegation was Marcus G. Raskin, a s enior fellow of the IPS. This group had talks with anonymous Ilsenior Soviet officialsll and Arbatov and Zagladin One of the key Arbatov seems to try to give as many interviews to American TV stations or newspapers as is possible. During the last four yea r s, he was interviewed or quoted by the major American tele vision networks more than 20 times. Every article.he writes in the Soviet Party organ Pravda is played and replayed by the American mass media. For instance, one of Arbatov's articles published in Pravda in April 1980 had been published by the Wall Street Journal on April 29, 1980 and by the Chicaqo Tribune on May

10. Some American newspapers seem to accept these articles at "face value.lI They forget that every article in Pravda whoever the autho r is, must be approved by the International Department and the propaganda department of the CC CPSU At times, Arbatov appears at some meetings which have noth ing in common with his position. For instance, in March 1981 9 he headed the Soviet delegation t o the First Congress of Inter national Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.8 His presence indicates that that Arbatov's mentors in Moscow consider him to be a multi-purpose asset. It also indicates that he is used to guide leftist and gullible gro ups, like the physicians organization, to endorse the Soviet line on critical inter national matters.

During his visit to Moscow in May 1982, Reverend Billy Graham had an unprecedentedly long meeting with Arbatov-3 hours and 15 minutes. Nothing was publish ed on the contents of the meeting, but during a press conference in Moscow, Graham pointed to Arbatov and said III have met a very wonderful official here I1 9 For years, the U.S. government seemed blind to Arbatov's disinformation campaign. But in April 1981, the US Department of State finally decided to limit Arbatov's access to US mass media.

As a retaliatory measure against MOSCOW~S refusal to allow Ameri can representatives to appear on Soviet television, the State Department denied a visa extension t o Arbatov to keep him from appearing on the ItBill Moyers' Journalll program on the Public Broadcasting Service. Arbatov apparently had been gearing up for a major propaganda effort and was to appear with his subordi nates, retired GRU General Mikhail Mil shtein and Vitaliy Kobysh a journalist who reportedly has close ties with the KGB.

In response to the State Department action, Arbatov became fur ious He lost his temper and directly attacked the U.S. Government.

IINow I will understand a bit more about t he policies of the new Administration than I knew before", he stated.l CONCLUSION There is no doubt that Georgiy Arbatov is an eloquent person who knows the United States well. It is possible that his ideas nobody knows which) are occasionally taken into consideration by the Soviet leaders. It is possible also that some of the points he makes during his meetings with prominent Americans represent real positions of the Kremlin.

But it is absolutely clear that Arbatov is just one of the actors in a large-scale Soviet deception game which the Kremlin leaders wage against the West, primarily against the United Summary of Proceedings of the First Congress of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, printed by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War,.635 Huntington Ave., Boston, Mass.

Also: Washington Post, March 24, 1981. p. A14.

The New York Times, May 9, 1982, p. 20.

The New York Times, A pril 2, 1981. lo 10 States. Whenever he has had the opportunity, Arbatov has tried to undermine the growing American consensus that MOSCOW'S massive arms buildup endangers world peace stration, for example, Arbatov 'lconfidedll to American journalists tha t while Carter and his Administration spoke of detente and of ending the arms race, militaristic right-wing forces in the U.S were doing everything possible to sow mistrust and hostility.ll During the Carter Adminin Arbatov stressed that the U.S. had suffe r ed a long succes sion of setbacks and thus sensibly concluded that the Ifpositions of strength" and cold war policies were senseless and dangerous.12 Reagan Administration, Arbatov has tried to derail American attempts to restore a U.S.-Soviet military ba l ance an American reporter, for example, that it would not be easy to increase the Pentagon budget and that Washington cannot cut back severely on social appropriations.13 In a Pravda article cited by the New York Times, Arbatov pushed for the Soviet appro a ch to arms limitation and the settlement of the Middle East pr0b1em.l During the 1980 election campaign and the first years of the Arbatov told I A Chicago Tribune article cites Arbatov's arguments dis missing the.impapt that the Soviet invasion of Afghan istan has had on U.S.-Soviet relations.

U.S. relations with Peking.15 And when speaking to a nationwide U.S. television audience something no comparable American has been allowed to do in the Soviet Union-Arbatov with a straight face maintained that Moscow was not involved in the imposition of martial law in Poland.

Instead, he stated that what the American government is doing regarding Poland Ifis very dangeroust1 because this is a real blow to the fundamentals of the relations of peaceful coexistence.

S aid Arbatov to the American audience IrI think, the Administration of the United States has used events in Poland] to create some sort of international crisis to internationalize the events in Poland. I1 He also criticized the improving That such statemen t s comes from Moscow is hardly.surprising Too often, however, Arbatov and the Institute of the U.S.A. and l1 l2 l3 l4 l5 Chicago Tribune, May 10, 1980, p 10. Wall Street Journal, April 29 l6 Georgiy Arbatov The Dangers of a New Cold War," Bulletin of the A tomic Scientists, March 1978 pp. 33-40 Chicago Tribune, May 10, 1980, p. 10.

The New York Times, October 5, 19

80. Interview by Craig Whitney with Arbatov in Moscow.

The New York Times, May 5, 1981, review of Arbatov's article in Pravda 1980 The CBS tele vision network program "Face the Nation Sunday, January 17 1982. 11 Canada are treated as some sort of independent Soviet analysts whose observations deserve greater weight and credibility than those of Pravda's editorial page. The truth is that Arbatov d i ffers barely at all from any other Soviet employed by the International Department of the Communist Party's Central Commit tee. He exists to fulfill the propaganda, disinformation and even espionage aims of the Kremlin Prepared for the Heritage Foundation by Stanislav A. Levchenko Stanislav Levchenko was born in Moscow in 1941, the son of a Soviet Army general in Asian and Japanese affairs from the Institute of Peoples of Asia and Africa of the USSR's Academy of Science. Between 1957 and 1971, he worked wi th various "front" organizations affiliated directly with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party. In 1971, he joined the KGB Foreign Intelligence Service as a staff operations officer.

From 1975 to 1979, he pose d as a Soviet journalist in Japan In fact, he was working for the KGB, helping direct Soviet covert operations in Japan and East Asia and helping influence and recruit Japanese officials and journalists In 1979, he was promoted to the rank of KGB Major an d appointed Acting Chief of the Active Measures (Covert Action) Group of the Tokyo Residency of the KGB In October of that year, he requested and was granted political asylum in the U.S. so that, he explains, he could "live in peace and freedom After atten ding special schools, he graduated with advanced degrees


James Phillips

Former Visiting Fellow, Allison Center