Yuri Bezmenov Interview: Soviet Subversion of the Free-World Press (1984)
Interviewed by G. Edward Griffin
Interviewer, 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 Novesti, 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 a front for the KGB. 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 is certainly one of the world’s experts on the subject of Soviet propaganda and disinformation and active measures.
When the Soviets use the phrase ideological subversion, what do they mean by it?
Yuri 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. There is nothing to do with espionage.
I know that espionage -- intelligence gathering -- looks more romantic. It sells more deodorants through their advertising, probably. That’s why your Hollywood producers are so crazy about James Bond type, in free words.
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 fifteen percent of time, money, and manpower is spent on espionage as such. The other eighty-five percent is a slow process which we call either ideological subversion, or active measures, (~Activitia perionachia, 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 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 and is divided into four basic stages. The first one being demoralization.
It takes from fifteen to twenty years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which requires to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words Marxist-Leninism 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. …
Most of the activity of the Department was to compile 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, representatives of business circles. Most of these people were divided roughly in two groups, those that 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, counter-revolution.
Same way, as in the small town of Hue, in South Vietnam, several thousands of Vietnamese were executed in one night when city was captured by Vietcong for only two days. And American CIA could never figure out, how could possibly Communists know each individual, where he lives, where, where to get him and would be arrested in one night, basically, arrested four hours before dawn, put on a van, taken out of the city limits and shot? The answer is very simple. Long before Communists occupied city there was extensive network of informers, local Vietnamese citizens who knew absolutely everything about people who are instrumental in public opinion, including barbers and taxi drivers. Everyone who was sympathetic to United States was executed.
Same thing was done under the guidance of the Soviet Embassy in Hanoi. And 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.
G. Edward Griffin : Pro-Soviet?
Yuri Bezmenov: Yes. They were idealistically-minded Leftists who made several visits to USSR and yet the KGB decided that counter-revolution or drastic changes in political structure in India, they would have to go.
G. Edward Griffin : Why is that?
Yuri Bezmenov: Because they know too much. Simply because, you see, the useful idiots, the Leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made a point, never bother with Leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. This was my instruction. Try to get into wide circulation, established conservative media. Reach the filthy rich movie makers, intellectuals, so-called academic circles, cynical, ego-centric people who can look into your eyes with an angelic expression and tell you a lie. These are the most recruit-able people. People who lack moral principles who are either too greedy or to suffer from self-importance, they feel that they matter a lot. These are the people who KGB wanted very much to recruit.
Interviewer, G. Edward Griffin: To eliminate the others, to execute the others, don’t they serve some purpose? Wouldn’t they be the ones to rely on?
Yuri Bezmenov: They serve 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 defender, they are instrumental in the process of subversion, only to destabilize the nation. When the job is completed, they are none, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they see the 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-Leninism when they come to power. And that’s what happened in Nicaragua.
You remember, most of the former Marxist-Leninist either were put to prison. And one of them split and now he’s working against the Sandinistas. It happened in Grenada, when Maurice Bishop, he was already a Marxist. He was executed by a new Marxist who was more Marxist than this Marxist. The same happened in Afghanistan. First there was Taraki. He was killed by Amin and Amin was killed by Brabak Karbakil with the help of the KGB. The same happened in Bangladesh when Mungi Burackman, the 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 are used, either be executed entirely, or exiled or put in prison. Many former Marxists are in Cuba, are in prison.
So, basically, you in America are stuck with demoralization. And unless, even if you start right now, here this minute, educating a new generation of Americans, it will still take fifteen or twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality and normalcy and patriotism.
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties, dropouts or half-baked intellectuals are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, 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 even if you expose them to authentic information. Even if you prove that white is white and black is black. You cannot change the basic perception and illogical 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, and common sense people who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.
Interviewer, G. Edward Griffin: And yet these people who have been programmed and as you say, in-placed ….
Yuri Bezmenov: Yes.
Interviewer, G. Edward Griffin: … who are favorable to an opening with the Soviet concept. These are the very people who would be marked for extermination?
Yuri Bezmenov: Most of them, yes. Simply because the psychological shock when they will see 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. A Marxist-Leninist regime does not tolerate these people. They obviously will join the leagues of dissenters, dissidents. Unlike in present United States, there will be no place for dissent in future Marxist-Leninist America. Here you can, you can get popular, like Daniel Ellsberg, or filthy rich, like Jane Fonda, for being dissident, for criticizing your Pentagon. In future these people will simply be squashed like cockroaches. Nobody is going to pay them nothing for their beautiful, noble ideas of equality. This they don’t understand. And will be greatest shock for them, of course.
The demoralization process in the United States is basically completed already. For the last thirty-five years. Actually, it is over-fulfilled because demoralization reaches such areas where previously, not even Comrade Andropov [1911-1984] and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success. Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to lack of moral standards. As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter any more. A person who is 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 concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it until he is going to receive a kick in his fat bottom. When the military boot crashes his, then he will understand. But not before that. That is the tragedy of this situation of demoralization.
The next stage is destabilization. This time, the subverter does not care about your ideas, the patterns of your consumption, whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby. It doesn’t matter anymore. This time, and it only takes from two to five years to destabilize a nation, what matters is essentials, economy, foreign relations, defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly in sensitive areas as defense and economy. The Marxist-Leninist ideas in the United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never have believed in fourteen years ago  when I landed in this part of the world that the process would go that fast.
The next stage is crisis. It may take only six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You see it in Central America now. And after crisis, with a violent change in power, structure, and economy, you have the period of so-called normalization will last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in ’68, Brezhnev said, ‘now brother Czechoslovakia is normalized.’ This is what will happen in the United States if you allow all these schmucks to promise all the goodies and 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 things, never mind if they are fulfilled or not. He will go to Moscow to kiss the bottoms of the new generation of Soviet assassins. Never mind. He will create false illusions that the situation is under control. Situation is not under control. Situation is disgustingly out of control.
Most politicians, media, and educational system frames another generation who think they are living at the peace time. False. The United States is in a state of war against the basic principles and the 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, the world Communist system, 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, that unlike myself you have literally several years to live on unless the United States wake up. The time bomb is ticking. Every second the disaster is coming closer and closer. Unlike myself, you will have nowhere to defect to, unless you want to live in Antarctica with penguins. This is the last country of freedom and possibility.
G. Edward Griffin: OK, what do we do? What is your recommendation to the American people?
Yuri Bezmenov: The immediate thing that comes to my mind, of course, there must be an immediate, very strong national effort to educate people in the spirit of real patriotism, number one. Number two, explain the real danger of socialist, Communist, whatever welfare state, big brother government. If people will fail to grasp the impending danger of their development, nothing ever can help United States. You might kiss goodbye to your freedoms, including freedoms to homosexuals, prison inmates, all this freedom will vanish, evaporate in five seconds, including your precious life.
The second thing, the moment at least part of the United States is convinced that the danger is real, they have to force the American government, and I’m not talking about sending letters, signing petitions and all these beautiful noble activity. I’m talking about forcing the United States government to stop aiding Communist government.