Information

What made the generation-switch hard in Soviet Union?


I always wondered, why didn't the Soviet leadership have similar generation changes like Chinese had later with Deng Xiao Ping?

Only Gorbachev could get the leadership as second-generation communist and we can say by his time Soviet Union already had several problems. Before him Andropov and Chernenko took power for a short while, but they clearly belonged to the old style communists, they were both old.

What factors made the Communist Party of the Soviet Union a "club of elderly people"? Did they have some specific problems with giving the leadership to younger generation?


I don't think they were particularly unusual in that regard. At the time of Andropov, all the other nations with permanent membership on UN Security Council (USA, England, France, and China) were lead by WWII-era politicians. All were WWII veterans, with the obvious exception of Margaret Thatcher.

The USA wouldn't get its first post WWII-generation president for another decade. If anything, Gorbachev stepped into a situation where he was a relative youngster on the world stage.


The correct question would be "Why the Chinese manage to change their leaders smoothly?" Lifetime leadership is typical for Communist dictators, not only in Soviet Union. Cuba, Yugoslavia, East Germany, Roumania,… you can continue yourself.

The two leaders of Communist Russia who stepped down, Khrushchev and Gorbachev, stepped down as a result of coup d'etat. (Of course the second coup d'etat was sort of legal, they just dissolved the Soviet Union of which Gorbachev was president. But still this was a secretly planned conspiracy, not a normal legal process).

Speaking of China, it is of course an exception among the communist dictatorships, and not only in this respect, but in many other respects. Perhaps the next stage of evolution:-)


This question is factually silly. Deng Xiaoping was in the same generation as Mao Zedong. Deng Xiaoping was present in Guangxi and Jiangxi, and he was present for the long march, the anti-Japanese war, and the fight against the GMD. He was born in 1904, and was just 9 years younger than Mao Zedong.

Officially, he was only in office between 1981 and 1987, but it is well known that he retained plenty of power after his "retirement." During that time, he groomed new leadership in younger ranks, thus developing a system for transfer of power to new leaders. It is notable that China at this time was not at risk of foreign invasion or subversion; China was not engaged in the "Cold War." (wisely, in my opinion)

The USSR, at the height of the cold war after Stalin's death, had no such luxury. The timing is similar: Stalin died 32 years after the founding of the Soviet Union, and Deng took power 32 years after the PRC was founded. However, the PRC didn't have to endure WWII or any other major foreign engagement.

It seems that the Soviet Union was to busy with the Cold War to develop smooth succession plans the way the PRC did.


THE stereotypes of political life almost always cast young leaders as harbingers of change and old leaders as promoters of continuity. Yet when one looks at the Soviet Union and China, the casting director must have broken the traditional mold. Russia under the 56-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev is changing slowly and hesitantly. China under the 82-year-old Deng Xiaoping is changing rapidly and courageously.

While researching this topic, I found an excellent article on this very subject: Russia and China: the young vs. old leaders. Two communist systems - but how different. It contrasts the rapid pace of reform in China compared to that of USSR, in 1987. If you want to read an answer from a real expert from the time, as opposed to amateurs on the internet, just go there.

There were indeed many factors making modernisation slow in USSR, but fast in China post-Mao. While it's true that younger generations are generally more reform-minded than the old, in this case it would be a minor factor - indeed, as the article notes, the 56-year-young Gorbachev is slower to reform than the elderly 82-year-old Deng. There were many reform-minded people in the older generations, even in USSR.

  • The political foundations of the Chinese Communist Party are much more diverse than that of the Soviets'. In the establishment of USSR, Russia voluntarily withdrew from a world war and fought a civil one, leading to one small faction - the Bolsheviks - claiming ultimate power. The People's Republic was unlike this; already being embroiled in a costly civil war, China had an invasion foist upon them, leading to the very strange bedfellows, Communists and Chiang's proto-Fascist KMT. The party was a mix of old-school Communists, Mao's peasantry, modernists, intellectuals, patriots, and enemies of Chiang.
  • USSR was much more heterogeneous than China, both politically and ethnically. Ethnic Russians made up only 51% of the population, whereas ethnic Han were 96%. USSR spanned 100 nationalities, China 1. Perhaps most important, USSR ruled over an empire over Eastern Europe, a politically unstable entity that was constantly on the verge of breaking apart, especially if liberalisation was too rapid in USSR. Reform too rapidly, and things like the invasion of Czechoslovakia happens. Whereas Deng was the unquestioned paramount leader, who happened to be a reformer, and could do many things as he pleased.
  • Stalin's purges eliminated many political rivals, including reformists. You could say the same for the Cultural Revolution, where many so-called "Rightists" were purged, but the affair spun out of Mao's control, who actually wanted to save people like Deng. While De-Stalinisation was slow, reform-minded factions led by Deng outmaneuvered Mao's successor Hua Guofeng (who was a moderate reformer himself) within a short 2 years and gained control.
  • WWII would also be a factor, keeping Stalin firmly in power despite the destabilising purges. Post-Mao, there were no crises in China to keep Maoists in power.
  • Much should be said about Deng himself, who was unique as a pragmatic reformer. Learning from the inimitable Lee Kuan Yew, Deng set up Special Economic Zones in certain small towns and cities, allowing free enterprise and foreign investment. This was unthinkable in a country where bartering was still a crime.
  • The geopolitical realities were different. USSR was a global superpower with expansionist goals; its military was key to existence, its enemies legion and formidable. China was (is?) a regional power with few aggressive plans (with notable exceptions like Taiwan) and fewer enemies. It could afford to place the military last in its modernisation plans. and perform massive demobilisations.

One reason was the heavy fighting in the Soviet Union during World War II, that took a heavier toll of the later cohort of the so-called World War II generation, than in most other countries. The group born between 1915-1924 in the United States supplied most of its fighting men. But the Soviets drafted (and lost) men as young 17 in 1945 (born 1928). China fielded far fewer men than the Soviets, and while the casualties in the two countries were probably comparable, China's population was about three times larger than the Soviet's/

Andropov, born 1914, was the youngest of the "aging" group born earlier in the 20th century. The "next" leader, Gorbachev was born in 1931, because the generation between them had been (more than) decimated in the war.

On the other hand, America had three Presidents, Kennedy, Carter, and Bush Sr. born from the 1917-1924 cohort, and even China had two leaders, Hua Kuo Feng, and Zhang Ze Min born in the 1920s.

Source: Wikipedia biographies of the various leaders.


History

The establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan was declared on April 28, 1920. The whole control over the country was transferred to the Temporary Revolutionary Committee and the Council of National Commissars of the ASSR. N.Narimanov was appointed the head of the Council. Beware of the national revolt the occupants included only Azerbaijanis into the Temporary Revolutionary Committee and the Council of National Commissars. Yet this process was a formal one and in fact, the real government was already established in February of 1920 and was concentrated on the Communist Party of Azerbaijan which acted conjointly with occupants.

The Communist Party of Azerbaijan was an integral part of the Communist Party of Russia and reported directly to Moscow. In fact, the activity of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan was fully controlled by A.I.Mikoyan. The leadership of the party was also composed of Armenians, Georgians and Russians. Therefore the Armenians and other nations played a great role in the destruction of the state structures of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as in case of all previous genocides, including the bloodshed of March 1918 and the intervention of April 28, 1920.

The Revolutionary committees were established in all the regions of the country and they were invested with quite expanded powers for the destruction of the state structures of the republic. Bolsheviks tried to create hostility and partition among the population of the country and caused a clash between different strata of society. They propagandized their activity as if aiming to create the government of farmers opposite to that of exploiters to get the support of the population.

Yet the external propaganda and real actions did not coincide at all. In fact, everything was done for establishment if the bloody communist dictatorship that aimed to destroy the state system establishment and the national independent consciousness of the people. Local revolutionary committees also acted for the purpose.

For that very purpose, the Bolsheviks created new power structures in place of the destroyed national state structures in the centre and at the local levels. The first step undertaken in this sphere was the establishment of the farmers' militia (the red militia) after the destruction of the former police. Extraordinary Commission and the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal started operating along with the Red Militia.

The Extraordinary Commission and the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal had unlimited extraordinary powers. Their resolutions were executed immediately. Both two structure, screened by the struggle against the counterrevolution and diversion started the termination of the leading people, especially the intelligentsia of the country, that was the carriers of the national self-consciousness and the traditions of state system establishment.

The red terror raised in all the regions of the country, everyone able to resist the consolidation of the Bolshevic regime was immediately terminated by the red terror as the enemy of the people, counterrevolutionist and saboteur.

Thus, the new genocide of the Azerbaijani people after that of March 1918 was initiated. The difference was that the second genocide targeted the prominent state officials of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, generals, military officers of the National Army and famous scientists, leading intellectuals, religious workers, party leaders, politicians. At that period the Bolshevic-Dashnak terror removed the elite of national society purposely in order to leave them without control. This bloodshed was, in fact, more horrific than that of March 1918. It should be noted that all these mass carnages were committed by the Supreme Military Tribunal, Extraordinary Commission, red militia and the special department of the eleventh Red Army and the Communist Party of Azerbaijan without permission of the Temporary Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan. All these bodies were headed by Russian, Armenian and Georgian despots.

The bloodshed that targeted the leading sons of Azerbaijan were committed by the instruction of such bolshevik-dashnak executors as Ordjonikidze, Kirov, Mikoyab, Sarkis, Mirzoyan, Lominadze, Yegorov and others. Armenians that strengthened their positions in all the state structures of the country played a special role in the commitment of the Red Terror. Participating in the power bodies of the country they executed Azerbaijanis by shooting without investigations or trials. On the whole, nearly 50 thousand leading people of Azerbaijan were shot within a year since April 28, 1920, and the nation was deprived of its elite.

During the occupation and Red terror, Bolshevic and dashnak executers confiscated the property of those shot and not satisfied with that robbed the whole population and even the indigent and took away even the family jewels and valuable things of the people. Russians, Armenians and representatives of other nations were moved to the emptied flat of Azerbaijan The population was inflicted reprisals.

The armed forces of the country were immediately transferred under the control of the Red Army of Moscow under the shelter of the restoration of the Army and Marines. The people were deprived of their Army. Thus the independence of Azerbaijan was, in fact, destroyed.

The Bolshevic regime also tried to influence the national self-consciousness for suppressing the ideas of the national dignity and the traditions of independent state system establishment. Once the state language the Azerbaijani language was brought to bay and the training of national specialists was reduced to the minimum level. The government launched the policy of russification. The classes, class, religious and civil privileges were eliminated and the usage of such words as "bey", "khan", "agha" was prohibited. The religion was separated from the state and education. The fulfilment of religious ceremonies and lessons of shariate were abolished in the secondary schools. Religious schools were shut down. The ancient architectural memorials -mosques, minarets-were ruined. The period of attacks to the self-consciousness and national culture of Azerbaijanis started.

One of the principal parts of the tyranny state system was the establishment of the committee, consisting only of the poor people in the regions. These committees had to become the support of bolsheviks, to deteriorate the counteraction in villages and to help the government to remove counterrevolutionists from Azeri villages.

Soon the revolutionary and poor committees were replaced by the councils. The socialization of North Azerbaijan was completed with the session of the first councils of the Azerbaijan SSR on May 6, 1921. The first Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR was adopted on May 19. Though stipulating for wide rights for the citizens, the constitution that took after that of RSFSR was of formal nature as the activity of the councils was regulated by the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, instructed by the Russian Party of Moscow. Moreover, the activity of all political parties operating in the country was suspended. Thus the dictatorship of the proletariat, in fact, turned to that of the party. Besides, the deprivation of the right of the country's intellectuals to be elected to the councils, under the shelter of the establishment of the reign of farmers, turned to the instrument of governing for the Communist Party and Moscow.

Thus within a year after the occupation bolsheviks formed the state bodies as if based on the constitution and established the state socialist democracy in North Azerbaijan through the implementation of aggressive measures. In fact, the newly established democracy was a formal and a false one and was in the most real sense the dictatorship of communism compared with the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and its Parliament.

Yet the dictatorship depended on the one of Moscow. Therefore, the overthrow of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan that was a leading and secular state system standing on the similar level with other democratic republics and was one of the most worthy achievements of the nation became the hardest tragedy of the Azerbaijani people.

After the abolition of the independent state of Azerbaijani people, its national wealth was misappropriated. The special property on lands was eliminated. The whole natural wealth of the country was nationalized in other words was transferred to the state. The Oil Committee of Azerbaijan was created for controlling the oil industry and it was headed by A.P.Serebrovsky, sent to Baku by V.I.Lenin. Thus, V.Lenin achieved his aim stated in the telegram sent to the Military-Revolutionary Council of the Caucasus front on March 17, 1920, as follows "The control over Baku is too important for us." The Baku oil was used by Soviet Russia.

The Caspian Trade Fleet, banks, operating in the country, fish industry and another field of the economy were nationalized following the oil industry. Nationalization stroked a hard blow to the economy of Northern Azerbaijan, developing with increased speed in late XIX-early XX centuries. People's deprivation of property law caused weakening of national independence consciousness. Industry and economy were mainly focused in hands of Russians, Armenians, Jews and representatives of other nations. Resources of Azerbaijan, particularly Baku oil began to be transported to Russia. Soviet Russia overcame fuel crisis. Northern Azerbaijan became a fuel and raw material source of Russia. Besides, occupation troop, stifled Northern Azerbaijan in blood, was kept at the expense of Azerbaijan people as well.

N.Narimanov and his followers, protecting native people in the condition of mass carnages and plundering, were branded as "nationalists" and removed from the management of the country in fact. Armenian-Russian-Georgian leadership, predetermining the fate of the country, did not trust "Moslems with musavat ideas", even tried to abolish formal independence of Azerbaijan and include it into the RSFSR. But N.Narimanov managed to prevent their terrible plan. Bolshevik-Dashnak group succeeded in sent N.Narimanov away of Azerbaijan in response.

Nevertheless, occupiers could not break down Azerbaijan people's resistance easily. Armed rebellion against the Bolshevik regime took place in Ganja on May 25-26, 1920. Ganja rebels, active members of the former National Army, defeated elements of the XI Red Army repeatedly. New divisions were brought into the town. Armenians, living in Gandja and adjacent territories, joined occupiers. Rebels sacrifice thousands of people in hard battles for every street, every house. Occupiers managed to take Gandja under control on May 31. The city was subjected to terrible genocide and plundering by occupiers and Dashnak gangsters.

Occupiers met with stubborn resistance in Karabakh after Gandja rebellion in early June. Armenian-Dashnak gangsters actively helped occupiers and organized carnage of civil Azerbaijanis.

Zagatala population began life and death fight against occupiers on June 6. The rebels got Zagatala fortress. Gakh was captured. The whole region rebelled. The rebels defeated divisions of the XI Red Army, brought into the region. By the XI Red Army, strengthened with additional forces, managed to take Zagatala under control eventually on June 18.

Strong resistance was shown to occupiers in Shamkir, Guba, Davachi, Gusar, Lankaran, Astara, Kurdistan, Javanshir, Gurgashin, Khachmaz, Nakhichevan, Ordubad, Sharur and other places following Ganja, Karabakh, Zagatala. Even women and children took part in the battles against the occupier XI Red Army in Shamkir.

The stubborn resistance of the whole country testified that depriving Azerbaijan people of independence ideas and statehood traditions was not easy.

Soviet government, seized with fear about the strengthening of the resistance movement, brought new divisions into Azerbaijan. More terrible tragedies were waiting for Azerbaijan in future.

The hardest crime, committed by Bolshevik regime against Azerbaijan people at that time, was rendering help to Armenians in their occupation policy. Bolshevik Russia continued the policy upon the formation of Armenian state at the expense of Azerbaijan territories as Soviet Russia and made any intrigue to separate Azerbaijan from Turkey.

Armenians managed to take Iravan away from Azerbaijan and declared its capital, began new aggressions during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Dashnaks attempted to occupy Nakhichevan, Zangazur, Sharur-Daralayaz and Nagorny Karabakh.

Dashnak gangsters, supporting by Bolsheviks, committed bloody carnages, reduced thousands of villages to ruins. Hundred thousands of Azerbaijanis were exiled from native lands. Armenians sought whole Western Azerbaijan instead of Bolshevik power's recognition. This deal was profitable for Bolshevik occupiers.

But this criminal policy caused strong protest most of all in Nakhichevan. Dashnaks could not occupy Nakhichevan thanks to people's resistance and the help of Turkey.

Bolsheviks gave Sharur-Daralayaz to Armenians under the agreement, signed with them on August 10, 1920, without participation and consent of Azerbaijan. This tempted Dashnaks still more and struggle for Nakhichevan and Karabakh inflamed.

Armenians proceeded to the occupation of Zangazur with support of the XI Red Army after getting Sharur-Daralayaz. Southwestern Zangazur (Mehri) was annexed to Armenia and communication between main territories of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan was severed.

Mehrinin işğalı nəticəsində Ermənistan, həm də, özü üçün İrana dəhliz açmış oldu. Daşnakların İranla maneəsiz əlaqə saxlamaları üçün əlverişli şərait yarandı.

Armenia opened a corridor to Iran in the result of the occupation of Mehri. The favourable condition was created for Dashnaks' communication with Iran.

At the same time, Armenians achieved the decision on annexing of Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia under pressure of Ordjonikidze and Kirov, the executioner of Azerbaijan people, at the plenary session of the Caucasia bureau on July 4, 1921. But this decision was annulled in the result of stubborn resistance and demand of Narimanov. The Caucasia bureau had to take a new decision on the next day - July 5. Nagorny Karabakh was remained as a part of Azerbaijan with capital Shusha and given wide regional autonomy. Though Armenians could not achieve their purposes concerning Nagorny Karabakh, they strengthen their position in this region of Azerbaijan.

Nevertheless, Plans of Armenians and Bolsheviks upon Nakhichevan failed. Nakhichevan was given autonomy under the protection of Azerbaijan under the Moscow agreement (March 16, 1921), signed between the RSFSR and Turkey in the result of a decisive position of Turkey. According to the agreement Nakhichevan did not have the right to yield its status to the third state. Gars agreement (October 13, 1921), signed between Turkey and Southern Caucasia republics in summer, confirmed it once more. Thus, Bolsheviks could not give Nakhichevan, called "Turkish gates" by Ataturk, and it remained as a part of Azerbaijan forever.

It should be noted that Bolsheviks used different means to take Islam East under the influence of Soviet Russia. They declared that Azerbaijan would turn into "blooming soviet socialist republic" at the gate of the East. But Eastern states, soon understood the essence of Bolsheviks' policy in Azerbaijan, did not succumb to deception of Soviet Russia. Therefore the formal independence of Azerbaijan has put an end. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia were unified in the unit Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Armenian-Georgian leadership of the TSFSR gained favourable condition to direct economic potential of Azerbaijan, owning rich natural resources and more developed economy, to the development of Armenia and Georgia.

Thus, national and religious discrimination policy against Azerbaijan people in The Southern Caucasus legalized. The formal independence of the country was definitively put an end with annexing of the ZSFSR to the USSR on December 30, 1922. Process of plundering of Azerbaijan resources began in wide-scale.

National colonization policy strengthened and became more merciless in 1920-1030s. Azerbaijan economy was made completely dependent on the centre in the result of industrialization and compulsory collectivization. Economic policy, carried out by the centre was directed to depriving Azerbaijan of economic independence. The main purpose of this policy was to turn the republic into the raw material source and auxiliary production province.

Attacks to national-spiritual values of the people increased. Training of national personnel was preventing with different artificial hinders, any condition for the flow of Russians, Armenians, Jews and other nations was created, they were provided with proper jobs and flats in the best parts of the capital.

Russification and Armenification policy were carried out. This policy speedily developed in Baku propagated as "International" city. Russian language ousted Azerbaijan language and became the official language.

Distribution of Azerbaijan territories to neighbours was continued. Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee declared the establishment of Nagorny Karabakh Autonomy Republic (NKAR) under pressure of Ordjonikidze and Kirov, backed by Stalin, on June 7, 1923. Finally, the plenary session of the South Caucasus State Committee of the Russian Communist Party confirmed resolution on Nagorny Karabakh of June 5, 1921, of the Caucasus Bureau of the Russian Communist Party on June 27, 1923. Armenians and their Moscow supporters prepared the foundation for new territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

Armenians' ruses related to Nakhichevan, the legal status of which was decided to the good of Azerbaijan thanks to Turkey, failed. The Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic was established within Azerbaijan on February 9, 1924. Nevertheless, Bolsheviks continued the policy of territorial expansion of the Armenian SSR at the expense of Azerbaijan lands and 3 villages of Zangilan region were given to Armenia in 1929. At the same time, Georgians seized Azerbaijan lands on the bank of the River Ganikh (Alazan).

Collectivization, taking people's property away, the abolishment of kulak strata, carried out since late 1920, exasperated people. The country was enveloped in the resistance movement. New rebellions began in Shaki, Zagatala, Nakhichevan, Khizi, Shamkir, Jabrayil and other places.

The strong rebellion began in Bash Goynuk village, Shaki region, in 1930. The residents of Bash Goybuk, overturned soviet power in their village, attacked Shaki. The residents of Shaki joined them and power transmitted to rebels. Neighbour Zayzid village stirred up a rebellion and came to help Shaki. Divisions of the Red Army were brought into the town. Despite stubborn resistance, divisions of the regular army strengthened with new forces, captured Shaki. The population was subject to mass shooting day by day. Armenians rushed into the Central Committee, took an active part in this bloody carnage. Hard measures were taken against Goynuk rebels. They were shot right in front of the population without any investigation or court and were buried in the ditches, dug by their own. Thus, Armenians revenged upon the Goybuk residents, who hindered Dashnaks in 1918. Afterwards, these mass burial places and the grave of Turk Ahmad, one of the leaders, turned into places for pilgrimage. Bolshevik regime noted strengthening of the resistance movement and national awakening, carried out terrible repressions in Azerbaijan in the 1930s. Armenian Dashnak gangsters, come to power in Azerbaijan, began to clean the country off Azerbaijan Turks. Armenians themselves were the main executors of the "cleaning" operation.

Central and regional structures of the KGB (State Security Committee) and People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs were in Armenians' hand. Armenians were at the head in more than half of the regional structures of the PCIA. In this point of view, Bolsheviks continued the historical tradition of Russia and annihilated Azerbaijanis by Armenians' hands, but applied new tactics in the new condition.

Tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis were shot and exiled in the result of false investigations under the name of "criminal cases", "courts", "exposures of public enemies". 29 thousand worthy persons were subject to repression only At that period Azerbaijan lost such rare intellectuals and thinkers as Guseyn Djavid, Mikail Mushfig, Ahmed Djavad, Salman Mumtaz, Ali Nazmi, Taghy Shahbazi and others. The intellectual potential of people and their prominent persons were terminated. Azerbaijani people could not recover for years from this hard blow.

Armenian-Dashnak group, that headed Baku government and leadership of Armenian party acted conjointly. Like once Shaumyan and Andranok did! Armenian-Dashnak regime, backed by Stalin and Beriya and doing everything wished in Azerbaijan, returned our South Azerbaijan compatriots, residing in Baku and in North Azerbaijan to Iran.

As a result of these cruel actions, our compatriots that found refuge in North Azerbaijan to escape from the cruelties of the shah regime again became subject to persecution by the Iranian shah regime. Thus, Russian colonialists, Armenians and Iranian reaction acted conjointly against the people of Azerbaijan like in previous years. The actions aimed to establish North Azerbaijan without Azerbaijanis and later to return its lands to RSFSR. Surely, a share for dashnaks and Georgian nationalists had also been stipulated!

The repressions of 1937-1938 stroke a hard blow
to the science and culture of Azerbaijan. Through that
period over 50 thousand people were executed by shooting
and over 100 thousand were sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Such prominent people as Huseyn Javid, Mikail Mushfig,
Taghy Shahbazi, Salman Mumtaz was terminated.

Everything determining the national and moral wealth of the people was destroyed under the shelter of the establishment of culture "National in form and socialist by content". The transfer to the Cyrillic alphabet stroke one more blow to Azerbaijan in 1939. The people which was gradually used to the Latin alphabet that replaced the old one had to transfer to a new alphabet that meant the artificial separation of people from the national and moral wealth, reflecting its historical past. At the same time, that was again discrimination policy conducted against Azerbaijan and other Turkish-Islam people. By the way, the alphabets of Azerbaijan's neighbour country remained unchanged. The national moral values of the people were also destroyed along with mass bloodshed and repressions. The people were deprived of their roots and national and moral traditions through brands pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism. Cultural attacks against the national moral values of the people that were declared the remnants of the past such as tar and kamancha were conducted in all the regions of the country, the Society of Godless operated at that time for fighting against religion.

In the period of repressions of the 1920s-1930s the most prominent sons of Azerbaijani people had to leave the country and run abroad to escape from the KGB prisons. Most of them continued the struggle for the independence of native Azerbaijan which turned to the prison of Bolshevic-Dashnaks. The National Center of Azerbaijan headed by M.E.Rasulzade played an important role in the unification of the struggle of political migrants to a single trend.

Yet neither Bolsheviks nor Armenian-Georgian nationalists that conducted the policy of Bolsheviks on the South Caucasus could destroy ancient and rich traditions of state system establishment through cruel repressive measures and bloodshed. The democratic ideas and the habit to rule rather than to be ruled still lived in the hearts of Azerbaijani people. Azerbaijani people managed to survive even more cruel and bloody ordeals more than once. Azerbaijan, the father of Javids, Mushfigs, Ahmed Javads, did not die. It will again make its presence felt.

The oil of Baku played a decisive role in the USSR's victory in the Great Patriotic War. The plans of Armenian-Dashnaks that settled in the Kremlin under the leadership of A.I.Mikoyan and tried to drive Azerbaijanis away from their houses did not come true. World War Second proved Azerbaijan people to be a heroic nation that managed to overcome hard ordeals and win the battle. The self-conscience of the people that was much hurt in a period of repressions was restored again. The hard Soviet regime and the period of persecutions conducted by the communist dictatorship did not manage to suppress creative genius and the creative talent of the people. Soon Azerbaijan became leading among all the states of USSR. A new rise occurred in the oil industry of Azerbaijan that supplied USSR with fuel. Baku turned to the oil academy of the USSR. A great number of new industrial enterprises and electric stations started operating, roads, canals and bridges were constructed at that time. Industry, agriculture and culture started to develop rapidly. The mass illiteracy came to its end. Secondary schools, research institutes, public health and culture and education centres were established in the country. On the eve of the World War Second Azerbaijan accounted for 16 high schools, 18 theatres. The establishment of the affiliate of the Academy of Sciences in 1938 was a significant event in the scientific life of Azerbaijan. The rise was registered in culture as well. In the period of the World War Second, Azerbaijani people showed great courage in the battles against fascism in the rear and in the anti-fascist movements of different European countries. At that time over 170 of 600 people taken to the military service were awarded orders, 130 people have attached to the title of the hero of the Soviet Union. During the war, Azerbaijan started the production of high-antiknock fuel on the basis of a new technology worked out by academician Yusif Mamedaliyev.

The Second World War clearly demonstrated
the ability of Azerbaijani people to overcome all
barriers blamelessly and to display unrivalled
courage and valour.

Repressions targeting Azeri people continued after the Second World War. The National government established in south Azerbaijan was cruelly overthrown by the Iranian shah regime (December 12, 1945-June 14, 1946). All democratic reforms conducted by the National Government of Azerbaijan were annulled.

Significant progress was registered in different spheres of industry and agriculture within the first five years following the war. New steps were taken for the development of culture. Baku oil played a great role in the development and rehabilitation of USSR economics. Owing to Azeri specialists oil fields were discovered and put to operation in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Tumen and other regions. Representatives of Azerbaijani people took an active part in the restoration and development of the economics of the Soviet Union. The new stage of driving Azerbaijanis out from their historical land West Azerbaijan (called Armenia SSR) started again in 1948-1953. Armenian nationalists encouraged by Stalin, Beriya and Mikoyan, governing from the Kremlin, again inflicted reprisal to Azerbaijani people and strengthened their position in West Azerbaijan. They dominated these lands.


Contents

(Chervontsy is the plural of chervonets)

Ducats of foreign coinage Edit

In 1252, Florence, Italy issued a gold coin of 3.537 grams, which was soon called "florin”. A similar coin, the genovino, began to be minted in Genoa, Italy. In 1284, Venice followed by example, these coins are known as ducats (from the 16th century they became known as the sequin), they first weighed a little more than florins, but shortly after became equal to them. Soon the name "ducat" was well established all over Europe as a synonym for a high-quality gold coin weighing about 3.5 grams. Imitations of the ducat were minted in almost all European countries, some even up to modern times. The basic types of these imitations were: Hungarian, German, and Dutch. The first Hungarian imitation was well known in Eastern Europe and Russia, thus becoming the prototype of the Polish zloty, Russian gold (chervonets), and also Hungarian forint. In Germany, imitations of cechinas and florins were originally called gulden (later Goldgulden), but because of a rapid decrease in weight there was a need to return to the prototype in 1559, and the name "ducat" was accepted (silver coins began to be called guldens and florins). Dutch ducats began to be minted relatively late (only in 1586), but in such quantities that in the 17th and 18th centuries they became one of the most important coins of world trade. Some countries (in particular, Austria) minted ducats before the First World War. [4] [5]

In Russia, foreign gold coins were made of high-quality alloy, which had a weight of a ducat (about 3.5 grams), they were called chervontsy. Mostly these were Dutch ducats, Hungarian "Ugric", and Tsekhin.

Chervontsy of Russian coinage Edit

Beginning with Ivan III until Peter the Great, gold coins that were minted were known as chervontsy or chervony, but however they were used mainly as award medals. Depicted on them were either a two-headed eagle on both sides, or a tsarist portrait and a two-headed eagle. [6]

As a result of the monetary reform of Peter I in Russia, a new monetary system was introduced and the first gold coins, chervontsy appeared. In their weight (3.47 g) and [alloy] sample (986), they fully corresponded to the Hungarian ducat (golden Urgic). Also, these coins were issued in denominations of two chervonets with a mass of 6.94 g. 118 copies [7] of the first chervontsy were issued in 1701. Chervontsy were usually only used in trade with foreigners.

The Chervonets of 1706 (the date is in letters) is the only known copy in gold. From the collection of Biron the coin got to a museum in Vienna. Although, gold chervonsty from 1706 exists in private collections in Russia, these were both removed from pendants, thus without flaws. In the Hermitage there is a copy in low-grade silver, which is authentic (tested by Udzenikov). [8] The known replica of this chervonets are made of high-grade silver and copper. B.S. Yusupov noted in his book, "The Coins of the Russian Empire" (Kazan, 1999, p. 231) that before the silver chervonets of 1706 were known as a shestak. Today, the low-grade silver chervonets of 1706 is an unidentified coin in the Russian numismatics system. When confirming a sample of silver about 210, it should be recognized as the first shestak. There are two types of [shestak] coins: without the medal on the chest and with the medal on the chest. On each form there are several variants of stamps with small differences in details. The cost of a new copy in high-grade silver in 2010 is about 50 thousand rubles.The description of a 1706-year old chervonets (1707 model) with the letters of the engraver, IL-L. In the domestic market, gold chervontsy were traded at a rate of 2 rubles and 20 kopecks to 2 rubles 30 kopecks.

Under Peter I, the chervonets were minted from 1701 to 1716. Then, for gold use in the country, gold coins with a face value of two rubles with a smaller breakdown were minted. They portrayed the patron of Russia, Saint Andrew I. The coining of the chervonets was renewed by Peter II in 1729. During the reign of Elizabeth, chervonetz had in addition to the year, information about the month and, more rarely, the date of coinage were given. On the reverse of Elizaveta Petrovna's chervonets there is a coat of arms, a two-headed eagle, and on the reverse of a double chervonets is the image of St. Andrew.

With Paul, the coinage of gold coins without a denomination with mass and a regular breakdown for chervonets was briefly restored, but they were quickly rejected, adjusting the release of a 5 and 10 ruble coin with a high .986 breakdown, which was subsequently reduced to .916 (88/96). In the future, coins without par value were not issued.

Chervonsty are also called gold coins with a 3-ruble denomination, .917 tests and weighing 3.93 grams., Consent of their release was received by the State Council from Alexander II on February 11, 1869.

Platinum Chervontsy Edit

Platinum coins were minted in Russia in the middle of the 19th century, they were sometimes called white or Ural chervontsy. By 1827, the Russian treasury had accumulated large reserves of platinum, extracted from the Ural mountains. Its quantity was so great that the selling of them would crumble the metals market, so it was decided to put them into circulation. Count Georg Ludwig Cancrin was the originator of platinum coins. The coins were made of untreated platinum (97%), and were minted from 1828 to 1845 with denominations of 3, 6, and 12 rubles.

Such unusual denominations in Russia appeared for the convenience of coinage, their sizes was chosen to be the equivalent of a 25 kopeck, a half ruble coin, and one ruble coin, the amount of metal in the coins with the equivalent amount of metal.

In the first case of this coinage, all coins were minted entirely out of platinum. Before that, platinum was used to produce coins only as a ligature (in metallurgy) to gold or copper (with the counterfeiting of coins). [10]

Dutch ducats of Russian coinage Edit

Exact replicas of Dutch ducats (chervontsy) were secretly minted from 1735 to 1868 at the St. Petersburg Mint. In official documents, these coins were known as “famous coins”. Initially, the coins were intended only for foreign payments and salary payments to Russian troops who were conducting military operations in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Poland. Eventually, the coins fell into internal circulation in these places. Local names were used - lobanchik, arapchik, and puchkovyi (from the depiction of the soldier on the coin clutching arrows). These ducats were taken out of circulation in Holland in 1849 (this is the last date on the Russian copies), and in Russia they ceased to be minted in 1868 after the protest of the Dutch government. [11]

Imperial Edit

In 1898–1911 under Nicholas II, gold coins were minted from the alloy of 900 samples with values of 5, 7.5, 10 and 15 rubles. The content of pure gold in the 10-ruble coin was, 1 spool and 78.24 shares (7.74235 g). The total weight of the coin was 8.6 g. The coins in denominations of 15 and 7.5 rubles were called, respectively, imperial and semi-imperial. After the monetary reform of 1922–1924, coins with a value of 10 rubles were called “chervonets”, even though in reality they were not. This name entrenched itself because the chervonets began to be called the base monetary unit first in the RSFSR, and then the USSR, it was equivalent to 10 Soviet rubles and like the tsarist ten-ruble coin, contained 7.74235 g of gold.

The first years of Soviet power were marked by the disorder of the money circulation system and the high rate of inflation. In the sphere of circulation there were tsarist credit tickets, Duma money, "kerenki", securities and "Sovznak", which did not enjoy the confidence of the population. The first denomination in 1922 (the exchange was made against 1:10,000) ordered the monetary system, but could not stop inflation. At the 11th Congress of the RCP (B.), it was decided to create a stable Soviet currency, the resolution of the Congress stated:

For this moment, it is necessary, without in the least setting the task of an immediate return to the golden appeal, to firmly establish that our economic and financial policies are resolutely oriented towards restoring the gold provision of money. [12]

There was a discussion about how to name new money. There were proposals to abandon old names and introduce new, "revolutionary" ones. For example, the workers of the People's Commissariat of Finance proposed calling the unit of hard Soviet currency "federal." Traditional names were also proposed: "hryvnia", " tselkovy" and "chervonets". In connection with the fact that the hryvnia called money, which had circulated in Ukraine under the authority of the UNR, [13] and the "ruble" was associated with the silver ruble, it was decided to call the new money "chervontsy."

In October of the same year, the State Bank was granted the right to issue banknotes in gold, with a value of 1/2, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 chervonets. This money was completely provided by the state with reserves of precious metals and foreign currency, goods and bills of reliable enterprises. Already before their release, the pre-revolutionary gold ruble became the basis for financial calculations in the RSFSR, and in 1922 it was legalized as a payment instrument.

November 27, 1922 began the circulation of banknotes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10 and 25 chervontsy. [14] From the denominations in 1/2, 2 and 50 chervontsy it was decided to be refused. Although, in 1928 a note with value of 2 chervontsy went into circulation. On banknotes it was recorded that 1 chervonets contains 1 spool and 78.24 shares (7.74 grams) of pure gold, and that "the beginning of the exchange is established by a special governmental act".

The gold ten was estimated at the market of 12,500 rubles. Soviet signs of 1922, the State Bank who was guided by the conjuncture, estimated one chervonetz at 11,400 rubles with Sovznak, which is somewhat lower than the price of a gold ten-ruble.

Chervonets was met with confidence by the population and was viewed rather not as a medium of circulation, but as a non-monetary security. Many expected that there would be an exchange of paper chervonets for gold, although no government act on the free exchange of chervonets for gold did not work out. Nevertheless, the population changed paper chervontsy to royal gold coins and vice versa, sometimes even with a small overpayment for paper chervontsy (due to the convenience of liquidity and storage). Thanks to this, the course of the chervonetz remained stable, which gave a solid foundation for the deployment of the NEP.

There is an opinion that the introduction of "solid" money meant the fiasco of the Bolshevik social experiment five years after its inception. [15]

Strengthening of the chervonets Edit

During 1923, the share of chervonets in the total money supply increased from 3% to 80%. Two currency systems operated within the country: the State Bank, who announced a new exchange rate of chervonets daily against the ruble, which created speculation and created difficulties for the development of trade and economic activity. Chervonets became predominantly a city currency. In the village, only well-off peasants could afford to purchase it, while for the mass of peasants it was too expensive. At the same time, it was believed that it was unprofitable to sell their goods for Sovznaks, and this led to an increase in the prices of agricultural products and a reduction in their supply to the city. This was the reason for the second denomination (1:100) ruble.

Gradually, the chervonets began to penetrate foreign markets. Since April 1, 1924, the course of the chervonets is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange. Throughout April, the chervonets stood at a level higher than its dollar parity. In 1924–1925, informal transactions with chervonets were carried out in London and Berlin. At the end of 1925 the question of its quotation on the Vienna Stock Exchange was solved in principle. By that time, the chervonets was officially quoted in Milan, Riga, Rome, Constantinople, Tehran, and Shanghai. The Soviet chervonets could be exchanged or purchased in countries practically all over the world.

Golden Chervonets Edit

Simultaneously with the release of paper chervonets, in October 1922 a decision was made to issue chervonets in the form of coins. According to its weight characteristics (8.6 g, 900 sample) and the size of the chervonets, it fully corresponded to the pre-revolutionary coin of 10 rubles. The artist of the drawing was the chief medalist of the mint, A. F. Vasyutinskiy (also the author of the final version of the Order of Lenin and the first badge of the TRP). The face side of the coin depicted the emblem of the RSFSR on the reverse was a farmer-sower, modeled from the sculpture, I. D. Shadra (the model was two peasants in the village of Pragovaya Shadrinsky Perfiliya Petrovich Kalganov and Kipriyan Kirillovich Avdeev), which now are in the Tretyakov Gallery. All the chervontsy of this period are dated from 1923.

Metal chervonets were mainly used by the Soviet government for foreign trade operations, but some of the coins also had circulation within Russia. Coins were usually issued in Moscow and from there spread throughout the country. With the beginning of the issue of metal gold chervonets for calculations with foreign countries, this incident is connected: Western countries have resolutely refused to accept these coins, since they depicted Soviet symbols. The exit was found instantly – the Soviet Mint began issuing a gold chervonts sample of Nicholas II, unconditionally accepted abroad. Thus, the Soviet government bought the necessary goods abroad for coins depicting the deposed tsar.

In 1924, after the formation of the USSR, it was decided to issue a new type of coins, on which the coat of arms of the RSFSR was replaced by the USSR coat of arms, but only test specimens were issued, they were dated 1925 and had exceptional rarity. The refusal of the metal chervonets was explained by the fact that the financial system of the country was sufficiently strong enough to give up free circulation of gold. In addition, abroad, seeing the strengthening of the chervonets, traders refused to calculate in a gold coin in favor of gold bars or foreign currency.

After the NEP Edit

The collapse of NEP and the beginning of industrialization made the metal chervonets unnecessary for the economic system of the USSR. The course of the chervonets fell to 5.4 rubles per dollar and subsequently ceased to be quoted abroad. [16] In order to unify the financial system, the ruble was tied to a paper chervontsy. Already in 1925, one chervonets was equal to 10 rubles. Subsequently, the import and export of gold chervonets from the USSR was banned.

In 1937 a new series of banknotes in denominations of 1, 3, 5 and 10 chervonets were issued. They were the first to show a portrait of Lenin.

This was an exceptionally rare sample of copper for 1925 in all respects it was completely identical to a similar gold coin. In April 2008 it was sold at a Moscow auction for 5 million rubles (about $165,000).

The 1980 Olympics Edit

From 1975 to 1982, the State Bank of the USSR issued the 1923 model of the chervonets coin with the emblem of the RSFSR and new dates, there were a total of 7,350,000 copies in circulation. [17]

It is believed that the issue of these coins were timed to the Olympics in Moscow (1980). These coins were also a legal means of payment, and mandatory for admission throughout the USSR, such as jubilee coins made of precious metals. They were sold to foreign tourists and used in foreign trade operations.

Since the mid 1990s, the "Olympic chervontsy" have been sold by the Central Bank as investment coins. By the decision of the Central Bank in 2001 they were made a legal tender in the territory of the Russian Federation together with a silver coin with a nominal value of 3 rubles known as "Sable". [18]

At the moment, "newly-made" chervontsy were used as investment coins and were implemented by a number of banks – both Russian and foreign.

Uses of the word Edit

  • Today, in everyday life "Chervontsy" or "chirikami" are called banknotes with a nominal value of ten units. This applies not only to Russian, Tajik, and Transnistrian rubles, but also to modern banknotes with values of 10 hryvnias, euros or dollars. Among other things, having a reddish tinge, distinguished Tsarist and Soviet as banknotes with a face value of 10 rubles.
  • In Russian criminal argot, "chervonets" refers to ten years of imprisonment. [19]
  • The saying, "I'm not a chervonets, to please everyone" reflects the high value of the gold coin with this denomination.
  • In Mikhail Bulgakov's play "Zoikin's Flat" (1926), Soviet chervontsy in the Nepmen slang of the 1920s are called "worms" (chervi or chervyaki in Russian) as a play on words.

The term comes from Polish czerwony złoty. Before the reign of Peter I, the name chervonets was applied to various foreign gold coins in circulation in Russia, mostly Dutch ducats and Venetian sequins. In 1701, Russia introduced its own gold chervonets, which had the same mass (3.47 g) and alloy (.986) as the ducat. Unlike the gold coins minted in Russia from the 15th to the 17th centuries, which were used as awards only, the chervonets of Peter I took their place in the monetary system and were used in foreign trade. Chervontsy were minted until 1757, when they were displaced by the golden ruble (with a lower alloy) and by counterfeits of the Dutch ducat, which by then met the demand for trade in gold coins.

Under Nicolas II, the finance minister Sergei Witte conducted a currency reform [20] and 10-ruble gold coin (Nicolas II chervonets) started to be used in parallel with gold imperial (15-ruble gold coin) as a principal legal tender of the Russian golden standard. The mintage of 10 ruble coins from 1897 to 1911 was over 40 million pieces. Gold coins were in circulation and could be exchanged for banknotes of the same denomination without restrictions. On the 23 July/ 5 August 1914 a paper-to-gold exchange was suspended "temporarily" and never restored.

New Economic Policy (NEP) Edit

In 1922, during the civil war, the Soviet government tried to enforce Communist economic ideals and eliminate debt through systematic devaluation of the ruble and its associated currencies (various forms of Imperial ruble, kerenki and later sovznaki). [21] Meanwhile, the authorities introduced a parallel currency, called the chervonets, which was fully convertible and backed by the gold standard. The chervonets existed in paper form (for domestic circulation) and as gold coins (for international payments). These coins contained 8.6 g of .900 alloy, and fetched a high rate on the foreign stock exchanges, allowing the financing of the Soviet Union's New Economic Policy. 2,751,200 coins with the year 1923 on the reverse were minted in 1923 (1,113,200 pieces) and 1924 (1,638,000 pieces).

With the creation of the Soviet Union (USSR) new national symbols were introduced, reflected in the design of Soviet coins. By February 1925, chervonets coins featuring the insignia of the Soviet Union had been designed, and a limited number of test coins dated 1925 were struck. However, these were not mass-produced owing to low perceived demand for them from the main international trading partners of the Soviet Union.

Original gold chervonets coins were minted in 1923 and 1925. Very few chervonets coins remain from 1923 (almost all coins, which were not sold abroad and remained in state vaults, were recast into bars or used in production of Soviet military orders) and they have recently sold for over $7,000. There is widespread misconception about the 1925 issue: all English sources copy each other and say that only one gold chervonets from 1925 survived, but this is not entirely true (see on locations below). At an auction in April 2008 in Moscow, a single surviving production sample copper chervonets from 1925 with slightly modified design from 1923 appeared. It showed the letters SSSR (Russian: СССР ) instead of RSFSR (Russian: РСФСР ), and introduced a new coat of arms (which only featured the first seven Soviet republics, whereas by 1939 the USSR had fifteen). This copper sample sold for $200,000.

After the introduction in the United Kingdom of the Gold Standard Act 1925, [22] which established a new procedure for buy-sell operations with gold, the gold coins issued after 1914 ceased to be accepted by the Bank of England. As a result, interest in the Soviet chervonets in Europe fell sharply. To obtain much-needed foreign currency, the Soviet Government decided to strike 10-ruble coins in the pre-revolutionary design, bearing the portrait of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II. These coins were accepted without problems. Six hundred thousand gold 10-ruble coins were struck in 1925 from the old dies which had survived the 1917 Revolution and the subsequent civil war. These coins were dated 1911. The following year, 1926, the government minted a further 1,411,000 of the same coins, as well as 1,000,000 gold 5-ruble coins dated 1898 on the reverse and again with the portrait of Nicholas II on the obverse. The transition of the European currency system in the second half of the 1920s to a gold bullion standard led to a minimum volume requirement of 400 troy ounces for inter-bank gold deals. This resulted in the increased use of bullion bars and rendered it pointless to mint precious metal coins for international payments. A part of residual coins with the tsar portrait was used by Soviet intelligence agents in secret operations abroad.

Before industrialisation the value of the chervonets was pegged at 10 rubles, and production of gold coins ceased.

In 1930 the chervonets was withdrawn from the foreign payments turnover and its quotation on international currency exchanges was ceased. [23]

As of today, there exist five known gold chervontsy from 1925. All are located in Moscow. Three are stored in the museum of Goznak, Russia's official mint. The other two are in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.


It's a New Soviet NIGHTMARE Russians Fighting Kazakhs, Uzbeks Fighting Tadzhiks, An Independent Tatarstan

Citizens of the former Soviet Union hardly had time to congratulate one another last week on their victory over the military-KGB-Communist Party putsch when a new nightmare peeked over the horizon.

* Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin cautioned republics seeking independence that they would first have to settle border claims with the Russian Federation, the 800-pound gorilla of the crumbling Soviet empire.

* Nursultan Nazarbayev, the formidable reformist president of Kazakhstan, the second largest Soviet republic, replied publicly that if Russia claimed any Kazakh territory, it would be risking war.

* Oleg Rumyantsev, founder of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, until now considered a wunderkind of democratic reform, told the Christian Science Monitor: "If we are provoked toward civil war by irresponsible leaders of the republics, then we will respond from a position of force and self-confidence."

* Mr. Nazarbayev demanded that a Russian delegation visit Alma-Ata, the Kazakh capital, for emergency consultations to defuse the conflict. "Special danger lies in the fact that Kazakhstan is a nuclear republic," he said in a message to Mr. Yeltsin, just in case the Russian president was missing the point.

By week's end, the two republics had defused the crisis for the time being by agreeing to honor their existing borders. But there is a warning for the world in the exchange of unpleasantries: For a few days, the leaders of two nuclear-armed nations had been talking seriously about the possibility of going to war over territory.

The failure of the Soviet coup has swept aside the huge, rotten bureaucracy that had blocked and braked reform for years. It unquestionably has accelerated progress toward a market economy. It has exorcised the threat of revanche that had for so long made would-be entrepreneurs and private farmers hesitate to risk getting started. It has guaranteed the Baltic republics, among others, the independence they have sought so long.

But like other aspects of the New World Order, the final tumbling of Soviet totalitarianism is bringing some unpleasant surprises as well.

Die-hard Soviet Communists, if there still are any, and if they dared speak out loud, might be inclined to say they told us so. They always said Marxist internationalism was the only bulwark against the nasty chaos of ethnic rivalries.

"The successful solution of the national question in the U.S.S.R. is based on the fact that the Party has always conducted a determined struggle both with great-power chauvinism and with local nationalism, whatever forms these might take," the party's theoretical journal, Kommunist, explained back in 1958.

Now, at last, the Party's over. In between thinking up a new name for their profession, more than a few Sovietologists and Kremlinogists are scanning the ruins of communism for -- well, "great-power chauvinism and local nationalism."

Will Russia trade in its new-found democratic clothing for the musty uniform of czarist-style imperialism? Some non-Russians are worried about the way Mr. Yeltsin is throwing Russia's weight around. Will fanatical devotion to the rediscovered nation -- not just the ones in the news now, but Karakalpak or Bashkiria or Chuvashia or Ingushia or Udmurtia or any of another hundred tongue-twisters -- push aside common sense about trade and economic rebuilding? Much evidence says yes.

A long list of potential ethnic and border conflicts is waiting in the wings, and resolving them peacefully will test the statesmanship of new leaders such as Mr. Yeltsin, Mr. Nazarbayev and the Ukraine's Leonid Kravchuk, whose three republics have the Soviet Union's strategic nuclear weapons.

The natural tensions caused by ethnic tangles and murky border histories are exacerbated by economic misery, and this year's harvest seems in particular danger. Inter-republican conflict, in turn, will tempt leaders to raise high the trade barriers and curb or ban exports. But in the super-centralized economy that is a legacy of Stalinism, a single factory often is the exclusive source of a product for the entire sprawling union, and a little anarchy goes a long way in crippling production.

Take, as one example of the potential for trouble, the Kazakhstan question. There are nearly as many ethnic Russians as ethnic Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, a huge, varied land of forest, steppe and desert stretching to the south of Russia between the Caspian Sea and the Chinese border. Many of the Russians live in the north of the republic, along the Russian border.

A year ago, publishing in the Soviet press his concept of a reorganized Russia, the exiled Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn blithely proposed lopping off the northern part of .. Kazakhstan and tacking it onto Russia. The Kazakh response was fierce.

The Kazakh people had long suffered at the hands of Moscow, experiencing what Soviet nationalities expert Paul B. Henze calls "near-genocide" during Stalin's forced collectivization in the 1930s seeing mass in-migration of deported nationalities and of Russian and Ukrainian farmers and serving as the Soviet army's testing ground for nuclear weapons, at Semipalatinsk.

"Kazakhstan's always been a dumping ground and experimental area," says Mr. Henze, of the Rand Corporation. Resentful Kazakhs never forget it. On Thursday, Mr. Nazarbayev issued a decree closing the Semipalatinsk testing range.

Kazakh-Russian relations flared in Alma-Ata in December, 1986, in the first major ethnic rioting of the Gorbachev era. Mikhail Gorbachev had removed the republic's corrupt party leader, Dinmukhamed Kunaev. No one would have minded, except that he replaced him with an ethnic Russian who had never even worked in Kazakhstan, Gennady Kolbin. The clumsy move touched off several days of disturbances that were brutally suppressed.

Naturally, Mr. Yeltsin's warning about borders touched a nerve. Though neither leader has been inclined to chauvinism, both Mr. Yeltsin and Mr. Nazarbayev may be tempted to play the nationalist card, winning points by portraying themselves as defenders of their people. And if they resist that temptation, there are more demagogic, less responsible leaders who may step in to stir the brewing conflict, including former loyal Communists eager to win new public standing as nationalists.

Mr. Yeltsin, who has so far won popularity with simple courage, may soon find his armor tarnished by no-win inter-republican disputes. Although Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement Friday to honor current borders, that pledge may not settle matters, because it cannot cool popular emotions. If the Russians in Kazakhstan demand unification with Russia, Mr. Yeltsin can say no -- and risk being accused of betraying the nation. Or he can say yes -- and risk serious conflict with Kazakhstan.

Multiply that potential catastrophe by a dozen or so, and the Soviet Union begins to look, in a memorable image Mr. Gorbachev once used, knee-deep in gasoline.

Mr. Yeltsin's aides say his border concerns include not only northern Kazakhstan but heavily Russian parts of the Ukraine, such as the mountains and beaches of the Crimea and the coal fields of the Donbass. But if he lays claim to them, he will face a fight at least as fierce as that offered by Kazakhstan.

Byelorussia has in the past said that if Lithuania achieves independence, it will demand a slice of Lithuanian territory populated by ethnic Byelorussians -- and on and on.

Moldova is likely to seek union with Romania, whose population is ethnically identical. But to do so it must defeat angry opposition from Russian and Gagauz minorities that last year attempted unilaterally to secede from the little Western republic. Moldavian police pursued the Russians' leader, Igor Smirnov, all the way to Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, to arrest him on Thursday. On Friday, ethnic Russians in Moldova threatened to shut down a major gas pipeline, cut off electricity and block roads unless Mr. Smirnov were freed.

The Caucasus and Transcaucasia, whose mountain peoples have a centuries-old history of feuding, is a nest of potential troubles. The long-running Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict there shows that the longer the fighting goes on, the harder it becomes to stop.

Central Asia, where poverty, overcrowding, and competition for water make ethnic relations worse, has already seen several large-scale ethnic clashes. Some ethnologists fear that Uzbek-Tadzhik conflict could brew in an ethnically Tadzhik area that was arbitrarily tacked on to Uzbekistan by Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin in order to give Uzbekistan an international border -- a requirement for a full-fledged Soviet republic.

Mr. Henze, of the Rand Corporation, who has studied Soviet nationalities for 40 years, says he is optimistic that conflict will not get out of hand.

"The fact that there have been a number of nasty clashes over the past three or four years is a warning. None of those clashes has solved anything," Mr. Henze said. "I think if people think about it, they'll realize what a mess it can become. I give these people considerable credit for good sense."

A darker conclusion may be drawn from a novella, The Defector, written in 1988 by a prophetic Russian writer named Alexander Kabakov. It draws a compelling, grim portrait of violence and chaos in Moscow after a coup, the collapse of the Communist zTC Party and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kabakov's invented political groups -- the Social Fundamentalists of Turkestan, the Christian-Democratic Party of Transcaucasia, the Left Communists of Siberia, the Constitutional Party of Unified Bukhara and Samarkand Emirates were meant to sound outlandish in 1988. They no longer do.

If Mr. Kabakov's anti-utopia is still considerably more bleak than the current scene, he can tell the reader to be patient. He chose to set his book in 1992.

Scott Shane was The Sun's Moscow correspondent from 1988 until July of this year.


Shiraz Socialist

This article by Seumas Milne, written shortly before the final collapse of the USSR, appeared in the Guardian of March 10 1990. It is not available anywhere else online (as far as I can tell), nor is it included in the new book, wonderfully entitled The Revenge of History, made up of the “cream” of Milne’s Guardian columns. We publish the piece as a service to the international workers’ movement and in the interests of the study of moral and political bankruptcy:

From THE GUARDIAN Saturday March 10 1990

The figure of 25 million deaths that is being attributed to the Stalin regime should be revised in the light of glasnost reports. Seumas Milne analyses new Soviet data that records much lower gulag populations

Stalin’s missing millions

All over South-east of England billboards have appeared in the past week declaring: “Once upon a time there was an uncle who murdered 25 million of his children.” Next to this startling slogan is a photograph of the man who was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union for a generation, hugging an Aryan-looking Young Pioneer with pigtails.

The advertisement is a trailer for Thames Television’s block-buster documentary series on the life of Stalin, which begins on Tuesday. Forthcoming press publicity will follow a similar theme, setting out the kind of absurdities which could have led to arrest and execution at the height of the Soviet Terror in the late 1930’s.

The programmes come as glasnost has provoked a stream of new information and memoirs about the Stalin era in the Soviet Union itself, 30 years after Khruschev’s secret speech denouncing his former boss led to the first phase of revelations and rehabilitations. For the most part attention in the Soviet media has turned to more pressing problems. But the flood of new horror stories has emboldened an academic and political current which is bent on overturning the consensus view of Hitler and Nazism as the supreme evil of 20th century history.

Not only is it increasingly common for Stalin to be bracketed with Hitler as the twin monster of the modern era, even in the Soviet Union, but in West Germany and Austria a significant “revisionist” academic trend — represented by historians like Ernst Nolte, Andreas Hilgruber, and Ernst Topitsch — goes on to argue that the Stalinist system was actually responsible for the Nazis and the second world war.

Central to these debates is the issue of the number of Stalin’s victims. Controversy about the scale of repression in the Stalin era has rumbled on in Western universities for many years, and has now been joined by Soviet experts who are equally divided. Thames Television, with its 25 million deaths, has opted for the furthest extreme.

Hitherto, the British writer Robert Conquest who in the 1950’s worked for the Foreign Office propaganda outfit IRD, led the field with his view that Stalin was responsible for 20 million deaths. Phillip Whitehead, one of the Stalin series producers, says he is not to blame for the advertising campaign but thinks a 25 million figure can be defended if the Soviet dead in the first three months of the Nazi invasion of 1941 are included on the grounds of Stalin’s negligence.

But even that is not enough for Thomas Methuen, publishers of of the companion book to the series, who bid up the figure to 30 million in their publicity and — in an echo of the German revisionists — describe Stalin as “the greatest mass killer of the 20th century.” The record estimate so far has been 50 million, made in the Sunday Times two years nago.

There are three basic catagories of people usually regarded as Stalin’s victims: first there are those executed for political offences, most of whom died in the Terror years of 1937-8. Then there are those who died in the labour camps or in the process of mass deportations. Finally — and almost certainly the biggest number — there are the peasants who died during the famine of the early 30s.

In the complete absence of any hard evidence from the Soviet Union, estimates for a grand total of all three have been made by extrapolating the number of “excess deaths” from census figures. This process is fraught with statistical problems, including the fact that the 1937 census was supported, and the 1939 census is thought to have been artificially inflated by terrified Soviet statisticians.. Add to that disputes about the size of peasant families and the possibilities for discrepancies multiply.

Among Soviet specialists and demographers in the West, the majority view appears to be that the kind of numbers used by Robert Conquest and his supporters are wildly exaggerated. Prof Sheila Fitzpatrick, of Chicago University comments: “the younger generation of Soviet historians tend to go for far lower numbers. There is no basis in fact for Conquest’s claims.”

Some of the most recent Western demographic analysis, by Barbera Anderson and Brian Silver in the US, estimates that the most likely figure for all the “excess” deaths — whether from purges, famine or deportations — between 1926 and 1939 lies in a range with a median of 3.5 million, and a limit of eight million.

Estimates of that order have found support across a broad range of academic work, from Frank Lorrimer’s pioneering post-war analysis to Prof Jerry Hough’s 1979 study to the 1980s research by the British academic, Stephen Wheatcroft, now at the University of Melbourne. But this growing consensus has been thrown on the defensive by Soviet specialists like Roy Medvedev, who — using the same data — have apparently backed Conquest’s position, or something like it.

When it comes to the famine deaths, an exact figure will almost certainly never be known. But suddenly, after years of working in the dark, specialists are obtainingv some hard Soviet data. Last month, the KGB published for the first time the records of the number of victims of the Stalin purges.

Between 1930 and 1953, the report states, 3,778,234 people had been sentenced for counter-revolutionary activities or anti-state crimes,of whom 786,098 were shot. From his office at the Hoover Institute in California yesterday, Conquest said it was difficult to say whether the figures were right, but he thought “they could be true.”

Even more remarkably, the records originally made by the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) of those held in labour camps and penal colonies during the Stalin years are now becoming available. An article from a “restricted access” Soviet Interior Ministry journal has been passed to the Guardian, which lists the total Gulag populations during the 1930s and 1940s.

Originally collated for Khrushchev in the 1950s, the figures show how the camp numbers rose relentlessly from 179,000 in 1930 to 510,307 in 1934, to 1,296,494 in 1936, to 1,881,570 in 1938 at the height of the Terror. The population fell during the war, but reached its peak in 1950 when 2,561,351 people are recorded as detained in camps or colonies.

These figures published openly here for the first time are huge: but they are a long way from the 19 million camp population estimated by Robert Conquest. The Soviet report records that an average of 200,000 were released every year, and puts the death-rate in the camps at 3 per cent a year per on average, rising to more than 5 per cent in 1937-8. The camps were mostly emptied of political prisoners after Stalin’s death.

Are the figures credible? In the context of the current political atmosphere in the Soviet Union and the fact that they were in a restricted publication, it seems improbable that they have been tampered with. Of course, they do not cover the famine and other disasters. But they do begin to add credence to the mainstream academic view that the deaths attributable to Stalin’s policies was closer to 3.5 million than 25 million.

Why do numbers matter anyway? After all Robert Conquest may be out by a factor of five or 10, but the repressions were still enormous.

If, however, a figure of 20 million or 25 million becomes current currency, it adds credence to the Stalin-Hitler comparison. Already, anyone who questions these figures — even in the academic debates — is denounced as a “neo-Stalinist.”

As the Irish writer Alexander Cockburn who started what turned into a highly emotional exchange last year in the American journal, the Nation, puts it: “Any computation that does not soar past 10 million is somehow taken as being soft on Stalin.” And by minimising the quantitative gulf between the Hitler and Stalin killings, it becomes easier to skate over the uniqueness of the Nazi genocide and war.

JD adds: when the Soviet archives were fully opened in 1991, they yielded new data that most reputable scholars consider to broadly confirm Robert Conquest’s position if not (quite) the figure of 20 million deaths directly resulting from Stalin’s rule and policies.

In the preface to the 40th anniversary edition of his pioneering work, The Great Terror (first published in 1968) Conquest stated that in the light of documents released since 1991 from the Presidential, State, Party and Police archives, and the declassification by Russia’s Federal Security Service of some 2 million secret documents:

“Exact numbers may never be known with complete certainty, but the total of deaths caused by the whole range of Soviet regime’s terrors can hardly be lower than some thirteen to fifteen million.”

***********************************************************************************************

According to his friend, Kingsley Amis, when his (Conquest’s) publishers asked him to expand and revise The Great Terror, Conquest suggested the new version of the book be entitled I Told You So, You Fucking Fools.


The Major Deej Universe

 

Want to REALLY get into the mood of the story?

Click PLAY on the video below and let the music set the theme!

The Soviet Guard is a specialized unit that has been a part of the Soviet war machine since WWII (then known as the "Red Guard") and is now under the leadership of the legendary Soviet Marshal "Generalissimus" Budennii, the current leader of the expatriated New Soviet Union troops that are currently hiding out in an abandoned Soviet listening post in northern Greenland.

Back in early 1941, Stalin secretly created a special unit of 'gifted' troops discovered throughout Russia.  These 'gifted' troops were either super-powered, mystically empowered, technologically enhanced (or armored) or highly skilled in warfare or espionage.  The unit, known as the "Red Guard", was trained by a die-hard Soviet Officer known as General Koskovski. He was a tireless, hardcore Soviet communist and a taskmaster of the highest order.  By June 1941, the Red Guard was ready to enter combat against the Allies. that is, until Germany implemented Operation: Barbarossa on June 22nd and invaded the Soviet Union.

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin was furious.  He immediately rerouted all plans and battles against Nazi Germany's advancing troops, to include the Red Guard.  Throughout most of WWII, up to 1945, the Red Guard lost 40% of their men and women, but still had a profound effect on Germany's aggressions.  Most of the Red Guard's actions were against the actions of Nazi Germany's super-powered team, Axis Force. At war's end, the Red Guard was one of the first units to enter Hitler's bunker after Hitler's apparent suicide.

Over the next few decades after WWII, the Red Guard became a more secretive force used by the Secretary Generals and Premieres to take out emboldened factions that fought against the communist expansion from the Soviet Union.  On several occasions, the Red Guard encountered western and/or NATO-created super-powered teams and heroes with the Red Guard winning half of the encounters.

In 1973, Marshal Budennii reassigned himself to a top secret super-trooper formula research project.  In a selfish yet last reso rt manner (he was dying), Budennii administered the experimental formula  on himself.  He died as a result of the formula, however, miraculously, he awoke days later empowered with abilities akin to that of the combined strength and stamina of three men.  He was later secretly assigned to the Red Guard with most still believing that Budennii was still dead. There, he trained the Red Guard in new tactics and battle techniques, now able to fight alongside them unlike their aged leaders at that time.  He quickly earned the respect and devotion of the members of the Red Guard, however, Budennii was found to be 'too close' to the Red Guard's troops and was transferred to espionage services, where he excelled there as one of their top spies.

In 1991, The Soviet Union fell, as did the Red Guard.  With no leadership, funds or support, most of the Red Guard troops simply walked off the job, attempting to find work to support their families or lifestyles.  Marshal Budennii instead tried to reinvigorate the fallen Soviet leadership to reform the Soviet Union, however, that only led to Budennii being shot by one of his own beloved nation's generals for his effort.  After recovering from his wound, Budennii formulated a plan to steal as much Soviet hardware, weapons, ships, subs and classified equipment as he could. In a brazen series of raids, Budennii and his devoted troops, including nearly all of the previous Red Guard super-powered troops, pulled off one of the greatest heists of military equipment in the history of the world and made a getaway with the spoils of his raids to a remote abandoned Soviet listening post in northern Greenland.  There, the old Red Guard and Budennii's hundreds of devoted "New Soviet Union" troops plotted to take back Mother Russia and impart their new-old communist regime back into power, all under Budennii's leadership and a new super-powered group replacement for the old Red Guard - the new "Soviet Guard".

Over the next two plus decades, the Soviet Guard and the New Soviet Union army built up for the coming 'liberation' of the form er Soviet Union's Russian lands.  After extensive diplomatic attempts to create a Soviet coupe in the Russian Federation, Budennii, now called the "Generalissimus", devised a plan to invade Lithuania and use it as a stepping stone in reclaiming Russian lands.

In 2005, the Generalissimus ordered the invasion of Lithuania and successfully took control on the small Baltic country.  After appropriating several nuclear weapons still stored on a hidden nuclear missile submarine in a submarine pen in Lithuania's capitol of Vilnius, the Generalissimus warned the west and Russia that to invade him and Lithuania, which he now deemed as his "New Soviet Union", would result in his firing the nuclear missiles at them as well as destroying all of Lithuania in the process.  The west and Russia remained in a standoff for months during this time.  The Generalissimus' Soviet Guard and troops reveled in their victory.  Members of the Soviet Guard, however, soon took gross advantage over the enslaved Lithuanian populace, performing inhumane and immoral acts on them, earning the ire of the international community.  The Generalissimus turned a blind eye to the Lithuanians' suffering and instead encouraged it.  The Soviet Guard, in their debauchery and criminal acts, were quickly deemed as war criminals for their actions.

Eventually, the west and the Russian Federation, along with the Lithuanian rebel underground, enacted a plan to steal the nuclear weapons out from under the Generalissimus and liberate Lithuania with thousands of European and Russian troops,as well as dozens of superheroes and agents from the CIA, FBI, NATO and the Kremlin. The battle engaged, the Soviet Guard fought valiantly, through predominantly drunk, against the liberators, but failed.  A majority of the Soviet Guard was either arrested or killed during the liberation.  The Generalissimus, devoid of his nuclear weapons to threaten anyone with, packed up his remaining forces and military equipment, as well as the remaining Soviet Guard troops into several cargo submarines and escaped back to their secret lair in northern Greenland.

Since then, the Generalissimus has slowly built his forces and weapons back up, including the numbers in his Soviet Guard.  Obsessed over his desire to destroy the west (and the Russian Federation) for the loss of Lithuania, the Generalissimus has now refocused on attacking and defeating the west and its 'heroes' so as to pave a way for him and his New Soviet Union forces to reclaim Mother Russia once again.

To this day, the members of the Soviet Guard are devoted and driven (or enslaved) to serve the Generalissimus and the New Soviet Union, no matter the cost. 

 

Soviet Guard's Secretive Greenland Hideout

The Soviet Guard utilizes submarines, aircraft and rockets to traverse large amounts of troops and materials to wherever they intend to attack next from their hidden base for the last 20+ years at the northern end of the barren land that is Greenland at an old abandoned Soviet listening post.

Since the Red/Soviet Guard settled in there, they have industrialized their operations under what was a glacial lake/crater that now is camouflaged to hide their industrial complex and their underground buildings, sub pens and hidden aircraft runways.  Since the thousands of troops, scientists, laborers and leaders required a regular food supply, the Generalissimus utilized the farming expertise of one of the Soviet Guard's super-powered comrades, Serp, to create a specialized 2 mile long region acclimated and technologically based for growing crops in the inhospitable climate that is Greenland.

Using their own electronic countermeasures (ECM), heat bloom dissipation devices and shielding, the Soviet Guard to this day remains undetected in their Greenland lair. 

 

Satellite image of Northern Greenland.

. and you can see their hidden coastal base.

The Green patches are the arctic greenhouses Serp has created to feed the Soviet Guard forces.   The large white 'lake/crater' to the right of the green patches in the the camouflaged industrial complex and base to the Soviet Guard.  It comes complete with an underground (tunneled) runway for aircraft, sub pens that have a long and wide cave system created by centuries of geothermal venting.  Those underwater caves lead right out into the ocean.  Since this region is considered unmanned and inhospitable to live in, the world's intelligence agencies have not yet detected this base.

Should the base be discovered and attacked, hundreds of hidden rocket launchers, laser weapons and several unique security devices (possibly even force fields) would aid in protecting the Soviet Guard from any form of attack.  To add to this, the perimeter of the base is mired with thousands of sensors, traps and cameras capable of detecting and immobilizing anyone within miles of the main base. 

 Generalissimus

Note: Want to 'really' get into the mindset and feel of the Generalissimus' story? Click "Play" on the above YouTube link to play this Red Army Choir Music while you are reading the story!

Generalissimus Semyon Budennii

HISTORY

Budennii was born into a poor peasant family on the Kozyurin farmstead near the town of Bolshaya Orlovka in the Don Cossack region of the southern Russian Empire (now Rostov Oblast). Although he grew up in a Cossack region, Budennii was not a Cossack —his family actually came from Voronezh province. He was of Russian ethnicity. He worked as a farm laborer, shop errand boy, blacksmith's apprentice, and driver of a steam-driven threshing machine, until the autumn of 1903, when he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army. He became a cavalryman reinforcing the 46th Cossack Regiment during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. 

During World War I, Budennii was the 5th Squadron's non-commissioned troop officer in the Christian IX of Denmark 18th Seversky Dragoon Regiment, Caucasian Cavalry Division on the Western Front. He became famous for his attack on a German supply column near Brzezina, and through a series of other valorous victories and fights, earn the St. George Cross, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st class.

After the Russian Revolution overthrew the Tsarist regime in 1917, Budennii was elected chairman of the regimental committee and deputy chairman of the divisional committee.  The Civil War broke out in 1918, and Budennii organized a Red Cavalry force in the Don region, which eventually became the 1st Cavalry Army . This Army played an important role in winning the Civil War for the Bolsheviks , driving the White General back from Moscow.

Budennii joined the Bolshevik party in 1919, and formed close relationships with Joseph Stalin. In 1935 he was made one of the first five Marshals of the Soviet Union. Stalin eventually executed three of the five marshals in his "Great Purge" of the late 1930s, leaving only Budennii and only one other marshal alive.

Budennii was considered a courageous and colorful cavalry officer, but displayed disdain for innovation and a profound ignorance of modern warfare.

In July–September 1941, Budennii was Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet armed forces of the Southwestern Direction ( Southwestern and Southern Fronts) facing the German invasion of Ukraine. This invasion began as part of Germany's Operation Barbarossa which was launched on June 22. Operating under strict orders from Stalin (who attempted to micromanage the war in the early stages) to not retreat under any circumstances, Budennii 's forces were eventually surrounded during the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev. The disasters which followed the encirclement cost the Soviet Union 1.5 million men killed or taken prisoner. This was one of the largest encirclements in military history.

In September, Stalin made Budennii a scapegoat, dismissing him as Commander-in-Chief, Southwestern Direction, and replacing him with another.  Despite being blamed by Stalin for some of the Soviet Union's most catastrophic World War II defeats (although acting on Stalin's specific orders), he continued to enjoy Stalin's patronage and suffered no real punishment.

After the war Budennii was allowed to retire as a Hero of the Soviet Union, but that's not what he wanted.  Feeling his age, but still determined to be a part of the rise of the Soviet Union, Budennii instead secretly asked to be transferred to a research facility a research facility that was working on a version of a super-trooper formula intended for the Soviet troops.  Years went by without any success.  Finally in 1973, a breakthrough occurred they'd isolated the formula's strengths, however, test subjects who were administered the formula were' rejuvenated too much, causing violent heart attacks and brain hemorrhages. Knowing that his time was short on this Earth, Budennii broke into the lab and took the formula for himself.  After his convulsions and flailing ended, the doctors declared Budennii dea d of a brain hemorrhage .

Two days after his 'death', Budennii awakened.  He was a man in his 40s again. He was stronger than he ever was.  Now able to run up to 30mph, he ran home to see his wife, only to see that the entire family was dressed in black with funeral posters of him all around their home.  After hearing a radio broadcast of his death, he decided it would be better to keep his new condition secret from everyone else - except for General Secretary, Leonid Brezhnev .  After several hours of discussions, followed by weeks of tests and probes, it was found that a rare blood disorder, coupled with his age and a genetic disorder from a particular 'mustard gas' exposure he had in WWI is what the catalyst was to rejuvenate and change Budennii.  Unable to replicate the formula's success, the Kremlin decided to have the enhanced Budennii integrated with the Red Guard a s well as used in highly classified spy missions throughout Europe and the United States.  Budennii soon became a valued and beloved member of the Red Guard's ranks and one of the greatest Soviet spies in the field.  Eventually, Budennii's influence with the Red Guard was deemed dangerous and was transferred straight to the Kremlin's spy and intelligence services instead, much to the disdain and chagrin of his fellow Red Guard troops.

As the Soviet Union struggled financially, Budennii began to see rifts in the Soviet Union's government structure.  He urged and attempted to provide solutions to help the foundering communist nation, however, by 1991, the Soviet Union was nothing more than an empty shell bankrupt and unable to feed its own people or troops.  As Soviet generals began to abandon the sinking nation, Budennii came out of hiding.  He was enraged that his beloved Soviet Union was dissolving in front of him.  He gave the troops powerful speeches to rally them, angering the remaining loyalist generals.  As a result, Budennii took a bullet to the head by one of his own generals in an attempt to stop Budennii from taking away the loyalist general's troops.

While healing for over several days in a make-shift hospital outside of Moscow, Budennii made a grand decision - he himself would take over the Soviet Union and bring it back to its glory.  Whether the bullet (which is still lodged in his head) haywired his train of thought to perform this bold act, or whether Budennii  had just had enough of his nation's faltering, he took action and recruited a few hundred troops and officers still loyal to him to take a fair portion of the Soviet military arsenal for himself.

After a couple of days of planning, Budennii ordered his men to perform a simultaneous raid on over 20 major military equipment storage facilities, some highly secretive.  With hardly any Soviet troops left, security was lax if not non-existent. In 16 hours, Budennii and his men amassed hundreds of crates of ammunition, tanks, helicopters, machine guns and sensitive electronics equipment. as well as their own supply ship and two Soviet Alpha class nuclear submarines.  Classified blueprints and crates of experimental battle-suits and mechanized armor was also amongst his cache of ill-gotten gains.  Within hours of the thefts, a warrant was placed on Budennii's and his troops.  Budennii had the stolen equipment quickly and quietly loaded on his stolen cargo ship where it took off overseas to an old abandoned Soviet listening post in Greenland.

From Greenland, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Budennii slowly trained and amassed more peaons and equipment while also quietly recruiting hundreds more disenfranchised ex-Soviet troops and sailors.  Budennii, as a highly skilled motivator, drove his own propaganda machine a machine he used to promise his "New Soviet Union" troops that one day they'd return to the Motherland and replace the weak Russian Federation with his far superior "New Soviet Union" Aside from an alien invasion in 2000 that required Budennii and his troops to fight the Soltan invaders off (and diminish their ranks and supplies),  Budennii  continued to slowly buildup his Soviet war machine.

Between 2000 and 2005, Budennii worked relentlessly to try and get back to his native Soviet Union diplomatically.  In secret negotiations with the Russian presidents, Budennii demanded the return of the Soviet Union with him as the national leader, or else he'd invade Russia and take it by force. Russia instead beefed up its security forces and vowed never to let that "Cossack" to ever be allowed in Russia again except for his own firing squad.  Realizing his troops and equipment were not powerful enough to take on Mother Russia, he instead devised a plan to 'skirt' his way into Russia through its neighboring Baltic nation of Lithuania. By 2005, Budennii  began to plot the invasion of Lithuania. During that time,  Budennii  further empowered his new favorite weapon, the super-powered "Soviet Guard" team, made-up of former Red Guard members, with weapons and armor for the invasion. By the fall of 20 05, he was ready to make his move.

Taking on the Stalin-declined title of Generalissimus, he invaded Lithuania in the Fall of 2005 and created a communist slave state of its citizens.  Russian and European nations were placed on alert and ready to retaliate when Budennii  informed them that he had several nuclear warheads from an old Soviet nuclear missile submarine found still moored in a hidden submarine pen in Lithuania's capitol of Vilnius.  He threatened to nuke Lithuania and any other nation that dared to attack his "New Soviet Union".  While the enslaved citizens of Lithuania were forced to labor for up to 18 hours a day, further building up the Generalissimus' war machine, The Soviet Guard reveled in their authority, committing heinous acts against humanity on the enslaved Lithuanian populace.  As the people of Lithuania toiled and died, the troops and Soviet Guard of the New Soviet Union sang songs of their victory.  Even with the wor ld fearing a nuclear counterstrike by Budennii, the west, including the Russian president, devised a plan to stop Budennii and his troops, hopefully, without a nuclear confrontation.

After working a detailed and formative plan, several super-powered heroes, hundreds of underground Lithuanian rebels (led by Captain "Viltis (The Hope)" Smetona) (see Captain Lithuania) and dozens of CIA, FBI and KGB agents quietly snuck into the Kaunas Fortress, the headquarters of the New Soviet Union.  In a brilliantly executed form of teamwork, the heroes were able to steal the nukes across the border to the neighboring nation of Latvia, all the while thousands of European and Russian troops, led by the Lithuanian Rebel Forces, descended on the New Soviet Union's troops. Attack aircraft peppered the Soviet troops fighter planes fought thousands of feet above Vilnius the New Soviet Union's submarines clashed with sub-hunter ships and aircraft the Soviet Guard fought the west's invading heroes. Within hours of the battle's start, it was nearly over. Calling for his "Contingency Plan Omega", Budennii salvaged over 60% of his military equipment and remaining troops by sneaking them all out in specially designed cargo submarines (that the Lithuanian populace had been dying for in building them).  Within hours of Operation: Liberation (The Liberation of Lithuania), Budennii and his New Soviet Union troops and 'heroes' evaded detection in their cargo submarines and made a getaway to their previous unknown and secret base back in Greenland.  

Now taking refuge back in Greenland, Budennii was able to take stock of what he lost.  Several of his super-powered Soviet Guard teammates were caught and/or died in the liberation thousands of his military troops lost his entire military air force was also gone. What was worse is that he lost his nuclear weapons, preventing him from being the threat he needed to be to get back his motherland. The Generalissimus seethed with rage and anger over the west's involvement in his defeat. For that, he swore vengeance against them a vengeance that soon grew into an obsession that rivaled his desire to turn the current Russia back into the Soviet Union again. As such, the Generalissimus has now focused on rebuilding his depleted forces. as well as simultaneously getting even with the west and the 'superheroes' that aided in his retreat from Lithuania.

On a side note, over the last few years, Budennii's super-trooper formula has started to wear off. Budennii  has been aging far more than his previous decades. Although he is still far stronger than any of his own army troops, he can now feel his advancing age taking a toll on his body.  To cement his Soviet legacy before he dies,  he's decided he needs to defeat the west and its 'superheroes' first before he can unleash his troops into Russia to reclaim it as the New Soviet Union.  With his plans written, his troops reinvigorated, and a new band of Soviet Guard super-powered Soviets, the Generalissimus is ready to take on the world once again.  


Russia, once almost a democracy

MOSCOW — Twenty years ago Friday, communist hard-liners staged a coup here, sending tanks rumbling to the Russian White House in an effort to preserve the Soviet Union. Instead they touched off a powerful expression of democracy.

Boris Yeltsin, the first democratically elected president in Russia’s thousand years, galvanized the resistance when he climbed atop one of the tanks and called on citizens to defend the freedoms he had promised to deliver. They mounted the barricades, unarmed, willing to risk their lives for democracy. The coup leaders lost their nerve. A few months later, the Soviet Union was dead.

All these years later, so is democracy.

Today, Vladimir Putin presides over an authoritarian government in that same White House, a bulky 20-story skyscraper on the edge of the Moscow River. Occasional demonstrations in favor of democracy are small and largely ignored, except by the police.

Those who defended the White House thought they had changed the course of history, that in standing up so assertively the people had shaken off their Soviet subservience to the state and that the state would begin to serve the people. But today, elections are not fair, courts are not independent, political opposition is not tolerated and the reformers are widely blamed for what has gone wrong.

“The difference is this,” says Georgy Satarov, president of the INDEM Foundation and a former Yeltsin aide. “Then, people had hope. Now, they are disappointed and frustrated.”

Yeltsin’s voters wanted him to take them in a new direction, says Satarov, but the operative word was take. “We saw the old train was taking us in the wrong direction,” he says, “but we thought all we had to do was change the conductor and we would have comfortable seats and good food. Democracy would take us where we wanted to go, not our own effort. Sometimes you have to get off and push.”

Today, Russia works on bribes, and Putin’s opponents call his United Russia party the party of crooks and thieves. People can say whatever they want to one another, unlike in Soviet times when they feared the secret police knocking in the middle of the night, but television is controlled and any opposition is publicly invisible.

“They cannot let people on television who will say Putin is a thief,” says Igor Klyamkin, a scholar and vice president of the Liberal Mission Foundation.

Many Russians despair about their country, its prospects and their own, but they say little and do less.

Not Satarov, who has made his life’s work researching and writing about that corruption.

“During the last 300 years, there has never been such an inefficient government,” he says. “The state is disappearing because those who have the job description of working for the state have much more important things to do. The problem is, the more they steal, the more they fear losing power.”

In 1991, there were leaders who could inspire people to act, he says. “Now, there are none, and anything can happen.”

Only a tiny percentage of the population takes part in civil society, about 1.5 or 2 percent, at the level of statistical error.

“Now, we can speak as much as we want,” says Sergei V. Kanayev, head of the Moscow office of the Russian Federation of Car Owners, “but they don’t listen. It’s useless and very sad.”

People feel powerless. “Nothing depends on us,” they say in Russian.

“Ordinary people do not believe in anything, and they don’t trust anyone,” Kanayev says. “The entire society is silent and passive.”

For years, the independent polling and analytical organization called the Levada Center has been studying Russian political and social behavior, watching disillusionment with democracy set in.

“At the end of the 1980s, anything to do with the Soviet system was reviled,” says Boris Dubin, Levada’s director of sociopolitical studies. “Then people lost everything in the economic upheaval of 1992 and 1993. They lost all of their savings. They were threatened with unemployment. There was a bigger gap between the more successful and the less successful, and this was very painful for anyone brought up in Soviet times.”

Instead of blaming the legacy of the unsustainable Soviet economy for their suffering, Russians blamed the reformers. Democracy began to acquire a dubious reputation.

Long-entrenched interests proved more difficult to subdue than coup plotters. The old legislature, still sympathetic to the bloated industries sustained on a rich diet of state subsidies, opposed many reforms and refused to disband. Yeltsin turned his own tanks on them as they holed up in the White House in 1993, traumatizing the nation. Later he made what he would describe as his biggest mistake, sending tanks into separatist Chechnya at the end of 1994.

“Yeltsin lost the support of most people,” Dubin says. “There was a question of whether he could win the next election in 1996, and he dropped democratic tools step by step, drawing closer to the power structures.”

By the end of the 1990s, many were feeling nostalgic for Soviet times. “They wanted a young strong leader who could create order,” Dubin says. “So most were ready for Putin, and they did not think they should be frightened because he was a man of the power structure [the former KGB].”

Putin used state-controlled television to relentlessly send the message that life was better and Russia stronger under him than it was in the 1990s, a time of national humiliation. When he restored the old Soviet anthem, people hummed right along.

He dispensed object lessons, as in the case of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who financed political opposition to Putin and in 2003 was arrested on fraud charges. His jail term was recently extended to 2016. A few weeks ago, Khodorkovsky’s business partner, Platon Lebedev, was denied parole because he had lost a pair of prison pants. In June, a liberal political party was refused the registration that would have allowed it to participate in the Duma elections in December.

“There are no leaders who can become symbols of change,” Dubin says. “I don’t see any change for 15 to 20 years.”

Of course, today’s Russia is not the Soviet Union, says Grigori Golosov, a St. Petersburg political scientist. “But at the same time, it is an authoritarian regime that violates human and basic rights.”

The next presidential election is in March, and Putin has not declared who will run — the decision is considered his.

“Of course, it’s our problem, and others can’t solve it,” Klyamkin says. “But if this regime is successful and Russia continues under the current system, it will be a threat to others. Even now it has visions of empire.”

Sergei Filatov, who recently turned 75, sadly ponders the question of how it has come to this, sitting in his office on the Avenue of the Cosmonauts, staring off into the distance, as if fixing his mind’s eye on Aug. 19, 1991, when he rushed to the barricades in Moscow.

“Putin’s election,” he answers. “Russia is turning into a state that exists for the bureaucracy, and in many ways a closed state. And it started with Putin’s election.”

Yeltsin, inaugurated as president of the Russian Federation in July 1991, became president of an independent Russia when the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of the year. He resigned in weakness and ill health at the end of 1999, clearing the way for Putin’s election. Putin has run Russia ever since, for eight years as president and since 2008 as prime minister, with Dmitry Medvedev as president.

The future had looked so different in 1991, and Filatov’s voice grows strong and urgent as he describes the way Russians rose against the three-day coup.

Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the Soviet Union, was trying to save the communist state with a policy of more openness and freedom when die-hard Soviet officials who thought it was all going too far imprisoned him in his vacation home and declared themselves in charge.

Everyone knew a coup was underway that Monday morning when normal broadcasting was suspended and Russians turned on their televisions and saw the ballet “Swan Lake,” the kind of calming fare Soviet authorities trotted out in times of crisis. “They danced and danced and danced,” Filatov said.

Filatov, who runs the nonprofit Foundation for Social, Economic and Intellectual Programs, would go on to become an important Yeltsin-era official and an architect of democracy. He still savors the moment that the three-day coup ended on Aug. 21, 1991.

“We raised the Russian flag over the White House, and there was huge euphoria,” he says. Alexander Yakovlev, who had devised Gorbachev’s policies of perestroika and glasnost, “had the briefest but strongest comment. He said, ‘You are all very happy over your victory, but others will come and seize your victory.’ And that’s what happened.”

One day this summer in St. Petersburg, Oleg Basilashvili, a much-loved actor, sat brooding over the past, chain-smoking in his prewar apartment, a bay window at one end of the parlor and a baby grand at the other.

Basilashvili had spoken at Yeltsin’s inauguration, summoning forth the magnificent Russian past, the land of Peter the Great, Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and heralding the new, free life that lay ahead.

Today, there is no clear idea of where the authorities want to take the country, he says, no idea of what kind of Russia is being built on the ruins of the Soviet Union, only a sense that they are trying to destroy whatever happened in the 1990s.

“That’s no basis for a state,” he says in his actor’s rich baritone voice.

Russians have forgotten much about that time when choices seemed so simple and hope lay ahead, untarnished.

“If, 25 years ago, someone had told me I could buy any book or even a computer without restrictions,” says Dmitri Oreshkin, a political analyst, “that I could work or not work without going to jail for not working, that I would be able to write whatever I want, that I could travel wherever I want, I would have been very happy. And I probably wouldn’t have believed it possible.


Oleg Gordievsky: The Greatest Spy You've Never Heard Of

Throughout much of the Cold War, the British Secret Service gained invaluable information from Oleg Gordievsky, a highly placed KGB officer whose love of classical music (and hatred of awful Soviet parade marches) pushed him into becoming the perfect double agent. While the British never revealed the identity of their mole to the CIA, the Americans’ search for the British mole’s identity eventually led to the revelation of his name to his superiors, sealing Gordievsky’s fate, just before the whole Soviet apparatus came tumbling down. Here, we learn of the crisis that first put Gordievsky on the CIA’s radar, and the extreme paranoia and stupidity that nearly caused a nuclear war.

In May 1981, Yuri Andropov, chairman of the KGB, gathered his senior officers in a secret conclave to issue a startling announcement: America was planning to launch a nuclear first strike, and obliterate the Soviet Union.

For more than twenty years, a nuclear war between East and West had been held at bay by the threat of mutually assured destruction, the promise that both sides would be annihilated in any such conflict, regardless of who started it. But by the end of the 1970s the West had begun to pull ahead in the nuclear arms race, and tense detente was giving way to a different sort of psychological confrontation, in which the Kremlin feared it could be destroyed and defeated by a preemptive nuclear attack. Early in 1981, the KGB carried out an analysis of the geopolitical situation, using a newly developed computer program, and concluded that “the correlation of world forces” was moving in favor of the West. Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was proving costly, Cuba was draining Soviet funds, the CIA was launching aggressive covert action against the USSR, and the US was undergoing a major military buildup: the Soviet Union seemed to be losing the Cold War, and, like a boxer exhausted by long years of sparring, the Kremlin feared that a single, brutal sucker punch could end the contest.

The KGB chief’s conviction that the USSR was vulnerable to a surprise nuclear attack probably had more to do with Andropov’s personal experience than rational geopolitical analysis. As Soviet ambassador to Hungary in 1956, he had witnessed how quickly an apparently powerful regime might be toppled. He had played a key role in suppressing the Hungarian Uprising. A dozen years later, Andropov again urged “extreme measures” to put down the Prague Spring. The “Butcher of Budapest” was a firm believer in armed force and KGB repression. The head of the Romanian secret police described him as “the man who substituted the KGB for the Communist Party in governing the USSR.” The confident and bullish stance of the newly installed Reagan administration seemed to underscore the impending threat.

And so, like every genuine paranoiac, Andropov set out to find the evidence to confirm his fears.

Operation RYAN (an acronym for raketno-yadernoye napadeniye, Russian for “nuclear missile attack”) was the biggest peacetime Soviet intelligence operation ever launched. To his stunned KGB audience, with the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, alongside him, Andropov announced that the US and NATO were “actively preparing for nuclear war.” The task of the KGB was to find signs that this attack might be imminent and provide early warning, so that the Soviet Union was not taken by surprise. By implication, if proof of an impending attack could be found, then the Soviet Union could itself launch a preemptive strike. Andropov’s experience in suppressing liberty in Soviet satellite states had convinced him that the best method of defense was attack. Fear of a first strike threatened to provoke a first strike.

Operation RYAN was born in Andropov’s fevered imagination. It grew steadily, metastasizing into an intelligence obsession within the KGB and GRU (military intelligence), consuming thousands of man-hours and helping to ratchet up tension between the superpowers to terrifying levels. RYAN even had its own imperative motto: “Ne Prozerot!—Don’t Miss It!” In November 1981 the first RYAN directives were dispatched to KGB field stations in the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and Third World countries. In early 1982 all rezidenturas were instructed to make RYAN a top priority. By the time Gordievsky arrived in London, the operation had already acquired a self-propelling momentum. But it was based on a profound misapprehension. America was not preparing a first strike. The KGB hunted high and low for evidence of the planned attack, but as MI5’s authorized history observes: “No such plans existed.”

In launching Operation RYAN, Andropov broke the first rule of intelligence: never ask for confirmation of something you already believe.

In launching Operation RYAN, Andropov broke the first rule of intelligence: never ask for confirmation of something you already believe. Hitler had been certain that the D-day invasion force would land at Calais, so that is what his spies (with help from Allied double agents) told him, ensuring the success of the Normandy landings. Tony Blair and George W. Bush were convinced that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that is what their intelligence services duly concluded. Yuri Andropov, pedantic and autocratic, was utterly convinced that his KGB minions would find evidence of a looming nuclear assault. So that is what they did.

Gordievsky had been briefed on Operation RYAN before leaving Moscow. When this far-reaching KGB policy initiative was revealed to MI6, the Soviet experts in Century House at first treated the report with skepticism. Did the geriatrics of the Kremlin really misunderstand Western morality so completely as to believe America and NATO could attack first? Surely this was just alarmist nonsense from a veteran KGB crank? Or perhaps, even more sinister, a deliberate misinformation ploy intended to persuade the West to back off and scale down the military buildup? The intelligence community was dubious. James Spooner wondered: could the Center really be “so out of touch with the real world”?

But, in November 1982, Andropov succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as Soviet leader, becoming the first KGB chief to be elected general secretary of the Communist Party. Soon after, rezidenturas were informed that RYAN was “now of particularly grave importance” and had “acquired an especial degree of urgency.” A telegram duly arrived at the KGB’s London station, addressed to Arkadi Guk (under his alias, “Yermakov”), labeled “strictly personal” and “top secret.” Gordievsky smuggled it out of the embassy in his pocket, and handed it to Spooner.

Entitled “Permanent Operational Assignment to Uncover NATO Preparations for a Nuclear-Missile Attack on the USSR,” this was the RYAN blueprint, chapter and verse on the various indicators that should alert the KGB to preparations for an attack by the West. The document was proof that Soviet fears of a first strike were genuine, deeply held, and growing. It stated: “The objective of the assignment is to see that the rezidentura works systematically to uncover any plans in preparation by the main adversary [the United States] for RYAN, and to organize continual watch to be kept for indications of a decision being taken to use nuclear weapons against the USSR or immediate preparations being made for a nuclear-missile attack.” The document listed twenty indications of a potential attack, ranging from the logical to the ridiculous. KGB officers were instructed to carry out close surveillance of “key nuclear decision-makers” including, bizarrely, church leaders and top bankers. Buildings where such a decision might be taken should be closely watched, as well as nuclear depots, military installations, evacuation routes, and bomb shelters. Agents should be recruited as a matter of urgency within government, military, intelligence, and civil-defense organizations. Officers were even encouraged to count how many lights were switched on at night in key government buildings, since officials would be burning the midnight oil preparatory to a strike. The number of cars in government parking lots should also be counted: a sudden demand for parking spaces at the Pentagon, for example, might indicate preparations for an attack. Hospitals should also be watched, since the enemy would expect retaliation for its first strike and make provision for multiple casualties. A similarly close eye should be kept on slaughterhouses: if the number of cattle killed at abattoirs increased sharply, that might indicate that the West was stockpiling hamburgers prior to Armageddon.

The oddest injunction was to monitor “the level of blood held in blood banks,” and report if the government began buying up blood supplies and stockpiling plasma. “One important sign that preparations are beginning for RYAN could be increased purchases of blood from donors and the prices paid for it . . . discover the location of the several thousand blood donor reception centers and the price of blood, and record any changes . . . if there is an unexpectedly sharp increase in the number of blood donor centers and the prices paid, report at once to the Center.”

In the West, of course, blood is donated by members of the public. The only payment is a cookie, and sometimes a cup of juice. The Kremlin, however, assuming that capitalism penetrated every aspect of Western life, believed that a “blood bank” was, in fact, a bank, where blood could be bought and sold. No one in the KGB outstations dared to draw attention to this elemental misunderstanding. In a craven and hierarchical organization, the only thing more dangerous than revealing your own ignorance is to draw attention to the stupidity of the boss.

The more perceptive and experienced KGB officers knew there was no appetite for nuclear war in the West, let alone a surprise attack launched by NATO and the US.

Gordievsky and his colleagues were initially dismissive of this peculiar shopping list of demands, seeing Operation RYAN as just another example of pointless, ill-informed make-work by the Center. The more perceptive and experienced KGB officers knew there was no appetite for nuclear war in the West, let alone a surprise attack launched by NATO and the US. Guk himself only “paid lip service to the Center’s demands,” which he considered “ridiculous.” But obedience was more powerful than common sense in the world of Soviet intelligence, and KGB stations across the world dutifully began searching for evidence of hostile plans. And, inevitably, finding them. Almost any human behavior, if scrutinized sufficiently intensely, can begin to seem suspicious: a light left on in the Foreign Office, a parking shortage at the Ministry of Defence, a potentially bellicose bishop. As the “evidence” of the nonexistent plan to attack the USSR accumulated, it seemed to confirm what the Kremlin already feared, increasing paranoia in the Center and prompting fresh demands for proof. Thus do myths self-perpetuate. Gordievsky called it “a vicious spiral of intelligence gathering and evaluation, with foreign stations feeling obliged to report alarming information even if they did not believe it.”

Over the following months, Operation RYAN became the single dominant preoccupation of the KGB. Meanwhile, the rhetoric of the Reagan administration reinforced the Kremlin’s conviction that America was on an aggressive path to lopsided nuclear war. Early in 1983, Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as the “evil empire.” The impending deployment of Pershing II intermediate-range ballistic missiles in West Germany added to Soviet fears. These weapons had a “super-sudden first-strike capability,” and could hit hard Soviet targets, including missile silos, without warning, in as little as four minutes. The flight time to Moscow was estimated to be around six minutes. If the KGB gave sufficient warning of an attack, this would allow Moscow “a period of anticipation essential . . . to take retaliatory measures”: in other words, to strike first. In March, Ronald Reagan made a public announcement that threatened to neuter any such preemptive retaliation anyway: America’s Strategic Defense Initiative, immediately known as “Star Wars,” envisaged the use of satellites and space-based weapons to create a shield able to shoot down incoming Soviet nuclear missiles. It could render the West invulnerable, and enable the US to launch an attack without fear of retaliation. Andropov furiously accused Washington of “inventing new plans on how to unleash a nuclear war in the best way, with the hope of winning it . . . Washington’s actions are putting the entire world in jeopardy.” The RYAN program was expanded: for Andropov and his obedient KGB underlings, this was a matter of Soviet survival.

A state that feared imminent conflict was increasingly likely to lash out first. RYAN demonstrated, in the most emphatic way, just how unstable the Cold War confrontation had become.

At first, MI6 interpreted RYAN as encouraging additional evidence of KGB incompetence: an organization devoted to searching for a phantom plot would have little time for more effective espionage. But as time passed, and the angry rhetoric escalated on both sides, it became clear that the Kremlin’s fears could not be dismissed as mere time-wasting fantasy. A state that feared imminent conflict was increasingly likely to lash out first. RYAN demonstrated, in the most emphatic way, just how unstable the Cold War confrontation had become.

Washington’s hawkish stance was feeding into a Soviet narrative that could end in nuclear Armageddon. American foreign-policy analysts, however, tended to dismiss Soviet expressions of alarm as deliberate exaggerations for the sake of propaganda, part of the long-running game of bluff and counterbluff. But Andropov was serious when he insisted the US was planning to unleash nuclear war—and, thanks to the Russian spy, the British knew it.

America would have to be told that the Kremlin’s fears, though founded on ignorance and paranoia, were sincere.

The relationship between the British and American intelligence agencies is a little like that between older and younger siblings: close but competitive, friendly but jealous, mutually supportive but prone to spats. Both Britain and America had suffered high-level penetration by Communist agents in the past, and both nursed the lingering suspicion that the other might be unreliable. Under established agreements, intercepted signals intelligence was pooled, but information gathered from human sources was shared more sparingly. America had spies Britain knew nothing about, and vice versa. The “product” from those sources was proffered on a “need to know” basis, and the definition of necessity was variable.

Gordievsky’s revelations about Operation RYAN were passed to the CIA in a way that was helpful, but economical with the truth. Hitherto, NOCTON material had been distributed exclusively to “indoctrinated” intelligence readers within MI6 and MI5 and, on an ad hoc basis, to PET, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet Office, and the Foreign Office. The decision to widen the circle of distribution to include the US intelligence community marked a critical juncture in the case. MI6 did not say which part of the world the material came from, or who had supplied it. The source was carefully camouflaged and underplayed, the intelligence packaged in such a way that its origin was obscured. “The decision was taken to pass filleted, edited material as normal CX [an intelligence report]. We had to disguise the provenance. We said it came from a middle-ranking official, not in London. We had to make it look as bland as possible.” But the Americans were in no doubt about the authenticity and reliability of what they were hearing: this was information of the highest grade, trustworthy and valuable. MI6 did not tell the CIA that the intelligence came from within the KGB. But it probably did not need to.

So began one of the most important intelligence-sharing operations of the twentieth century.

Slowly, carefully, with quiet pride and subdued fanfare, MI6 began drip-feeding America with Gordievsky’s secrets. British intelligence has long prided itself on running human agents. America might have the money and technological muscle, but the Brits understood people, or liked to believe so. The Gordievsky case compensated, in some measure, for the lasting embarrassments of the Philby years, and it was presented with a slight British swagger. The American intelligence establishment was impressed, intrigued, grateful, and very slightly irked to be patronized by its smaller sibling. The CIA is not used to other agencies deciding what it needs, and does not need, to know.


What made the generation-switch hard in Soviet Union? - History

During WWII, the relations between Britain and the USSR have been quite close. Aside from material aid (the British sent Lend-Lease tanks and equipment, the Soviets sent captured German tanks and their own samples), the two countries exchanged intelligence. Here is one of many such exchanges, from CAMD RF 38-11355-2704:

"Tendencies in the manufacturing of German armour plates (excerpts from the report prepared by the Head of the Main British Tank Development Directorate)

  1. Economic reasons. It is very possible that the very amount of armour overloaded the German capacity to manufacture it, and Germany was forced to utilize heavier manufacturing, usually tasked with manufacturing simple armoured plates. There might be a shortage of equipment capable of processing thick armoured plates.
  2. Mechanical finish problems. The three aforementioned vehicles have interlocking armoured plates to increase the strength of the welds. Regular step connections were preserved. The combination of these two connections reduced the ability to produce a large number of armoured hulls. Perhaps the softer plates were introduced to remedy these problems.
  3. Ballistic factors. The three aforementioned vehicles were built for the purpose of long ranged combat. It is possible that the enemy introduced softer armoured vehicles knowing that the Allies use armour piercing capped shells. Use of these shells against soft armour is suboptimal. If soft armour continues to be used, we must explore the question of ballistic caps. However, it is necessary to collect more information, as this armour could still be surface hardened.

11 comments:

1) Its not that easy.
Homogenous armor is not in any case worse than face-hardened armor, that should be noted here.

Successfull German use of face hardened armor during the early stages of the war was because allied fielded a lot solid AP shells. AP shells without a cap may shatter against the high hardness layer on the surface of the face hardened armor.
However allied intelligence fitted their rounds with caps as well and now the FHA was very well penetrateable for them.

As example, Shermans 75mm APCBC round against Panzer IVH front ([email protected]°):
- if the front was face hardened, the Sherman's APCBC could penetrate it at up to 940m
- if the front was homogenous, the Sherman could penetrate it only at up to 150m (!)

Homogenous armor was infact more resistant against capped rounds. Thus i bet on your first point, the economical reasons, because the expensive electrical induction face hardening was not needed anymore with the rise of capped shells.

[1] WW2 Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery

2) The Panther plate in the report was one of the late ones. Mb (because it was in short supply) has been replaced by V (vanadium) already, thus shattering.

US engineers were not kind to the Russian armor either.

Watertown Arsenal for metallurgical examination:

The very high hardness encountered in most Soviet tank armor has
caused much unnecessary concern regarding the relative ballistic performance of the hard Soviet armor and the softer American armor. Many people associate high hardness with high resistance to penetration. Although this is true, within limits, in the case of attack of armor by undermatching projectiles (i.e. caliber of shot is less than the thickness of the armor), articularly at low obliquities of attack, it is definitely not true when the armor is attacked by larger caliber
shot at higher obliquities of impact. Competitive ballistic trials which have been conducted at ordnance proving grounds on both very hard and normally hard domestic armor and Soviet armor have established beyond question of doubt that in many cases, representative of actual battlefield attack conditions, very hard armor is distinctly inferior in resistance to penetration as compared to armor of more conventional hardnesses (280-320 Brinell).

That doesn't necessarily means the armor is bad, read the full report. It's a mostly deflective armor, not a resistive one, it's designed to deflect overmatching projectiles, not resisting direct impact/penetration.
The key is that soviet engineers tried to avoid penetration at all, to reduce damage from HE AT and prolonged low-caliber fire, that lead to the adoption of harder armor.

I made an article about this some time ago (in spanish): https://sites.google.com/site/worldofarmor/blindaje/acero-aleman

Germans didn't say their armor quality was bad or worse, but the enemies (british, soviets and americans) say their qualitie fell down. Armor more brite and less hardened.

FH was used to break enemy AP shells when impacting their armor. Once the shell penetrates, FH armor is a little less resistance than normal armor.

SS, I can send you the book "WW2 Ballistics: Armor and Gunnery" if you don't have it yet (pdf).

True is, that due to ressource shortness, V was replaced by Mb as steel component, leading to more brittle plates. Also, the inductive face-hardening took too much time, and was too expensive. Early PzIV plates were hardened to the state of a good kitchen knife.
So, Imho, it was both factors: Capped shells calling for softer armour, and economic reasons calling for cheaper production. German tanks were generally too expensive for wartime conditions. Later models would be delivered bright red with only anti-corrosion coating, and a box of paint powder that could be mixed with fuel for the crew to paint the tank themselves, now what does that tell you?
Biggest Problem AFAIK was the brittleness of inferior Mb-steel qualities due to the shortage of high quality steel components (also for the gearbox and transmissions of tigers and panthers, that called for very high steel qualities!)

I think I confused Mb and V , and their respective effects, but in the end, the shortage demnded chage of material.
The american report on the Panther armor also explicitly states that inadequate production conditions eliminated any potential the new material composition could have been providing. Especially the hardening was done inexpertedly, speaking of great haste in the process. So, no, german armour was not that great, and later in the war, not so good at all. Plus, It showed the basic problem of german engineering: Very sophisticated design ideas, that called for overly complicated, horribly expensive manufacture, using top-quality material, which in reality quickly led to crappy products due to sloppy production and shabby material available

Tests of early model panthers by the allies in Normandy showed some faulty plates in one or two tanks, but general armour quality was reasonable in war conditions.

"However, it is necessary to collect more information, as this armour could still be surface hardened." (#3)

What exactly is this supposed to mean? Is this as in, "other Tigers could still be carrying face hardened armour"?

The term reappearing in primary sources for secondary application of face hardening to homogenious armour is "Einsatzgehärtet"

You would heat up the surface of the plate by a heat source for a certain period and spray it with water immediately after.

A crude procedure, not very effective. The surface gets hardened a bit but the back stays soft.
The hardneing is sufficient to break up pointed, uncapped shells, which may result in shatter, depending on the cal/plate ratio, obliquity and velocity.

The tough, ductile back is smaller than with full homogenious armour, so if the face doesn´t succeed in breaking up the shell (like f.e. with well treated, capped AP, where the cap protects the nose tip), it will reduce the effectivity of armour to resist the shell in penetration

The hardness of homogenious armour is inversely correlated to ductility and section thickness. While You may have thick plates at high hardness, they would tend to be brittle and thus, less resistent to perforation.

Thinner plates can have superior hardness at acceptable ductility because it was easier to controll the heat removement in thinner sections and thus keep the desired fibrous structure.

At high obliquity impact, soft plates are definetely superior to hard plates because

a) they tend to damage the penetrator less, a nose damaged projectile against a harder plate would inhibite ricochet, the projectile would undergo more often than not the attempt to penetrate rather than deflect

b)harder plates normalize at significantly higher degrees than softer armour plates, thus reducing the benefit of high obliquity

c) the effect of tensile strength / hardness is more pronounced in measurement of plate resistence at low obliquity and drops with increasing obliquity. Depending on the cal/plate relationship, there will be a cross over point at which point a harder plate is inferior to a softer plate

----
"face hardened" tank armour is basically "harveyized" surface-only hardened homogenious armour. It´s not what the Navy understands under the term "Face hardened" (=decrementally hardened KC derivative).

Navy KC armour would be superior to capped and uncapped shell but the only case, I am aware of where Navy armour was intended to be used (doubtful if ever executed) was for the MAUS.


Shiraz Socialist

The death yesterday of Robert Conquest, author of The Great Terror, reminds us of the pathetic attempt by public school Stalinist hack Seumas Mine to challenge Conquest’s facts about the death-toll brought about by Stalinism.

The following article by Milne, written shortly before the final collapse of the USSR, appeared in the Guardian of March 10 1990. Until we republished it here at Shiraz (29 September 2012) it was not available anywhere else online, nor is it included in the 2012 book, wonderfully entitled The Revenge of History, made up of the “cream” of Milne’s Guardian columns. Conquest was a right-winger and virulent anti-communist: but he was an objective and thoroughly scupulous historian. Milne’s desperate attempt to challenge Conquest’s estimated death-toll (later verified as substantially correct when the Soviet archives were fully opened in 1991) is, perversely, a tribute to an honest man:

In the preface to the 40th anniversary edition of his pioneering work, The Great Terror (first published in 1968) Conquest stated that in the light of documents released since 1991 from the Presidential, State, Party and Police archives, and the declassification by Russia’s Federal Security Service of some 2 million secret documents:

“Exact numbers may never be known with complete certainty, but the total of deaths caused by the whole range of Soviet regime’s terrors can hardly be lower than some thirteen to fifteen million.”

From THE GUARDIAN Saturday March 10 1990

The figure of 25 million deaths that is being attributed to the Stalin regime should be revised in the light of glasnost reports. Seumas Milne analyses new Soviet data that records much lower gulag populations

Stalin’s missing millions

All over South-east of England billboards have appeared in the past week declaring: “Once upon a time there was an uncle who murdered 25 million of his children.” Next to this startling slogan is a photograph of the man who was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union for a generation, hugging an Aryan-looking Young Pioneer with pigtails.

The advertisement is a trailer for Thames Television’s block-buster documentary series on the life of Stalin, which begins on Tuesday. Forthcoming press publicity will follow a similar theme, setting out the kind of absurdities which could have led to arrest and execution at the height of the Soviet Terror in the late 1930’s.

The programmes come as glasnost has provoked a stream of new information and memoirs about the Stalin era in the Soviet Union itself, 30 years after Khruschev’s secret speech denouncing his former boss led to the first phase of revelations and rehabilitations. For the most part attention in the Soviet media has turned to more pressing problems. But the flood of new horror stories has emboldened an academic and political current which is bent on overturning the consensus view of Hitler and Nazism as the supreme evil of 20th century history.

Not only is it increasingly common for Stalin to be bracketed with Hitler as the twin monster of the modern era, even in the Soviet Union, but in West Germany and Austria a significant “revisionist” academic trend — represented by historians like Ernst Nolte, Andreas Hilgruber, and Ernst Topitsch — goes on to argue that the Stalinist system was actually responsible for the Nazis and the second world war.

Central to these debates is the issue of the number of Stalin’s victims. Controversy about the scale of repression in the Stalin era has rumbled on in Western universities for many years, and has now been joined by Soviet experts who are equally divided. Thames Television, with its 25 million deaths, has opted for the furthest extreme.

Hitherto, the British writer Robert Conquest who in the 1950’s worked for the Foreign Office propaganda outfit IRD, led the field with his view that Stalin was responsible for 20 million deaths. Phillip Whitehead, one of the Stalin series producers, says he is not to blame for the advertising campaign but thinks a 25 million figure can be defended if the Soviet dead in the first three months of the Nazi invasion of 1941 are included on the grounds of Stalin’s negligence.

But even that is not enough for Thomas Methuen, publishers of of the companion book to the series, who bid up the figure to 30 million in their publicity and — in an echo of the German revisionists — describe Stalin as “the greatest mass killer of the 20th century.” The record estimate so far has been 50 million, made in the Sunday Times two years nago.

There are three basic catagories of people usually regarded as Stalin’s victims: first there are those executed for political offences, most of whom died in the Terror years of 1937-8. Then there are those who died in the labour camps or in the process of mass deportations. Finally — and almost certainly the biggest number — there are the peasants who died during the famine of the early 30s.

In the complete absence of any hard evidence from the Soviet Union, estimates for a grand total of all three have been made by extrapolating the number of “excess deaths” from census figures. This process is fraught with statistical problems, including the fact that the 1937 census was supported, and the 1939 census is thought to have been artificially inflated by terrified Soviet statisticians.. Add to that disputes about the size of peasant families and the possibilities for discrepancies multiply.

Among Soviet specialists and demographers in the West, the majority view appears to be that the kind of numbers used by Robert Conquest and his supporters are wildly exaggerated. Prof Sheila Fitzpatrick, of Chicago University comments: “the younger generation of Soviet historians tend to go for far lower numbers. There is no basis in fact for Conquest’s claims.”

Some of the most recent Western demographic analysis, by Barbera Anderson and Brian Silver in the US, estimates that the most likely figure for all the “excess” deaths — whether from purges, famine or deportations — between 1926 and 1939 lies in a range with a median of 3.5 million, and a limit of eight million.

Estimates of that order have found support across a broad range of academic work, from Frank Lorrimer’s pioneering post-war analysis to Prof Jerry Hough’s 1979 study to the 1980s research by the British academic, Stephen Wheatcroft, now at the University of Melbourne. But this growing consensus has been thrown on the defensive by Soviet specialists like Roy Medvedev, who — using the same data — have apparently backed Conquest’s position, or something like it.

When it comes to the famine deaths, an exact figure will almost certainly never be known. But suddenly, after years of working in the dark, specialists are obtainingv some hard Soviet data. Last month, the KGB published for the first time the records of the number of victims of the Stalin purges.

Between 1930 and 1953, the report states, 3,778,234 people had been sentenced for counter-revolutionary activities or anti-state crimes,of whom 786,098 were shot. From his office at the Hoover Institute in California yesterday, Conquest said it was difficult to say whether the figures were right, but he thought “they could be true.”

Even more remarkably, the records originally made by the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) of those held in labour camps and penal colonies during the Stalin years are now becoming available. An article from a “restricted access” Soviet Interior Ministry journal has been passed to the Guardian, which lists the total Gulag populations during the 1930s and 1940s.

Originally collated for Khrushchev in the 1950s, the figures show how the camp numbers rose relentlessly from 179,000 in 1930 to 510,307 in 1934, to 1,296,494 in 1936, to 1,881,570 in 1938 at the height of the Terror. The population fell during the war, but reached its peak in 1950 when 2,561,351 people are recorded as detained in camps or colonies.

These figures published openly here for the first time are huge: but they are a long way from the 19 million camp population estimated by Robert Conquest. The Soviet report records that an average of 200,000 were released every year, and puts the death-rate in the camps at 3 per cent a year per on average, rising to more than 5 per cent in 1937-8. The camps were mostly emptied of political prisoners after Stalin’s death.

Are the figures credible? In the context of the current political atmosphere in the Soviet Union and the fact that they were in a restricted publication, it seems improbable that they have been tampered with. Of course, they do not cover the famine and other disasters. But they do begin to add credence to the mainstream academic view that the deaths attributable to Stalin’s policies was closer to 3.5 million than 25 million.

Why do numbers matter anyway? After all Robert Conquest may be out by a factor of five or 10, but the repressions were still enormous.

If, however, a figure of 20 million or 25 million becomes current currency, it adds credence to the Stalin-Hitler comparison. Already, anyone who questions these figures — even in the academic debates — is denounced as a “neo-Stalinist.”

As the Irish writer Alexander Cockburn who started what turned into a highly emotional exchange last year in the American journal, the Nation, puts it: “Any computation that does not soar past 10 million is somehow taken as being soft on Stalin.” And by minimising the quantitative gulf between the Hitler and Stalin killings, it becomes easier to skate over the uniqueness of the Nazi genocide and war.

JD adds: This last comment (“it becomes easier to skate over the uniqueness of the Nazi genocide and war”), suggesting that Conquest’s aim was to down-play Nazi genocide, is a simply despicable piece of Stalinist guilt-by-innuendo against Conquest, a proven and consistent anti fascist (which is more than can be said for the tradition Seumas belongs to). It demonstrates just how well the contemptible Milne has leaned from the filthy, lying methodology of Stalinism.


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