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Our Boy Bezmenov:
Soviet Subversion Strategies in America

Yuri Bezmenov during his interview with Edward Griffin.

4,870 words

A long campaign of demoralization leads to destabilization. Then some crisis conveniently emerges, which, upon close examination, appears aimed at bringing about a Leftist overthrow. Does that seem familiar? Since the public has been through two largely manufactured crises in the first half of 2020, maybe it even sounds like it’s been ripped from the headlines! Actually, all this is much older than one might expect.

During the Cold War, there were about four dozen defectors from the GRU, and its more famous successor, the KGB. Yuri Bezmenov was one of the ones who described his experiences. He was assigned to India, which also became the launching point for subversion efforts in East Pakistan — now Bangladesh. He fell in love with India and its ancient culture. (This is understandable, since he came from a dreary Communist dictatorship with notoriously lousy weather.) It began to bother him that his job was to push propaganda and export revolution. When he discovered that they were compiling hit lists, it was too much for him. He got away in early 1970 after disguising himself as a hippie. He defected, eventually arriving in Canada.

Recorded works

Bezmenov is perhaps best remembered for two lectures about his former career. One was “Psychological Warfare Subversion & Control of Western Society [1]” delivered in Los Angeles in 1984. It’s fairly concise, also discussing counterstrategies. The other is “Deception Was My Job [2],” an interview with G. Edward Griffin running much longer in the full version. It begins with his personal history, then describing the subversion script toward the end. That one has a three-part transcription [3].

Some of his material started getting deleted by YouTube. It should be a profound embarrassment to their corporation that the munchkins at their censorship department would go after content criticizing Soviet subversion and totalitarianism. (Are they showing their true colors?) Fortunately, someone at BitChute preserved the collection [4].

I had seen the two major videos before, but this compilation had some bonus material. (There were some other recordings back in the day, but unless they resurface, this is it.) Some of it was about the emphasis in Soviet propaganda for creating catchphrases and reframing words. We’d see a lot more of this type of thing, though done by other people, with the first phase of political correctness in the 1990s.

Finally, Bezmenov emphasizes the importance of religious faith to see us through this. I wish I could be so optimistic. I will concur that there’s something special about eternal wisdom. Still, I’ll have to say that more is needed than religion alone. If God wanted to miracle us out of Clown World, He probably would’ve done so already. Maybe this is on us to fix.

Written works

Bezmenov also wrote four books, some written under the pen name Tomas Schuman. Two of them were about his adventures in journalism. As I summarized in Deplorable Diatribes [5]:

Yuri Bezmenov had some things to say about America’s press too, from his observations at the Novosti Press Agency. This was the USSR’s “independent” media outlet, which actually was a propaganda arm controlled by the KGB, and home to many screwballs. He wrote two tell-all accounts of that, World Thought Police [6] and No Novosti Is Good News [7]. During the time he was posted there, his job was to schmooze with foreign journalists, keep them liquored up, show them some Potemkin villages, and feed them bullshit. It was easy to get them to eat it all up. [. . .]

He had plenty of other things to say about their propagandist media hacks working with our propagandist media hacks. Ours got cash and prizes for their services while on vacay. (Meanwhile, a Soviet citizen who shilled for a foreign government that way would’ve spent the next five years chopping logs in Siberia, or worse.) The more I read about it and compared it with my own observations regarding MSM types, the more I was impressed with the similarities of journalists in the USA and the USSR, including their personal issues, integrity, and Marxist political leanings. The Americans recruited as Agents of Influence to parrot the disinformation were birds of a feather with their Soviet buddies.

Another book, Black is Beautiful, Communism is Not [8], was based on a 1985 lecture in Atlanta. It’s not quite as touchy-feely universalistic as the title would suggest, but he did admit to having “yellow fever.” This is because a Kazakh lady was his daycare provider, leading to a lifelong attraction to that type. (This sort of early imprinting is pretty much Freud 101, or at least the more valid parts.) Lessons learned are to be discriminating about who does your childcare.

Much of the book is about how they brought foreign journalists and intellectuals into their orbit as Agents of Influence. He also describes his escape, his life afterward, and how relations with the USSR should be handled. Other than that, there’s an iconic picture of our favorite KGB spook with the celebrity guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and a hilarious quip about the Beatles:

If you remember the history of rock and roll music, you know the name of the Beatles. They were trained in India in an ashram in transcendental meditation, and they landed in the United States and they poisoned millions of minds of your children with the strange blend of Oriental mysticism and revolutionary music. “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” My KGB supervisors were dying of curiosity, how could it possibly happen that four degenerate monkeys are so rich and famous in the United States?

After making the very risky decision to defect, leaving a cushy job by Soviet standards for an unknown future, he discusses his reception. This might seem rather familiar:

For the last 15 years I have been screaming, “Wake up people!” What do I get in return? More than 15 countries since my defection have been occupied by communists. And yet your media calls me paranoid, right-wing fanatic, ultra-conservative, McCarthyist, or whatever. This morning — I have a tape if you want to listen. This morning people on the radio called me these names, dimwits living right here in Atlanta. A “fanatic and idiot” because I am trying to wake you up.

My decision was extremely painful because, as I say, you have to be absolutely crazy to leave behind a luxurious life to come to your side, trying to save you, and get spit in my face.

Toward the end, he started calling out Deep State characters too:

You’ve been following the advice of people like Kissinger, Schlesinger, Brzezinski, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, for the last observable history. Look where you are now. You lost all your friends in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and you are on your way to losing El Salvador, South Africa [9], Philippines, Mexico, Canada [10], and on and on.

Since he was never posted to America while a KGB agent, it is unclear how much awareness he had about tricky “swamp creatures” playing both halves against the middle, or even playing for the other team [11]. Perhaps it wouldn’t have surprised him much, and it might have explained the lack of practicality in foreign policy that he found so frustrating. If he were still around, I’d be quite interested in his opinion.

Although there are hints of unfinished manuscripts, the only other known book-length writing was Love Letter to America [12]. This one is mainly about Soviet subversion strategies, to be covered in further detail here. Some are also described in his lectures, though this book also contains some graphics and much more detail.

The oldest subversion script

Bezmenov emphasizes the role of Sun Tzu in the KGB’s philosophy. Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese philosopher was virtually unknown in the West. (This did change in the 1990s. I also would highly recommend Sun Tzu’s writings to Dissident Rightists as well. Read him too if you read Clausewitz or Machiavelli!) For example, consider his subversion strategy from about 500 BC:

  1. Cover with ridicule all of the valid traditions in your opponent’s country.
  2. Implicate their leaders in criminal affairs and turn them over to the scorn of their populace at the right time;
  3. Disrupt the work of their government by every means;
  4. Do not shun the aid of the lowest and most despicable individuals of your enemy’s country.
  5. Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens.
  6. Turn the young against the old.
  7. Be generous with promises and rewards.

By any chance, do the above items seem reminiscent of a certain era in American history? What a big coinkydink!

Bezmenov notes that the Soviet leadership was not enthusiastic about going to war with the USA; basically, they understood that it would involve mutually-assured destruction. They hoped that subversion would result in taking over without firing a shot. (Sun-Tzu would’ve approved!) Note well, an important part of subversion is to change the public’s perception of reality to the point that they can’t recognize that an enemy is an enemy. Does that seem familiar too?

Sources of friction

The irreconcilability of equal opportunity with the mistaken expectation of equal results will always cause tension in our society:

People who have declared themselves to be equal will inevitably come to expect more for their individual needs, which sooner or later will tragically come to conflict with the “unequal” reality. That will automatically produce discontent. Unhappy and discontent masses are less productive than those who are happy being what they are and making the best of it.

For anyone trying to exploit tensions, this will be an obvious area of opportunity. Later, the book suggests that diversity isn’t going to be our greatest strength:

The present-day “solution” to racial inequality is borrowed from Communist mythology: equality of all racial and ethnic groups legislated by the government and enforced by state bureaucracies. We know perfectly well that neither races nor individuals are equal, in every respect. We know that every nation and race has its peculiar character, abilities, traditions, mentality, and ability to learn and its individual pace of development.

The “Psychological Warfare” video has some further insights:

The target country obviously does something wrong. If it’s a free democratic society, there are many different movements within the society. Obviously, in every society, there are people who are against the society. They may be simple criminals, ideologically in disagreement with the state policy, conscientious enemies, simply psychotic personalities who are against anything. Finally, there are agents of a foreign nation: bought, subverted, recruited.

To nudge society the direction they want it to go, this organized subversion effort could encourage and support the other centrifugal elements. That would be easier than trying to confront an enemy society head-on. It’s rather like the methodology of aikido.

In fact, this suggests a viable counterstrategy that could be done today. Cultural Marxism (including some of its newer forms, such as intersectionality) is what holds the liberal-minority coalition together and keeps them on target. As I’ve said before [13], the soi-disant progressive Left is an alliance of convenience among groups having little to nothing in common besides shared grudges and the desire for more freebies. They’ve been told endlessly that we’re their oppressors. What would happen if they found out that they’ve been lied to about this, and these very dissimilar groups started to pursue their own natural interests instead of forming a united front for cultural Marxism? Better yet, what if their anger was redirected at the real exploiters?

How the subversion script works

This sort of thing was only 15% of the KGB’s budget! The other 85% was Active Measures.

The book spells out the details in full of the KGB’s subversion praxis. It’s also summarized toward the end of “Deception Was My Job”:

According to my opinion and [the] opinion of many defectors of my caliber, only about 15% of time, money, and manpower [are] spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process, which we call either “ideological subversion,” or “active measures” — “aktivnye meropriyatiya” in the language of the KGB — or “psychological warfare.”

The Venona decrypts detailed traditional Soviet espionage mostly around 1944, much more extensive than anyone suspected, other than a few such as Joseph McCarthy. If that’s anywhere near a representative sample of what occurred during the Cold War, then the extrapolation is massive. Even so, that was only 15% of the estimated budget. A far greater part of the KGB’s resources went into psychological warfare efforts.

Note well what ideological subversion does; this too should seem familiar:

What it basically means is, to change the perception of reality, of every American, to such an extent that despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.

The strategy runs in four phases: demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and normalization. He notes that the demoralization stage takes a minimum of 15-20 years:

Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).

The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern.

We’ve all seen that type, haven’t we? Once they’re this propagandized, it takes an epiphany for them to reverse the brainwashing. Bezmenov said that the only thing that can be done is to educate the next generation in healthy values, which will take another 15-20 years. (Obviously, that would necessitate making the educational system ideologically balanced, particularly the types of colleges where the students presently get deep-fried in toxic ideology. That’s much easier said than done.) Then:

The demoralization process in [the] United States is basically completed already. For the last 25 years, actually, it’s over-fulfilled because demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success.

Again, this was recorded in 1984; the good old days to some of us! In many ways, it seems like a charmed era compared to Clown World. The over-fulfillment just keeps going.

Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to a lack of moral standards.

This is a very good point. Not everything that took place during the 1960s-1970s was planned out to the last detail in some corner of the Kremlin. There was a lot of homegrown tomfoolery too, after that type of leftist ideology became trendy. When something becomes fashionable, it takes on a life of its own and builds up a certain inertia. For every Agent of Influence behind a TV camera (or editorial desk) parroting the Party Line straight from the transmission belt, there were countless useful idiots too.

The next stage is destabilization. This time [the] subverter does not care about your ideas and the patterns of your consumption; whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby doesn’t matter anymore. This time — and it takes only from two to five years to destabilize a nation — what matters [are] essentials: economy, foreign relations, [and] defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly that in some areas, in such sensitive areas as defense and [the] economy, the influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas in [the] United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never believe it fourteen years ago when I landed in this part of the world that the process [would have gone] that fast.

As he explains in the other lecture, one feature of the destabilization phase is characterized by a nation’s factions being greatly at odds with each other. Another feature is that traditional means of dispute resolution are no longer working. For example, the courts are tied up with frivolous lawsuits. Labor and management can’t see eye to eye. Nonsensical political causes generate great controversy. Sound familiar?

At that point, the public already is being primed for some charismatic leader offering radical solutions. Then the crisis stage comes:

It may take only 2 to 6 months to bring America to the same situation which now exists south of the border in Central America. At this third stage of subversion, you will have all your American “radicals” and Soviet “sleeper” agents springing into action, trying to “seize power as quickly and ruthlessly as possible” . . . If all the previous stages of Soviet subversion have been successfully completed by that time, the majority of Americans will be so totally confused that they may even welcome some “strong” leaders. . . given almost unlimited “emergency powers.” A forceful change of the U.S. system may or may not be accomplished through a civil war or internal revolution, and a physical military invasion by the USSR may not even have to take place at all. But change it will be, and rather a drastic one, with all the familiar attributes of Soviet “progress” being instituted such as nationalization of vital industries, the reduction of the “private sector” of the economy to the bare minimum, the redistribution of wealth, and a massive propaganda campaign by the newly “elected” government to “explain” and justify the reforms.

I will add that a crisis can be exploited in ways short of a complete overthrow. It works for lesser power grabs too. This tactic occurs every time the MSM trots out the usual gun control boilerplate after someone goes postal. Everyone needs to be disarmed, and never mind that the shooter was mentally ill, a Muslim fanatic who didn’t belong here, or maybe even a false flag actor. Other than that, early on, Obama did pretty well with the “it’s an emergency, so we have to pass this bill without further debate” shtick, until it started wearing out.

If the crisis brings about regime change, then it moves to stage 4, the radical Leftist convergence of the entire society. If normalization takes place, it’s “Game Over.” According to a rare manuscript from a 1979 lecture:

This usually ends the circle of events and a “liberated” nation for an indefinite period becomes a satellite of a communist power. This is the least painful development. The other two alternatives are unmeasurably more tragic:

    1. International (multinational) military conflict (Indochina), or
    2. Civil war and mass terror against the civilian population.

Both alternatives imply that the “liberated” nation by this time is: totally defenseless internally (the police and security destroyed) — defenseless individually (guns expropriated, no civil-defense programs conducted for years, gangs of “revolutionaries” are absolutely free to do whatever they imagine is good for the cause. . .)

Subversion is complete and successful. From now on the infected system will stabilize itself and grow, eventually replacing the normal, healthy national body, then devouring the disintegrated remnants of it.

This, of course, is about the time that the regime’s political police start sending dissidents to reeducation camps or the like. If it’s any consolation, the radicalinskis who paved the way for all this will get whacked first. They’ve outlived their usefulness after the new regime is in charge. From “Deception Was My Job”:

They serve [a] purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your Leftists in [the] United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed anymore. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power — obviously they get offended — they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.

In the end, the useful idiots face the Day of the Rope by their own comrades. Now that’s harsh! Of course, there are times when the cycle is attempted but doesn’t play out completely. The rest of this is my own commentary, beginning with a couple of famous cases.

Weimar Republic subversion

Communists have had a lot of experience in creating revolutionary conditions, beginning of course with Russia. Germany became another early target by the end of the First World War. Marxist uprisings occurred in several regions and city-states. If Germany had become Communist and joined forces with the new USSR, the likely eventual result would’ve been an Iron Curtain beginning at the Atlantic shore.

Armed revolution didn’t work, but the Communists didn’t give up. Some merely switched strategies. In May 1919 (around the time that the revolt was fizzling out), a document was discovered in Düsseldorf with several agenda items [14] geared toward subversion. Bezmenov himself wrote in Love Letter To America:

I can not vouch for the authenticity of this document. . . But I can assure you, that these “rules” are almost a literal interpretation of those “theories and practices” which I learned from my KGB superiors and colleagues within the Novosti Press Agency.

Interesting things were afoot. Two months later, Marxist sexologists Magnus Hirschfeld and Arthur Kronfeld set up shop and started doing their dirty work, including their precursor to today’s “Fifty Shades of Gender” stuff as well as the first transsexual surgeries [15]. In 1923, a high-level symposium of Communist intellectuals took place, the Erste Marxistische Arbeitswoche. Bold new strategies were discussed, and this led to the formation of the Frankfurt School. The prior year, in Moscow around the time of a Comintern convention, Willi Münzenberg (a superspy who pioneered the front group strategy) declared:

We must organize the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

A wave of degeneracy blanketed the Weimar Republic, completely unprecedented. Along with the postwar economic distress caused by the Versailles Treaty shakedown, the effects on the German public were devastating. However, to make a long story short, all that resulted in tremendous blowback. The obvious lesson was that it’s dangerous for subverters to roll out the poz too quickly; it’s better to boil the frog alive by turning up the heat very slowly!

Cold War subversion

During the time of FDR’s New Deal, several Marxists ensconced themselves in America’s bureaucracy. It wasn’t until the early to mid-1950s that many of them were kicked out. Joseph McCarthy was opposed every step of the way by the comsymp media, and thanks to their efforts, he was sidelined before he could finish purging the pinkos. After all this, surely the remaining radicalinskis got the message to be careful. Even Hollywood got the memo for a while. Fortunately for them, cultural Marxism flew under the radar much easier.

Another significant event was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev backed down, realizing that a direct military confrontation would be a disaster benefiting nobody. Brezhnev took over largely for this reason, but he had his lucid moments sometimes. All this might be why subversion efforts started intensifying during the 1960s as an alternate stratagem.

Prior to all that, poz was rejected by the American public and didn’t catch on. During the 1960s when the effort picked up greatly, the poz gained critical mass. In some ways, the Weimar Republic was a dress rehearsal for all this. A Counterculture was underway, mutually synergistic with the peace movement. Several political causes became radicalized, as if competing to see who could be the most incendiary. Hippies burnt draft cards, those charming second-wave feminists burnt their bras, and blacks burnt cities. Europe had its own troubles too, which nearly came to a head in 1968.

This turbulent era carried forward into the 1970s, completing what Bezmenov called the demoralization phase. Things did calm down after Henry Kissinger lost Vietnam for us, but America was never the same. Going into another decade of anti-American, anti-white, anti-male, anti-authority, anti-morality, and anti-religion propaganda, the social fabric was tattered. Even so, silly liberals think that “society just evolved” during this time, all by itself, and without any help from Agents of Influence and useful idiots.

Things were pretty dodgy by the Carter administration. Jimmy the Wimp’s Presidency was a time that could be characterized as the destabilization phase. Although the late 1970s seem like a simpler time in some ways, there was an undercurrent of anger among areas of the public, as well as a sense of nothing working right, and a “walking on eggshells” feeling that resurfaced with a vengeance in the politically correct 1990s. Things could’ve come to a head with the energy crisis, stagflation, and the Iran hostage crisis, but the 1980s bought us a reprieve.

The eventual outcome was mutual subversion, a very strange event in history where two rival superpowers infected each other with an inferior version of their ideology. Russia eventually opted for capitalism, but got crapitalism. Meanwhile, the West got cultural Marxism, or in other words, “Communism Lite.” Toward the end, Gorbachev stopped the Active Measures. However, Leftists in the West picked it up and ran with it, hardly skipping a beat. The globalists began to assume the center of gravity around the Left, and their well-funded tricky foundations [16] are tremendously helpful to them, but all that is another story. They inherited all the useful idiots.

Some final thoughts on subversion

Marxists did, and still do, have considerable faith in social engineering, something they consider to be like a science. By nudging the masses in a certain direction at the right time, the theory goes that the central planners will be able to shape society however they want. It follows that cultures can be altered easily, and even human nature itself can be changed. Essentially, people are identical worker modules, and the mind is just software running on them. The masses can be reprogrammed with some psychological tactics here, some propaganda there, some dialectical special sauce, etc.

Obviously, prudent social engineers would want positive traits in their own society, such as productivity, patriotism, and harmony. For an enemy society, they’d want to promote things like disunity, weakness, degeneracy, and chaos. Does it work? Communists put great efforts into perfecting mankind, sometimes even attempting remarkably dodgy ideas [17], but things didn’t work out as they’d hoped. However, social engineering does work remarkably well in a negative direction. Marxists certainly know how to create agitation, make trouble, and wreck society, lessons that the globalists have learned.

For example, the entire point [18] of cultural Marxism was creating divisiveness. This is why Communist countries don’t actually use it on their own people after they achieve normalization. They figured out early on that cultural Marxism is a mess, though it’s fine to export it to enemy countries. It would be pretty stupid for the leaders of a regime to run subversion strategies decade after decade in their own country!

Subversion in contemporary times

This is the mistake the globalists are making. By the 1990s, they had everything they could’ve wanted. The people were “unaware and compliant.” The globalists were filthy rich. The party bosses got them the candidates they wanted during the primaries, and few paid much attention to the men behind the curtain. All they had to do to stay in power indefinitely was not antagonize the public.

However, all that money wasn’t good enough for them. They realized they could pad their wallets even more by shipping millions of jobs to cheaper labor markets. Moreover, although they had hardly any opposition, they feared that the peasants could rise up one day. (It would be for absolutely no reason whatsoever, of course.) They decided to run the West into the ground, even though it was their source of wealth, and also provided the cannon fodder for their geopolitical chess games.

To that end, they kept encouraging the old subversion strategies, but for their own purposes. Since then, it’s been a long string of spit-in-your-eye wars, economic malfeasance, doubling down on mass migration, assorted skullduggery, and even wretched envelope-pushing, like sex changes for kids. As for lately, we’ve survived Greta Thunberg trying to nag the West into deindustrializing, Nancy Pelosi’s silly impeachment, then a plague even more overrated than the swine flu, and finally, Leftist radicals pushing the Boogaloo button [19] over a dead criminal [20] while the MSM fans the flames.

The Powers-That-Be have been doing their damnedest to rock the boat, but forgot that they’re on board too! (Why not govern wisely instead?) Now the globalists and cultural Marxists have a lot of opposition that they didn’t have before. What they’re doing has become increasingly obvious.

As Mr. Bezmenov would’ve put it, you only need to open your eyes and get the banana out of your ear!

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