THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!

KGB director blames CIA for Soviet ills Deputies hear speech recalling Cold War rhetoric


MOSCOW -- On the offensive two days after the resignation of reformist Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, KGB chief Vladimir A. Kryuchkov accused the CIA yesterday of trying to destabilize the Soviet Union and suggested that the country must be prepared for more bloodshed if order is to be restored.

Mr. Kryuchkov's 25-minute speech to the Congress of People's Deputies was an extraordinary throwback to the Cold War rhetoric and enemy-hunting at home and abroad that were familiar here for decades before the reforms of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

It appeared certain to add to worry among Soviet radicals and Western governments that those reforms could falter as Mr. Gorbachev turns to hard-liners to stop growing economic and political chaos.

Yesterday, Mr. Gorbachev ordered mutual concessions by Moldovans and ethnic minorities aimed at reducing tension in the republic of Moldova, where the Russian and Gagauz minorities have tried to set up separate republics. He said that if the sides failed to comply in 10 days, he would use his constitutional powers to take control of the situation.

Meanwhile, in the Baltic republics, the main target of hard-liners' wrath, the Lithuanian president called for creation of a plan to resist any future Kremlin crackdown, and another bomb went off in the Latvian capital of Riga. The blast, which broke windows at a military institute, was the most recent of six explosions in Riga that Latvian officials allege are provocations by army or Communist Party loyalists.

In his address, Mr. Kryuchkov gave only passing mention to the values of democracy and political pluralism that have transformed the Soviet Union over the past five years, speaking instead of sabotage, espionage and extremism. He idealized the Soviet past and drew a grim picture of the present.

Drawing on a xenophobic strain in Russian thinking older than the Bolshevik Revolution, he portrayed a Soviet Union besieged by enemies without and within, implying that only the honest patriots of the KGB could save the nation.

Far from expressing gratitude for the outpouring of food and medical assistance from the rest of the world over the past few weeks, Mr. Kryuchkov charged that unscrupulous foreigners were duping credulous Soviet citizens by selling them tainted food and outmoded technology.

"Notwithstanding the warming of international relations, there has been a significant increase in the activity of certain Western special services," said Mr. Kryuchkov, who headed the KGB's foreign intelligence operations for 14 years before becoming chief of the security agency in 1988.

"The facts speak for themselves. The CIA of the United States, for instance, is not considering giving up the use of Radio Liberty or the financing of anti-Soviet formations abroad.

"By the way, in the CIA, a department has been formed to gather information on the workers' movement in the Soviet Union in order deliberately to exert influence over it," he said.

"Fears are heard that if we today embark on decisive action to restore

order, that we have to knowingly consent that blood will be shed," he said.

"Respected people's deputies, is blood really not being shed already? Turning on the television or opening the newspaper, do we really not almost every day learn of new human casualties, the deaths of innocent people, including women and children?" he said.

He expressed shock that after 74 years of Soviet power, people are being killed simply because of their nationality.

On the economy, Mr. Kryuchkov advanced the now-familiar line of conservatives seeking to preserve the old, state-run economy. He warned against attempts to introduce private property and read a long list of enormous quantities of food discovered rotting in warehouses during the KGB's current campaign against economic "sabotage."

Many Soviet and Western economists, by contrast, say it is precisely state ownership of enterprises that encourages them to permit food supplies to be wasted, since no individual is personally interested in selling them for profit.

After a similar, if more temperate, Kryuchkov statement 11 days earlier, U.S. diplomats pointed out that official U.S. policy is aimed not at undermining Soviet stability but at supporting it. Indeed, Mr. Kryuchkov's reference to Radio Liberty suggested that he had no recent evidence of genuine CIA subversion.

Radio Liberty, a Munich-based short-wave station originally financed covertly by the CIA, has been openly funded by the U.S. Congress since 1971.

Its coverage of the Soviet Union today is often more balanced than that in some of the more outspoken Soviet newspapers. Radio Liberty correspondents are officially accredited to cover the current Congress, and most deputies do not hesitate to grant them interviews.

While interethnic violence has broken out in many Soviet republics in the last four years, the official death toll is well under 1,000. By comparison, at the height of the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s, more than 1,000 people a day were murdered in Moscow alone by Mr. Kryuchkov's institutional predecessors in the secret police.

Mr. Kryuchkov implied that only in the last few years have people been murdered on the basis of nationality in the Soviet Union. In fact, the 30-year Stalinist regime is replete with the slaughter and exile of hundreds of thousands of people because they belonged to ethnic groups Stalin suspected of political disloyalty.

Given that historical legacy, which the Soviet Union is still struggling to overcome, Soviet reformers have been cautious in calling for an authoritarianism solution to the country's current troubles.

Mr. Shevardnadze's warning Thursday that "dictatorship is on the offensive" was the most dramatic protest to date against the increasing prominence of hard-liners and Mr. Gorbachev's recent reliance on them.

Mr. Kryuchkov's speech, while not mentioning Mr. Shevardnadze, was clearly framed as a defiant answer to the foreign minister's warning.

If Mr. Shevardnadze's resignation was aimed at rallying democratic forces, it appears so far to be having limited success. Instead, the impending departure of the reformist Soviet official best known in the West seems to have fired up the right wing, including the KGB chief.

Russian Federation leader Boris N. Yeltsin, the country's most prominent radical reformer, criticized Mr. Shevardnadze's speech in conversation yesterday with reporters. He rejected correspondents' comparison of the Shevardnadze move to Mr. Yeltsin's own resignation from the Politburo three years ago.

"Times are different. The political situation is different," the Tass news agency quoted him as saying. "I think he made a mistake."

At the same time, Mr. Yeltsin had no kind words for Mr. Kryuchkov.

"Yes, there is sabotage, yes, there is corruption," he said, dismissing the speech. "We have heard all this before."

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad