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Yet, even being caught with smoking guns, our opponents are still in denial. I remember how I met late Alexander Yakovlev – who, as Pavel tells us, was the architect of the 1989 revolutions – at one conference some fifteen years ago. By that time, he was supposed to have become a great democrat and a high authority on matters of Soviet history. Without knowing anything about his personal role except that he was a Politburo member, I asked him about the 1989 revolutions: what was the original Soviet plan? How did it get out of control? Did the Politburo take any advance decision on what should be done in East Europe?
“There was no decision,” Yakovlev replied.
“Look,” I said, “I have seen the Politburo documents about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. That decision was worked out very carefully in order to preserve the pro-Soviet regime, because, as you, comrades, noted, that regime “was associated with us in the eyes of the world.” Surely East Europe could not be seen as less important, and left to its own devices? You must have had at least some plan about it?”
But Yakovlev was adamant: there had been no plan, no decision, no discussion of that issue by the Politburo. All happened by itself.
At that point, we were approached by Radek Sikorski (at that time, he was not the Foreign Minister of Poland yet), who also had a question for Yakovlev:
“Alexander Nikovayevich, I wanted to ask you for a very long time: when exactly have you stopped believing in communism?”
“Do you think I am an idiot?” Yakovlev asked. “I never believed in communism in my life.”
Amazed, Radek turned to me and said in English:
“It looks like the whole f…ng Soviet Union was governed by anti-communists!”
Now we learn, from Pavel’s documents, that not only did the Politburo have a plan, but Yakovlev personally was in charge of its preparation.
After Adam’s document was published, Gorbachev specifically came to Romania on Iliescu’s request, two of them staged a press conference and denied everything. It was reported in the Romanian media that the cost of Gorbachev’s visit was about a million dollars, but the communists always have enough money for propaganda (from whatever sources).
I guess Romania is the main reason why Gorbachev and Yakovlev denied their responsibility for the 1989 revolutions. After all, over a thousand people were killed there. Still, our opponents have hardly anything to say on the substance of the matter – you cannot argue against the documents. All they can do is dismiss all the evidence as a “conspiracy theory.” Sadly, though, when multiplied by all the power and money of the neo-communist Establishment, even this cheap propaganda trick works.
Nowadays, the “conspiracy theorist” label is being used in the same manner as “enemy of the people” under Stalin. Nobody ever gave a clear definition of a conspiracy theory, and yet, it is a perfect way to silence dissenting voices without any debate on the substance of the matter. We seem to admit that conspiracies do happen and sometimes succeed, so much so that we even recognize them in criminal law. It is quite respectable, for example, to blame the 9/11 tragedy on an al-Qaeda conspiracy. This is not a conspiracy theory – but any alternative theory is. So, a conspiracy theory is simply a view which does not fit into the margins of what is acceptable to the Establishment, simply a deviation from their propaganda line.
It is time to admit that, because conspiracies sometimes occur, a conspiracy theory may happen to be accurate, just like any other theory. In the case of the Romanian revolution, the “conspiracy theory” is simply the only possible explanation of the known facts. The only alternative theory, aggressively advanced in several academic works and a documentary movie, attempts to explain everything with a conspiracy of Western secret services. Their “evidence” is limited to some empty claims by two or three people, supposedly former French secret agents; and the whole theory is so inconsistent that it hardly merits a serious consideration. Yet, nobody calls it a conspiracy theory.
So, gentlemen, 20 years after the Soviet empire collapsed, we are still in a position when the truth about our history is being jammed by communist propaganda. Even if, as Gen Pacepa says, the communist regime has dug its own grave, it will continue to haunt our countries until we nail a wooden stake through its heart. One would expect that Adam’s discovery would cause a political storm in Romania; instead, we only saw the panic reaction from Iliecu and Gorbachev amidst the general indifference. Meanwhile, during the same few weeks, the communists had an immensely important victory of blocking a long-awaited lustration law in the Romania’s Constitutional Court.
Alas, as I said many times before, we did not win the Cold War. No war is over until the minefields and unexploded bombs are cleared away, unless gangs of marauders and surviving enemies are disarmed. Above all, no war is over until its crimes are investigated and condemned, and the truth about its history is revealed and accepted. So far, in the world in general and Romania in particular, we only see communists writing history and dictating the conditions of peace. The most optimistic comment I can make about this is that there is still a long way to go.
FP: Adam Burakowski, what are your thoughts for this second and final round?
Burakowski: As Pavel rightly pointed out, Iliescu and his people did indeed go to great lengths in order to hide their ties to Moscow. Still, they did not fully succeed in doing so. Some of their actions were just too obvious, like the Romanian-Soviet friendship pact signed in April 1991 – just months prior to the collapse of the USSR. The pact met with strong criticism in Bucharest, among other things, for its recognition of the existing northern border of Romania.
The pro-Russian policy was abandoned later by Iliescu himself. In 2000, when the postcommunist party regained power in Romania, many political analysts feared that it would reverse the pro-Western trend established by Emil Constantinescu and consequent governments of the coalition around the Romanian Democratic Convention. This, however, did not happen. Iliescu realized that the integration with Western structures – NATO and European Union – should continue.
Our knowledge of the Romanian December is now deeper than it was in the 1990’s, when first books on the topic were published. Some theories from that time have since been confirmed by new evidence, others discarded. Recently the bodies of the Ceauşescu couple have been exhumed. I personally doubt whether this particular examination will reveal any new clues, but most certainly, any investigation efforts around the December events should be encouraged and supported. Because there remains a lot to be cleared up.
I agree with Vladimir, that we constantly face attempts to hide the truth. Many of these attempts are primitive and easy to see through, but when they are boosted by media propaganda, they begin to gain undue credibility, significantly harming the public awareness of what happened 20 years ago and what is happening now.
Democracy should be built on the truth. People, not just in Romania, deserve to know the real circumstances of the 1989 events. Why was there more bloodshed after the overthrow of Ceausescu than before it? How did it happen that following so much bloodshed, hard headed postcommunists took over the power (quite unlike in the bordering Hungary, where not a single shot had been fired)? Why was the pro-western policy, as the only possible way to cut the ties with the country’s totalitarian past, introduced in Romania so late? These are only some of the questions that need to be asked repeatedly. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Jamie Glazov for organizing this discussion. It’s been a privilege to me and, I hope it will be an encouragement to researchers out there to explore and solve the mysteries of the past, so we can all draw a lesson.
Stroilov: I am very grateful to Gen. Pacepa for the kind words. May I, in turn, express my admiration for everything he has done to reveal the truth about the communist regime in Romania and its role in the Cold War. I regard his ‘Red Horizons’ as the single most important source on those matters. What he has told us in this discussion about the 1989 revolution and the parallels with the plan ‘Dnestr’ is also very revealing.
Paradoxically, having spent years and years trying to uncover the truth about the final stage of the Cold War, we on this panel still seem to underestimate the importance of our own work. It cannot be the case that, while the history of communism is being distorted and falsified, at present the recovery is going on just fine. I agree with Vladimir: recovery is simply not possible without revealing the whole truth about the past. While the Iliescus of this world are lying about their communist past, I shall never believe a word of what they say about their ostensibly democratic present.
With respect, I cannot agree with Adam that the fears of communist restoration after Iliescu’s return to power in 2000 turned out to be wrong. The EU membership or even NATO membership do not guarantee democracy. On the contrary, today’s European Union is a notoriously anti-democratic, socialist structure. It is a direct continuation of the Soviet plan for a ‘Common European Home,’ where Eastern Europe would be sandwiched between a Soviet Russia on one hand and a socialist United Europe on the other. According to the documents (Vladimir and I published many of them in ‘EUSSR. The Soviet Roots of European integration’), this plan was extensively discussed between Gorbachev and the Western Left (especially the French) in the late 1980s. The architects of the European Union, such as Mitterrand or Delors, were very careful to make the design compatible with Gorbachev’s plans. The guarantee of control over the rebellious Central Europe – from United Germany to Romania to Yugoslavia – was a very important consideration in those discussions.
So, if Iliescu was pro-Soviet and then suddenly turned pro-EU, it tells us more about the EU than about Iliescu. If he is pro-Western now, this only means something is very wrong with the West. The EU we know is simply a clever device for the Iliescus of the East and the West to preserve their unearned position of power.
After all, what is the meaning of ‘pro-Western’ after the US State Secretary joined Iliescu’s treacherous request for a Soviet invasion of Romania? Was that a ‘pro-Russian’ idea or a ‘pro-Western’ idea? And what is the meaning of ‘pro-Western’ today, when the United States is fighting a losing battle against Marxist reforms by its own government? Can we still seriously say that the free world has won the Cold War?
The problem is by no means purely Romanian; it is global, and has always been so. Even after the end of the Cold War, the communists have suffered some losses but survived as an international Mafia. The real question is: how much has survived of the free world?
We have sown ‘post-communism’; now we harvest neo-communism, which has turned out to be a very serious threat. The Second Cold War has already started. The question is: do we – in the East and the West – have the strength to resist?
And of course, if we are to fight, we should start from opening our eyes. Like 20 years ago, no recovery is possible until we face the truth about the past. The instincts of the neo-communist Establishment are still Orwellian: whoever controls the past controls the future. So, indeed, the greatest rebellion in today’s world is to put two and two together. That is what we have tried to do in this symposium and in our work over years; hopefully, with some success.
Thank you Jamie. Thank you gentlemen.
Pacepa: I fully agree with Mr. Bukovksy: “It looks like the whole f…ing Soviet Union was governed by anti-Communists.” Of course, there were no Nazi admirers to be found in Germany after World War II, either. And what about Communists in Romania? A lie! There were none. If things go wrong in Moscow and Bucharest these days, it is because of people like Bukovsky, Preobrazheskiy and Pacepa. They betrayed their motherland. They are the evil. They are “traitors” and “absolute loafers,” as President Putin called former KGB general Oleg Kalugin, a director of the International Spy Museum in Washingotn D.C., who was sentenced to fifteen years in jail by Moscow during the same year of 2002, when NATO welcomed Putin’s Russia as an honorary member in that alliance.
A few months ago, when the world celebrated 20 years since the Soviet empire collapsed, Romania’s government refused to cancel a 1974 death sentence given by Ceausescu’s “justice” to a respected American citizen, Constantin Răuţă. The Supreme Court, whose masters are now chauffeured around in American limousines, continue to preach that Mr. Răuţă should be executed because he committed the “crime” of cooperating with Romania’s main enemy, the United States.
Mr. Răuţă is a respected American scientist, who over the past thirty years worked on major U.S. aero-spatial projects such as HUBBLE, KOBE, EOS and LANDSAT. He was also involved in the development of various space defense systems, making a substantial contribution to the defense of the United States and her NATO allies. But he is still a “traitor” for the Romanian government.
Mr. Răuţă is not an isolated case in Romania. Rather, he seems to be the rule. In the past five years, 6,284 people sentenced by the Communists for fighting Communism have asked to have their sentences canceled, but only three have succeeded —because of Western media pressure.
How is it possible for Communists still to be calling the shots in a NATO country twenty years after Communism collapsed there?
Professor Tom Gallagher, one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary Romania, who teaches the evolution of post-Communist states at Bradford University in the U.K., concluded that Romania had moved from rigid [Communist] egalitarianism to super-inegalitarianism run by corrupt ex-Communists who merely pay lip-service to democracy. This “new predatory elite” has “widened the gap between a parasitic state and a demoralized society.” In Prof. Gallagher’s view Romania is not yet a democracy, because “a functional democracy cannot be based on lies, denial and amnesia.” This is also the subject of his book Romania since Communism: The Denial of Democracy (Hurst, 2004), which concludes that “a Romania under the control of corrupt ex-communists threatens to be a dangerous force for regional instability.”
Let me put it my own way. Today we know how a democracy could be changed into a Communist tyranny, but we are still learning how to reverse that nightmare. Post-Ceausescu Romania has been transformed in staggering and unprecedented ways, but it remains a Soviet-style police state.
In 1978, when I broke with Communism, Romania had one major intelligence service, the Securitate, staffed with ca. 16,000 operations officers. Now it has six (SRI, SIE, UM 0962, STS, SPP, DGIA), which have absorbed most of the former Securitate officers and its modus operandi. According to the Romanian media, these six ghosts of Communism are bloated with over 30,000 officers. The SRI (domestic counterintelligence) alone, covering a population of 22 million, has ca. 12,000 officers. Its French equivalent, the DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur), covering a population three times as large, has 6,000. Its German counterpart, the BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), which covers 82 million people, has only 2,448 officers. If the United States were to apply the Romanian ratio, the FBI would have ca. 190,000 agents, not the 12,156 agents it has today.
Hangmen do not incriminate themselves. Over 500,000 Romanian patriots who were killed or terrorized by the Communist Securitate are still not rehabilitated. At the same time, thousands of former Securitate officers and hundreds of thousands of its informants and collaborators, who wrote the bloodiest era in Romania’s history, are still shielded by a veil of secrecy–quite a few of them are the nouveaux riches, now running the country.
This is the legacy of the Kremlin’s “Dnestr” operation, during which Communists loyal to Moscow (Ion Ilych Iliescu, Nicolae Militaru, Sergiu Celac, Silviu Brucan,) initiated the killing of Ceausescu, and took control of Romania. The Kremlin had a similar “Dnestr” plan for every bloc country. In 1990, I found a Stasi extension of the “Dnestr” plan for East Germany in the newly-opened Stasi archives.
The Stasi extension was called Plan OibE (Offiziere im besonderen Einsatz—officers on special assignment), and it defined the Stasi’s ultra-secret tasks in the event that “the [Communist] Socialist Unity Party of Germany were to loose its power.” Known to a few insiders as the “order for survival,” Plan OibE was signed by State Security minister Erich Mielke on March 17, 1986 and registered as Top Secret Document 0008-6/86. The plan provided that 2,587 undercover Stasi officers, whose identity was extremely tightly held, would on signal move into high-level positions in the German Democratic Republic (2,000) and its embassies (587). The speed with which the East German government collapsed evidently did not allow for Plan OibE to become fully operational. But it is noteworthy that most of the new politicians who rose to prominence in Germany after Communism’s collapse were secretly affiliated with the Stasi. Among them: Lothar de Maziere, the first democratically elected East German prime minister; Ibrahim Böhme, a founder of the eastern Social Democratic Party; Wolfgang Schnur, the founding leader of the Democratic Awakening, a once burgeoning political party, which collapsed after Schnur’s exposure as a Stasi asset.
In 1996, West German chancellor Helmuth Kohl described the whole German version of the “Dnestr” plan in his book Ich wollte Deutschlands Einheit (I Wanted German Unity). It is worth reading. I also strongly recommend And Reality Be Damned by Robert Buchar, a distinguished participant in this Symposium. His book offers a bird’s eye view of the 1989 collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and of its consequences, as seen by former CIA chief, now defense secretary Robert Gates, by national security expert Joseph D. Douglas and by many other experts on Communism and Soviet Russia.
I also want to suggest to Dr. Glazov to hold a similar Symposium on today’s Russia. The success of the “Dnestr” plan in Romania may make life miserable for that country’s population, but it can scarcely be said to threaten world peace. The spectacular success of the “Dnestr” plan in Russia might, however. Today over 6,000 former officers of the KGB, which killed tens of millions during the Soviet years and terrorized a third of the World’s population, are running the country’s federal and local governments, and nearly half of all top governmental positions are now held by former officers of the KGB. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. Putin’s Russia has one FSB officer for every 297 citizens. We are facing the first intelligence dictatorship in history, and Dr. Glazov’s Frontpage could make history by focusing on it.
FP: Well I have my next symposium to put together.
Robert Buchar, your final comments?
Buchar: Very interesting discussion indeed. It is so important to bring as much information to the public as possible. Not just about Romania or today’s Russia as Mr. Pacepa suggests, but about all former Eastern Block countries one by one to connect the dots and point out the similarities. Every country had its own scenario but when we look at it site by site then the big picture becomes obvious.
The biggest problem we are all facing is the total blackout of media on this issue, globally. No media outlet is willing to challenge the official version of the story regardless of the evidence presented. Why is that? This bothers me deeply for long time now since I am trying for years to finish the documentary film on this topic. Then, recently, I was reading Jamie’s interview with Michael Ledeen about Iran and here it was loud and clear: “We deny it because when we admit it, we have to do something about it. Better do nothing.”
Mr. Ledeen’s definition, even he was talking about slightly different problem, is right on the mark. It’s politically incorrect to question already established history. Too much is at stake. As a result the worldwide neo-communist movement is spreading like a cancer with the goal to destroy Western civilization and nobody is willing to mention it. Besides, it would be bad for business. And meanwhile, the “first intelligence dictatorship,” as Mr. Pacepa put it, is working in overdrive—just look at the Russians’ activities in former Eastern Europe countries and in the EU, not to mention in the US and in other parts of the world.
This symposium Jamie is doing is extremely valuable. After all, there are just very few places where this topic is seriously discussed. Besides Jamie Glazov here at FrontPage Magazine, there is Jeff Nyquist at strategiccrisis.com and that’s about it.
While the consequences of the fall of communism are accelerating and spreading around the globe at an exponential rate, the big question that comes to my mind is if people really want to know what happened twenty years ago. Do they really want to learn the truth? I am not so sure they do. It really doesn’t matter if they are in Eastern Europe or America. How does one open the eyes of people in a consumer society today? The problem seems to be so distant, almost abstract. Their perception of reality was already shaped and massaged by the media. After all, people prefer to believe what they want to believe. They want to go shopping, be entertained and have a good time. Maybe they will awaken one day but it may be too little too late. As Vladimir Bukovsky said, we have a long way to go. My concern is if we have enough time left to reach the end of the road.
Thanks to Dr. Jamie Glazov and all participants of this symposium for making this discussion possible. Let’s hope we will meet again soon.
FP: Thank you Robert.
Vladimir Bukovsky, last word goes to you sir.
Bukovsky: If you come to Romania nowadays, the first thing you notice are the Lukoil petrol stations on every corner, Lukoil being one of those Russian huge oil corporations controlled by the Siloviki mafia. If you start making enquiries, you will discover that a big part of Romania’s oil industry – and many other industries as well – is controlled by Moscow either directly or through more complicated schemes involving third parties and countries. Mind you, Romania’s oil is no small matter: for example, it used to be the key to victory in the Second World War. So, what kind of national independence is this if Romania is strategically dependent on Russia? How can Romania have a genuine democracy if the country is, to a high extent, owned by a foreign authoritarian regime?
Before the latest presidential elections in Romania, the socialist candidate, Mircea Geoana, was caught secretly talking to Moscow about financing his campaign, in exchange for the further lucrative opportunities he would open for Russian businesses after becoming president, and an improvement of relations ‘reset‘-style. If the media reports were accurate, this means that Geoana simply offered himself for sale to the Kremlin. Even after this scandal was exposed, the election was still very closely fought, and the fate of Romania hung in the balance. What kind of democracy is this, where at least one of the major parties is little more than a Russian fifth column, and every election presents a very real threat to the country’s independence and freedom?
Finally, what kind of national independence is this if the country remains divided, just as it was divided by Comrades Stalin and Hitler? Romania’s eastern border, drawn by the Soviet invaders, is still considered sacred. The fate of Moldova was decided by Gorbachev and Iliescu behind closed doors just after their fake revolution; but even twenty years later, nobody dares to suggest reconsidering those decisions. Throughout those years, Moldova lives under a constant threat of a Russian takeover, while Romania is under enormous pressure – from the east and from the west – to do nothing. Just a few weeks ago, Russia expelled a Romanian diplomat, absurdly accused of implementing a covert plan for a takeover of Moldova.
The success of the Operation Dnestr has deprived Romanians of a chance to restore their own sovereign democracy and, symbolically, to reclaim their lawful eastern border on the Dnestr.
All of these realities are the links of the same chain: Russia’s subversion of Moldova, Russia’s fifth column in Romanian politics, the enormous political influence of communists in both parts of the divided country, the lustration laws being blocked, the truth about history being suppressed, and, indeed, the Sovietization of the EU and the West.
All of these are direct consequences of our failure to secure a decisive victory in the Cold War twenty years ago, but even more so of our reluctance to face the truth about what happened.
FP: Adam Burakowski, Vladimir Bukovsky, Pavel Stroilov, Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa and Robert Buchar, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.
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