It’s entirely appropriate that, as Vladimir Bukovsky’s Judgment in Moscow is finally published in English, I am again attacked in the Russian press for “masterminding” a big war between the United States and Iran. The accusation is in Zavtra, and could have been written by the late Lyndon Larouche, whose loony writings are used in Zavtra. It “quotes” a letter they say I wrote to John Bolton in 2018 (I don’t remember any such letter) and credits me for having been a supporter of the “Arab Spring.”
It’s right out of an old KGB playbook, even to repeating old libels about my anticommunist writings in and about Italy when the Italian Communist Party was the largest outside the Soviet Union, and seemed on the verge of winning a national election and forming a new government.
If you were around during the Cold War, when I worked with Bukovsky and other Soviet dissidents to bring the Soviet Empire to an end, you’d perhaps remember when a leading Russian publication called me “an enemy of the Soviet people.” This new Russian attack is a replay of those old KGB libels in both Iran and Russia. The claim that I am a “mastermind” of Iranian opposition to the Khamenei regime has often been made in Iranian courts, and broadcast on Iranian regime television.
It is all nonsense. I only wish I were in constant contact with our policy makers, but I’m not. The Russians, however, are still trying to present my calls for democratic revolution in Iran as part of a long-standing plot by American anticommunist intellectuals. That the Iranian regime, notoriously close to Russian intelligence, repeats the lies shouldn’t surprise anyone.
No doubt the publication of Bukovsky’s book has irritated the Putin people. Indeed, they actually passed a law that forbade him from becoming president of the post-USSR Russian Republic, no small matter.
Russian influence on American politics is much more important than most of our pundits and policy-makers appreciate. Everyone knows that one-time Communists exerted enormous influence on key members of our ruling class. We all know that John Brennan, who after all became head of the CIA, was at one time a Communist who voted for Gus Hall for president. But hardly anyone knows—indeed I only very recently discovered—that disgraced former FBI chief James Comey was also a Communist believer early in his intelligence career.
My point is not to claim that Comey and Brennan are still under Communist influence or control, but rather that the deceptions that emanate from Russian intelligence organizations are more influential than most of us suspect. Bukovsky saw this very clearly, and was able to document it with evidence from Soviet archives.
One more point: the abundant evidence of KGB influence on America contained in the Mitrokhin Archive—the record of KGB collusion with US politicians and intellectuals—unaccountably remains sealed in CIA files, despite its obvious importance to us. This should be corrected immediately. As Attorney General Barr investigates the origins of Spygate, he should have a look at the mother lode of Russian meddling in American politics, declassify the KGB documents that detail what they did, and with whom, and let the important debate about the whole matter unfold.