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

December 23, 1990|By Scott Shane | Scott Shane,Moscow Bureau of The Sun

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.

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