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Russian Dream, American Nightmare

Toby Westerman
The online English language version of the state-controlled Russian news agency RIA Novosti recently published an "exclusive interview" with Lt. Gen. (ret.) Nikolai Sergeyevich Leonov, a long-time spy-master and friend to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ex-KGB leader Nikolai Leonov

Ex KGB leader Leonov wants to restore the USSR
Leonov was also a mentor to Putin, himself a KGB spy-master. Leonov once held the number two spot in the KGB, that of Deputy Chief of the KGB's First Chief Directorate. He is an author, a professor at Moscow's Institute of International Relations, and an acknowledged expert on Latin America.

He also remains a firm advocate of the Soviet Union and its ideology.

Glowing praise for Che

RIA Novosti's interview with Leonov centers on his personal recollections of the Marxist guerrilla leader Che Guevara, but it also speaks volumes about the direction of Russia under Putin and his allies.

Leonov's glowing memories of Che and the Soviet Union should be as out of place in the "new" Russia as the German newsmagazine Der Speigel making a flattering remembrance of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

That, however, is not the case. Leonov had absolutely no apologies for the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and RIA Novosti made no comment about Leonov's overtly pro-Soviet views and his admiration for the Communist revolutionary Che.

Che Guevara aiming his pistol

Terrorist Che presented as a hero who loved the people
Leonov first met Che Guevara in Mexico in 1956 and describes the Marxist icon as an "overwhelming figure," and "the embodiment of the mythical and literary types that have always struck a cord with people." Leonov included "Christ the Savior" in those "mythical / literary types."

Declaring that Che "dreamed about Man free from the lust for money," Leonov asserted that Che had "very clear social goals" that aimed to "make life better for the people..." Che "always acted in Cuba's national interests, as well as in the interests of all Latin American nations," Leonov declared.

Che also admired the Soviet Union as a place where "Soviet citizens were able to live without having to worry about becoming rich at the expense of others," said Leonov.

Neither RIA Novosti nor Leonov mentioned during the interview the Soviet Union's penchant to kill or imprison its opponents. Ignoring Che's propensity to murder all whom he considered traitors and Che's urging the Soviet Union to stage a nuclear attack on the U.S., Leonov asserted that "no one who ever knew him could think of a case where Che Guevara was cruel.”

Critique of the ‘color revolutions’

Ukraine's color revolution

Color revolutions in the Ukraine, above, and Georgia, below, suppressed by Putin

Georgia's color revolution
Leonov also took the opportunity to subtly denounce the United States while criticizing the anti-Moscow "color revolutions." The popular uprisings in several post-Soviet republics against pro-Moscow rulers and in favor of true democratic reform took on the name “color revolutions” because of the colors employed by the demonstrators, rose (or roses) in Georgia and orange in Ukraine, for instance.

Moscow felt itself directly threatened by the "color revolutions," and took steps to protect itself from similar events in Russia. Moscow, however, has been able to regain the upper hand against these political movements. Despite their decreasing importance, Leonov nonetheless took the opportunity in the RIA Novosti interview to denigrate the organizers of the Kremlin-hated “color revolutions” by comparing them to his beloved Che.

In a saccharine-laced comparison, Leonov stated that not one "of those who are now organizing color revolutions weep at the sight of other people's distress," but "Che Guevara wept."

Leonov also asserted that the "color revolutions" across the world were instigated by the United States.

While Leonov's statements will seem absurd to most, he must be taken seriously, because he reflects the thinking of the Moscow oligarchy of whom he is a part.

Open nostalgia for Communism

The format used by Leonov is also significant, because RIA Novosti is one of the most important news sources in Russia. RIA Novosti meekly went along with Leonov's nostalgia for Communism, making no objection whatsoever to his open propaganda for a return to the “good old days” of Soviet oppression and mayhem by ideology. Leonov's sentiments about the defunct USSR fit perfectly with Putin's assessment that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the "worst geo-political catastrophe of the 20th century."

These "ex"-KGB officers are being direct with the world. They are seeking the return of a "new and improved" version of the Soviet Union. This sector that advocates a new USSR is preparing to turn reverie into concrete reality. The pro-Soviet spy-elite controls a vast nuclear arsenal, is engaged in wide-ranging espionage as well as a cyber war efforts against the U.S., and is allied with every anti-U.S. regime around the world, including (or especially) Communist China.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of Moscow's allies, and Russian technical aid has enabled Iran to develop an atomic weapon and the means to deliver it.

Police arrest a protester in Russia

A crackdown on anti-Putin protesters in Russia
We cannot afford to be myopic. Our struggles with terrorism have taken a tragic toll on the lives of our brave service members, but fundamentalist Islam is not our only challenge.

As a nation and a people, we are not responding to the Communist resurgence in Moscow. The news media seldom reports on Moscow's actions, much of America's business community is anxious to invest in Russia, and many of our technological experts now engage in sharing important information with the spy-controlled Russian State.

At the same time that Moscow is doing all it can to field a sophisticated military force, we are slashing our military budget.

Our actions are suicidal. On the one hand, we are fighting a fundamentalist enemy who has limited means at its disposal, but on the other we are turning a blind eye to an international threat that is quickly developing the ability to completely overwhelm the defenses of our allies and ourselves.

We must recognize this Communist resurgence in Moscow for what it is. That should not be too hard, since, as with Leonov, its leaders are telling us who it is and what it wants.


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted November 7, 2012

Toby Westerman publishes
International News Analysis - Today
An investigative, analytical, and uncompromising weekly analysis of the world situation

Contact T. Westerman at
or P.O. BOX 5182, Rockford, ILL, 61125-0182

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