- WASHINGTON - Russia cannot threaten the United States. She is poor. She
is weak. She is starving. She is in chaos.
- Think again, says Stanislav Lunev.
- Col. Lunev is the highest ranking military
intelligence officer ever to have defected from Russia. He did so in 1992
after the Soviet Union dissolved and Boris Yeltsin had come to power.
- At the time of his defection Lunev was
living in Washington with his wife, working a cover job as a journalist
for TASS, the Russian news agency, while doing his real job: spying on
- As a GRU officer Lunev's spying related
to military matters: gathering information on America's military plans;
reporting on U.S. vulnerabilities; devising special operations in the advent
- Last year, Lunev detailed just some of
his activities in a new book he co-authored with Ira Winkler, "Through
the Eyes of the Enemy: Russia's Highest Ranking Military Defector Reveals
Why Russia is More Dangerous than Ever" (Regnery, (800) 639-7629).
- The book is a light read with some sensational
details about Russian plans to bring suitcase nuclear bombs into America
and to use special forces to assassinate the president and congressional,
military and other leaders during the initial phases of a war.
- Lunev claims in "Through the Eyes
of the Enemy" that Russian military leaders still view a war with
the United States as "inevitable" and that the Cold War never
- Save for some talk radio outlets and
the Internet, Lunev's book got little media coverage. This comes as no
surprise since most Americans believe the United States won the Cold War.
Russia is not a threat and any suggestion that it is has to be written
off as just paranoid jingoism.
- Lunev is used to unfriendly receptions.
When he did defect, higher-ups at the CIA and the Pentagon did not accept
what he had to say.
- What he said was rather simple. Russia
is continuing its old ways. The military is still preparing for war against
the United States. A nuclear war.
- In the era of fuzzy warm feelings between
the United States and Russia, American officials were not going to upset
the applecart no matter how much evidence Lunev offered.
- In the intervening years, Russia has
appeared to further disintegrate. Can she really be a threat? skeptics
ask. Lunev most certainly has been proven wrong.
- Lunev says think again. He retorts that
Russia still retains a formidable military-industrial complex. She is one
of the world's largest arms exporters. She makes quality products and delivers
them on time.
- Russia continues to build nuclear submarines,
bombers and missiles. Last year Yeltsin commissioned Peter the Great, the
largest ballistic missile cruiser ever built by mankind. This past Christmas,
Russia deployed a regiment of 10 Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles,
missiles reportedly more sophisticated than anything we have. Just last
month, Russia unveiled her stealth bomber. The New York Times reports Russia
continues to build huge underground bunkers, some as large as cities, in
case of war. She also continues to build an arsenal of chemical and biological
weapons. Russia's nuclear arsenal remains the world's largest. She continues
testing of her nuclear weapons.
- Such facts demonstrate that Lunev, who
refuses to be photographed for security reasons, is not to be dismissed.
- Ruddy: Colonel Lunev, you were first
and foremost a spy for Russia who posed as a journalist. In your book you
discuss the help you received from American journalists. How significant
was the Russian penetration of the American press corps? How many American
journalists were working for Russia?
- Lunev: In my book I talk about myself.
Keep this in mind, when I worked in TASS' Washington bureau, I had two
colleagues from the KGB also working as agents.
- So we had plenty of people undercover
working as journalists. How many people they recruited? I don't know. But
I can tell you that journalists, American journalists and foreign journalists
in this country, were considered a major target. They were the same level
of target as military, government personnel or Capitol Hill staff.
- Ruddy: When you say targets, you mean?
- Lunev: Recruits.
- Ruddy: It has been acknowledged that
the East German government had as many as 5,000 spies working for it in
- Lunev: East German intelligence was very
successful. Very successful. I don't know exactly how many people they
recruited, but they were very successful. Not only in penetrations through
Western Germany and the European establishment, but through American institutions
located in Western Europe.
- Ruddy: What do you think the degree of
penetration is of the U.S. government by communist or former communist
countries in the CIA, the FBI, and State Department?
- Lunev: It could be hundreds. But I don't
know the exact number.
- Recently the FBI admitted there were
a couple of hundred open cases of espionage they were investigating. These
are the ones they know about. So you can multiply this number by many times
to guess the number of people who are working as spies whom the government
does not know about.
- Ruddy: You were not only a spy, but a
military intelligence officer. Your work involved developing military plans
and learning of other countries' plans. What did you study when you were
in military schools in Russia?
- Lunev: We had a lot of special subjects
we needed to learn, including military science. We learned basic ways of
commanding armies and how to conduct military operations.
- Ruddy: How much of your training and
education was geared toward fighting a nuclear war?
- Lunev: All of our educational process
and training was connected to the actual fulfillment of military plans
in time of a nuclear war.
- Ruddy: Your book suggests that the whole
Russian military structure, the whole society during the Soviet era was
geared for a nuclear war, and that has not changed under the new regime.
- Lunev: Yes. The Soviet plan was the use
of strategic forces to destroy strategic targets in America and the West,
followed by the use of nuclear and conventional forces. This was the Soviet
way, and the Russian military still thinks the same way today. They are
much more dangerous now because the Russian military is relying more on
their nuclear weapons.
- Ruddy: What about a first strike on the
- The likely plan does not include use
of missiles first. First the Russians would use their special operation
forces, special troops, inside of the United States to destroy targets
like communications facilities, airfields, command centers, and other targets
that might be difficult to destroy with a missile attack.
- Suitcase nuclear bombs at strategic locations
are just one small part of their arsenal. I mentioned this in my book and
I have been so surprised that the American public is so interested in this.
Why? This is not something unusual for Russian military plans.
- Ruddy: One of your jobs here in the U.S.
as a spy was to look for locations to hook up these suitcase nukes to electric
- It's not really necessary to have an
electric power source because the devices can work on a battery. But not
for very long.
- Ruddy: Are there such bombs in the United
- Lunev: It's possible.
- Ruddy: How soon could this war come?
- Lunev: The Russian conventional forces
are not in a state of readiness. Their rocket and nuclear forces are. This
war scenario could be in place by the request of Russian government in
a short time.
- Russia is a country on the edge of social
explosion. The total decline of living conditions: human, industrial, political,
social, and now the financial crisis. This could lead to war.
- Ruddy: It's dangerous because the Russians
may consider their only option is to use the "gun." At the same
time, the United States has been destroying its nuclear forces.
- Lunev: Yes! I am sorry, but let me ask
you, what's going on in this country? Right now the Russians are engaging
in criminal extortion for money. This is the same method criminals use.
Every other day, in conversations with Western leaders, the Russians are
saying "show me the money or something dangerous will happen in my
country with tens of thousands of nuclear warheads." It's extortion.
- There could be an explosion, a catastrophe.
It could happen in Russia, and somebody like a major general or a one-star
general or colonel will come to power without any international experience.
If such a person would come to power, pushing the nuclear button would
be no problem.
- Ruddy: If that happened, how long would
it take for a strong leader to get the conventional forces ready if he
wanted to start a nuclear war against the United States?
- Lunev: A few months. You have to remember
that the Russians have the same number of submarines, nuclear missile submarines,
ships, bombers, fighters, tanks and the like as they did at the height
of Soviet military power. I know that Russian military downswing was connected
with Army divisions only, and these divisions could be rebuilt in weeks
- Ruddy: China also is moving closer to
Russia. China has the largest conventional army in the world. What danger
does that pose?
- Lunev: If China and Russia would ally
in a war against the United States, with Russia providing the strategic
weapons and China the troops, they could begin the war tomorrow.
- Ruddy: Recent press reports state that
the Russians have been helping the Chinese develop ballistic missile technology.
- Lunev: I would say that actually the
Chinese missile industry was created by the Soviet Union, by Soviet specialists,
by Soviet technology and by education of Chinese engineers and scientists
in Soviet institutions. So the Soviet Union, let's say, played the major
role in the establishment of the Chinese missile industry. But this was
in the '50s before the Sino-Russia split. This split was healed in the
late 1980s and any ideological obstacle for helping China was removed.
China, of course, pays big money to Russia for this technology.
- Ruddy: Well, it does seem that some steps
the Russians are taking suggest war preparations. They are building a huge
underground complex in the Ural Mountains. Have you heard about that?
- Lunev: You ask about Yamantau Mountain.
Well, this is a huge underground city which could be used in time when
many Russian cities are destroyed, but the military and political elite
will survive and live until our planet will try to restore itself.
- Ruddy: The American military is downsizing
because there is no Warsaw Pact. We have let down our defenses. If the
Russians were to launch a first strike, a surprise attack against the United
States, they could wipe us almost off the map. European countries like
Britain and France have small nuclear arsenals. If the U.S. does not exist,
Russia rules the world because after an attack, she will still have a huge
- Lunev: Yes.
- Ruddy: Is it possible that the Russian
Communists planned this? That the intelligence agencies and the military
establishment said, "Hey, if we give up Eastern Europe, if we throw
open the economy, democratize, allow the country to seem in chaos, the
Americans will let down their guard. We can get them to reduce their strategic
nuclear forces, and they won't think of us as a threat."
- Lunev: I believe there was a plan. I
cannot prove it to you. It is my hunch this is what happened. This is based
on my experiences, things I saw going on. Because now, six years later,
it looks like it was planned, but at that time we didn't have any idea
that it was possible to plan all this activity.
- Ruddy: Well, it seems to me the most
important information you have is that the Cold War isn't over: that the
Russian military believes inevitably that there will be a war with the
- Lunev: In April of 1998, Russia used
its strategic bombers in an exercise against the United States. These exercises
were organized for the future war against America. Before that there were
several nuclear exercises.
- In the fall of 1998, President Yeltsin
commissioned Peter the Great, the world's largest nuclear missile cruiser.
They have been doing ground forces exercises. Airborne force exercises.
All of these exercises are being conducted for a reason, for the future
war against America.
- Ruddy: What do you think are the chances,
I know this is highly speculative, that there will be a nuclear global
war between Russia and the United States within the next five years?
- Lunev: I need to repeat myself. In a
time of social explosion in Russia, nobody can exclude the possibility
that it will begin. Preparations for this nuclear war are now being made
- Ruddy: Would the Russian people support
such a war?
- Lunev: In recent years and times, the
feelings of the Russian people toward America have begun to change. The
Russian people believe the United States is giving money to the corrupt
Russian government, which never helps the ordinary Russians. America has
identified herself so strongly with Yeltsin, and now Yeltsin and his government
are viewed as corrupt.
- There is a perception that America, who
destroyed the old Soviet Union, is again trying to destroy Russia.
- Ruddy: A former American general, Benjamin
Partin, suggested that if, after the Allies had beaten Hitler in World
War II, and the new German government was filled with ex-Nazis in the Cabinet,
ex-Nazis in the military, ex-Nazis in the private businesses, would we
believe we won? General Partin notes that in today's Russia, ex-Communists,
many high-level Soviet officials, run most of the government and private
businesses. Most of the republics are run by former Communists.
- Lunev: Well, almost all, yes. General
Partin is correct in his concerns.
- Ruddy: It appears that in 1917 when the
Communists came to power in Russia, they were not much more than organized
- Lunev: Yes, they are the same. They are
together. There is no difference.
- Ruddy: It seems this permanent government
will be always seeking domination, whether official or through organized
- Lunev: And you are right, but how will
you sell this idea to America?
- Ruddy: You can't sell it to America,
because they believe all the bad guys just gave up with the end of the
Cold War. One day it was all over, we won. End of story.
- Lunev: You should know this did not happen
in one day, like on Christmas Day of 1991 when Gorbachev dissolved the
Soviet Union. A long time before this the KGB began to transfer Communist
Party money to private accounts under the names of different people in
- At the same time the KGB moved some of
their very experienced people, including generals, sometimes four-star
generals, into the new private businesses being formed in Russia. For example,
former KGB agents joined financial and industrial groups. Since they had
intelligence backgrounds, they could be placed in various positions, like
vice president in charge of personnel or foreign operations.
- The KGB established these private accounts,
controlled by their own people using money from the CCCP - the Communist
Party assets - for the future, for the future restoration of communism.
- Ruddy: The power of organized crime in
Russia developed so quickly. What role did the KGB play in its rise to
- Lunev: The KGB and the old-line Communists
needed to use criminals in this phase because who had experience in money
laundering? Who has connections with drug cartels? With other organized
crime groups in Western countries? The KGB worked closely with these groups
and actually provided passports and permission for criminals to travel
- Organized crime in Russia has existed
for a long time, as long as anyone can remember. Yet the criminals never
played any sufficient or important role in Russian or Soviet society until
the so-called reforms were begun under Gorbachev.
- Ruddy: You mentioned earlier that the
KGB transferred funds outside of Russia for the future restoration of the
- Lunev: Yes, for the future.
- Ruddy: So people are thinking in terms
of restoring the Communist Party there?
- Lunev: Yes, I think that they made plans
to bring back the Communists. The Politburo accomplished this at the end
of the 1980s and the early '90s when millions, if not billions, of dollars
from Communist Party accounts were transferred by KGB officers with assistance
and help from criminals.
- ------------- "Those who hope that
we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed.
Every part of our program of perestroika...is fully based on the principle
of more socialism and more democracy." -Mikhail Gorbachev Perestroika,
New Thinking for Our Country and the World 1988