New Lies For Old: The Problems Facing Western Analysts

The Communist Strategy of Deception and



Chapter 4: The Patterns of Disinformation: Transition


Stalin's death in 1953 to Khrushchev's final victory in June 1957. To an important extent, the struggle was not only between rival personalities, but between rival policies. In the absence of a settled and consistent policy, it is not surprising that there should have been no centralized disinformation department in Soviet intelligence during the period. Disinformation was practiced sporadically by heads of departments acting on the instructions of the head of the service.

The aims of disinformation at this time were to conceal from the West the dimensions of the internal crisis in the communist world, to blur the differences in policy of the contenders for the succession, to hide the savagery of the struggle, and to misrepresent the process of


The successful concealment of internal crisis can be illustrated by the handling of information on events in Georgia.

On March 5, 1956, the anniversary of Stalin's death, the first mass disturbance happened in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Large crowds of people, especially students, gathered spontaneously for an anti-Soviet meeting in the main square. The speakers demanded the

abolition of one-party rule, dissolution of the security service, freedom of speech, and the independence of Georgia from the Soviet Union. The students appealed to the crowds to join the revolt, and many Georgians responded to the appeal. On Khrushchev's order the

special troops were put on the streets, with orders to fire on the crowds. Many were killed and