The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

By Christopher Andrew; Vasili Mitrokhin | Go to book overview

EIGHTEEN
EUR0C0MMUNISM

A conference of eighty-five Communist parties held in Moscow in 1960 unanimously reaffirmed loyalty to the Soviet Union as an unshakeable article of faith for Communists in both East and West:

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has been, and remains, the universally recognized vanguard of the world Communist movement, being the most experienced and steeled contingent of the international Communist movement.

By the end of the decade, however, the CPSU leadership was outraged to find its infallibility being called into question by the emergence of what was later termed "Eurocommunism." The Eurocommunist heresy made its first public appearance after the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, when a number of Western parties ventured some, mostly timid, criticisms of the Soviet invasion. The leadership of the PCI ( Partito Comunista Italiano), later the dominant force in Eurocommunism, reaffirmed "the profound, fraternal and genuine ties that unite the Italian Communist Party to the Soviet Union and the CPSU," but denied the right of the Soviet Union to intervene militarily "in the internal life of another Communist Party or another country."1

"The profound, fraternal and genuine ties" which bound the PCI to the Soviet Union even after Soviet tanks had entered Prague had a secret dimension of which very few Italian Communists outside the Direzione were aware. After the Colonels' coup in Athens in April 1967, the PCI general secretary, Luigi Longo, and other party leaders had become alarmed by the possibility of an Italian military putsch on the Greek model. In the summer of 1967, Giorgio Amendola, on behalf of the PCI Direzione, formally requested Soviet assistance in preparing the Party for survival after a coup as an illegal underground movement. Politburo decision no. P50/P of August 15 FCD authorized the to draw up a program which was intended to give the PCI its own intelligence unit with fully trained staff and a clandestine radio communications system. Details of the program were agreed in talks in Moscow between ANDREA, the head of the PCI's illegal apparatus, and senior Central Committee

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