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

By Christopher Andrew; Vasili Mitrokhin | Go to book overview

TWENTY - THREE
SPECIAL TASKS
Part 2: The Andropov Era and Beyond

On becoming chairman of the KGB in 1967, Andropov immediately announced his intention to revive KGB "special actions" as an essential tool of Soviet policy during the Cold War. The FCD, he declared, "must take the offensive in order to paralyze the actions of our enemies and to get them involved in a struggle in conditions which are unfavorable to them."1 Two years earlier dissatisfaction with the recent record of the Thirteenth Department, which was responsible for FCD special actions, had led to its reorganization as Department V.2 Following Andropov's call for a new "offensive to paralyze the actions of our enemies," the main priority of Department V became "special actions of a political nature"--the peacetime use of sabotage and other forms of violence in the furtherance of Soviet policy.3 Line F officers in residencies were instructed to show greater ingenuity in devising special actions in which the hand of the KGB would be undetectable. All of the newly devised sabotage proposals employed the same standardized coded jargon. Each act of sabotage was termed a "Lily" (Liliya), the explosive device a "Bouquet" (Buket), the detonator a "Little Flower" (Tsvetok), the explosion of the device a "Splash" (Zaplyv) and the saboteur the "Gardener" (Sadovnik).4

The most important special action being planned at the beginning of the Andropov era was in Greece, where a group of army colonels seized power in April 1967, suspended parliamentary government and declared martial law. The Greek Communist Party (KKE) was driven underground and its leaders temporarily lost touch with Moscow. In July 1967 the KGB was formally instructed by the CPSU Central Committee to renew contact with the underground Party (a task it had doubtless already begun) and to give it "political and material assistance."5 The "material assistance" included both financial subsidies, usually handed over to Party representatives in Budapest,6 and help in preparing for guerrilla warfare. The Centre decreed that Department V's main priority for 1968 should be to set up sabotage and intelligence groups ( DRGS) on Greek territory to prepare for an uprising against the military regime.7 Department V also made preparations for possible guerrilla operations in Italy. The leaders of the PCI were seriously afraid of an Italian military putsch on the Greek model and had requested Soviet assistance in preparing the Party for the possibility that, like the KKE, it would have to transform itself into an illegal underground movement.8

-374-

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