An Interview with Viktor Suvorov
By Viktor Kalashnikov, March 2011
Courtesy of ZAXID.NET http://zaxid.net/article/88370
Translated from the original Russian by Serge Kabud
Viktor Suvorov, a former Soviet spy, is today a cult figure and author of documentaries and historical fiction as well as non-fiction. At the beginning of the 1990s his books caused almost a Copernican Revolution in the perception of the Second World War and Soviet foreign policy.
Kalashnikov: Part of your biography is connected with Ukraine. How does it influence you?
Suvorov: My father is Ukrainian. He was decorated for the defense of Kiev. In addition to his other awards, this one is the dearest to me: it means that he fought in the summer of 1941, and this alone says something. He was fighting through the whole war from beginning to end, and after that he was thrown into the Japanese front. And he got stuck in the Far East, and that's where I was born. He served for another 12 years after 1945 before being transferred back to Konotop. I finished the first grade in School No. 1 in Konotop. After I graduated Suvorov Junior Military College, I chose for myself to study at the Kiev Higher Combined Arms Red Banner School name after Frunze. Don't crucify me, but I don't speak Ukrainian. It is my weak spot. People should not forget that there was only one language spoken throughout the Soviet Army, and that was not Ukrainian. After my studies I took a little expedition to Czechoslovakia, and more - I served in Chernovtsy [Ukraine]. I always felt at home there. My home is - Ukraine. Weird enough, officially Ukraine doesn't consider me a son, or even a prodigal son. Well, well, we cannot be offended at our mother Ukraine.
Kalashnikov: Did you serve in the Carpathian Military District, with its headquarters in Lvov. Were you an intelligence officer at this time? What operations did you participate in? How would you assess what was going on there?
Suvorov: In the center of Moscow there was the GRU, chief intelligence directorate of the General Staff. The USSR had 16 military districts, four groups of forces, and four fleets. Each had their own headquarters. Each headquarters had several directorates. The First Directorate plans military actions. The Second Directorate is intelligence. The Carpathian District had its own headquarters and four armies under it that needed intelligence. That's the reason for an intelligence directorate in Lvov, which was very powerful. The intelligence directorate in Lvov had a separate brigade of special forces under its command. Besides this, all four armies of the Carpathian District had their own intelligence units reporting to Lvov. One of the directorates reporting to the intelligence center was responsible to gather intelligence on the bordering territories, Czechoslovkia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, including West Germany and the Carpathian area itself.
The Carpathian forces were called upon to cross the borders to the West in the event of a military confrontation. We were supposed to form a front. That's why all these regions were under the watch of the Carpathian Military District. Germany and Austria were heavily infiltrated by two networks of agents; one was informational and the other was for sabotage. My rank was lieutenant, assigned to Chernovtsy; but I was frequently in Lvov headquarters as well. I remember the building in Lvov. It was built to resemble the Pentagon, and it was called unofficially "the Pentagon." Everyone knew that building in those days. I did my service there from 1968-70.
I was then transferred to Volga Military District in Kuibyshev, which was a secret secondary capital for the Soviet Union. In my book, Inside the Aquarian, I wrote about operations in the Carpathian Military District. Basically, the same type of operations were taking place in the Volga Military District. I changed the names, places and dates in my book so that nobody would get into trouble. Also, I wrote about Vienna in my book. But in fact it was taking place in Geneva. My work in Volga Military District was absolutely identical to what I was doing in Lvov. All of them work the same pattern. First Directorate is brains. Second Directorate is eyes and ears.
Kalashnkov: Ukraine is redefining the common perception of the Second World War and the role of Ukrainian nationalists in it. How would you comment?
Suvorov: Regarding the UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] and [Stepan] Bandera, we must say this. When Hitler was in Ukraine, all Hell broke out. But Hitler came from outside, as for the famine genocide of Holodomor of 1933, that was the creation of our own commissars. So people rose up against Hitler and against the commissars who brought the famine [years before]. Those same people had children and grandchildren, who make up much of Ukraine today. Ukraine owes its freedom to these people and the contribution these people made in their struggle. We should mention the Vlasov Army, and we should mention the Estonians, Latvians and Ukrainians who were fighting for Hitler and against Hitler; on German side and against Germany. There were Ukrainians fighting for Stalin, and against Stalin. In fact, we should call it a civil war, which proves that the government in Moscow at the time was criminal. Not everybody supported Moscow. It is interesting that there was no collaborationism in Poland. Not a single Polish regiment was fighting under the German flag.
Kalashnikov: Do you think Ukraine will eventually join NATO?
Suvorov: I'll tell you a personal story on the matter. I have not received permission from the Ukrainian government to enter Ukraine because I was a traitor to the Soviet Union. At the same time, I was the first Ukrainian to join NATO. Rezun, Vladimir Bogdanovich [Suvorov's real name]. And now Ukraine follows me. I was the first to leave the Soviet Union, then Ukraine joined me. First I join NATO, then Ukraine wants to be in NATO. First I join the European Union and now Ukraine wants to be there. Why do they call me a traitor? It happens that I cannot visit the land of my ancestors. I am prohibited from visiting Cherkassy, where my grandfather Vasily Andreyevich is buried, where my father Bogdan Vasilevich is buried, and where my 92-year-old mother now lives. I cannot go there because I am a traitor to the Soviet Union. It looks like those who made the decision to keep me out are still loyal to the Soviet Union. I appealed to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine with a general question: "What is my crime against the state? I may be guilty against the Soviet Union and I am not hiding it, but proud of it. After the breakup of the Soviet Union Ukraine acquired independence. So what is my crime against Ukraine? I received an answer to the effect that "we will have to contact Moscow and find out what to do." So they call their big brother in the Kremlin. Well then, I will have to wait. I don't need their citizenship if they still have a big brother in Moscow. I say to them: You get drunk with him, but I am not joining you. I appealed this several times, to the different officials in Ukraine. At some point the Ukrainian parliament was looking into my case. And I am proud there was a group of MPs who voted to award me with Ukrainian citizenship. But the majority decided that a traitor to the Soviet Union is a traitor, and I cannot enter Ukraine.
Kalashnikov: Are you better received in other post-Communist countries?
Suvorov: Once I wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General of Bulgaria, Ivan Tatarchev. I was thinking: Ukraine doesn't consider me as a son, or any other relative. The enemy is an enemy. Well, okay. What is my crime against Bulgaria? The Prosecutor General of Bulgaria answered: "The fact that Bulgaria can choose its own political course without consulting with a big brother, Bulgaria owes to you. That's why you're going to take your wife Tatyana, and immediately fly to Bulgaria; and we are sending a personal jet to pick you up." So we arrive in Sofia where the Prosecutor General and the Chief Military Prosecutor meet with us. "Greetings, here is your car and body guards." And I reply, "I don't need body guards." And they say, "You are our guest, and we are responsible for you safety." We toured Bulgaria for two weeks, talking to Bulgarians. I met my readers. We ate and drank wine. And finally it was time to go back home. The Prosecutor General put us on the plane and said, "If somebody shoots the plane down over someone else's territory it is not my fault. But I have secured your safety over Bulgarian territory. Until next time." I replied, "See you again, Bulgaria." So it goes. Now I can visit Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary. I visited Estonian, Lithuania, Latvia many times. My books are published in those countries. But Ukraine is looking over its shoulder. Big brother is watching. And Ukraine doesn't want to become an independent country.
Kalashnikov: Are you going to visit Georgia?
Suvorov: Yes I'm going to be there.
Kalashnikov: For real?
Suvorov: Yes, I got an invitation from the top people there. Some of the former Soviet bloc states gave me the highest awards, and I am proud of it. I don't want to tease big brother with my awards from certain states. I like to privately admire these decorations in the evening.
Kalashnikov: Have your views on Russian history evolved over time?
Suvorov: Mostly no. Our history since 1917 until today was one big crime-spree, or one big mistake. There is only one shining day in that history - June 22, 1941, when we were not attacking anyone, though someone was attacking us. And the regime holds onto this day with a death-grip. That's why we need so many rockets, so many submarines, so many Sakharov bombs [super H-bombs]. They don't care about their people. They need the rockets, and to Hell with the people. If you can make a case that World War II was a Soviet plan, then everything falls apart [in Russia]. Then the official interpretation of history in the Soviet Union falls apart. Then we have no foundation. The idea that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union is the only pillar that their ideology rests upon. This is a justification for everything. Invasion of Afghanistan - Why? Because we were attacked by Hitler. Why is there no meat in the stores? - Because we were attacked by Hitler. We entered Czechoslovakia in 1968 - Why? Because we were attacked by Hitler. All is excused by Hitler's attack. My Icebreaker [book] put a wedge into this story. Imagine, I have 56 books on the subject of debunking my book Icebreaker. It's very important for them to stifle independent voices, independent historians, of which I am one. How do they stifle these voices? You strike at the author in some way, or you take an agent approach - by bribing, intimidating, knocking out his Web site. And they publish ridiculous dirt under my name.
Kalashnikov: Is there any positive feedback on your work published in Russia?
Suvorov: Recently a chief of the Presidential Administration was looking into it. Mr. Naryshkin, as the head of a group of experts, published a six volume history of the Second World War, circulation 1,000 copies; which means that nobody can get this book - because of its price and because of its small circulation. One thousand copies will go to governors and big shots, as a gift. In my view, if they were able to prove something, they should make this book free to the public. It should be in every school, in every regiment; in every office and every library. And tramps like myself should get this for free, and should be told: "Eat it, we proved you wrong." So Mr. Naryshkin, on the one hand, reports that the task is accomplished, that we have restored our history. The fact that it will never reach the people is of no concern to him. Funds were appropriated from the budget, so the task is accomplished and checked off.
Kalashnikov: So another attempt to write a history of the war failed?
Suvorov: The story of this history is miserable. There was only one book allowed on the history of the war in Stalin's time, and that book was written by Stalin: J.V. Stalin, On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union. In early July 1941, Stalin addressed the nation on radio: "Brothers and sisters, I appeal to you, my friends." Then he says, he have to destroy the enemy whatever it takes. Stalin's second speech was on Nov. 6, 1941 at Mayakovskaya metro station. But we are told there was only one speech by Stalin. Historians somehow put them together into one. In this speech Stalin was calling on the citizens to be brave. He demanded more tanks, and called for the destruction of the enemy in the air, on the ground, and at sea. This was printed in all the languages of the country, in multi-million circulation. Stalin rarely spoke in public; and when he spoke it was only on the most important issues. And whenever he spoke, his words were recorded and made into a book. In the end he said, "I want to thank the Russian people for their patience." And later this was put together in a larger account - that's all. There were no memoirs, no histories published under Stalin. And when Stalin went to the next world - or someone helped him die - only then it was discovered that there is only one book in the Soviet Union about this grandiose war that recently ended, and that this book had to be confiscated from all the libraries and destroyed. That was done. When Zhukov and Khrushchev were sharing power in the Kremlin, and they ordered a five volume history of the Great Patriotic War to be written. When Zhukov was removed from power the work was stopped. Then, under Khrushchev a six volume history was published. As soon as Khrushchev fell, it was a disgrace to show this book to friends and to enemies, because the book was ridiculous. The number of volumes increased under Brezhnev. They produced 12 volumes. As soon as Brezhnev departed to the other side, the 12 volumes also became unacceptable. In Khrushchev's sixth volume, Khrushchev won the war. In Brezhnev's 12th volume, Brezhnev won the war. There was an attempt to rewrite a history of the war from the Gorbachev angle as well, but it failed. Then there were attempts at the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the war, but all of them failed. So now we have this book by a group of writers under the supreme command of Comrade Naryshkin, circulation 1,000. I made an attempt to acquire the volumes. Book sellers demanded $300 without guarantee of delivery. Meaning, basically, you give them $300 and Russia never sends the books. Maybe somebody sells for less, but you cannot get it. The Russian state has so much money, they don't know where to put it, so they load it into cargo containers and export billions to the United States. But they cannot afford a decent history of the war. Merely 1,000 gift copies.
Kalashnikov: Maybe it's not about money?
Suvorov: Exactly! We were attacked by the Germans 70 years ago. But until this day, the deployment of the Soviet troops at the moment of the attack is still a state secret in Russia. Those tanks were written off long, long ago. The veterans lost their lives. But the position of 3rd and 9th armies is still a secret. The maps of the airfields were never published, ever. It is still a state secret how many airfields we had, and how many aircraft were deployed. Why? Because if they publish all this, it will be clear to everybody that it was Stalin who contemplated the war, and that the Soviet Union started the Second World War, because Soviet Union policy required the war. If we admit that the Soviet Union helped Hitler come to power, if we admit the Soviet Union developed Hitler's robust economy, then there will be too many questions to answer. Not just military questions, but ideological and political and geographical, and many others. It is not just the Russian General Staff, but the KGB, SVR and the Russian president himself, and those who are behind the Russian president - all of them are attentively watching and formulating public discourse related to the war.
Kalashnikov: It is not so easy to prove that the Soviet leadership needed a big war.
Suvorov: Lenin was the first who openly said that we need a war. The first attempt to unleash the Second World War was launched on Nov. 13, 1918. The First World War ended on Nov. 11, and two days later the Red Army crossed the border and invaded Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to cut a path to revolutionary Germany, to support the proletariat of Germany, and spread the revolutionary flames throughout Europe; - but those attempts were stopped, and the Red Army beaten, because it was weak. There was a tremendous resistance by the Russian people, and other nations of the former Russian empire, against the Bolsheviks in 1918. So the next attempt to unleash the war was undertaken in 1920. In my books I quote from the orders issued to the Western Front, that demanded General Tukhachevsky to "pass over the corpse of White Poland towards the World Revolution," toward the walls of Berlin and Paris. What are the old Soviet songs about?
We are the Red Cavalry
We take Warsaw
We take Berlin
We crash through the Crimea!
This is a Budyonny marching song. But the valiant Polish Army repelled the Red Army, and the revolution was not accomplished. From that point on, there are two paths to a new world war: first was the path of Trotsky, that was followed by Khrushchev, Andropov and all the rest, to support revolutions wherever they are going on, to expend national resources to support any progressive regime. So then, if anybody out there claims that they took the path of socialism, we have to immediately be there with our weapons and military advisors, who are flown down to cement the success. They wanted a revolution, even in Chile. Why would the Soviet Union need Chile, Mozambique, or Sudan? - As soon as any of these places started to burn, the Soviet Union was there with brotherly help. What made Stalin different from Trotsky was that Stalin wanted, first, to industrialize the empire; and then, on this basis, to develop a colossal army. Stalin wanted to nurture a Fuhrer in Germany who will aggressively stomp Europe, and strangle it. And then, the when the Fuhrer finally invades Great Britain we will stab him in the back. It all went according to plan until Hitler realized what was awaiting him, and struck first. That's all.
Kalashnkov: What sources do you use for your research, except for open sources? Are you in possession of any special archives or documents?
Suvorov: I take the path of gathering intelligence. A spy should remember that no one is opening safes for him. But there are indirect signs by which we can figure anything. And I mean anything. It has been 25 years since my first book was published - it was 1985 in the newspaper "Russian Idea" and the magazine Kontinent, in which I published selected chapters from Icebreaker, and the fight for truth has been going on ever since. I suspect that if the Soviet secret archive would have anything to prove my concepts wrong, they would have published the proof a long time ago. But they have nothing. So instead of arguing against my concepts, they simply spread ridiculous wild stories about how bad I am.
Kalashnikov: Would you like to comment about the Arab revolutions that are going on as we speak? Was it unexpected for you?
Suvorov: Revolutions always happen unexpectedly. It is hard to say when it will end, but we may try. There is no organized force in the Arab World except Islam. This is a very dangerous situation. There is a military, of course. But the political life is soaked with religious feelings, sometimes extremist in character. We have to make an exception for Iran. Iran had a military. Iran had the Shah, but the clerics won. I would like to see the uprising in Iran, because it means that the people are sick of the clerics. They hold power for 30 years. People see the corruption. That is why revolution in Iran is against the clerics. This revolution may actually yield good results, in Iran. It's another story in Egypt, however. We cannot predict anything in Egypt, because there are 90 million people living there, and the economic condition is very bad. They have no place to live, and it is practically impossible to feed such a population. At the beginning of the twentieth century there were 10 million Egyptians living in the Nile Delta; and exactly as in the time of Pharaoh, when the Nile flooded it irrigated and fed the population. But then the Soviet Union built a hydro-electric station, so the Nile is not flooding, and is not feeding the population there. This will not have a happy ending. We can expect an acceleration of extremism. Tens of millions of people who are multiplying need something to eat. But there is only desert around them. No army can restrain that many hungry people.
Kalashnikov: What geopolitical consequences do you foresee?
Suvorov: As in any other situation, the process can take many turns. It's going to be either decentralization into smaller states, or it will be expansion into a larger unity. But those kind of unities are never long-living. There are too many internal conflicts. Every dictator demands to rule without regard for anybody who is 1,000 kilometers away. The Arab World may consolidate, but then it will break up into the same states that were united; or maybe into smaller states.
Kalashnikov: Do you think that a positive, more effective regime will emerge?
Suvorov: Educated Islam can only exist in a country that is prosperous enough to feed their people. The Shah's Iran was prosperous. They had oil, they had a good climate for feeding everyone, they had enough scientists; and here is another situation: Desert all around, Awful climate, Sandstorms; and a little piece of this Nile, that already cannot feed the tens of millions of hungry. People under extreme conditions tend to find extreme solutions. After the First World War Germany got into an economic disaster and sought a radical solution. This could be either communism or Nazism. So Nazism won in Germany, thanks to Comrade Stalin. Now, in Northern Africa, we have a similar situation - only much worse. Only fanatical ideas could be adopted there. Any solution there will be extremist. It is impossible to imagine any enlightened and educated Islam under the conditions where people have no houses, but are compelled to shelter in crypts. Who will pay for their education?
Kalashnikov: What are the objectives of Moscow and Washington in Egypt?
Suvorov: I cannot presume to know Washington's objective. As far as Moscow's objective, it is a game to bring up oil prices. Moscow got unexpectedly lucky. At the same time, Moscow openly allies with every single terrorist repressive regime out there; because they are Moscow's blood brothers, what is going on in the Muslim world is very scary. The movement "Nashi" was created to prevent and suppress a possible Orange Revolution in Russia. Mind now, that there are possibilities for other revolutions as well. This is the Kremlin's worst nightmare, and they are ready to do anything in order to preserve those dictators in the Middle East.
Kalashnikov: Should the West militarily intervene in these Islamic revolutions, or leave them to cope on their own?
Suvorov: Any intervention is counterproductive. If it succeeds, nobody will ever thank you. If it fails - and it will fail - then the West is considered an enemy [in the Middle East]. The Americans entered Iraq as liberators - now they are enemies. Americans came to Afghanistan as liberators - and have become enemies. To get its military trapped in a foreign land always works against American interests. I don't know any example of a positive outcome - except maybe South Korea. One thing for sure, in cultures that are different from our culture in their religion, history, psychology, and in their general approach to all things, it is extremely dangerous to maintain a military presence among them.
Kalashnikov: It looks like NATO lost in Afghanistan and will have to pull out. Would you comment on that?
Suvorov: The earlier NATO gets out, the better. An army can only accomplish tasks that are clear and understandable. A war in which we don't know who is an enemy, or who is a friend, cannot be won. The Soviet Union was occupying Afghanistan for ten years and hatched no eggs. Now we have NATO there for another ten years. There is no military solution there, whatsoever. The longer they are there, the worse it will be; innocent people will suffer and resistance will grow - a vicious circle rotating endlessly.
Kalashnikov: Of course everyone connects these crises to the dynamics of global oil prices. What is your prognosis?
Suvorov: I applaud the oil price hike. When oil prices are low, it is like bananas on the trees, which grow on their own, and people don't have to take care of anything. So they don't develop. Low oil prices do not allow us to develop alternative energy sources. When high oil prices reach $200 - $300 - $500 per barrel - it will give an impetus to the development of alternative energy sources, which drive oil prices down, and collapse them. I saw how this works in the UK when Arab countries suddenly raised the price of oil fourfold. Traditionally, people did not have double window frames on their houses. As soon as prices soared, people switched to natural gas. Many companies began to put out double-paned windows. The auto industry started to manufacture and sell more efficient fuel systems. The whole world reacted with a powerful intellectual burst, then the oil prices collapsed. In August of 2008, oil prices rose to $147 per barrel. I want it to be even higher. Then developing alternative sources would become really important: wind generators, tide generators, solar cells, and more. The main consumer of liquid fuels is the automobile. If a breakthrough can be achieved, and electric cars can be developed, then the price of oil will collapse again.
Kalashnikov: How, in your opinion, will this oil price surge affect Moscow?
Suvorov: There are some concerns here. High oil prices secure the thieving regime's survival. I have to say, at present, the disintegration process in Russia reaches such a phase that, in effect, there is no treatment for a dead man. Mind that, when Yeltsin was president, oil was at $8 per barrel. Under President Putin it reached $147 per barrel - yet the Russian people felt no difference. The difference was only felt by oil magnates who pilfered the revenues. Mind that the oil price hike will not help the regime this time. These billions will intensify internal conflict between clans. Higher energy prices encourage the growth of corruption, leading to the regime's collapse.
Kalashnikov: Would you agree to go back to Russia and organize the next revolution there?
Suvorov: I accomplished my personal revolution. The main revolution happens in people's minds. We had this idea of a holy war, the only ideological pillar for all this piggishness. This is the key: the only support and only hope and the only justification for all this was the Second World War. I struck at this pillar. That was my personal revolution; so I've had enough of revolutions.
Kalashnkov: Do you see any signs of revolution in Russia? Does it makes sense to participate in what is going on?
Suvorov: Why would you need that? Certain people prepare revolutions, many accomplish them, but the fruits always go to the bastards! In all the past revolutions throughout the world, those who join with an open heart usually die. "Revolutions devour their own children," which was said about the French Revolution. All the Dantons, Marats and Robespierres perish in the fight. Until the revolution will take place in the hearts and minds, there is going to be no positive outcome. The poisonous root of false statehood and false pride will produce a poison fruit.
This interview was conducted in Russian.
Conducted by Marina Kalashnikova and Viktor Kalashnikov for Zaxid.net 24.03.2011
Viktor Suvorov (real name Vladimir Rezun) was born 20 April 1947 in the village of Barabash Khasan district of Primorye Territory in Russia. He was a Soviet spy, defecor, and former captain in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Soviet armed forces (GRU). Today he is an historian, researcher and writer. Resident in the UK, he lectures at military academies in Western Europe.