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Interview's guest today is Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy, a former KGB agent who
became one of the KGB's harshest critics. He is the author of seven books
about the KGB and Japan.
His new book is KGB/FSB's New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent.
FP: Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy,
welcome the Fronpage Magazine.
Preobrazhensky: Thank you for giving me a chance
to address the realistically minded people.
FP: Tell us about your background and
the circumstances under which you came to the KGB.
Preobrazhensky: I graduated from the Institute of
Asia and Africa of the Moscow
University in 1976.
Before that, I was an intern at the Tokai
University in Japan. I am a
specialist in Japan,
a fluent Japanese speaker. I love Japan very much. And this love
has brought me to the KGB.
FP: What do you love about Japan?
Because it is
a fairyland. In its ultra-modern society you can see the medieval
society of "samurai" like through a magic telescope.
This unbelievable combination makes Japan a magic fascination which
cannot be expressed in words.
FP: Ok, so tell us how you ended up
Preobrazhensky: Well, if you are a specialist in Japan, you
had to travel to the country that you were studying. And that was
possible only if you were working for KGB. By the way, Soviet specialists in
were in the same situation. They all were connected to the KGB and most of
them were its officers. There was only one chance to avoid working for
KGB: becoming an officer of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the
member of the highest elite. But it was very hard to do that.
only had one choice: either become a KGB collaborator, whose position is very
dependent, or its staff officer with shoulder-stripes and high military
salary. The second variant was much better.
was very hard to do. In the end, my father, the Deputy Commander of the KGB
Frontier Troops, "pushed" me into KGB intelligence, the most
privileged and well-paid job in the USSR.
in Tokyo as a
spy from 1980-85, was very successful. I was covered as a correspondent of
the Soviet TASS Agency. But it was not a cover for me. It was my actual job,
because I am a born author. My KGB colleagues in Tokyo called me, with a grin, "An
author covered as a spy." And they were right.
the KGB, I published a couple of books on Japan:" The Sports Dressed
in Kimono" (1985) and "The Bamboo Sword" (1982). Both were a
success. And two of my short novels, "Karate Begins with Bows" and
"Very New and Old Pagoda" were published by the Soviet Academy of
Science in 1987, in the Academic Anthology, "Soviet Authors on Japan,
In Tokyo, I was spying on China. I recruited a Chinese
scholar there. But Japanese counterintelligence learned about it somehow and
caught me in 1985 on my way to contact this new Soviet agent. It became a spy
scandal. The KGB forcibly returned me to Russia and accuses me solely of
this scandal, though nobody knew the real reason. It tragically interrupted
my career as a Japanologist.
FP: So when did you turn on the KGB?
always ask me when I got disappointed in the KGB. Never. Because I came there
disappointed. Contrary to most young officers, I knew about its criminal and
inhumane activities from my father's colleagues. That is why I began to
write a book of revelations about the KGB from my first day of serving
there. It was first published in Tokyo
in 1994, soon after I left the KGB in 1991. It was entitled, "The Spy
Who Loved Japan." It became a best seller.
left the KGB in 1991, it was dissolving at that time, although under Putin it
has resurged. Immediately I went to the Japanese media in Moscow and began to publish interviews,
articles and even books disclosing the KGB. I became a security columnist at
"Moscow Times" newspaper which made me world known. "The Spy
who Loved Japan" irritated the KGB greatly, but they could not do
anything against me in 1994: it was a short period of Russian democracy. But
finally my anti-KGB activities forced me to run away from Russia.
FP: So under what circumstances
did you come to the U.S.?
After Putin came
to power in 2000, he began the persecution of all the KGB dissidents.
In 2002, Oleg Kalugin was sentenced in absentia to 15 years, being
accused of disclosing the KGB secrets. I knew I was next. Unfortunately, I
was not "in absentia", but in Moscow.
As a professional, I got a feeling that they were going to arrest me very
soon. I urgently went to the U.S.
on a private visit and asked for political asylum. Now I am permanent
resident in the U.S.
This dramatic story has been described in my new book, "KGB/FSB's
New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent."
FP: The American media and literary
culture ignored your book. How come?
Preobrazhensky: My book was ignored. Only a few
religious writers have reviewed it as it is devoted to the KGB penetration of
through the Russian Orthodox Church. It tells how the KGB managed to put
Russian Americans under its control by merging the Russian Orthodox Church
abroad with the Kremlin-controlled Moscow Patriarchate. That is why the
laymen journalists probably did not want to cover such a delicate topic. How
is possible to speak about the Church as a tool of espionage? It would not be
"politically correct." So political correctness has helped Putin to
keep his espionage in America
secret. Moreover, it is helping him facilitate it. Putin knows very well
about American political correctness and about the fact that American
counter-intelligence is not eligible to monitor clergymen. The KGB is doing
it in Russia
very aggressively in spite of the fact that Church and State are separate
have a situation that Putin is openly spying in the U.S. and
Americans are afraid of writing about it. This idiotic paradox is a symbol of
current American-Russian relations. They bring profit only to Russia.
recently, the wall of silence about my book was finally broken. My book was reviewed by Professor Clare Lopez, published
by Gerard Group International:
Clare Lopez has come to a conclusion which is very important for me:
"For those who think the Cold War ended in 1991, this book will have you
thinking again. Konstantin Preobrazhensky wants Americans to wake up to the
ongoing agenda of the Russian regime, which he says under the rule of
Vladimir Putin and the KGB has reverted to the intelligence-dominated
repressive state of the 20th century."
FP: Can you talk a bit about the
growth of leftism in America
and the KGB influence on it?
Preobrazhensky: Well, the KGB has no special
need to influence American leftists any more. Their ancestors in Stalin's
time have done it for them. They have seeded leftism among the American
intellectuals, and today's KGB is only gathering their crop.
other hand, a lot of American leftists were recruited by the KGB in the
Soviet period. They are still working for the Russians. There are many KGB
collaborators in this country.
lot of Americans have been educated as leftists at the leftist universities
Their professors were contacting the KGB in the 1930s, or were "useful
idiots," as Lenin has cynically called the Western intellectuals
devotedly working for Russia.
Their successors are teaching there now. The graduates of such
universities are joining the most important governmental offices, and it
might very well affect the American political course.
there is one more reason for the growth of leftism. Many people get
disappointed in capitalism. A lot of Americans are still sure that socialism
is better. When I tell them that socialism inevitably brings the GULAG they
do not believe me.
intellectuals of 19th century made the same mistake, but they were
severely punished for it by the 70-years of horrible Communist rule.
Americans have not suffered such a disappointment yet.
brings a specific damage to America.
Let's not forget that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg delivered American atomic
bomb secrets to Russia
not for money, but because of being leftists.
wide spread of leftism in the U.S.
alleviates Russian influence here as Russia is a leftist country.
FP: What is the extent of Russia influence in the U.S.?
Preobrazhensky: It is very strong. The Russian
mechanism of misinformation and manipulation includes the utilization of some
American think-tanks and political scientists.
states are much more vulnerable than authoritarian ones. That is why Putin's
machine of lies not only deceives America,
but creates an inadequate and adorned image of Russia,
to make wrong decisions about this country.
example is provided by the decision to close Russian Service of the Voice of
America in 2007. Maybe Americans consider Russian Service to be a mere relic
of the Cold War, unnecessary in free Russia, but in fact it has been
one of the last sources of independent information for Russians. It has
irritated Russian authorities. Putin has managed to close it with the
Russian propagandist TV channel, "Russia Today," is very active in America.
Nobody is going to close it or transfer to Internet!
clear one-sidedness of American-Russian relations is also exposed by the
Russian lobbyism here. There are the opened Russian lobbyists in America like Ketchum
Company and others. But are there any American lobbyists in Russia? Oh,
Russian that agrees to become an American lobbyist would be declared a
national traitor. Putin calls such people "the jackals at foreign
embassies". Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian tycoon and the former
President of the YUKOS Company, was said to be a sort of American lobbyist.
Where is he now? In prison, from where he will hardly ever get out. In Russia,
it is considered non-patriotic to be an American
not criticize Russia
because it will strengthen the position of the opponents of its pro-Western
course there." Such a phrase is very much used by both Russian and
American authors. It is a very sophisticated piece of misinformation.
It postulates that still not all the people in the Russian elite are
anti-American and they all have a freedom of arguing against Russian
anti-Americanism. Such a notion is very well understood by Americans. But in
fact, there are no pro-American people in the Kremlin. Hatred of America is
symbol of loyalty there. If you love America, you cannot work in the
this myth is pronounced in another version:" Oh, do not criticize Russia or they will make friends with China."
But they are friends already. It is too late to caution about it. This is the
misinformation thesis invented by Directorate "A" of SVR, that the
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Directorate "A" is tasked to
misinform American and Western public opinion about. Many journalists are
reproducing this false thesis, not knowing where it was invented. But
recently some American politicians began to pronounce a far more dangerous
thesis: "Let's yield Georgia
and Ukraine to Russia, and Russians will help us in Iran."
FP: The chance of Putin helping the U.S. in Iran?
Preobrazhensky: Zero. The Russians will never do
so. They will never help the U.S.
in any Islamic country. They have developed their own, very special relations
with the Islamic World, based on anti-Americanism.
Russia has a four-centuries experience
of tolerating Islam and does not want to share it with America.
strategic goal is to display the U.S. to militant Islam as a
scapegoat instead of itself.
FP: What are the methods of Russian
Preobrazhensky: In 2004, Putin revived Stalin's
practice of inviting Western writers directly to Moscow and charming them personally. He has
founded the "Valdai Discussion Club" for them. The club
meetings are held at Golitsyno, one of Putin's residences in Moscow
suburbs, and also in other places of Russia. There Putin is
hosting luxurious receptions at which he is fascinates American
a good actor. He presents himself as a sole liberal captured by the
conservative KGB surrounding. He portrays this picture: they are urging him
to deviate from democracy, so the West should not criticize him too much or
he will yield to the KGB completely.
Andrei Piontkovsky of the Hudson Institute has called members of Valdai Club
"a collective Feuchtwanger".
Feuchtwanger was a famous German writer of the 1930s who admired Stalin's
regime. Today, the "collective Feuchtwanger" is propagating an
adorned image of Russia,
which affects American policy towards Russia. All this mechanism
of Russian influence in America
will be disclosed in my forthcoming book, "How Russian Federation is
Ruling United States".
FP: What can Americans do to protect
themselves from these Russian threats on their own territory? And what U.S.
policy do you recommend toward Putin?
America should stop the current abnormal
situation which finds Russian intelligence working here manifestly,
being sure that Americans now cannot afford a spy scandal against its
supposed "ally" in fighting terrorism.
America should stop tolerating Russia by
concessions and apologies which cause nothing but laughter from Russians.
Americans should understand that Putin and other Russian leaders have a
criminal psychology as they are building criminal capitalism. From the point
of view of the mafia, those who make concessions are losers and fools.
They deserve only further pressing, which Russia is demonstrating. America
should be hard with Russians. Only after that Russians will respect America.
America should get rid of false
expectations about Russia,
the most dangerous of which is the following: "We need each other to
and militant Islam". Russia
does not need America
at all in this. Russia
tolerates both China
and Islam in a way of betrothal, behind the back of America and
in spite of it.
should finally comprehend that Russia does not share American values. That it
is not a democracy. America
should treat it like it is treating China and other non-democratic
FP: Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy, thank
you for joining Frontpage Magazine.
Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D.
in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy.
He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet
Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate
America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left
Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny
and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click
Here. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org This e-mail address is being protected
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