How the Soviet Union helped shape the modern peace Movement

James Slate
16 min readJan 29, 2018

During the Cold War when the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in an arms race, the Soviet Union promoted its foreign policy through the World Peace Council and other front organizations. It also influenced non-aligned peace groups in the West.

One of the biggest untold psy-operations in History was one of the Soviet Unions against the USA during the Cold-War era. In one of the most devious war tactics ever conceived, Russia created, founded and funded various “Peace” and “Anti-War” movements on American and foreign soil throughout the 50s, especially the 60s and 70s and well into the 80s.

Americas War efforts having stopped Nazi as well as Communist world expansion, they needed to come up with something new to beat their enemy. Outside of the works of scholars and historians you will not hear much about this in mainstream-media because the idea of covert mass-manipulation on such a grand scale is not taken well among the general public…especially when it addresses something as idealistic and nice looking as the Peace-Movement.

The Soviet Union wisely spent more money on funding of U.S. anti-war movements during the Vietnam War than on funding and arming the VietCong forces.

- Stanislav Lunev, highest ranking GRU officer to defect from the USSR

The KGB Influence on the “Peace Movement”

In 1951 the House Committee on Un-American Activities published The Communist “Peace” Offensive, which detailed the activities of the WPC and of numerous affiliated organisations. It listed dozens of American organisations and hundreds of Americans who had been involved in peace meetings, conferences and petitions. It noted, “that some of the persons who are so described in either the text or the appendix withdrew their support and/or affiliation with these organizations when the Communist character of these organizations was discovered. There may also be persons whose names were used as sponsors or affiliates of these organizations without permission or knowledge of the individuals involved.”

Russian GRU defector Stanislav Lunev said in his autobiography that “the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad,” and that during the Vietnam War the USSR gave $1 billion to American anti-war movements, more than it gave to the VietCong,although he does not identify any organisation by name. Lunev described this as a “hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost”.

The former KGB officer Sergei Tretyakov said that the Soviet Peace Committee funded and organized demonstrations in Europe against US bases. According to Time magazine, a US State Department official estimated that the KGB may have spent $600 million on the peace offensive up to 1983, channeling funds through national Communist parties or the World Peace Council “to a host of new antiwar organizations that would, in many cases, reject the financial help if they knew the source.”Richard Felix Staar in his book Foreign Policies of the Soviet Union says that non-communist peace movements without overt ties to the USSR were “virtually controlled” by it. Lord Chalfont claimed that the Soviet Union was giving the European peace movement £100 million a year. The Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) also alleged Soviet funding of the CND.

In 1982 the Heritage Foundation published Moscow and the Peace Offensive, which said that non-aligned peace organizations advocated similar policies on defence and disarmament to the Soviet Union. It argued that “pacifists and concerned Christians had been drawn into the Communist campaign largely unaware if its real sponsorship.”

U.S. plans in the late 1970s and early 1980s to deploy Pershing II missiles in Western Europe in response to the Soviet SS-20 missiles were contentious, prompting Paul Nitze, the American negotiator, to suggest a compromise plan for nuclear missiles in Europe in the celebrated “walk in the woods” with Soviet negotiator Yuli Kvitsinsky, but the Soviets never responded.Kvitsinsky would later write that, despite his efforts, the Soviet side was not interested in compromise, calculating instead that peace movements in the West would force the Americans to capitulate.

In November 1981, Norway expelled a suspected KGB agent who had offered bribes to Norwegians to get them to write letters to newspapers denouncing the deployment of new NATO missiles.

In 1985 Time magazine noted “the suspicions of some Western scientists that the nuclear winter hypothesis was promoted by Moscow to give antinuclear groups in the U.S. and Europe some fresh ammunition against America’s arms buildup.”Sergei Tretyakov claimed that the data behind the nuclear winter scenario was faked by the KGB and spread in the west as part of a campaign against Pershing II missiles.He said that the first peer-reviewed paper in the development of the nuclear winter hypothesis, “Twilight at Noon” by Paul Crutzen and John Birks was published as a result of this KGB influence.

The KGB Funding of Anti Vietnam War Protesters

On page 78 of Stanislav Lunev’s and Ira Winkler’s book titled “Through the Eyes of the Enemy”, is one of the most revealing bits of information concerning the duping of American peace activists. Should note that Stanislav Lunev was Russia’s highest ranking Soviet Military defector. Since this book is rarely found in brick and mortar bookstores, and as far as I can see, its passages are nowhere on the Internet, I present page 78 in hopes it will reach a new, fresh set of eyes:

“Only in our second year did we learn about our operational target’s military. In my case, it was the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Special Services. This was while the United States was pulling out of Vietnam. We spent a great deal of time studying the Vietnam War, which was considered a Vietnamese victory over American imperialism. While the GRU instructors would not state it directly, they strongly implied that the GRU was responsible for the Vietnamese success. The GRU had a massive presence in both North and South Vietnam; their operatives worked under cover of the North Vietnamese Special Services.
Our instructors also told us about how the GRU influenced the American public. The GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad. Funding was provided via undercover operatives or front organizations. These would fund another group that in turn would fund student organizations. The GRU also helped Vietnam fund its propaganda campaign as a whole.
What will be a great surprise to the American people is that the GRU and KGB had a larger budget for antiwar propaganda in the United States that it did for economic and military support of the Vietnamese. The antiwar propaganda cost the GRU more than $1 billion, but as history shows, it was a hugely successful campaign and well worth the cost. The antiwar sentiment created an incredible momentum that greatly weakened the U.S. military.”

Alongside their talent for HUMINT operations, psychological/propaganda operations (“active measures” in Soviet parlance) were one of the key competencies of the Soviet intelligence services. There’s plenty of evidence from defectors that the KGB and GRU funded, supported and manipulated trades unions, counterculture groups and left-wing political organisations around the world; using them to channel disinformation and propaganda in an attempt to create dissent. Not to say that they were always successful, but they were certainly prolific.

Intelligence history is founded almost entirely on the testimony of defectors — it’s a necessary evil, given that access to the archives of intelligence services tends towards nil. The contributions of Vasili Mitrokhin and Oleg Gordievsky alone frame most of our understanding of KGB intelligence operations throughout the entire Cold War (and earlier.)

From the first history of the KGB he co-wrote with Gordievsky:

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the main focus of both [World Peace Council] public campaigns and of covert KGB “active measures” was on the Vietnam War. Moscow Center correctly saw United States involvement in the war as one of the U.S.S.R.’s greatest assets in extending Soviet influences in the Third World. The saturation bombing of a Third World country and the commitment of almost half a million US troops both antagonized world opinion and divided the American people. Chandra and the WPC set out to encourage both processes, organizing the Stockholm Conference on Vietnam, which met annually from 1967 to 1972 to coordinate opposition to American policy. At its 1969 meeting, the conference agreed on “activity to isolate and subject to continuing protest and criticism representatives of the U.S. government”; assistance to “Americans abroad in refusing the draft, in defecting from the U.S. armed forces. [and] for carrying on propaganda within the army” …

Source: Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (1991), 505–6.

Testimonies from Defectors

Stanislav Lunev

Stanislav Lunev, the highest ranking military intelligence officer ever to defect to the U.S. and to this day part of an extensive “witness protection program” reported that the Soviets spent more for funding the anti-war movement in America than on funding the VietCong. In his own words: “the GRU and the KGB helped to fund just about every antiwar movement and organization in America and abroad”. He describes the campaign as “hugely successful and well worth the cost”.

Oleg Kalugin

Oleg Kalugin was a KGB General. As such he was the head of operations in the U.S. He testified saying that he created “all sorts of congresses, peace congresses, youth congresses, festivals, womens movements, trade union movements and campaigns against U.S. Missiles in Europe, campaigns against neutron weapons and much more”

Richard Felix Staar

According to the Stanford University political scientist and military historian Richard F. Staar, some of the psy-ops were organized by the Soviet “World Peace Council” which created numerous anti-war protests and criticism of arms-building (criticism from which Russian arms were always suspiciously exempt). In his scholary book “Foreign Policies of the Soviet Union” Staar proves Soviet funding for organizations such as “The International Institute for Peace”, “The Esperantist Movement for World Peace”, innocent sounding coalitions such as “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War” and many others.

Vladimir Bukovsky

Bukovsky was a Soviet defector who claimed that KGB operations went much further than only the Peace-Movement. He was instrumental in exposing the horrors of soviet Psychiatry and the maltreatment of political prisoners and dissidents in soviet labour camps. According to his account, the 1980 “World Parliament of Peoples for Peace” was a KGB Operation.

Sergei Tretyakayov

Tretyakayov is considered “one of the most famous spies in the world”. According to him, the Soviet “Peace Commitee” founded and funded peace-demonstrations against U.S. Bases all over Europe. As seen in the link above, Tretyakayov recently passed away. Some intelligence sources believe foul play was involved in his death, because he tipped off authorities about a spy ring in the U.S. Shortly before his death Obama reportedly wanted to use him in a “spy swap” program with Russia.

The Effects of the Peace Movement on Liberalism

The seeds of the contemporary anti-American left sprouted in the New Left’s rebellion against the classical liberalism of the post-World War II era. True to its tradition in the New Deal, that liberalism was strongly supportive of the civil-rights movement, the eradication of poverty, and other social causes based on an amelioration of inequality. And on the international front, this “centrist,” post-World War II liberalism stood firmly against communist totalitarianism. Indeed it was the “Cold War liberals,” rather than the conservative movement, that recognized the Soviet threat and engaged and fought the USSR through a policy of containment.

Then, in the 1960s, came the New Left, a movement that rejected classical centrist liberalism because of its gradualism in domestic policy and its anti-totalitarianism in foreign affairs. At its beginning, the New Left also rejected Stalinism (though it saw Stalinism as perilously close to being morally equivalent to the U.S.). But the New Left also romanticized the charismatic revolutionaries of the Third World as an alterative to the “red” on the one hand, and to the “red, white and blue” on the other. As a result, the New Left wound up romanticizing a whole new set of totalitarian heroes — figures such as Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and Daniel Ortega.

Changed by the war in Vietnam from a movement theoretically hoping to make America better, into one that believed America was unredeemable, the New Left became a “revolutionary” movement in its approach to domestic policies and foreign affairs. Targeting “Cold War liberals,” it made them an endangered species and attacked the Democratic Party which had mirrored their beliefs and principles. By 1972, after the trauma of the 1968 Chicago convention, the New Left “progressives” had not only killed the post-war Democratic Party, but, through the nomination of George McGovern for President, seized and inhabited its corpse.

The New Left effectively exiled the leading figures of the old centrist liberalism, especially figures such as Hubert Humphrey and Henry “Scoop” Jackson. After accomplishing this parricide, the New Left not only controlled the Democratic Party but also appropriated the classification of “liberalism,” thus accomplishing something that the Communist Party USA(CPUSA) had long tried to do when it called communism “liberals in a hurry.” The CPUSA had not succeeded in this because the true liberals had refused to allow such a definitional outrage.

But because their credibility and self-confidence was so deeply shaken by their backing of the Vietnam War, these genuine liberals were unable to hold the line against attacks from the New Left “progressives,” and they lost not only their party but also the term which had defined their principles. Many of these centrist liberals wound up moving toward Reaganism and neo-conservatism when they saw what those who now called themselves “liberals” actually believed and wanted to accomplish through their control of the Democratic Party.

The Effects of the 1960s Anti War Movement on the United States as a country

America and the democratic West faced the European-based totalitarian ideologies of Nazism (National Socialism), Fascism, and Communism, and triumphed over them all. Another totalitarian ideology has arisen in recent decades, this time not in Europe, but the Muslim Middle East, called Islamism. It is a political perversion of Islam, albeit it is rooted in Islamic traditions and scriptures.

What makes this 21st Century Islamist totalitarian ideology different from the other destructive ideologies of the 20th century is the adoption of multiculturalism and political correctness (PC) in the democratic West that have tied the West’s hands in combating this evil.

During World War Two, the Western allies did not mince words about the Nazi (German) and Fascist (Italy and Japan) enemies they faced. American G.I.’s knew exactly who the enemy was, and so did the homefront, which supported its fighting men and women. The American government helped define the nature of the enemy to the general public. The British and Commonwealth governments did the same.

In the cultural sphere, Broadway and Hollywood, as well as the existing media (printed press and radio), supported the war efforts and helped define the enemy America was fighting. And although the leftist influence in academia was growing as early as the 1940s, the culture in general respected patriotism, Liberal values and traditions.

The Cold War that pitted the West against Soviet Communism was fought with similar clarity. The West rejected the so-called “science” of Communism as a totalitarian tract that destroyed individualism and personal initiative. It saw Communism as a system that rejected religion and social stability.

President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” that locked its people up, preventing freedom of movement and thought. Reagan expressed in his March 8, 1983 speech a truth that the Obama administration refuses to accept about Islam. He said, “I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. We saw this phenomenon in the 1930s.” What was true about Communism is true about Islamism.

There are those who differentiate between Communism and Islamism by saying that one (Islamism) is a religion, whereas the other is supposedly a political system. In reality, both are totalitarian systems. Both are radical ideologies that divide the world into the select and the profane. Both deny individuality and suppress free will, treat manmade dogma as infallible truth and seek to impose it by force. The ideologies of Communism and Islamism reject commonly perceived morality and insist that right and wrong are determined not in terms of Liberal values, but rather by the interests of their specific groups. For the Communists it is the proletariat, and for the Islamists, the ummah.

In recent decades, U.S. administrations have treated the defense of freedom as an alternative to ideology. Instead, America and the West need to confront Islamism as an insult to sanity. Likewise, we need to emphasize our own beliefs in universal Liberal values and Human Rights that distinguish between right and wrong.

Today, however parts of the government, the sycophantic media and academia do not support the efforts to define and defeat radical Islam or Islamism.

The opposite is true. The media and academia have employed political correctness and multicultural standards that obscure and obfuscate the dangerous nature of Islamism, hiding behind such “civil society” organizations as CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), MSA (Muslim Students’ Association), etc., that are supporting terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Many of these organizations have intimidated Americans with concocted charges, including “Islamophobia” and racism, and have been allowed to “re-educate” U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the military on “how to deal with Islamism.” The FBI can no longer talk about Islam, and they can’t talk about jihad. The U.S. has permitted “the fox to guard the chicken coup.”

Victor Davis Hanson wrote that “Obama operatives suggested that radical Islamists were no more likely than any other groups to commit acts of terrorism. In fact, the very idea of terrorism not to mention a war against it was supposedly a Bush administration construct unfairly aimed at Muslims. ”

Obama, according to Hanson, “sincerely believed that there was no intrinsic connection between Islamism and terror; or, if there was, Islamic radicalism was no more dangerous than right-wing or supposedly Christian-inspired terror. Or if Islamic radicalism did arise, it might be mitigated by multicultural sympathy and outreach, mostly by contextualizing the violence as an inevitable result of prior Western culpability.”

A Washington Post editorial (April 25, 2012) slammed the Obama administration. “The notion that there is a legitimate form of Islamism reflects serious intellectual failing on the part of the Obama administration. President Obama seems to believe the Islamists are legitimized simply by participating in the political process” The editorial goes on to say that

No matter what the source of the delusion, no political movement that exalts the Koran can peaceably coexist with the concept of freedom at the root of Western governance. Islamist notions of democracy are constrained by the strictures of their religion. Radical Muslims reject the humanistic values that gave birth to modern Western government; the self-evident truths regarding everyone’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are infidel heresy to the Islamists. There are no inalienable rights under political Islam, only submission to the will of Allah.

America and the West cannot defeat Islamism and its terrorist components as long as many in our political sphere insist on using euphemisms such as “overseas contingency operations.” Obama rejected George W. Bush’s own euphemism of “War on Terror.” In both cases, the terms used obscure the enemy we are fighting with nebulous euphemisms. The Obama administration prefers to avoid using the term “Long War” or “Global War on Terror” so as not to offend Muslims. Words such as “terror” or “war,” let alone adding the word “Islamic,” are strictly verboten by the Obama administration.

In December of 2011, the administration released a strategic plan for dealing with domestic terrorism. It made not a single mention of radical Islamism. And, in 2010, the Pentagon released an 86-page report on the Fort Hood shooting. Though the perpetrator was a radical Islamist who corresponded directly with top al-Qaida terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, the report labeled the attack “workplace violence.”

As long as we in America (and of course in Europe) are shackled by political correctness and an array of misleading euphemisms, we will not be capable of defeating radical Islamism. We might have to give up our way of life on the altar of multiculturalism and PC because of the cowardly and morally feeble, self-proclaimed “educated classes and political elites” who have lost the will to defend our civilization.


Let’s face it, anti-war or so-called peace protests are nothing but a ruse; they are more often than not funded by opposition groups not “grass roots” efforts as they’d like you to believe. The Soviets, through active measures, spent more money funding anti-war rallies during Vietnam than they did on direct support to their proxies there i.e. weaponized peace. It’s funny when you think about it. There are still ongoing wars, yet there don’t seem to be any protests now that George W. Bush left office. One video was shot a few years ago in Washington, D.C. Most of the people were not from D.C., they were in fact bussed down by A.N.S.W.E.R. and other Marxist groups. It’s pure propaganda and people who say otherwise are being intellectually dishonest.

There is much more that could be uncovered about the hidden agendas past and present as they relate to global politics. Suffice it to say that an idealistic looking movement that only targets America or any other single nation may be something different than can be seen.



James Slate

I Defend America and its Foreign Policy from a Liberal Perspective.