Report By The Chairman Of The Committee For State Security Of The Ar

REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY OF THE ARMENIAN SOCIALIST SOVIET REPUBLIC M. A. YUZBASHYAN

MARCH 14, 1979

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy
Foundation

Under the influence of the most aggressive forces of imperialism,
the foreign policy course of the United States government and its
allies clearly exhibits a tendency toward returning to a policy
“from the position of strength” and to the “cold war.” The current
leadership of the PCR [People’s Republic of Cambodia], who unleashed
undisguised aggression against socialist Vietnam in February of this
year, has practically merged with the forces of imperialism in its
anti-Soviet aspirations. Therefore there clearly exists an attempt
by our enemies to create a united anti-Communist front.

In implementing of the aggressive course against the countries of
the socialist commonwealth, and mainly against the Soviet Union, an
important role is given to the special services and the anti-Soviet
foreign centers, the subversive activity of which has acquired a
global character.

One would like to especially emphasize the fact that the enemy,
without giving up its final strategic goals, has adjusted its tactics
[and] focused on conducting ideological subversion which has as its
goal “exploding” socialism from within. A powerful, multi-branch
apparatus has been put in service for ideological subversion. And
the imperialist countries long ago raised this line of subversive
activity to the level of state policy.

By acting in skillful and diverse ways, and by actively using specific
features of different regions of the USSR all the channels through
which people travel in and out [of the Soviet Union], and the mass
media, the enemy often achieves his dirty goals. Under the influence
of hostile Western propaganda, negatively inclined individuals inside
the country, including those in the Armenian SSR [Soviet Socialist
Republic], still commit anti-state, and anti-Soviet crimes.

Notwithstanding the absence of a social base in the country for
anti-Soviet activity there are certain marginalized individuals who
choose the criminal way [of life]. This kind of person also exists
in our republic.

Protecting Soviet society from the overtures of the reactionary
imperialist forces is the main task of the organs of state security,
which they successfully fulfill under the unwavering control and
daily leadership of our Party.

All the people, the widest strata of our society, take part in
fulfilling that noble task. And it is precisely in this connection
that we should consider the CC CPSU Resolution of 23 May 1977,
“About Raising the Vigilance of the Soviet People.”

Even taking into account the obvious exceptional character of this
crime, it appears that the case of the “Bombers,” which was presented
today to the Bureau of the CC CP of Armenia, , bears clear traces of
all these processes and phenomena, so to speak, of the external and
internal order, which were mentioned above.

Brief summary of the case: During the evening of 8 January, in various
public places in the city of Moscow, criminal elements carried
out explosions of hand-made bombs, resulting in human casualties,
destruction and damage to state property. The explosions occurred
in the metro train, in grocery store No. 15, and next to the window
of grocery store No. 5. As a result of the explosions, 7 people were
killed, and 37 people were injured to varying degrees.

At the end of October 1977, criminals were preparing to detonate
new explosives, this time at the Kursky Railway Terminal. However,
the measures for ensuring safety in public places, undertaken jointly
by the organs of the KGB and MVD, scared the criminals, and they fled
hurriedly leaving behind a bag with the explosives.

As a result of the additional measures which were undertaken the
operative group of the Armenian SSR KGB, working in coordination with
the USSR KGB, succeeded in capturing the criminals at the beginning
of November 1977. They turned out to be: S[tepan] S. Zatikyan, head
of the group, born in 1946 in Yerevan, and resident of Yerevan,
nonaffiliated, married, did not complete higher education; A. V.

Stepanyan, born 1947 in Yerevan, resident of Yerevan, with a secondary
education; Z. M. Bagdasaryan, born 1954 in the village of Kanachut
in the Artashatsky region, and resident of Kanachut, with a secondary
education.

>From 16 to 24 January 1979, the Collegium for Criminal Offenses of
the USSR Supreme Soviet held an open trial session to consider the
criminal case charging S. S. Zatikyan and his two accomplices with
anti-Soviet activities and committing a subversive act.

During the course of the trial the information received earlier by the
KGB organs was fully confirmed with regard to the fact that Zatikyan,
having served a four-year sentence for anti-Soviet activities, did
not disarm ideologically, and, moreover, chose the road of extremist
methods of struggle against the Soviet state. After being indoctrinated
in a hostile spirit, he involved his accomplices in the preparation
and implementation of the subversive acts.

In the course of the investigation and trial in this case, a large
amount of material and other evidence was collected. Approximately
750 victims and witnesses were questioned, 140 expert tests were made,
and over 100 searches were conducted; persuasive evidence was collected
in the residences of the criminals, linking them to the explosions.

This gave [the investigation] the opportunity to fully reveal
Zatikyan’s and his accomplices’ roles in the crimes they prepared and
committed, even during the preliminary investigation. In particular,
Zatikyan stated during the preliminary investigation the following:
“I did not testify against my own will, I told the truth that I built
the explosive devices … that my actions … represent just one method
of struggle against the regime that exists in the Soviet Union.” Later,
during the trial, Zatikyan refused to give testimony. However, his
accomplices gave extensive testimony about the circumstances of
preparing and carrying out the new subversive acts. Zatikyan was
fully implicated by his accomplices and other witnesses, by the
conclusions of the experts, as the main ideological and practical
organizer of the subversive acts and the main actor in building of
the explosive devices.

Taking into account the exceptional danger and the grave consequences
of the crimes committed by him, the court sentenced Zatikyan and his
accomplices to the ultimate measure of punishment–the death sentence.

The verdict was received with approval by the numerous representatives
of the Soviet public, who were present in the courtroom, including
representatives from our republic. By the way, one of the jurors and
all three defense lawyers were also from our republic. The sentence
was carried out.

Using the Zatikyan case as an example it would be instructive to trace
how he came to his evil design and who and what helped him in that.

Brief background. Over the last 12 years, the Armenian KGB has
uncovered and liquidated more than 20 illegal anti-Soviet nationalist
groups created under the influence of hostile Western propaganda.

Altogether, about 1,400 people were engaged in anti-Soviet activities
in some form or another.

In accordance with the Party’s principles, the organs of state
security have given and continue to give preference to preventive
and prophylactic measures, and consider arrest an extreme measure only.

Those arrested represented only 4.3% of the individuals who were
proven to have engaged in anti-Soviet activities. Zatikyan was one of
them–he was a member of one of the anti-Soviet nationalist groups,
which pompously named itself NUP (National United Party). It was
created by the unaffiliated artist Khachatryan Aikaz, born in 1918
(in 1978 he was sentenced to 1.5 years of prison for a common crime),
who, upon learning about Zatikyan’s role in the explosions in Moscow,
called himself his “spiritual father.”

In 1968, Zatikyan was arrested and sentenced, as was already mentioned,
to four years in prison. At his arrest, they confiscated a document
written by Zatikyan–“Terror and Terrorists”–in which he made an
effort to justify the methods of extremism and means of struggle
against the Soviet state.

During his stay at the correctional labor colony, and then in prison
(where he was transferred because he systematically violated the
regime, and negatively influenced other inmates, who chose the road
of improvement), Zatikyan not only did not change his ways, but,
on the contrary, nursed thoughts about even more extreme methods of
hostile activity.

One should also note that Zatikyan admired the Dashnaks [Armenian
Revolutionary Federation, an ultra-nationalist movement whose
territorial ambitions include the Karabakh region and those parts of
“Greater Armenia” currently within the borders of Turkey and Georgia].

In the course of the investigation, and during his trial, he called
the Dashnaks a “sacred party.”

One of Zatikyan’s accomplices–Stepanyan–participated in the
anti-Soviet nationalist gathering. For that, in 1974, he was served
an official warning in accordance with the Decree of the Presidium of
the USSR Supreme Soviet of 25 December 1972. However, that official
warning did not bring Stepanyan to his senses, did not stop him from
committing the crime.

The USSR KGB gave a positive assessment to the investigative and trial
measures undertaken by the organs of state security of the USSR. The
Armenian KGB also took an active part in that work.

However, all this took place after the first series of explosions had
occurred in Moscow. And the second series of explosions had already
been prepared. There should have been no explosions at all. In any
case, after the explosions, the criminals should have been quickly
discovered and arrested. However, that did not happen. We realize
that we have obviously made some mistakes here. The republican KGB
drew the following lessons from the “Bombers” case.

One can name the following reasons [as those] that contributed to
the emergence of the “Bombers:” Enemy influence from the abroad
in the framework of the ideological subversion carried out by the
adversary. Negative influence by some hostile individuals on the young
people.As was already mentioned, mistakes in our work, in the work of
the Armenian KGB. Loss of sharpness of political vigilance among some
categories of the population, as a consequence of a certain weakening
of the ideological work.

In addition to that, there is some concern about persons who are not
involved in productive labor, as well as such aliens to our social
regime [who practice] phenomena such as bribery, theft of socialist
property, petty crime, and vicious systematic libel against honest
Soviet people in the form of anonymous letters and statements.

All this not only darkens the general moral and political climate
in the republic, but also represents potential fertile grounds for
marginalized elements, who then slide toward anti-Soviet activities.

Foreign Armenian colonies represent a special concern for us. Let
us dwell on just one question out of the whole system of issues
related to this situation. The processes and developments occurring
in the colonies, taking into account their various connections with
the republic, influence the situation here. The enemy, primarily the
United States, actively works with the foreign Armenian colonies–they
use all means to encourage persons of Armenian nationality to move
and establish permanent residency in their country. Today already
600,000 Armenians reside in the United States.

An Armenian Bureau was created and is now functioning in the State
Department, and Columbia University is planning to create an Armenian
Cultural Center.

All these events unquestionably serve the same anti-Soviet goals.

There are plans to increase the Armenian diaspora in the United States
to one million people. This could have serious consequences for us.

The best organized force in the foreign Armenian colonies is the
anti-Soviet nationalist party Dashnaktsutyun. It is the most dangerous
for us due to a number of circumstances (experience, knowledge of
the situation, absence of language barrier, etc.).

That is why the CPSU CC resolution of 27 December 1978 about
strengthening our work with the Armenians residing abroad has a great
significance in trying to interfere with the efforts of the American
administration to extend its influence on the foreign Armenian colony.

The KGB of the Armenian SSR reports its suggestions regarding the
realization of the above-mentioned CPSU CC resolution to the Armenian
CP CC separately.

Dashnak propaganda is being skillfully and inventively carried out, and
it reaches its addressees more often than other kinds of propaganda. We
have to give them credit–they choose topics for ideological attacks
against us in a fine and clever manner.

Take for example slogans like “Great and united and independent
Armenia.” Or the way they threw in the so-called “land issues” (both
internal and external). It is natural that the Dashnaks did not pass
by Sero Khanzadyan’s letter, did not miss the clearly non-scholarly
polemics between Z. Buniatov and some of our scholars. They did not
shy away from the case of Zatikyan and his accomplices either. In
addition, every time the Dashnaks choose the most skillful and at
the same time innocent forms for their propaganda (for example about
the “purity” of the Armenian language, about creation of genuinely
Armenian families, etc.), which represents nothing other than acts
of ideological subversion.

Of course, the current situation, the growing might of the socialist
forces, and, first of all, of our country, could not but affect the
Dashnak strategy, but their essence, their strategic designs remained
unchanged, and we should start from that assumption in our work.

Naturally, we should also work against the Dashnaks–to try to limit,
decrease their practical anti-Soviet activity.

It is necessary to point out that lately the enemy has been devoting
more attention to the socio-political sphere in his intelligence
endeavors. In our republic, they are interested in such issues as the
attitude of the local people to the Russians, Azerbaijani, and other
peoples of the Soviet Union, to the “land” problem (both internal and
external), to Turkey, and to the United States. [They are interested
in] how the genocide is taught in schools, what kind of nationalist
outbursts happen in the republic, and how the nationalities issue
is being resolved, and how the authorities treat the so-called
dissidents, etc.

It is not hard to notice where the enemy is aiming–this is not
just an expression of idle interest! The enemy is trying to weaken,
and if possible to undermine, the friendship of the peoples of the
Soviet Union–the basis of our power.

In our republic, to some extent, the acts of ideological subversion,
which are conducted now within the framework of the campaign for the
so-called “defense of human rights” have made their impact. There
emerged the so-called “Group of Assistance for the Helsinki Accords”
(the group was dissolved, its leader–Nazaryan–was sentenced to 5
years in prison at the end of 1978). There also emerged an all-Union
“leader” of the so-called “Free Labor Unions”–some Oganesyan [in
our republic]. As a result of the prophylactic work, he renounced
his unbecoming activity.

The actions named above did not bring success to the enemy. They
are not that dangerous for our republic. The Dashnak propaganda,
and everything that originates in the Armenian foreign colonies is
a different issue. The Dashnaks exploit the nationalist feelings of
the people, speculate on them. The Armenian KGB constantly takes that
fact into account in its work.

Information in the Soviet press and on the radio about the trial and
the sentence in the case of the “terrorists” caused sharp indignation
against the criminal actions taken by Zatikyan and his accomplices
in the entire Soviet Union, in all the strata of population of the
republic. The people throughout the republic condemned those actions
and approved the sentence of the USSR Supreme Soviet, emphasizing
that those criminals have nothing in common with the Armenian people,
which owes all its accomplishments, and its very existence in the
Soviet state, to the great Russian people.

At the same time, we should not close our eyes to the fact that
there are some hostile individuals with anti-Soviet and anti-Russian
sentiments, who are nursing thoughts about separating Soviet Armenia
from the USSR, express extremist sentiments (read excerpts).

For example, an unidentified person called the USSR KGB in Moscow
after Zatikyan and his accomplices’ sentence was carried out, and
expressed a threat to “avenge” the sentenced.

The KGB of Armenia sees this main task as follows: to prevent and
to interdict in a timely manner all extremist and other adversarial
expressions on the part of the negative elements.

In this, we are starting from the assumption that in the current
conditions, only politically well-prepared Communist members of the
security organs can carry out the demanding tasks of ensuring state
security, of protecting Soviet society from the subversive actions of
the enemy’s special services, from the foreign anti-Soviet centers,
and from some hostile individuals inside the country. We believe
that no Communist can have any kind of neutral, or passive position
in issues of ideology.

The issues of ideological and political preparation and
internationalist education of the personnel have been and will remain
at the center of attention of the Collegium, the Party Committee of the
KGB of the republic, and the party organizations of the [KGB] units.

The Armenian KGB works under the direct control of and direction
of the CP CC of Armenia, and it constantly feels the assistance and
support of the Central Committee and the government of the republic.

Officers of the Armenian KGB assure the CC CP of Armenia that they
will apply all their skills and power to fulfill the tasks entrusted
to them.

Chairman of the Committee for State Security

Of the Armenian SSR

[signature] M. A. (Marius) Yuzbashyan

14 March 1979

http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117341

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