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Terrorism in Soviet Union Sample Essay

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Terrorism in Soviet Union Sample Essay

Scholars have argues that for the most part, the Soviet Union though had its share of terrorist attacks; their attacks seem to be minute compared to other countries. Also evident is that many of the terrorist organizations present today seem to have a Marxist-Leninist ideology, such ideologies are companionable with terrorism. Also evident is the fact that most attacks seem to be centered on the more liberal west. The weapons used by terrorist organizations today seem to be of Soviet origin as well.

However, some arguments have been made on behalf of the Soviets. According to one scholar, “other theories postulate that the USSR was better at handling terrorism, than the Soviet Union was subjected to more terrorism than the West might think, but that many of those terrorist incidents were hidden from the foreign press, and that the USSR was not targeted because of its better foreign relations in general.”

Many people have heard of the term, “one man's terrorist, is another man's freedom fighter” therefore, with this paper, the term “terrorism” will be defined as, “The deliberate employment of violence or the threat of use of violence by sovereign states (or sub national groups encouraged or assisted by sovereign states) to attain strategic and political objectives by acts in violation of law. These criminal acts are intended to create overwhelming fear in a target population larger than the civilian or military victims attacked or threatened.(1)

According to Claire Sterling's book, the Terror Network, she argued that the Soviets indeed were largely responsible for supplying as well as training terrorist with the logistics that they needed in order to carry out their plan. However, the Soviets role in creating such terrorist organizations remains a mystery (although many scholars are doubtful as to their role in actually creating it). There have been evidences that do prove the link between the terrorists and the Soviets with regards to their training, logistics as well as ideology; it however, is difficult to prove if the soviets themselves were the ones who master minded the whole ordeal.

According to intelligence reports made, “In the 1920s, the Comintern was exposed as being involved in the planned assassination of a British official in Persia by Persian terrorists. A correspondence between the official and his Foreign Office made the following points: one, that Moscow had approved assassinations and terrorist activities by foreign Communists, provided the action could not be proved to have been connected to Moscow; two, the Russian Communist Party had sanc- tioned the use of terrorism in the East; three, the Comintern sought Persian agents to target British officials. Also discov- ered was that the Soviets had supplied Armenian Bolsheviks with ammunition and revolvers.”

Although the relationship of the Soviets to terrorists operating today may be difficult to prove, the Soviets were found through out the years, to have actually publicly supported several terrorist activities. Among them are:

  1. In 1969, TASS reported that the Palestinian movement was a "just struggle for liberation," which contradicted the Soviet position of two months earlier; (11)
  2. The Pravda declared in February of 1969 that Israeli reprisals to terrorist attacks were illegal; (12)
  3. The official Soviet definition of "aggression" changed in 1969; it had been defined as a state arming bands to attack another state, but was altered so that the defined term was now "indirect aggression," and a clause was added to the definition declaring that it was justifiable to exercise one's "inherent right" to self determination; (13)
  4. The Soviet Union supported the Iranian taking of United States hostages; (14)
  5. A courtship of Arafat by the Soviet Union (and China, for that matter) occured during the earlier years of the PLO; (15)
  6. And Krushchev declared that, while usage of nuclear weapons was intolerable, national liberation movements were not only permissible, but "inevitable;" (16)
  7. In 1972, the PLO issued a statement of appreciation for Soviet assistance
  8. After eleven Israelis were killed during the Munch Olympic games, the Soviet Union failed to issue a statement condemning such attacks. However, they opposed Israel's retaliation, even going to the extent of supplying arms to Syria.

Adnan Abu Jaber, a terrorist capture in the 1980's, admitted to his Israeli captors that he did indeed receive training somewhere near Moscow and that arms were indeed supplied to the PLO by the Soviets.

Other evidences that link the Soviets to terrorist organizations are as follows:

In much the same way, Israel has indicated that Boudia, of the PLO, was a KGB operative, (25) and in 1978 discovered when raiding PLO members, graduation certificates from the USSR Ministry of Defence's Command and Staff College.(26)

The certificates suggest another indicator frequently cited to show Soviet control of international terrorism: the training and equiping of terrorist organizations. Some training is suspected; one source postulates that Andropov oversaw the development of a core of protest group ring leaders throughout the West who could make large showings of protest on the spur of the moment. (27) Some training such as that of the Turkish would-be assassin of the Pope is more certain.

Training camps for international terrorists are thought to have been located in: Baku, Tashkent, Odessa, and Simferopol (former Soviet Union); Karlovy Vary, Doupov, and Ostrava (Czech- oslakia); Varia (Bulgaria); Lake Balaton (Hungary); and near Pankov and Finsterwalds (East Germany). A school for sabotage in Prague was designed specifically for Fatah men; its course lasted six weeks, during which Marxist-Leninist ideology was stressed. (28)

Others have been linked to Soviet training. Henri Curiel, a communist who coordinated logistical support for terrorists in France, as well as for the PLO and ETA, including safe houses, false documents, and weapons, is thought to have been directly linked to the NKVD (KGB).

In instances where the Soviet Union was indeed the target of terrorism, it was mostly because certain individuals were seeking to leave the country. One instance in 1985 is an example of such an occurrence when four officials of the Soviet Union were held hostage because of their affiliation with Syria. Because of this incident, the Soviet Union was forced to revoke several of its officials in the country.

It is also crucial to note that the Soviets had no agency or branch of government relating to any form of counter terrorism.