INSIDE RUSSIA—A REPORT

BRIAN DAVID WILLIAMS


[written after a trip to Moscow in November 1973]


“This world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development of envious malevolence and impossible equality has been steadily growing. There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international, and for the most part atheistical, Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders.”
   — Winston S. Churchill, 1920

   “The coming of a world state is longed for and confidently expected by all the worst and most disordered elements. This state, based on the principles of absolute equality of men and a community of possessions, would banish all national loyalties. In it no acknowledgment would be made of the authority of a father over his children, or of God over human society. If these ideas are put into practice, there will inevitably follow a reign of unheard-of terror.”
   — Pope Benedict XV, 25th July 1920

   “Sometimes I feel quite distinctly that what is inside me is not all of me. There’s something else, sublime, quite indestructible, some tiny fragment of the universal spirit.”
   — Alexander Solzhenitsin, Cancer Ward

“I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
   — The Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:18


Geography

The Soviet Union is the largest country in the world. It covers one-sixth of the earth’s surface area and stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific, almost halfway round the earth. It has an area of 8X,602,700 square miles, is more than twice the size of China and three times as big as the USA. That part of the Soviet Union which is in Europe is larger than the rest of Europe put together. The Soviet Union comprises eighteen republics and 100 peoples, and has a population of 280,000,000. Its official title is Soyuz Sovetski Sotsialisticheski Respubliki or SSSR, written CCCP in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Politics

The USSR is a totalitarian regime, the world’s first Socialist state, created in 1917 as the result of the October Revolution and run by the Communist Party with its seat of power in the Kremlin. Its Secretary General is Mr Leonid L Brezhnev and its Prime Minister Mr Alexei Kosygin. Apart from the USA no other country in the world has comparable military and economic strength.

Russian intelligence service

This is the largest and most active of Communist intelligence organizations and plays a large part in framing and effecting the policies of the Soviet Government. Its principal aim is to obtain information about Western defence and security and also about scientific and technical developments, It aims to recruit British subjects to work for them in the UK.

Danger to Western visitors

Applications for a visa to enter the Soviet Union are usually scrutinized by an Intelligence Officer to see whether the visitor is likely to be of service to them, and also to see whether any indiscretion committed on a previous visit can be exploited, Reports on the visitor may be obtained from almost everyone whom he contacts during his stay, including hotel staff, tourist guides and apparently casual acquaintances. In the main hotels all telephones can be tapped, rooms can be “bugged”, and visual or photographic surveillance of the occupants can be carried out. In some rooms infra-red cameras enable photographs to be taken in the dark. Tables in restaurants can be fitted with microphones connected to a central listening point and tape-recorder. Microphones can be built into ashtrays. used in cars, or carried about.

Photography

Visitors may take photographs almost anywhere except, as is usual in many countries, of airports, bridges, military establishments, railway junctions etc.

Currency regulations

Like most countries the Soviet Union has strict currency regulations. All visitors are required to complete a currency declaration on entering the country and are prohibited from taking Soviet currency with them when they leave, The unit of currency is the rouble, which is equal to 100 kopeks and worth approximately twelve shillings. It is difficult to state an exact rate of exchange as it is almost impossible to spend Russian currency once inside the country. Any visitor to the USSR would be well advised not to change more than a pound or two.

Offences against the state

There is some danger than an innocent visitor may be incited to commit an offence and so be compromised and threatened with arrest or imprisonment. It is illegal to engage in any unofficial financial transaction. Many items of clothing and other goods are in such short supply that the visitor may be approached by a local inhabitant and persuaded to sell some item of apparel. While in Russia the writer heard of one man selling his jacket for £50 and of similar instances. The visitor may also unwittingly commit an offence by agreeing to takes a letter or gift out of the country, or he may break the law by taking photographs in a prohibited area. He may also be accused of subversive activities against the State if he should fall into the trap of speaking too freely.

Blackmail

The greatest danger is that the visitor may be compromised sexually. He may make a liaison with a local girl who, if not acting for the Intelligence Service, will be brought under its control early on. Faced with photographic or other evidence he may be threatened with arrest and imprisonment, the withdrawal of his business facilities, or exposure either publicly or to his family, The victim may then be persuaded to sign a confession or, in return for their silence, to “co-operate” with Soviet Intelligence. Alternatively, the “indiscretion”, either real or contrived, may be stored away for use later on.

Propaganda

The visitor who avails himself of the services of an Intourist guide (usually a woman graduate from the university) will find that he is bombarded with propaganda about the superiority of every aspect of Soviet life. Quite unabashed, the guide will tell him that the Russians invented the aeroplane, discovered penicillin, have built the largest this, tallest something else, It is useless to point out the fallacy of these beliefs. Any attempt to do so will be rebutted and dismissed as Western imperialist propaganda. One saw instances of visitors engaged in almost heated discussions with their guides about the merits and de-merits of Socialism. This approach accomplishes nothing. However, it is possible to have a frank discussion with a Soviet citizen — many speak at least some English — once he is convinced that your aim is not solely to denigrate everything Russian.

Transport

Transport facilities in Moscow were very good. The underground Metro, constructed between l935 and 1938, claims to be the finest in the world. It has 96 stations and two a year are added. Each station is individually designed and more like a cathedral in architecture, with marble pillars and brilliantly lit chandeliers. The escalators are steeper and faster than those in London. The trains are fast and frequent and the stations spotlessly clean. No smoking is allowed in trains or stations and there is no advertising of any description. One travels any distance on the Metro for five kopeks (about 3p). No tickets are issued, so there are no ticket collectors. The ‘bus and tramcar system is extremely efficient; again one travels any distance for only three kopeks. Each vehicle is manned by a woman driver. Passengers insert their fare into a machine after boarding and tear off a ticket.

Hotel accommodation

Moscow hotels are very good. Plentiful food and drink are provided for guests, and bedrooms were well appointed though without TV. As stated, all rooms are believed to have facilities for “bugging”; obviously this is difficult to confirm. All hotels, shops, public transport etc, are centrally heated, the hotels almost uncomfortably so.

Newspapers

The leading Russian newspapers are “Pravda” (meaning Truth) and “Izvestia” (meaning News), both official organs of the Communist Party. People have a saying in Moscow that there is no truth in News and no news in Truth. The “Morning Star” (formerly the “Daily Worker”) was the only British newspaper available on bookstalls.

General impressions

One’s strongest impression was the drabness of city life in Moscow. There are few shops, no window displays to compare with those, say, of London’s Regent Street, and scarcely a neon sign to be seen, There is no advertising, the only posters being of a political nature. An antireligious poster said that whereas Russian priests used to plead with God in vain for rain, now the people irrigated the fields to produce reliable harvests without God. The people one saw and met were warmly clothed but always wore drab colours. The lack of colour creates a depressing and probably quite false impression of Moscow life. Our visit took place in winter. Women were operating snowploughs to clear the streets and also engaged in construction work on building sites. Conditions were reminiscent of wartime Britain. There were queues everywhere, for food, clothing, household goods, and in restaurants. At one stall we! saw a scuffle as the supply of soap was seen to be running out. Food and clothing were very expensive, and fashions behind the times compared with British dress. Some prices: Child’s coat £16, women’s shoes £l2.5O (cheapest), tights £4.70, nylon underskirt £l2.20 short quilted housecoat £37.50, men’s shirts £11.25.

Social services

We were told that free education was provided from primary schools to university, There is a free health service, although medicines have to be paid for, and free dentistry. There is free insurance, old-age pensions, no unemployment benefit. All younger women go out to work. After two years at work a woman having a baby is given sixteen weeks’ leave at full pay. Sickness and accident benefits are provided, and cheap holidays. Rents are cheap, Gas is cheap, electricity more expensive. It is claimed that illiteracy has been eliminated, also that the ratio of doctors to patients is higher than in any other nation. One was given endless statistics like this, many impressive, but not necessarily significant since progress was inevitable, revolution or not.

Red Square

Red Square lies at the heart of Moscow, bounded on the west by the Kremlin wall, on the east by GUM, the government department store, on the north by the Armoury Museum, and on the south by St Basil’s Cathedral (now a museum). Midway along the Kremlin wall is the Mausoleum where the body of Lenin (1870–1924) lies on view. On four days a week from 10am to 4pm Soviet citizens file religiously through the Mausoleum. The writer joined a queue a quarter of a mile long and waited for an hour and a half before descending into the sepulchral gloom where Lenin’s body, looking like a waxwork, lies illuminated in a glass case. It seemed to the writer that Lenin has been substituted as a god-figure.

Religion

The: writer was told by a guide that religion was “dying out”. In fact, there are still many thousands of churches throughout the Soviet Union and some 30 or more in Moscow. The writer was able to meet with Russian Christians and to participate in worship at the Baptist Church in Moscow, at which about 1,500 people were present. The church has a membership of about 5,000. It holds services of water baptism and runs its own Bible course. The members enjoy freedom of worship and are not discriminated against in any way so far as one was able to ascertain. The congregation was predominantly of older women, but there were many middle-aged and younger people present. Bibles were also in evidence.

Bibles

The writer specifically enquired about the availability of Bibles and was told that they were able to be printed and that a new printing was expected this year (1974). The Soviet Union actually exports a certain number of Bibles to Russian-speaking communities outside the USSR.

The Evangelical Baptists

While certain missions to the Communist world give the impression that there is no freedom of worship in the Soviet Union it needs to be stated that, for many thousands of Christians, the opposite is the case. Before the 1917 Revolution, Baptists were severely persecuted by the Orthodox Church. Lenin’s decree of 1918 calling for the separation of Church and State with the guarantee of “freedom for religious and antireligious propaganda to all citizens” gave them an unprecedented opportunity for evangelization. All churches are thus “equal” in the USSR. Anyone who studies the publications of the Evangelical Baptists will readily detect an accommodation of Soviet Christians to their political leadership. However, it seems to the writer that the loyalty of Soviet Christians to their Motherland puts to shame the attitude of many Christians in this country with their indifference to political issues and lack of patriotism. One must emphasize that Soviet believers see no apparent conflict between their being Christians and citizens of a Communist State. They loyally support the Soviet social and economic system. Their complaint is not against Communism but that under the present regime they are being denied rights guaranteed to them by Lenin, ie, they accuse the Soviet Government of betraying Leninism.

Telegram to Mr Kosygin

“The All-Union Congress of Evangelical Christian Baptists expresses heartfelt gratitude to the Soviet Government for the opportunity to hold our congress on December 9–11. ... The delegates to the congress view this as yet another proof of the triumph of the principles of freedom of conscience proclaimed and implemented in our country. While rejoicing in everything that is beautiful and grand in our native country, the Evangelical Christian Baptists contribute by their work to the good achievements of our Motherland and are taking part in the sacred cause of the defence of peace in the world. The churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists are constantly offering prayers to God for the blessing of the government, for keeping our beloved Motherland in peace and prosperity, and for the consolidation of peace and friendship among nations.”

The underground church

Russian Christians deny the existence of an “underground” church, that is to say, they do not think of themselves in that way. This is not to deny that Christians have been persecuted, imprisoned and even executed in the Soviet Union. However, after a protracted investigation, this writer has come to the conclusion that the sufferings of Soviet Christians are to some extent being exploited by certain missionary organizations dedicated to taking the Gospel behind the Iron Curtain. The idea that all Christians in the Soviet Union are persecuted and that they can worship only in secret is completely wrong. Nevertheless, this is the impression conveyed by their literature. Conversely, the insinuation that if a Soviet Christian is not persecuted then he is not a true Christian seems to be very unfair. The fact that Soviet Christians have suffered greatly is not to be disputed, However, it is certainly true that there are far more Christians in the Soviet Union than there are members of the Communist Party.

Missions to the Communist world

Without wishing in any way to impugn the integrity of such missions the writer feels bound to comment on the naivety of their approach and to ask whether they are not, in fact, achieving the very opposite to the end in view. One such organization has representatives in 52 countries; another has member missions in nine countries. Having regard to the efficiency of Soviet Intelligence, it is inconceivable that these organizations have not been penetrated by Communist agents. There is therefore the very real danger that, far from alleviating the sufferings of Soviet Christians, their activities may even result in reprisals being made against them. It also seems extremely unlikely that the mass smuggling of Bibles etc can really have gone undetected. However, an even greater peril is that Western Christians in their zeal to help their persecuted brethren behind the Iron Curtain, may be completely oblivious of the subtle inroads of Communism in their own country or of the existence of the Jew/Money—Power/Communist conspiracy. It does not occur to them that the leaders of world revolution have divided the world into two camps, of Communism and anti-Communism, and that they finance both.

Origins of Communism

The October Revolution of 1917 was not, as is commonly supposed, a spontaneous uprising of the peasants against their overlords. It was masterminded and financed by Jews from New York. After the Revolution Jews, including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Kaganovich, were prominent in the Communists’ hierarchy. Informed Christians will be aware of these facts and will appreciate that “Antichrist” is not a church leader but “he that denieth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”. These facts are well documented in our literature and need not be repeated here. A photostat copy of the Directorate of Intelligence (Home Office) report dated l6 July 1919 clearly establishing the Jewish origins of Communism, will be sent on receipt of 10p in stamps [30-odd years later, make that 50p!].

The future

It is our conviction that unless there is a mighty spiritual awakening in Britain this country must inevitably become Communist. Anyone who visits the Soviet Union cannot fail to be impressed by the tremendous achievements of its people, and in particular by its intense patriotism and sense of purpose. In certain respects life in the USSR puts Britain and the Western world to shame, and the armed might of the Soviet Union may well be the instrument of divine chastisement. However, it has to be said that Communism is a fundamentally atheistic system and as such will be destroyed. A coming generation will see the collapse of Russia from within; the body of Lenin will be cremated; the vast Palace of Congresses in the Kremlin will be used for the preaching of the Gospel; and churches and cathedrals will once again be used for the purpose for which they were built.
 


 
First published, in pamphlet form, after a trip to Moscow in November 1973
Published on the web July 2006

© Brian Williams 2006

The author can be contacted by email: see contact details on the home page.