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Historical Antecedents of Soviet Terrorism - Hearings Before the Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, June 11 and 12, 1981

NCJ Number
Date Published
86 pages
Testimony considers the presence of terrorist tactics in communist ideology and political culture, particularly as manifest in the history and current strategy of the Soviet Union.
Testimony by James Billington, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, documents advocacy of terrorism as a political strategy in the writings and practices of Lenin. The use of violence to destabilize noncommunist societies is stated to be a principal ingredient for implementing the Soviet commitment to the expansion of loyal communist regimes throughout the world. Terrorists are generally profiled as persons strongly influenced by a subculture of political ideology similar to a religion in the yoking of behavior to faith in and commitment to the establishment of a new order. The tools of the faith are weapons and the acts of faith are violent acts against representatives of those societies and political systems that bar the way to the creation of the new order. Stefan Possony, senior fellow (emeritus) of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, also traces the central roots of contemporary terrorism to the political ideology perpetuated primarily by the Soviet Union. The Soviet's KGB and GRU are indicated to have the organization, personnel, and the capability to mount and run terror campaigns in many areas of the world, as well as to observe most of the existing terror groups of various political orientations and to influence and penetrate many of these groups; however, the search for a single Soviet command of terrorism is futile, because there are many focal points and interlocking networks. The imprint of the Soviet Union on various terrorist groups and operations is unmistakable, according to Possony.