The annual report by the Czech Republic's Security Information Service (the BIS), recently posted on its official website, accuses Russia of trying to create an entity in Europe "drawing on the concept of the Comintern", which was an international umbrella organization for the communist parties of various countries from 1919 to 1943.

The Czech counterintelligence agents do not offer any facts to support their case, but the accusation that Moscow is engaged in subversive activities is stylistically very reminiscent of the warnings offered by European dictatorships in the 1920s and 1930s regarding the threat emanating from the Soviet Union. Europe's far right (primarily Hitler) said roughly the same things eighty years ago: Russia crouches right on their doorstep, and naturally this necessitates censorship, as well as an increase in military spending and 'unity' in the face of the threat posed by Moscow. Of course this fear of the Comintern was what helped push Hitler into power in Germany, as well as the nationalist governments in Poland, the Baltics, Romania, and Hungary.

It should also be kept in mind that although communist organizations were able to engineer revolutions abroad after the developments of 1917 in Russia (such as in Hungary in 1918), the new Russia that emerged in 1991 has not incited a single coup d'état in any foreign capital, nor has it showed any intention of doing so. Coups and revolutions suit Russia's opponents - the United States and the European Union - which openly support 'popular' takeovers of the governments of sovereign countries, such as in Ukraine in 2014, Libya in 2011, and Syria in 2012-2015. Thus a comparison between these 'revolutionary' Western structures and the Comintern is actually quite apt, which Pat Buchanan, the famous American political columnist and former adviser to Ronald Reagan, did not fail to notice several years ago.

This one-time US presidential candidate suggestively titled his article on this topic, 'Putin vs. the Neo-Comintern'. Pat Buchanan noted that even in the years immediately prior to WWII the Soviet Union refused to employ the Comintern to overthrow foreign governments, suggesting instead in 1935 that communists throughout the world focus their efforts on the creation of a 'people's front' to aid in the common struggle against fascism. Only Leon Trotsky, the 'antipope of Bolshevism' championed the idea of permanent revolution, but he had already been driven out of the Soviet Union. Buchanan notes a great irony of history - by the end of the twentieth century, Comintern-style revolutionaries had reemerged, but from a very different, non-communist end of the political spectrum. Buchanan writes:
"Trotskyism did not die with Leon Trotsky. It mutated and is today the taproot of that neoconservatism that calls for permanent revolution to advance not global communism, but global democracy.

Today... neoconservatives are using tax dollars to create and operate their own Neo-Comintern. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which pumps out tens of millions of dollars to 'promote democracy' abroad, is its pivotal agency. For 20 years, it has been headed by Carl Gershman, who broke from the Socialist Party to organize Social Democrats USA, which rallied to the candidacy of liberal Democratic Sen. Henry 'Scoop' Jackson, whose staff was a nesting ground of neocons from Richard Perle to Frank Gaffney to Elliott Abrams."
It turns out that the Czech counterintelligence agents from the BIS were barking up the wrong tree with their accusations against Moscow: the Comintern is indeed experiencing a rebirth, but in the West instead of the East.

Pat Buchanan's observation about the «socialist» past of today's American revolutionaries points to an important component of the creative team behind the current 'Maidan contagion' - former leftists from the 1970s who had by 2000 been transformed into political spin doctors on the payroll of Western governments and large corporations. Why is it important for us to study the Maidan contagion? Because, infatuated by this contagion, the West decided to destabilize an array of states (from Yugoslavia in 1999-2001 to Ukraine in 2014). In all the efforts to overthrow Milošević, Yanukovych, or even Nikola Gruevski, the leader of tiny Macedonia - the pop culture of the sixties and seventies is omnipresent, as is the romance of ostensibly spontaneous and often outwardly nonviolent campaigns. The tactics of «peaceful youth protest» were first tested against Charles de Gaulle in France in 1968. And by the early 2000s it had become a real business tool for the US and EU, with billions (not millions, as Pat Buchanan thought a few years ago, not yet acquainted with Victoria Nuland's acknowledgment of "five billion for Ukraine") of dollars in sales.

This tool was exposed in full detail as part of a Der Spiegel investigation bearing the evocative title 'Die Revolutions-Gmbh' (Revolution Ltd). The well-known Spiegel journalists Renate Flottau, Erich Follath, and Uwe Klussman argue that neither the events of 2000 in Yugoslavia nor the subsequent 'revolutions' that occurred at Washington's behest could have in any way been spontaneous popular uprisings. The new pro-Western revolutionaries paint themselves as the romantic 'children of Gandhi and Coca-Cola', but in reality are quite able to count money and be cruelly pragmatic if necessary.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, the activist Alexander Maric acknowledges Freedom House's leading role in the overthrow of Milošević, although he also notes that his associates from Washington did not force the Yugoslavs to commit to any specific course of action. The real story is how this business tool is being franchised: a 'central office' in Washington 'outsources' the work to its chosen representatives in a certain country, they change the name of their movement into a 'brand' (such as Otpor in Belgrade), and the head office leaves the local marketing decisions up to the local branch.

This is what Maric told Der Spiegel:
"Seminars were held with our American friends from Freedom House, not only abroad but also in the Serbian town of Novi Sad. We listened to everything, but only agreed to the suggestions that were most appropriate for us. For example, the American PR specialists recommended that we replace our clenched fist (the Otpor supporters took this symbol from the German Roter Frontkämpferbund movement, changing the color from red to black) with a more colorful, modern logo that would look better on Western TV screens. But we refused."
The German opposition website Nachdenkseiten, which is dedicated to exposing the ways in which the US and EU manipulate the media, lists eight typical phases that occur when utilizing this business tool masquerading as a 'spontaneous revolutionary eruption of the masses':
  • The unwanted leader of a country is discredited as an autocrat, dictator, or even tyrant - regardless of whether or not he received a majority of the votes cast.
  • That leader is accused of corruption, electoral fraud, and other crimes.
  • A memorable symbol is chosen - for example, a rose or fist, as well as an appropriately bright color (such as orange).
  • A slogan is chosen under which to unite, and it becomes a familiar catchphrase - for example, «It's Time!» or «He's Finished!» or in Ukraine, «Out With the Gang!» For Russia, the rallying cry «Putler Kaput!» was offered.
  • Demonstrations are staged in such a way as to play well on the media.
  • Special attention is given to ensure that the entire campaign against the legitimate government looks like a playful, entertaining, and seemingly unprofessional event. Opponents of the «regime change» are mockingly depicted as boring individuals out of touch with the pervasive mood of playfulness.
  • «We are the children of Gandhi, Gates, and Coca-Cola - we are today's heroes» is the general synopsis of the activists' «self-portrait» that is offered for public consumption.
  • Revolutions Ltd. fully avails itself of all the advertising and marketing practices of transnational corporations.
The tragic consequences that ensued from the Maidan revolution in Kiev, which was conducted in accordance with all of these rules, is not stopping the new pro-Western revolutionaries from launching new projects - there are good reasons why Der Spiegel is predicting Belarus and the countries of Central Asia to be the next targets in the crosshairs of Revolution Ltd. What's more, the Washington Post is outraged that Russia has dared to label the aforementioned National Endowment for Democracy an 'undesirable organization'. An article about the plans to do so is titled 'Vladimir Putin is suffocating his own nation'. The assumption here is that we simply cannot breathe without the NED. Nor is there anything new in these assertions. The Bolsheviks of the Comintern also believed that their revolution was as essential as oxygen to people in other countries. But it is irrational to compare Putin and contemporary Russia to the old Comintern loyalists, as the Czech secret service does. The specter of the Comintern haunts an entirely different set of people and organizations today.
About the author

Dmitry Babich, born in Moscow, has been an active journalist for over 25 years, focusing on Russian politics. Graduating from Moscow State University, Babich has had a successful career in Russian journalism. He has previously been a senior correspondent at the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, RIA Novosti, and Russia Profile magazine. Between 1999 and 2003 Babich was foreign editor at The Moscow News before returning to Russia Profile in 2009 as acting editor-in-chief. His core areas of focus include Russia's modern political history, international relations. Babich was also a political analyst at The Voice of Russia.