Soviet Terrorism School


The Soviet Union provided training for certain terrorist groups on its homeland, as well as spearheaded training in the territory of its Warsaw Pact allies. The Soviets sponsored terrorism as part of an overall strategy designed to destabilize Western Europe/NATO by supporting international and Western revolutionary movements whose insurrectional activities would have helped expand the communist block and further Soviet aims.

In fact, a former senior officer of Soviet Military Intelligence stated that "ideological sympathy with the Soviet Union is unnecessary: anyone who helps destabilize the west is our friend."19 A typical member of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO) selected for training behind the Iron Curtain received an orientation brief on expected conduct while undergoing instruction, as well as ideological orientation prior to departing for Moscow. Upon arrival he was greeted by the PLO representative there and arrangements were made for further travel to the individual's ultimate training destination.

A typical training day began with early morning physical fitness or gymnastics exercises. As the morning progressed students generally conducted a parade. There were several hours of daily political orientation covering subjects as wide ranging as "Russian Mortality Rates during World Wars I and II" to "Russian Ties to the third World". The meat of daily instruction was education in incendiary charges and detonators; exploding metals; the art of mining munitions dumps, bridges, vehicles and personnel; the rudiments of chemical and biological warfare; command field and escape tactics; marksmanship and camouflage; the use and employment of Soviet RPG rockets and shoulder borne Strela missiles.

terestingly enough, the Soviets also employed Moslem KGB officers to mix among the trainees and seek recruits for the KGB. By l977 there were terrorist classes within the USSR near Baku on the Caspian Sea, and near Simferopol on the Black Sea. There were training sites near Plauen, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Dresden (See Map Two), Babelsberg, Klein Machsrow, Schmirblitz, and the North Schwein Region of East Germany.

There were four additional sites in Bulgaria, the largest of which was at Varna. There were also four more sites in Czechoslovakia and three in Poland. It is clear that by the late l97O's there was a substantial international terrorist network supporting movements from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The relationships between students and their instructors varied immensely. For example, at one point the Soviets asked for higher quality students from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP students, for their part complained that their Soviet hosts gave them too many political lectures and not enough training in field operations.

A second example is in this account of the opinion the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) had of their North Korean instructors. "Brigadier Parence Shin, the commander of the 5th Brigade, expressed his disappointment with Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) advisors, indicating that, while they were respected for their individual toughness, they were more notable for their extravagant living and lack of personal discipline, than for their ability to conduct realistic military training."

The Soviet Union began decreasing its support of terrorism as the l98O's progressed. By mid l987 Moscow had used its influence to push members of the African National Congress and Palestine Liberation Army to seek political, vice military, settlements.

By l987 there was a decline in terrorist action by most of the groups purported to be supported by the USSR.

By l989 the Kremlin had toned down its rhetoric about United States and Israeli terrorist surrogates.