Playing Possumnby Arnold BeichmannThe Coming Order: Reflections onnSovietology and the Medianby Andrei NavrozovnLondon: The Claridge Press;n59 pp., £3.99nM r. Navrozov is a serious man andnhis poHtical concerns, no matternhow improbable they may appear, mustnbe taken seriously. He believes, first, whatnhas been happening in the Soviet Unionnsince March 1985, namely its visiblendecomposition, is a KGB disinformationnachievement, that the “collapse ofncommunism” (he puts the phrase in quotationnmarks) is what he calls a “mass fiction,”nthat perestroika is a “Trojan horse”nand that Eastern Europe “has not beennset free.” We are in a new era, the era ofnwhat he calls “superdetente.” Second, henbelieves the KGB has fooled the pressnmedia and leading scholars of Soviet politicsnlike Robert Conquest and WalternLaqueur, academic Sovietologists, andnpublicists—like Barbara Amiel—intonthinking that communism has been over-nMOVING?nLET US KNOWnBEFORE YOU GO !nTo assure uninterrupted deliverynof CHRONICLES,nplease notify us in advance.nSend change of address on this formnwith the mailing label from your latestnissue of CHRONICLES to :nSubscription Department,nCHRONICLES, P.O. Box 800,nMount Morris, Illinois 61054nName-nAddress -nCitynState — – Zip-n32/CHRONICLESnREVIEWSnthrown in the ex-U.S.S.R.nPlaying on the opening words of ThenCommunist Manifesto, he writes: “A spectrenis haunting Europe. It is the spectrenof anti-communism.” By which he meansnnot what we think it means, but rathernthat the seeming anticommunism in thenex-U.S.S.R. is really a KGB-created fraud.nMr. Navrozov says it “can be proven thatnAndropov was the greatest ‘anti-communist’nsince Stalin who was the greatestn’anti-communist’ of them all if onlynby virtue of his clear understanding of ideology’snfunction in a brave new world thatnawards its criminals no prizes unlessnwhole nations are their victims.” I lookednin vain for proof of these statements innMr. Navrozov’s pages. I see no possibilitynof empirical verification of his speculationsnor opinions disguised as fact. A confessionnor a defection by a KGB disinformationnconspirator might be evidence,nbut how would we know if the confessionnwere genuine? All Cretans are liars, saidnthe Cretan.nAnd when Mr. Navrozov does undertakento talk about matters that can bensubjected to empirical analysis, I find hisnconclusions unacceptable. Mr. Navrozovnsays “Russia is years ahead of the Westnin military applications of its space technology.”nHow can this be? The Sovietsnsimply do not have modern computer,nradar, or sensor technology for advancednsurveillance. In the past, the Sovietsnlaunched lots of satellites, but they onlynlasted a few months before they becamenspace junk. The Russians have beennunable to make a viable space shuttle,nwhich in itself shows a certain technicalnretardation. They can put people intonspace for long periods of time, but suchnachievements are of little military significance.nMr. Navrozov concedes that “the rolenof the Communist Party in Russia, andneven more plainly in Eastem Europe, hasnbeen genuinely curtailed.” But he thennasks, “Does this mean, however, thatnthe fulfillment of the totalitarian strategyncontinues no longer, or that the strategynis any less global?” Let us agree thatnfulfillment of the global totalitarian strategynis still a priority; so what? If the rolenof the Communist Party has been genuinelyncurtailed, then the fact that therenare some conspiratorial remnants of thennnold regime still around—and there are asnI will show—is not necessarily a cause fornpanic. All societies have such scumnabout. As Norman Cohn wrote in Warrantnfor Genocide: “[T]here exists a subterraneannworld, where pathological fantasiesndisguised as ideas are churned outnby crooks and half-educated fanatics.nThere are times when that underworldnemerges from the depths and suddenlynfascinates, captures and dominates multitudesnof usually sane and responsiblenpeople. And it occasionally happens thatnthis subterranean worid becomes a polit-.nical power and changes the course ofnhistory.”nYegor Ligachev, an early victim of perestroika,nwants a return to communismnand a global triumph for his Utopia. Henhas said so openly, but is the success ofnsuch a project at all likely? Is it possiblenthat Ligachev or the Pamyat crowd arengoing to fascinate, capture, and dominatenthe Russian, Ukrainian, or Byelorussiannpeople as Hitler once did the Germannpeople or Mussolini the Italians? Hardly.nBut Mr. Ligachev isn’t the only truenbeliever around. With delight, RoynMedvedev told the official U.S. communistnweekly last fall: “In most of thencountry, Communists are still in power,nbecause there is no other structure.nAbout two-thirds of the country is still mnnby the Communists. They are not advertisingnit, but the old structure still basicallyncontinues.”nMr. Navrozov is concerned, as we allnmust be, whether the new Commonwealthnof Independent States can bentrusted, whether its leaders, all formernCommunists, have really surrenderedntheir Marxism-Leninism and are todaynbelieving and practicing democrats. Thenhistory of the last 74 years, it can benargued and as I have written, gives thenWest little reason for tmsting what wasnthe Soviet Union. But today there is nonSoviet Union; in fact, there hasn’t beenna Soviet Union since the August 19nputsch, which obviously backfired, regardlessnwhether it actually was a ploy by Gorbachev.nMr. Gorbachev is out and Mr.nYeltsin is in, or was that what was alwaysnintended by the KGB disinformationists?nI don’t ask this question scomfully. Therenare informed people in Russia who believenthat Mr. Gorbachev plotted the coupn