The Party, the KGB and the Army form the triumvirate which rules the Soviet Union. All other institutions and organisations, including those which appear officially to wield State power, occupy a subordinate position. But no single one of the three holds absolute power. They are all interdependent and have to share power with their rivals. There is a constant underlying struggle between these three forces, with attacks and retreats, bloody skirmishes, victories, defeats, armistices, secret alliances and permanent treachery.
The Party cannot exist without a continuous repression of the people, in other words without the KGB. The KGB in turn cannot exist without a continuous fanning of the flames of communist fanaticism and the deception of the people, in other words without the Party. Each of the two considers its own function to be the important one and the function of its rival merely supplementary. Thus the Party and the KGB are striving for undivided rule, but with this in mind each understands that it is not possible to kill off its rival. Too much depends on the continued existence of that rival. Both the Party and the KGB need the Army, which plays the part of a performing crocodile, ensuring a quiet life for the other two. In the triumvirate system the Army is the most powerful element but it is also the most deprived as regards its rights. Unlike the Party and the KGB, the Army has never played the leading role in the trio. Should this ever happen, the Party and the KGB would be swiftly destroyed. The fact is that this crocodile does not need either the Party or the KGB. Its natural state is a free life in a swamp, enjoying the ability to gobble up whatever it wishes. Both the Party and the KGB are Perfectly well aware that they, in the role of trainers of the performing crocodile, would be its first victims should the crocodile ever be set at liberty. So why has the crocodile never gobbled up its trainers?
The Party and the KGB hold the crocodile firmly in check by means of two strong leashes. The Party leash is called the Political Department, that of the KGB the Special Department. Every organ of the Army is penetrated by the Political Department of the Party and the Special Department of the KGB. On those occasions when the Army has attacked the Party, which has happened several times, beginning with the military opposition of the twenties, the Tchekists of the KGB have come into action and quickly gained control over dissident elements in the Army. When the Army has attacked the KGB, as happened after the death of Stalin, the Party has gone into action against it. And at times when the KGB has been plotting against the Party, the Party has invariably allowed the crocodile to take a bite at the Tchekists, but not a bite to the death. After such incidents the situation has returned to normal -the crocodile's trainers have manipulated their leashes in such a way and from different sides that it is impossible for any quarrel to have a conclusion. They have even been able to give the crocodile a few kicks and, if necessary, to direct it to another side, as it is said 'against any aggressor'. Its dependent situation notwithstanding, the Army is sufficiently strong sometimes to pull its two trainers after it. Thus it is not possible for the Army to be left out of the triumvirate. None of the remaining inhabitants of the Soviet Union has any independent part to play in the concert. They fulfil an auxiliary role. They supply food to the trainers and the crocodile, put on their make-up for the show, announce the different acts and collect money from the terrified spectators.
The general staff of the Soviet Army is the brain of the crocodile, and military intelligence is its eyes and ears. The GRU is a part of the general staff, in other words a part of the brain. In fact it is that part which analyses what the eyes see and the ears hear, the part which concentrates the unblinking eyes of the crocodile onto the most interesting targets and trains its ears to hear with precision every rustle of the night. Although the crocodile is firmly tied to the Party and the KGB, the general staff and the integral GRU are practically independent of external control. Why this should be is explained by the Party's experience. In the period before the war, the Party supervised the general staff so carefully, and the Tchekists insisted strongly on the observance of every minute directive of the Party, that the general staff completely lost the ability to think independently. As a result the crocodile, despite its enormous size, completely lost its presence of mind, its speed of reaction and any capability to think and take independent decisions All this brought the system to the edge of catastrophe, as the Army became practically incapable of fighting. The Party learnt from this sad experience and realised that it must not interfere in the working of the crocodile's brain, even if this brain had ceased to think along Party lines. The Party and the KGB preferred, for purely practical reasons, to keep only the body of the crocodile under control and not to interfere with the work of its brain, of its sharp ears and piercing eyes.