The GRU and the 'Younger Brothers'
The state structure of any communist country strikingly resembles the structure of the Soviet Union. Even if it finds itself in conflict with the Soviet Union or has been able to escape from its influence, it is much the same in character. The cult of personality is a general rule for all communist countries, and any 'big brother' needs an all-powerful secret police force to preserve that cult. Then there must be another secret organisation to counter-balance the power of the first one.
It is usually military intelligence which fulfils this counterbalancing role, the more so since all communist countries, regardless of the kind of communism they adopt, are warlike and aggressive. In a number of communist countries there would appear to be only one secret police organisation, but in these cases closer inspection will clearly show a minimum of two mutually hostile groupings. Sooner or later the dictator will be forced to split his secret service into two parts. In the countries within the orbit of the Soviet Union that separation has already been carried out, for all of them have been created in the image of the elder brother.
The military intelligence services of the satellite countries show great activity in the collection of espionage material, and all such material obtained is sent directly to the GRU. The fact is that the intelligence services of the satellite countries are even legally answerable to the Ministry of Defence of the Soviet Union. The military intelligence service of each Warsaw Pact country is subordinate to its chief of the general staff, but the chief of staff is in his turn subordinate to the chief of staff of the Warsaw Pact. Theoretically a general from any country of the Warsaw Pact may be appointed to this position. In practice of course there have only ever been Soviet generals appointed. One of them is already well known to us: the former chief of the GRU, General Shtemyenko. After the fall of Kruschev, Brezhnev, trying to please the Army, recalled the disgraced general from exile and reinstated him as a full general. As chief of staff of the Warsaw Pact, his direct superior was (and is) the High Commander of the United Armed Forces of the member-countries. To this post it has always been a Soviet marshal who has been appointed. First it was Konyev, then Grechko, after him Yakubovski and finally Kulikov. But the official title of all these marshals during the time they commanded the united forces was 'First Deputy of the Minister of Defence of the USSR - Commander-in-Chief of the United Armed Forces of the member countries of the Warsaw Pact'. In other words, the armies are the armies of several states subordinated to a deputy minister of defence in one of those states. There is sovereignty for you. The USSR Minister of Defence, through his deputy, directs all the forces of staffs of the 'fraternal countries', including, of course, the military intelligence services of those countries, and we are not talking of close co-operation, but of direct subordination in the legal sense.
This is all very well, some sceptics will object, but after what happened in 1939, every Pole had a fierce dislike for the Soviet communists, and their intelligence services would hardly work their best in the interests of the GRU, would they? After 1953 the East Germans fully shared the feelings of the Poles. In 1956 Hungary joined them, and in 1968 the Czechs and Slovaks. Surely the intelligence services of these countries would not work hard in the interests of Soviet military intelligence? Unfortunately this is a delusion which has gained too wide an acceptance. In practice everything contradicts it. It is a fact that the peoples of all countries in thrall to the Soviet Union hate the Soviet communists; but none the less their intelligence services work to the full extent of their powers in the interests of the elder brother. The solution to the riddle is this. By means of harsh economic treaties the Soviet Union has enchained all its 'younger brothers'. For Soviet oil and coal, electric energy and gas they all have to pay very heavily. The Soviet Union proposes to its satellites that 'you may pay by means of your own wares or you may pay by providing the secrets of other people'. This alternative offer is a very tempting one, to which the general secretaries have unanimously responded by ordering their intelligence officers to redouble their efforts. So the intelligence services of all countries tied economically to the Soviet Union make the greatest possible efforts. By stealing Western secrets and transmitting them to Soviet military or political intelligence they reduce their countries' indebtedness and raise their peoples' standards of living. Western states have been surprised by the extent of the intelligence interests of communist states. Why should Mongolian intelligence be interested in atomic reactors, or Cuban intelligence in high-powered rocket engines? These questions are easily answered as soon as one realises that they are all part of one gigantic formation. In the ranks of officials of Soviet state institutions overseas it is almost impossible to find one 'clean' one. All Soviet citizens, from ambassadors to cleaning staff, in one way or another co-operate with the KGB or the GRU. The same thing is true of the official institutions of the 'fraternal countries'. There it is also difficult to find a single 'clean' official. All of them are to some extent co-operating with the Soviet KGB or GRU - even though frequently they themselves do not realise it.