So I've got a right-wing relative who sent me an audio clip of an interview back in the 1980's from a defected KGB informant, Yuri Bezmenov. In a nutshell, Bez said that the KGB had--AND IMPLEMENTED--an elaborate plan to slowly destroy the USA by essentially poisoning the education of as much of a whole generation as possible. These poisoned individuals then buy into the socialist/communist ideology due to a lack of patriotism...and stuff.
His Wiki entry is interesting. It tries to put him across as a person who was so innocent as to be surprised that 75% of the Novostyi staff were KGB – who’d have thought it?
He was debriefed by the Americans who did not particularly want him and gave him to the Canadians who did not use him in his intelligence capacity, only for blatant propaganda from which he was eventually dismissed, for whatever reason, but I doubt it was because the Russians gave the command as was claimed in the Wiki article.
The Old Russians believed themselves to be pioneers who had to suffer for a better and more equal world – this was the Communist Party's explanation/excuse for their lack of economic success.
They had an official propaganda view that the West was filled with effete capitalists and a people whose foundation was luxury for which they were dependent upon imperialism in the 3rd World and the sweat of the working man. They further taught that all that was required was that the working man should rise up and the capitalists would turn to jelly and be defeated. This would have been the line of the Communist Party of the USSR when he, Bezmenov, was stationed on the Indian subcontinent where there is a strong left-wing element who are willing to believe this.
Bezmenov defects and warns that the West has been infiltrated by the Left and, as part of their plan, is being guided towards communism. Why should anyone believe this garbage? If you tell a lie, the bigger it is the more likely it is to be believed, but you must know what people want to believe - then tell them it is true.
The Russians were well-aware of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s legacy that claimed that there were Reds under all the beds and they capitalised on it. They were well-aware of the older US generation’s view of the American being “John Wayne The Frontiersman” who sorted out their own problems without recourse to modern wealth, to public justice, public health services, public welfare, etc. (i.e. the older conservative people who believed that the “soft life” was inherently decadent.)
But more worrying to the Russians, they saw as very dangerous the liberal attitudes rising in America from the young. American youth culture influenced Russian youth more than you can imagine and was heavily but not entirely successfully suppressed. The last thing the Russians wanted was a discontent youth in their own country but a discontented youth in America was just what they wanted - they could exploit the generational gap. Indirectly, Bezmenov shows how they went about trying to achieve that aim: It was simple destabilisation.
So, in the West, the Russian line was that it was the Russians who were “poisoning individuals [who would] then buy into the socialist/communist ideology due to a lack of patriotism.” when, in reality, America was becoming such an economic power that natural justice and liberal ideas blossomed and flourished and the population were happy. The old conservative (but relatively poor and not so educated) order in the US was being challenged - these were the generation brought up on a diet of anti-communism - and replaced by a far more free and equal society. How could the Russians take advantage of this?
The Russians let it leak out that they were causing the growing liberal views, the new freedoms, so as to bring the US down. Of course, they weren’t. But you can see how it would work: “But that is exactly what a Communist would say, isn’t it!?” Of course it is the Russians!” -> They were causing divisions.
If the Russian lie were accepted then the police and army, by voter demand, would have to work to tighten security and thus restrict liberty. This, in turn, would cause resentment and this would then cause riots and subversion and act as a recruiting sergeant for the Left. More would have to be spent on internal security and, at this stage, those who had suffered, without help from the Russians, would foment trouble. This then would force the US government to spend even more on internal security and less on external security: the focus shifts to the Russian advantage.
Consider the Civil Rights movement and the anti Vietnam movement and the anti nuclear movement - there was very little Russian involvement in these but what if the Russians claimed they were behind them? Polarisation and more oppression in the name of security. The government and the individual states and protesters would suffer - political embarrassment, etc. The Russians could them point this out to anyone one who was listening and claim the capitalist system killed its own workers (It did claim that by the way.)
Looking at his career, Bezmenov did not make it very high and did not know many real secrets. But he has to make a living somehow.
Don’t think that the Russians have any monopoly on this system, the US, UK, France, Israel, India, China, etc., all know this game. There is no need for subversion if people believe there is subversion – the effect is the same.