Author Note: During the Cold War era (1947-1989) both the United States and the Soviet Union fought an on going battle without bullets or bombs being used directly against the other—a type of undeclared limited war.
Both countries used third parties to fight (usually civil wars) instead of sending naval armadas or launching missiles at each other in so-called proxy wars. These battles usually took place in third world countries.
In addition to proxy wars, both intelligence agencies were active within their adversary’s borders. The Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB), a Russian intelligence agency and the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) implemented “Active Measures.”
The goal of both agencies existence was to defeat or sabotage their nemesis politically, limit that country’s influence, as well as curtail it’s power in controlling world events and global resources.
On more than one occasion, Africans and African American, were pawns in Cold War strategy. The active measures utilized ranged “from media manipulations to special actions involving various degrees of violence.” They were used both abroad and domestically.
These actions included counterfeiting official documents, disinformation, propaganda, political repression, and assassinations. Most of the time, the active measures failed because the Soviets did not know our culture nor did they fully understand our politics, according to historians.
Fast forward to America April 4, 1968.
At exactly 6:01 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tenn., and according to files smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1992 by defector Vistol Mitrokin (1922-2004), a plan to replace MLK as the leader of the American Negro (Soviet title) was implemented some 5,439 miles east of Tennessee in Moscow, eight months prior to King’s assassination.
This plan to smear, discredit, or assassinate MLK by KGB agents already working secretly in the U.S. was approved by KGB Chairman Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov.
Andropov would eventually go on to become General Secretary (leader) of the Soviet Union in 1982. He was a mystery to the CIA, according to Amy Knight a former Senior Soviet Specialist in the Federal Research Division of the U.S. Library of Congress. Consequently, when he became the leader of the Soviet Union, America did not know what to expect.
Chairman Andropov director of the Soviet Union’s KGB was seated in his office located in the Lubyanka Building, a neo-baroque structure built in 1898 according to The Mitrokin Archive, a book written by Professor Christopher Andrew, Intelligence Historian at the University of Cambridge, and it is Andropov who gave the OK to implement “Active Measures” against MLK after being badgered by one of his staff,
Soviet controller Yuri Modin, who came up with the plan to neutralize MLK.
Modin was responsible for stealing atomic bomb secrets from the United States Manhattan Project during the Second World War. He was one of the Soviet’s top spies, according to Professor Andrew and believed African Americans were capable of starting a nationwide race riot in the U.S., if provoked.
“In August 1967, the KGB began its operational plan to discredit King and his chief lieutenants by placing articles in the African press, which they thought would then be reprinted in American newspapers portraying King as an “Uncle Tom” who was secretly receiving government subsidies to tame the civil rights movement and prevent it from threatening the Johnson administration. This was reinforced by MLK’s practice of being in constant contact with LBJ while leading freedom marches under the admiring glare of worldwide television.