Soviet Active Measures: Forgery, Disinformation, Political Operations.
Today's Russian cyberspace disinformation and influence operations (one of the main instruments of hybrid warfare) can be seen as a new version of old methods and intelligence operations from the Cold War era. Russian leadership continues in the tradition of the Soviet past, relying on the services of the faithful (SVR, GRU, TASS, Sputnik, RT and other information services) and is moving away from the developed democratic world.
In our series on disinformation, we are including a document dated October 1981 from the US Department of State addressed to individuals, private groups and foreign governments. This is the first document of the Joint Interagency Active Measures Working Group, first managed by the US Department of State and later by the United States Information Agency. The group was formed in 1981 during the Reagan administration. The document describes Soviet activities in the area of forgery, misinformation and political influence operations.1 It describes in more detail selected USSR operations against the US during the turn of the decade from the 1970s to the 1980s. It partially identifies people (journalists, politicians) as "instruments" of influence operations, and points out the significance and accessibility of the media (radio, press) of the day and leading organizations in the free and developing world for USSR foreign policy. It can be assumed that the sources for this document were likely information from agents in the relevant areas, or inside Eastern European and Soviet intelligence services, as well as intelligence officers who had defected to America. Some of the operations mentioned in the document also had an impact on the public in the Eastern Bloc. To illustrate certain operations we have included related clippings from the Czechoslovak communist press of the day (available in Czech only).
Source: CIA reading room