|Born||Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov
Mytishchi, Moscow Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Died||1993 (aged 53–54)
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
|Other names||Tomas Schuman|
|Occupation||Journalist, informant, author|
|Years active||1963 – 1986|
|Known for||Soviet defector|
|Religion||Russian Orthodox Christian|
Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov (Russian: Юрий Александрович Безменов, also known as Tomas David Schuman; 1939 – 1993) was a journalist for RIA Novosti and a former PGU KGB informant from the Soviet Union who defected to Canada.
After being assigned to a station in India, Bezmenov eventually grew to love the people and the culture of India, but at the same time, he began to resent the KGB-sanctioned oppression of intellectuals who dissented from Moscow's policies. He decided to defect to the West. Bezmenov is best remembered for his pro-American, anticommunist lectures and books from the 1980s.
Bezmenov was born in 1939 in a suburb of Moscow to a high ranking Soviet Army officer. He was educated in an elite school inside the Soviet Union and became an expert in Indian culture and Indian languages.
At 17, Bezmenov entered the Institute of Oriental Languages, a part of Moscow State University, which was under the direct control of the KGB and the Communist Central Committee. In addition to languages, Bezmenov studied history, literature, and music. During his second year, Bezmenov sought to look like a person from India; his teachers encouraged this because graduates of the school were employed as diplomats, foreign journalists, or spies.
As a Soviet student, he was also required to take compulsory military training in which he was taught how to play "strategic war games" using the maps of foreign countries, as well as how to interrogate prisoners of war.
After graduating in 1963, Bezmenov spent two years in India working as a translator and public relations officer with the Soviet economical aid group Soviet Refineries Constructions, which built refinery complexes.
In 1965, Bezmenov was recalled to Moscow and began to work for RIA Novosti as an apprentice for their classified department of "Political Publications" (GRPP). He soon discovered that about three quarters of Novosti's staffers were actually KGB officers, with the remainder being "co-optees" or KGB freelance writers and informers like himself. However, Bezmenov did no real freelance writing; rather, he edited and planted propaganda materials in foreign media and accompanied delegations of Novosti's guests from foreign countries on tours of the Soviet Union or to international conferences held in the Soviet Union.
After several months, Bezmenov was forced to be an informer while still maintaining his position as a Novosti journalist. He then used his journalistic duties to help gather information and to spread disinformation to foreign countries for the purposes of Soviet propaganda and subversion.
Rapid promotion followed, and Bezmenov was once again assigned to Bila in 1969, this time as a Soviet press-officer and a public relations agent for the KGB. He continued Novosti's propaganda effects in New Delhi, working out of the Soviet embassy. Bezmenov was directed to slowly but surely establish the Soviet sphere of influence in India. In the same year, a secret directive of the Central Committee opened a new secret department in all embassies of the Soviet Union around the world, titled the "Research and Counter-Propaganda Group." Bezmenov became a deputy chief of that department, which gathered intelligence from sources like Indian informers and agents, regarding most every influential or politically significant citizen of India.
Those who favored the Soviets' expansionist policy into India were promoted to higher positions of power, affluence, and prestige through various KGB/Novosti operations.[further explanation needed] Those who refused to cooperate with Soviet plans were the target of character assassination in the media and press.
Bezmenov stated that he was also instructed not to waste time with idealistic leftists, as these would become disillusioned, bitter, and adversarial when they realized the true nature of Soviet Communism. To his surprise, he discovered that many such were listed for execution once the Soviets achieved control. Instead, Bezmenov was encouraged to recruit the persons in large circulation, established conservative media, rich filmmakers, intellectuals in academic circles, and cynical, ego-centric people who lacked moral principles.
Defection to the West
In February 1970, Bezmenov clothed himself in hippie attire, replete with a beard and wig, and joined a tour group; by this means, he escaped to Athens, Greece. After contacting the American embassy and undergoing extensive interviews with United States intelligence, Bezmenov was granted asylum in Canada.
In an interview with G. Edward Griffin, he detailed how Soviet help for inciting anger and uprising in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was the final straw in his personal decision to defect to the West. In the interview, Yuri details how USSR consulates in India were used to smuggle weapons and propaganda material to East Pakistan in a largely Soviet effort to break up the state of Pakistan, then a staunch Western and US ally.
After studying political science at the University of Toronto for two years, Bezmenov was hired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1972, broadcasting to the Soviet Union as part of the CBC's International Service. In 1976, the KGB compelled his departure from that position, and Bezmenov began free-lance journalism. He later became a consultant for Almanac Panorama of the World Information Network.
Pro-American lecturer, writer, advocate
In 1984, he gave an interview to G. Edward Griffin, who at that time was a member of the John Birch Society, an anticommunist group. In the interview, Bezmenov explained the methods used by the KGB for the gradual subversion of the political system of the United States.
Tomas D. Schuman was associated with the World Information Network (WIN) of Westlake Village, California.
In 1983, at a lecture in Los Angeles, Bezmenov expressed the opinion that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Soviet Union had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in order to kill Larry McDonald, a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Bezmenov's death was reported in 1993, but his death certificate has been described as "vague and suspect", with details unclear. This has led to suggestions that there was more to his death than met the eye.
- Schuman, Tomas (1984). Love Letter to America. Los Angeles: NATA. ISBN 978-0-935090-13-0. OCLC 19468210.
- ——— (1985). No "Novosti" is Good News. Los Angeles: Almanac. ISBN 978-0-935090-17-8. OCLC 45013143.
- ——— (1985). Black is Beautiful, Communism is Not. Almanac-Press. ISBN 978-0-935090-18-5. OCLC 62325386.
- ——— (1986). World Thought Police. Los Angeles: NATA. ISBN 978-0-935090-14-7. OCLC 23919332.
- "Windsor Public Library Obituaries". Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- Schuman, Tomas (1984). Love Letter to America. Los Angeles: NATA. ISBN 978-0-935090-13-0. Retrieved 2010-11-30.[copyright violation?]
- Schuman, Tomas (1986). World Thought Police. Los Angeles: NATA. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-935090-14-7. Retrieved 2010-11-30.[dead link]
- Bezmenov, Yuri (1984). Soviet Subversion of the Free-World Press: A Conversation with Yuri Bezmenov (Video). Interview with G. Edward Griffin. American Media. Westlake Village, Calif. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Bezmenov, Yuri (1983). Tomas Schuman (Yuri Bezmenov) L.A. 1983 pt. IV 1/2 (YouTube). Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Docvega, Taking down a nation: lessons from Yuri Bezmenov Part III
- Schuman, Tomas (1984). Soviet Ideological Subversion of America in Four Stages : Elizabeth Clare Prophet interviews Tomas Schuman, Novosti Press, Soviet defector. Audio with Elizabeth Clare Prophet. OCLC 25714330. Summit University. Malibu, California.