“The transformation of Stalin from the political killer who slaughtered more than 20 million innocent people in the Soviet Union alone into the political god over one-third of the world generated not only forty years of Cold War, but also the greatest political hoax perpetrated in history: international respect for Marxism and admiration for murderous communist leaders.”
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
In his book Disinformation, Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa explains that central to the art of disinformation is the “highly classified specialty” of framing, a KGB term for “changing a person’s past.” Much like the Orwellian line “two legs good, four legs better” framing involves fashioning a lie into the truth through the careful manipulation of popular opinion.
Framing was a technique employed by Stalin to justify the murder of thousands of his fellow party members and millions of innocent civilians as traitors to the communist system. Eastern Europe became a chain of proletarian dictatorships due to the black art of framing. As Pacepa details, “The leading East European figures in industry and agriculture were framed as saboteurs and shot or jailed, so as to provide the local communists with pretexts to nationalize the economy and collectivize agriculture.” By re-writing the culture in their own personal terms of good and bad, right and wrong, the KGB acculturated Eastern Europe into the belief that the Soviet socialist way of life was not only acceptable, but preferred.
Pacepa notes that framing was not limited to the political figures of eastern Europe. One of the KGB’s greatest framing jobs was actually executed by communist leaders in the west. The goal was simple: making communism palatable to the western masses by refashioning it from political threat to pop culture romance. The operation that started with Che Guevara was so successful that we live with its ramifications to this very day. Long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the black art of framing continues to threaten the west with the creation of contemporary political gods.