BONN, West Germany -- New Soviet leader Yuri Andropov transformed the Soviet secret police into 'a really professional organization' which is now infiltrating western peace movements to undermine NATO support for the United States, a KGB defector said in an interview Monday.
But former Maj. Stanislaw Lewtschenko said in an article in Der Spiegel magazine that most of the members of the peace and international organizations have no idea they are being used to promote Soviet propaganda.
'The KGB has really changed over the last ten years. Twenty years ago, KGB officers were, as protrayed in western films, curiously dressed teddy bears. In recent times, however, the KGB has developed into a really professional organization,' said Lewtschenko.
He said that Andropov, former head of the feared Soviet intelligence organization, had influenced this change and there was now heavy KGB emphasis on the propaganda war against the west.
Lewtschenko, a Soviet intelligence agent for nine years before quitting the KGB in Tokyo in 1979, said the organization had changed radically over the past ten years.
The old, pistol-packing KGB agent has given way to a young well-educated, professional with a gift for languages and above all propaganda, said Lewtschenko who was given a 'cover' for his spying activities in Japan as a correspondent for a Russian newspaper.
'One of their (KGB) purposes is to influence the mainstream of politics in the West and to influence such organizations as the peace movement ... international labor organizations and so on,' Lewtschenko said.
'All these front organizations are very busy organizing innocent, liberal people, unhappy with a particular, political or military aspect of the policies of their government,' added Lewtschenko who implied he was now living in the United States.
'Whenever these front organizations have a conference, they do not read the works of Lenin or discuss how nice Yuri Andropov is or how well he dances the tango.
'They speak of the possibility of solving national problems - whereby they get themselves into positions which can be useful to the Soviet Union and its policy against NATO states and the United States,' Lewtschenko said.
Lewtschenko, who said his wife and family are being held by the secret police, said he had never met Andropov personally during the Soviet leader's tenure as KGB chief.
'He was content to remain more or less in the background ... but you knew he was there ... Without doubt he is a very careful man ... He wants no one to know whether he is a hard man or not. He sends his underlings to do his bidding. They sign the orders and make life difficult for (field) officers,' Lewtschenko said.
He added that Andropov took a particular interest in overseas operations and would meet new foreign agents personally.
'It is absolutely certain that he was directly concerned in many aspects of the planning of big, overseas operations. He has a particular liking for that kind of thing,' Lewtschenko said.