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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Archive revelations load political pistols

As the government prepared to open to public scrutiny on Friday thousands of previously sealed documents, politicians used well-placed leaks of some of the juiciest tidbits to score political points in the growing feud between President Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev.


Appearing to strike back after Gorbachev publicly criticized Yeltsin's reform policies, Russian officials cited documents proving that Gorbachev and other top Communist Party leaders endorsed the supply of weapons and funds to international terrorists.


"There are documents of the most scandalous sort which have Mikhail Gorbachev's approval or signature", Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Poltoranin told the Russian Information Agency. "Morally, they will be a big slap in the face of the Nobel Prize committee for compromising the Nobel Peace Prize".


Gorbachev called Poltoranin's remarks "political sabotage", his senior press spokesman Alexander Likhotal told The Moscow Tunes on Thursday.


"If Poltoranin has real facts, let him publish them", Likhotal quoted Gorbachev as saying. "Otherwise, the is just political sabotage".


Poltoranin, who heads a state commission declassifying the archives, said the documents "will be a Bolshevik slap at the blind trust of many citizens of the U. S. , Israel, England, and other European, Middle Eastern and African countries" against whom terrorists used arms supplied by the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's approval.


Soviet KGB agents paid $24 million in cash and weapons to Palestinian terrorists in 1983 to buy about 10, 000 items of stolen art and jewelry, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Wednesday, once again citing secret documents The loot, worth several billion dollars, was brought back to Moscow and hidden in state repositories, where the KGB agents promised it would remain for 60 years.


The operation, for which the three KGB agents were decorated, was approved by both the Politburo and the Soviet Council of Ministers, the newspaper reported.


Every Communist Party general secretary "from Andropov to Gorbachev" was aware of the booty, Komsomolskaya Pravda said.


Poltoranin also told the Italian newspaper L'Unita this week that Gorbachev used hard currency from Soviet sales of oil to support Communist parties in Africa and Latin America.


Poltoranin's announcement came-shortly after Gorbachev openly criticized Yeltsin's reform programs in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda. Yeltsin responded by taking away Gorbachev's Zil limousine and replacing it with a black Volga sedan, the car usually assigned to lower-ranking bureaucrats.


Komsomolskaya Pravda said that top officials in the Russian government, which is now in possession of the stolen art, want to enter it as evidence when the Communist Party is put on trial in Russia's highest court in July.


Mikhail Boguslavsky, a legal expert, told the newspaper that Russia has "only moral obligations" to return the stolen pieces, as the Soviet Union ratified a UNESCO convention on returning stolen artwork only in 1988.


This week's report about the party's links with Palestinian terrorists echoed a 1975 document released by the government in May authorizing the KGB to deliver arms and ammunition to Palestinian terrorists. Both documents, from the party's "special file", are to be used in the Constitutional Court trial against the Communist Party.


The files to be opened on Friday include archives from virtually every state organization from the Ministry of Water Management to the KGB. Among them is the "special file", containing about 1 million of the party's most secret and potentially incriminating documents, which will be opened in stages, Poltoranin told a news conference. The files to be opened reveal Communist Party support of international terrorism up to 1991, he said.


The archives will be opened gradually as the special commission on declassifying documents examines them, Poltoranin said.