Trojan Horse Book Review
With Comments By Joanna In Green
by St. Edward's Brotherhood in England
unsigned, except for initials S.F.A.
KGB / FSB's New Trojan Horse:
Americans of Russian Descent
By Konstantin Preobrazhensky
Published by Gerard Group Publishing, North Billerica, MA, USA
Softback, 224 pages; ISBN 978-0-615-24908-7; US$15
AT THE VERY OUTSET, I must confess that this is not a book that I would normally read. My political acumen is slight, and my abhorrence of what we can only fairly call Bolshevism, although that name is now rather outdated, is religious rather than political. I have never in my life read a book by a former KGB agent, always having in mind the fable of the man who betrayed his king to another and thereafter expected a rich reward. However, the ruler to whom he had betrayed his lord ordered him to be executed. When the man pleaded that he had brought him great benefit, he told him; “If you have betrayed one king, you will likely betray another. I cannot trust you.” However, this book in part deals with the recent rapprochement between the Moscow Patriarchate and the former Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. It was brought to my attention by people, whose integrity I trust, and it does require some comment, even in a church magazine.
The analogy of the servant who betrayed his king does not fit. There is something missing there. Not that our USA government is lily white, but the KGB is intolerant of any worship of God. The analogy, if there is one, is closer to the conversion of St. Moses the Black, who realized his former profession was wicked and repented.
After some introductory pieces, one recording Litvenenko’s murder in London, it is divided into three sections. The first and longest, 90 pages, deals with the Church; the second with the Press, & the third with the writer’s own experiences with the KGB, or FSB as it is now known. I will concentrate on the section which addresses Church matters.
Recently I heard a radio discussion about the present situation in Zimbabwe and the formation there of a Government of National Unity. An African spokesman pointed out that, in his opinion, such a government had not been formed, but rather that the party of Mr. Tsvangirai had simply been swallowed by Mr. Mugabe’s government. Whether this is true or not I have no way of knowing, but it did strike me that this is exactly the situation within the Russian Orthodox Church. Rather than the much vaunted “two parts” coming together, the former ROCA has been swallowed by the Moscow Patriarchate. Except for a slight administrative independency, which will probably also slip away, ROCA(MP) has lost her identity, her freedom, her confession.
Preobrazhensky maps how, in his opinion, this came about and the significant rôle the KGB played. Unfortunately he presents his case in the sensationalist style of the tabloid press. In striving to be honest, he has often to admit in various ways that his interpretation is supposition. He is often repetitive, and his book could have benefitted from some editorial control. He quotes sources which are themselves not beyond question, and the opinions of some political extremists as facts. Nonetheless, one catches glimpses of the true sorrow in the heart of a believing man, and much of what he says has a ring of truth about it. For those of us who lived through the changes within ROCA, his explanation of the behind-the-scenes causes is not altogether unbelievable, and may very well be not far off the mark. I would have preferred that he had presented his case in a more sober way, simply because it would then have been a lot more convincing.
Editorial "control" (?) Does this choice of word reveal an attitude, or what? A better choice of words would be editorial assistance or editorial aid or editorial support. The reviewer is not hinting anymore at his lack of generosity, lack of charity of spirit, towards the author. To make up for that jab the reviewer next tries to give the author some credit. I say "tries" because it seems as if it pains him to admit the author might have something worthwhile to say. Then he uses an all too common tactic designed to deliberately muddy the waters and change the subject. All of a sudden we are not talking about what the author says - now we are talking about HOW he says it.
Of particular interest to our readers in Britain is the fact that Preobrazhensky clearly sees His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain, as the bête noire of the whole rapprochement process. He devotes a ten page section to the Archbishop, besides making five other references to him, pointing to some supposedly murky areas and lacunae in his life-history. In contrast, the present Metropolitan Hilarion merits only one brief reference. The present writer wonders if, in this instance, Preobrazhensky’s analysis is correct. If, as often in the political world seems to be the case, by their rewards ye shall know them (to paraphrase the Saviour’s words), then perhaps Archbishop Mark is less culpable than Preobrazhensky supposes. After all, now after almost two years since the final rapprochement, Archbishop Mark remains only the second MP hierarch in Germany. Preobrazhensky, to be fair, forecasts - (his book was obviously written before the May 2007 union) - that Archbishop Mark will be disappointed of any preferment, but he attributes this solely to some perceived xenophobia within the Moscow Patriarchate. (Archbishop Mark is not at all a Russian, but a German). One might also add that Preobrazhensky’s hunch doubtless contains some truth in it, because the Archbishop has also been the subject of vulgar and crudely xenophobic attacks on the part of the extreme anti-unionists. One wonders, however, whether, because of this latent xenophobia, and because Archbishop Mark, who, despite of his remarkable gifts and the respect that they evoke, seems broadly to fail to inspire the affection and trust of his clergy and people, he has not been used rather cynically as the fall guy by both unionists and extreme anti-unionists. I suppose it remains to be seen whether Preobrazhensky’s very negative portrayal of His Eminence’s rôle in the rapprochement or my kindlier suspicions are nearer the truth.
The word "paraphrase" is misused here. I think the reviewer means "play on words." I get the idea of what he means, though. But is he aware that he is giving the impression that this is Konstantin Preobrahensky's idea, and not the reviewers? We all know that rapid advancement in rank can indicate something amiss. But lack of advancement in rank does not vindicate. Konstantin Preobrazhensky never said that. This is a twist of logic a lawyer would use trying to trip somebody up in their words.
The section on the press did not particularly interest me, but I am rather concerned about the last section, in which the author maps the history of his own membership of the KGB and his subsequent dealings with it. He states that he left KGB service in 1991, having served as an officer therein since 1976. It is said that he then became the KGB’s “harshest critic.” From 1993-2002, he served as a security issues columnist on the Moscow Times, and “his activities irritated the KGB greatly.” He published seven books on the KGB. For this he suffered various forms of harassment. However, it was not until January, 2003, that he left Russia and fled to the USA. My childlike mind wonders. Earlier in his book, Preobrazhensky obliquely accusing Archbishop Mark of being an agent, said: “The KGB, once the mission is accomplished, gets rid of the agents involved. They know too much, which makes them dangerous.… the Russian service now fears them, dreading the day when a former agent will reveal damaging information.” Here he comes within a hair’s breadth of prophesying the liquidation of Archbishop Mark, - which may God forbid, - but it begs the question: Why was former agent Preobrazhensky, who is now “revealing damaging information,” and who did so while he lived in Russia almost twelve years after ceasing to be a KGB agent & becoming instead the KGB’s “harshest critic,” not been done in? S.F.A.
Konstantin Preobrazhensky, by coming forward with what he knows, has stuck his neck out onto the chopping block for all of us. He deserves our appreciation. Under the circumstances, his "friends" at least can withhold public criticism. There are already enough unionites out there to debase him. Konstantin Preobrazhensky is the canary in the cage. So. S.F.A., you better be glad he is not dead. As long as he is alive you are safe, because they will kill him before they kill you. . .