As is well known, the Soviet system under Stalin confected countless false reports of sabotage, insurrection, and things of a like kind. It also committed innumerable acts of oppression and violence against the people of the Soviet Union.

However, there were some genuine attacks against the Soviet state, which were not just fabrications or false-flag operations. Is there any evidence these were helped by foreign-based organisations, such as the 4th international, or foreign powers?

In the words of the undervalued author Melvin Burgess, torture reduces the best of us to so much mindless gobshite. For this reason, confessions by people Stalin blamed don't count as evidence. Evidence emanating from outside the Soviet Union (letters planning attacks, etc) would count.

I am excluding Axis powers during world war 2, as imho this was an inevitable part of the war, not a separate phenomenon. I chose the year 1928 because I don't want to get tangled up with long tail of the Russian Civil War.

I'm interested to know if Stalin's accusations against the Mensheviks, Trotskyists, Bukharinites and so on had any foundation. As well as the assassination attempts I posted above, there were the partisans after world 2, the Basmachi rebels opposed to collectivisation, and so on.

There were, in short, a lot of people who had good cause to hate the Soviet rulers in this period. It would be interesting to know if there were any crumbs of truth in the ravings and outpourings of the Soviet propaganda machine.

  • Note that none of the attacks listed there fall within your timeframe, except the assassination attempts on Stalin but these were just lone wolf affairs. Jul 10, 2017 at 12:56
  • But maybe somebody will dig up something, like 1 case for millions (literally) of true charges... Jul 10, 2017 at 12:57
  • To be clear, I like the question - it's in the right spirit of objective inquiry. I am the upvoter so far, not the downvoter. Jul 10, 2017 at 12:57
  • 3
    What about Hitler? Jul 10, 2017 at 13:03
  • Good point, I should exclude him too.
    – Ne Mo
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:41

3 Answers 3



Yes, of course - during WW2 German intelligence (Abwehr and SD) conducted sabotage operations against the USSR. They were largely unsuccessful, in part due to general ineptitude of Abwehr, but mostly due to the overwhelming power of the Soviet security apparatus.

One such operation was sending Russian adolescent boys across the front lines with explosives shaped as coal lumps with the task of adding them to the piles of coal for use by railroad steam engines. Most of the kids surrendered right away, the few who did not did little damage. There are plenty of references in Russian that allege that this was managed by the Abwehr Group 209 "Bussard", commanded by Hauptmann Friedrich Bolz (Абвергруппа 209 «Буссард», капи­тан Фридрих Больц).


Highly unlikely. Hard to prove a negative, but given the aforementioned overwhelming power of the Soviet security apparatus, probability of success was so low that any attempt was a waste of time.

I am not sure this will be excluded by the next question edit, but what support the West gave to the Anti-Soviet partisans was trivial and quickly compromised by the Soviet authorities.

The West did provide (mostly moral) support to Soviet dissidents, but those were decidedly non-violent. But this is straying from the question too far.

  • Good information. I meant to exclude Hitler though and will edit the question now. No reflection on your answer.
    – Ne Mo
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:42
  • I am not sure this will be excluded by the next question edit... Calm down tiger! ;) Sometimes I need feedback before I've worked out what I really meant to ask. As I said, it wasn't meant to disparage your answer. It was a good answer to what I asked, but not what I meant to ask :)
    – Ne Mo
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:03
  • When I looked into it, the best organized anti-Soviet revolutionary group I could find was the NTS, and their strategy seemed to be to lay low and develop oodles of micro cells until they had enough of them to form into an army strong enough to actually take over. Doing anything before that point would just get their cells burned, so it doesn't look like they ever actually did anything violent in the USSR.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 10, 2017 at 18:19
  • 2
    @T.E.D.: I seriously doubt that NTS had more supporters in the USSR than in Europe. ;-)
    – sds
    Jul 10, 2017 at 18:33
  • 3
    @sds - Yeah. For all I know they were on the verge of springing into action when the wall came down. But from what I can tell they seemed about as successful in their endeavors as an arctic air-conditioner salesman.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 10, 2017 at 18:47

Ukrainian nationalists formed the OUN, which worked from exile after WWII (mostly Germany but also the US). Soviet authorities alleged that the OUN supported or controlled anti-soviet partisans in the Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of WWII, this partisan activity ended in the early 1950ties.

To cite German wikipedia on OUN:

Etwa 40.000 UPA-Angehörige ließen sich im Gebiet der Karpatenukraine von der Roten Armee überrollen und begannen nach 1945 in der Westukraine einen blutigen Guerillakrieg, dem nach Einschätzung der CIA bis 1951 etwa 35.000 Menschen zum Opfer fielen. Die terroristischen Operationen richteten sich nicht nur gegen Polizeikräfte und kommunistische Parteifunktionäre, sondern auch gegen die Zivilbevölkerung, darunter vor allem die überlebenden Juden. Der Guerillakrieg wurde ab 1949 von der CIA unterstützt, die bis 1953 etwa 75 Exilukrainer per Fallschirm in der Ukraine absetzte; auch der britische SIS beteiligte sich im Jahre 1951 an diesen Aktionen. Die Sowjetunion legte 1957 vor der UNO gegen diese Operationen formell Protest ein.

My translation: Around 40.000 members let the red army pass in the Caraptes and started a bloody guerilla war after 1945. Around 35.000 people died, according to CIA estimates. The terror acts not only targeted police and communist party cadres, but also civilians, especially surviving Jews. After 1949, the guerilla war was supported by the CIA, until 1953 around 75 exiled Ukrainians had been dropped with parachutes into Ukraine. The british SIS also supported these operations, starting in 1951. The soviet union raised a complaint before the UNO in 1957.

No online sources are given, the offline sources are:
Christopher Simpson: „Blowback“ (Collier Books, New York 1989, S. 163)
John Loftus: „The Belarus Secret“ (Knopf, New York 1982, S. 102/103)
„Nature and Extent of Disaffection and Anti-Soviet Activity in the Ukraine“ (Bericht des US-Militärattachés der US-Botschaft in Moskau, 17. März 1948) zitiert in: Christopher Simpson: „Blowback“ (Collier Books, New York 1989, S. 171)
United Nations: „Official Records of the General Assembly“ (11th Session [November 12, 1956 – March 8, 1957], Annexes Volume II – Agenda Item 70, S. 1–14)

I did not check if the sources say what the wikipedia article claims they do and what the quality of the sources is. I still would answer your question with yes, the CIA and SIS where involved in attacks within the soviet union and there's some evidence.

There's also the allegation (By the soviet union) that Stepan Bandera and other heads of the OUN in exile ordered the assassination of Dr. Gabriel Kostelnik, who was in favor of a unification between the russion orthodox and the ukrainian catholic church.

  • 1
    It should be noted that OUN was founded in 1929. And they had very close ties with Hitler's Germany from the very beginning, i.e. from 1933.
    – Matt
    Jul 12, 2017 at 13:15
  • True, I really did'nt go much into the OUN history.
    – mart
    Jul 12, 2017 at 13:39

The Soviet-Japanese Border Conflicts took place between 1932 and 1939 across Manchukuo, Mongolia, and the Soviet Union.

In particular, the following offensive actions took place within the Soviet Union:

Kantokuen, while cancelled, had the objective of occupying parts of Eastern USSR. The Soviets were anticipating such an attack and maintained defenses against the possibility.

  • 1
    It's clear from the question that it is about covert rather than overt actions. For instance, did Japan succeed in planting real spies in the USSR? (Real as opposed to numerous people falsely convicted of "espionage" or "suspicion of espionage".) Sep 26, 2017 at 0:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.