Moscow Should Draw On History Of Komintern To Overthrow Existing World Order, Naryshkin Says – OpEd


Sergey Naryshkin, head of the SVR, says that Russia should draw on the experience of the Communist International (Komintern), a Soviet-led union of communist parties between 1919 and 1943, to unite and strengthen all those in favor of overthrowing the existing world order that was created and remains dominated by Western countries. 

Speaking to a roundtable devoted to the history of the Komintern, the Russian spy chief says that “today, when Russia stands at the avant-garde of the global change in the world order, extremely useful practical lessons can be derived from the experience of the Communist International” (

Naryshkin added that memories of the Komintern are “carefully preserved” in the countries of the former Soviet bloc and throughout the world because of that organization’s leadership in the fight against Nazism, against which that organization played an important role in gathering intelligence revealing Hitler’s true aims.

Created by Lenin as an organization linking together the world’s communist parties, the Komintern was formally abolished in May 1943 at the insistence of Moscow’s Western allies in the anti-Hitler coalition. But in shuttering the group, Moscow did not give up its control over the communist movement around the world. 

How far Moscow could go in this direction or even if it would want to are open questions given that while traditionalists around the world share some values, many of their traditions set them at odds, something very different from the originally monolithic world communist movement of the 1920s and 1930s.

But the very fact that Naryshkin is raising this possibility shows just how influential those who believe Moscow must recast its current struggle from being a fight between Russia and the West into one between supporters of traditionalism and backers of globalism have become (

And his words also suggest that Moscow at least would likely view its allies in such a cause to be potential espionage assets, something that would make a revived Komintern attractive to a spy chief like Naryshkin but would likely reduce the attractiveness of such an idea both in the Kremlin and among traditionalists elsewhere. 

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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