Skip to comments.Soviets Groomed Kim Il Sung For Leadership (Interview with Soviet handler)
Posted on 01/15/2003 6:27:27 PM PST by Shermy
Grigory Mekler was a Soviet 'spin doctor' ordered to help North Korea's now-demised leader Kim il Sung climb to power in 1945.
Now a 90-year-old pensioner, Mekler said in an interview that he had spent a year touring North Korea with Kim Il Sung, gleaning the leader mass popularity.
In April 1945 army chiefs in the Russian Far East were ordered to find a suitable leader for a new Korean state, and Mekler, a propaganda expert, was one of those entrusted with the task.
"Imagine what a responsibility it was. Basically the future of an entire nation was at stake," said Mekler.
Marshal Meretskov, Commander of the Far East Front, asked Mekler whether he had heard of a man called Kim Il Sung.
In fact Mekler had met Kim Il Sung in 1944, when the Korean was training at a Soviet army camp for Chinese and Korean guerillas near Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East. The Soviet officer found out that Kim, who then commanded a Korean battalion, had borrowed his name from the previous commander. Kim's predecessor, highly respected by Korean guerrillas, was killed in action.
"I want you to work on this person," said Meretskov, referring to Kim. "At the moment not many people know him. Travel to every corner of North Korea with him. It will be useful for both of you."
Kim Il Sung, who gained the rank of major in the Soviet army, returned to Korea in 1945 with the occupying forces, and Mekler and other Soviet advisers spent a year touring with him, even helping to write his speeches.
"When he was taking his first steps towards power, he didn't do anything without taking our advice," recollected the Soviet colonel.
Initially Kim Il Sung experienced some setbacks. "Sometimes after his speeches at demonstrations there was silence," said Mekler. "But later people started clapping."
Stalin approved of the choice of Kim Il Sung, believes Mekler, and the Korean was "sincerely in love with Stalin."
Kim Il Sung was invited to Moscow and was taken to a shop for distinguished guests, where they could take any item for free, even a motor car.
Asked what he chose, Kim Il Sung answered, "A car for Kim Jong Il (his son)," and showed Mekler a small toy truck.
The Korean leader declared that, "North Korea and the USSR are brothers for all time. Stalin and I forever," recalled Mekler.
Mekler also met the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as a three-year-old child, and keeps photographs of himself with Kim Il Sung's family.
Before Mekler returned to Moscow, Kim Il Sung asked for a final word of advice. "I answered with the famous English phrase 'Look before you leap'," recalled the Russian.
Korea was a Japanese colony from 1910 until 1945, when the USSR and the United States occupied the north and south of the peninsula. Neither superpower was prepared to withdraw and give way to an independent Korea, and in 1948 two separate states, the Republic of Korea and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, were formed.
Kim Il Sung created the North Korean Communist Party in 1945 and was elected premier of the republic in 1948.
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I wonder if historians know about this guy. Would be a good interview.
In a different context, the Russians may be expected to provoke an incident unattributable to themselves involving the explosion of a nuclear device somewhere in the West not excluding the United States. The purpose would be to reassert or re-emphasise the necessity for the American-Russian partership now, and to create pressure for eventual World Government.
US policy for dealing with the North Korean crisis is inadequate because it focuses on North Korea in isolation as a rogue state, and naively seeks help from the Russians and Chinese to solve the problem. The North Korean situation and any future nuclear incident, wherever it occures, must be seen against the background of Sino-Soviet 'convergence' strategy: the interaction of Russian and Chinese policy and the moves they make to derive strategic gains from critical situations should be closely studied." -Anatoliy Golitsyn, 1989.
Fresh off the Vladivostok Press though, and scrubbed as not to offend any ties with Kim Jong Il.
Further to your other flag ... I think Golitsyn's been silent quite some time. Can't hurt to email Story and ask, which I will.