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How the Russians Tried to Assassinate John Wayne

, / 2025 0

It’s no secret that the Soviet Union used brutal tactics to eliminate and intimidate perceived threats.

Brutal assassinations by Russia are nothing new, and these types of orders were often given by Joseph Stalin, long before Vladimir Putin came along.

During the Cold War, when the entire world watched the power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, movie theaters acted as an unlikely battlefield between the two world powers.

Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator, and murderer of hundreds of thousands, was quite the movie critic.

He had a private theater in each of his homes, where he would watch films of every genre.

Watching a movie with Stalin was not a leisurely activity, as the “supreme censor” he decided which movies got made, which parts got cut out, and which directors got murdered.

However, one surprise was that Stalin enjoyed the movies made by his greatest enemy, American westerns.

The westerns of the 1940s and 1950s made cowboys American heroes.

The characters were defiant and self-reliant. Stalin identified with these cowboys, seeing himself as the lone figure bringing justice to the new frontier.

On the other hand, the admiration of the Communist dictator for American cowboys was far from mutual.

One of the biggest movie stars at the time, John Wayne, was an outspoken anti-communist, who had no problem voicing his views.

Wayne’s opinions caused him to receive threatening letters, and some in Hollywood tried to get him to tone down his beliefs.

Supposedly, after viewing one of Wayne’s movies, Stalin became enraged and ordered his assassination.

Prior to any attempt on Wayne’s life, U.S. intelligence caught wind of the assassination order and the FBI offered Wayne protection, which he declined.

Soon after, two Soviet filmmakers, Sergei Gerasimov and Alexei Kapler, warned film legend Orson Welles about the assassination order.

Wells informed Wayne, but Wayne had already been warned by the FBI.

The thing was, the two Soviet filmmakers were able to provide specific details of the planned assassination.

According to Wayne’s stuntman and real-life cowboy Yakima Canutt, the FBI, with the help of the Soviet filmmakers, received word that two KGB agents posing as FBI agents were going to come to the movie studio where Wayne was filming and lure him away, so the FBI and Wayne decided to outflank them.

When the Soviets came into Wayne’s office as expected, actual FBI agents were hidden in a room next door and burst in and subdued them at gunpoint.

Allegedly, the Soviet agents were terrified of being sent back to Russia and reporting to Stalin they had failed, so they willingly agreed to provide intelligence to the FBI.

The idea of the powerful Soviet dictator going up against the all-American cowboy may seem too incredible to be true, but it is more than propaganda.

Years later, when John Wayne met Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev, he asked the Soviet leader whether the rumors to have him killed were true, to which Khrushchev replied, “That was the decision of Stalin in his last mad years. I rescinded the order.”

The truth is, Russian spies have lone been assassinating people in other countries and continue to do so, as evidenced by the poisoning of the spy in England and his daughter.

The Russians, like the Chinese, are not our friends and need to be watched closely.

They cannot be trusted and they will never be our ally.

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