The Kremlin seems to have decided that the best defense is a strong offense. With the time remaining until the summit now counted in days rather than weeks, Moscow is accusing the United States of perfidy, of double standards on human rights, and of striving for military superiority over the Soviet Union at all costs.
At a Kremlin reception marking the 68th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said, ``It is vital that distrust, hatred, and suspicion be eliminated from international relations.''
``As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, it has enough good will. It demonstrates this will by its action. If a businesslike, constructive approach, for which we are ready, prevails, then the forthcoming meeting in Geneva may prove to be fruitful and serve toward improving the international situation.''
If the Soviets are ready, what stands in the way?
Soviet Defense Minister Sergei Sokolov, standing atop the Lenin mausoleum in Red Square, gave the answer. He warned thousands of people gathered there for the annual Revolution Day military parade that the US is ``trying to dismantle the most important gains of the period of d'etente and ensure military superiority over the socialist community.''
The source of the ``greatest danger,'' he said, was the United States' plans to ``militarize outer space.''
Meanwhile, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda printed an article yesterday based on an interview with KGB agent Vitaly Yurchenko (who, it should be noted, still has not been identifed in the Soviet news media as having any connection with the Soviet secret police.)
Mr. Yurchenko said he was kidnapped in Rome by the Central Intelligence Agency and kept prisoner at a secluded 5,500-acre estate near Fredricksburg, Va., while it tried to brainwash him.
He said he was drugged, forced to take ``tablets and narcotics'' every day.
He said a smaller-than-usual dose was given him before a meeting with CIA Director William Casey, but he professes to remember the meeting only dimly, ``as if I were in a mist.''
He claimed that Mr. Casey spoke to him about ``big politics and the summit meeting.'' That is the first time the Soviet media have tied the Yurchenko case directly to the summit. It will probably not be the last time.
But while the Soviet media heap invective on the US, Gorbachev is careful to appear above the fray.
A documentary has opened here in Moscow depicting his trip to Paris this fall. It is called ``Moscow-Paris, Constructive Dialogue.'' According to the Soviet news agency Tass, the film shows how Gorbachev ``demonstrated yet another time the Soviet Union's consistent striving to improve the international situation and curb the arms race'' and how he received a ``warm and cordial welcome'' during his first overseas trip as Soviet leader.
At the Kremlin, Gorbachev himself said, ``In our policy we support a constructive dialogue and a search for mutually beneficial agreements.''
``This also concerns relations with the United States of America,'' he noted.