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Soviet Revisions

Oleg Gordievsky, 7 February 1991

Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 
by Dmitri Volkogonov, edited and translated by Harold Shukman.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £29.95, February 1991, 0 297 81080 4
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Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 383 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 04 440769 6
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The Prosecutor and the Prey: Vyshinsky and the 1930s Moscow Show Trials 
by Arkady Vaksberg, translated by Jan Butler.
Weidenfeld, 374 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 297 81064 2
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... Dmitri Volkogonov, General of the Soviet Army, head of the Institute of Military History and admirer of Gorbachev, has produced the most authoritative biography of Stalin we have read so far. There is no doubt that he had many advantages over Western biographers of Stalin, of whose work he seems to have made little use. As an official historian and a general, he had access to unique archival material; and he has based his work primarily on documents held in the Soviet archives of the Ministry of Defence, the Institute of Marxism-Leninism (for the history of the Communist Party) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...

Gotterdämmerung

Christopher Hitchens, 12 January 1995

... way, but let it go) are involved? Where would be the shame in that? In any other month, I mean? Mr Oleg Gordievsky, late of the KGB, appears to be a bit of a fantasy merchant in general but to have had a grasp of the salient facts about Gott and to have had them for some time. Seumas Milne’s father, Alasdair, discovered 14 years ago that Gott was on ...

Where their real face was known

John Lloyd, 6 December 1990

The KGB: The Inside Story of the Foreign Operations 
by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky.
Hodder, 704 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 340 48561 2
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Inside the KGB: Myth and Reality 
by Vladimir Kuzichkin.
Deutsch, 406 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98616 2
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... was the perpetuator of many of the old views and practices. The conclusion of Andrew’s and Gordievsky’s lucid and detailed history – that sooner or later the KGB ‘will be disowned by its own citizens’ – provides a necessary benchmark which Soviet reform must reach if it is to be taken seriously, most of all by Russians. The ...

Mirror Images

Christopher Andrew, 3 April 1986

World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 297 78745 4
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... to be disclosed. The defection last year of the KGB station chief in London and MI6 double agent, Oleg Gordievsky, illustrates the danger of assuming that there are no Penkovskys now working for the West within the Soviet intelligence community. I suspect that in general Mr Laqueur makes too little allowance for the influence of SIGINT. NSA (America’s ...

Other People’s Mail

Bernard Porter: MI5, 19 November 2009

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5 
by Christopher Andrew.
Allen Lane, 1032 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 7139 9885 6
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... Gibraltar shootings; the Lockerbie bombing; ‘Room 101’; the thrilling escape of the defector Oleg Gordievsky; the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher; and the 7/7 bomb plot, to mention just a few – will find nuggets of gold (as well as some baser metals) in its 1000-plus pages. There’s also quite a lot of sex (usually gratuitous); some humour (as ...

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