The Cold War Years

1945 - 1989

O - S

Ostermann, Christian Friedrich. "New Evidence on the War in Afghanistan," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 14/15 (Winter 2003-Spring 2004): 139-141.

The author reports on an "international conference, 'Towards an International History of the War in Afghanistan,' organized in April 2002 by the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) in cooperation with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Asia Program and Kennan Institute, George Washington University's Cold War Group, and the National Security Archive." Available Russian documents reveal "how one-sided official reporting from Afghanistan severely limited Soviet policy options between March 1979 ... and the final decision-making process on intervention that fall."

Parrish, Michael. The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security, 1939-1953. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.

According to Kelley, Parameters, Winter 1997-98, the author "demonstrates that terror ... did not cease with Ezhov's removal in late 1938 but continued unabated, in phases and under various directors, until Stalin's death in 1953.... The hard-hitting detail which Parrish marshals is most impressive, if at times tedious."

Persak, Krzysztof, and Lukasz Kaminski, eds. A Handbook of the Communist Security Apparatus in East Central Europe, 1944-1989. Warsaw, Poland: Institute of National Remembrance, 2005.

Holland, IJI&C 19.2 (Summer 2006), sees this as an "exceptionally useful volume." Although the "volume's chapters are uneven,... each chapter provides a dependable base line of information."

Popplewell, Richard J. "The KGB and the Control of the Soviet Bloc: The Case of East Germany." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 254-285.

Abstract: "The Soviet Union's spying on its 'friends' took various forms. First, the ordinary population was watched by its own security services. Second, the security services spied on the rank and file of the local communist parties.... Third, at times the leadership of the satellite communist parties also came under the close scrutiny both of the KGB and its local auxilieries."

Pringle, Robert W. "Andropov's Counterintelligence State." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 193-203.

As KGB head from 1967 to 1982, Yuri Andropov "was strikingly successful as both a bureaucratic infighter and spymaster.... [But he did] enormous harm ... to the Soviet state he sought to protect. The dysfunctional counterintelligence state he instead perfected was unable to survive the challenges that followed his death."

Prunko, Donald H. "Recruitment in Moscow." Studies in Intelligence 13, no. 2 (Spring 1969): 87-106.

Tells the true story of the KGB recruitment of a secretary at the (perhaps) Swedish Embassy in Moscow in the early 1960s. The "techniques of compromise and blackmail were in the beginning employed with uncommon sublety and sophistication. When the secretary was reassigned to another country, however, the follow-up was so ham-handed ... that she was prompted to report to her own security authorities."

Rip, Michael Russell, and Joseph F. Fontanella. "A Window on the Arab-Israeli 'Yom Kippur' War of October 1973: Military Photo-Reconnaissance from High Altitude and Space." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 1 (Jan. 1991): 15-89.

After about 15 pages of background on Soviet and U.S. photo-reconnaissance platforms and activities, the authors get down to their primary subject: the satellite and aircraft deployments made by the Soviet Union and the United States to cover the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. "The dimension of Soviet involvement can be ascertained by noting that within a three and a half week period, no less than seven photo-reconnaissance satellites were launched: a rate almost four times that observed for the rest of the year.... Additionally,... Soviet-manned ... MiG-25R ... reconnaissance jet aircraft ... specifically performed high-altitude/high-speed photographic missions off the Israeli coastline and over the Sinai desert.... [I]t is practically certain that the US provided the Israelis with valuable IMINT and Sigint information during the 1973 conflict."

The authors go off into less well-grounded speculation (that orbits were modified to look at specific target areas does not prove their point) when they argue in favor of digital transmission of photographic imagery from KH-8 satellites. The authors fail to tie down with any precision the use of SR-71 aircraft to overfly the conflict area, relying too much on too many qualifiers to their argument. They also are on less than firm ground with their suggestion that U.S.-supplied tactical intelligence made possible the Israeli crossing of the Suez canal on 15 October 1973. However, the conclusion that "the 1973 Arab-Israeli war demonstrated that with their superior surge launch capability the Soviets certainly were at no tactical disadvantage with the US" is probably accurate.

Robertson, Miles. The KGB Under Gorbachev. London: Brassey's (UK): 1992.

Rogov, A. S. "Pitfalls of Civilian Cover." Studies in Intelligence 8, no. 3 (Summer 1964): 17-33.

"Ways in which Soviet military intelligence [GRU] officers abroad [under civilian] cover are likely to betray themselves."

Rubenstein, Joshua, and Alexander Gribanov, eds. The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Ehrman, Studies 50.2 (2006), notes that the 146 documents contained in this book "were originally given to [Sakharov's] widow, Elena Bonner,... and supplemented by additional KGB documents from communist party and state archives." The documents "provide a long-overdue look at the inner world of the KGB and how it served the Soviet leadership.... [They] are not easy reading, for they are in the formal, ponderous style of the communist bureaucracy, but they give an excellent insight into the minds and workings of the dictatorship."

Serov, Ivan A. "Work With Walk-ins." Studies in Intelligence 8, no. 1 (Winter 1964): 16-47.

This article purports to have been "adapted from one of several on Soviet intelligence doctrine written by high-ranking officers of the GRU." The article reflects a change in GRU policy from hands-off walk-ins to receiving and assessing them. Serov headed the NKVD from 1954, and took over as GRU chief in 1958.

Sewell, Kenneth, with Clint Richmond. Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

According to Brooks, NIPQ 22.2 (Apr. 2006), this book from the "conspiracy theory" genre of writing concerns the May 1968 loss of the Soviet Golf-II class submarine, the K-129, in the mid-Pacific. "[T]he authors' arguments are a literary 'house of cards' built on unsupportable premises"; nonetheless,"they are a cleverly-constructed house of cards, cleverly presented."

Shultz, Richard H., Jr. The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Warfare: Principles, Practices, and Regional Comparisons. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1988.

Valcourt, IJI&C 3.1, says that this book "breaks relatively new ground." The author seeks "to show ... that Soviet support of so-called 'wars of national liberation' is part of an evolving process." Shultz concludes that "the Soviet Union had no coherent plan to conquer the world, nor any significant revolutionary ideology to offer as unification to those waging guerrilla or political warfare." The book presents four cases: Vietnam, the PLO, Angola, and Central America, particularly Nicaragua. The author has undertaken a "comprehensive review of how Soviet newspapers and journals report and interpret that country's international involvements." The writing style is "dry and soporific."

Smith, Bradley F. "Anglo-Soviet Intelligence Co-operation and Roads to the Cold War." In British Intelligence, Strategy and the Cold War, 1945-51, ed. Richard James Aldrich, 50-64. London: Routledge, 1992.

Smith, Truman. "The Infamous Record of Soviet Espionage." Reader's Digest, Aug. 1960, 38-42.

Pforzheimer, Studies 6.2 (Spring 1962), notes that "[t]his article gives a short account of several cases of Soviet espionage and other intelligence activity" around the world.

Stack, Kevin P. "The Cold War Intelligence Score." American Intelligence Journal 18, no. 1/2 (1998): 69-72.

The "Editor's Note" appended to this article states: "This comparison effort is of interest even though readers may take exception to some of the author's positions and conclusions." Clark comment: I agree with that assessment. Using only open-source materials, Stack concludes that "the Soviet Union scored a win over the United States in the 'intelligence security war' of the Cold War." That conclusion may or may be correct, but the strongly conservative ideological bias shown in the author's analysis certainly does little to "prove" his point.

Sterling, Claire. The Time of the Assassins: Anatomy of an Investigation. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983. New ed. 1985. [pb]

According to Rocca and Dziak, Sterling (as does Henze in The Plot to Kill the Pope) points to "Bulgarian-Soviet complicity in the attempted assassination of John Paul II. Half her book ... delves into what she sees as the hesitancy and incredulity of Western governments when faced with the evidence and implications of the failed assassination."

Jenkins, I&NS 1.3, has little to say positive about Sterling's book, arguing that the author "is wrong in all her major contentions" and has produced "a fatally flawed and inaccurate book." Clark comment: That judgment might go down more easily had the reviewer not tried to replace Sterling's analysis with his own even more bizarre and contrived conspiracy fantasies.

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