Soviet Active Measures:

Deception, Disinformation, and Propaganda

M - Z

McMeekin, Sean. The Red Millionaire: A Political Biography of Willi Münzenberg, Moscow's Secret Propaganda Tsar in the West. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

From publisher: "Willy Münzenberg -- an Old Bolshevik who was also a self-promoting tycoon -- became one of the most influential Communist operatives in Europe between the World Wars. He created a variety of front groups that recruited well-known political and cultural figures to work on behalf of the Soviet Union and its causes, and he ran an international media empire that churned out enormous amounts of propaganda and raised money for Communist concerns."

See also Stephen Koch, Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West (New York: Free Press, 1993); Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Münzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals (London: HarperCollins, 1994); Rev. ed. (New York: Enigma Books, 2004).

Mihalka, Michael. "Soviet Strategic Deception, 1955-1981." Journal of Strategic Studies 1 (1981): 40-93. [Rocca and Dziak]

Mowbray, Stephen de. "Soviet Deception and the Onset of the Cold War: The British Documents for 1943 -- A Lesson in Manipulation." Encounter 62 (Jul.-Aug. 1984): 16-24.

Nagorski, Zygmunt, Jr. "Soviet International Propaganda: Its Role, Effectiveness, and Future." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 398 (Nov. 1971): 130-139. [Calder]

Pechatnov, V. "Exercise in Frustration: Soviet Foreign Propaganda in the Early Cold War, 1945-47." Cold War History 1, no. 2 (Jan. 2001): 1–27.

From abstract: This article "examines the evolution of Soviet foreign propaganda from World War II to the Cold War by analysing its organization, methods and outcome. Emphasis is placed on the internal constraints of the Soviet foreign propaganda machine and its systemic flaws both of which made Soviet foreign propaganda relatively ineffective."

Pincher, Chapman. The Secret Offensive. New York: St. Martin's, 1986. London: Penguin, 1986. [pb]

Kuhlman, Library Journal (via, says that Pincher's work "suffers from its focus on British examples and from digressions to complaints about the general state of society."

Radvanyi, Janos. Delusion and Reality: Gambits, Hoaxes and Diplomatic One-Upmanship in Vietnam. South Bend, IN: Gateway Editions, 1978.

Rocca and Dziak: A former senior Hungarian diplomat writes about "Soviet political action, deception and disinformation with particular reference to Vietnam."

Risen, James. "K.G.B. Told Tall Tales About Dallas, Book Says." New York Times, 12 Sep. 1999. []

According to a new book by Christopher Andrew, based on files supplied to British intelligence by defecting KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, the KGB "took several steps designed to link the CIA to the [John F.] Kennedy assassination."

These activities included "forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to a CIA officer, E. Howard Hunt, asking for information 'before any steps are taken by me or anyone else'.... The Oswald letter was supposed to have been written about two weeks before Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas ..., but was actually created by the KGB in the mid-1970s.... The letter was then passed anonymously to three conspiracy buffs and entered circulation in the United States when it was picked up by one writer of self-published assassination books.... [A] congressional panel that re-investigated the Kennedy assassination in the late 1970s later concluded that the letter was probably a forgery."

Romerstein, Herbert.

1. "The Active Measures Apparatus Tries to Carry On." New Counterpoint 7, no. 2 (Winter 1992): 1-2.

2. "Disinformation as a KGB Weapon in the Cold War." Journal of Intelligence History 1, no. 1 (Summer 2001). []

From abstract: "KGB disinformation was not only to defame or denigrate an enemy or potential enemy, it was also to confuse and even to cause him to take an action beneficial to the Soviet Union. Such activities continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and included the training in disinformation techniques of other Eastern-block secret services such as the German 'Stasi.'"

3. The KGB Enters the 1990s. Alexandria, VA: Center for Intelligence Studies, 1990. [Petersen]

4. Soviet Active Measures and Propaganda: Influence Activities in the Gorbachev Era. Canada: Mackenzie Institute, 1989. [pb]

Surveillant 1.1 calls this an "important small monograph by the U.S. expert." Surveillant 1.6 notes that "Romerstein, former head of USIA's department to counter Soviet active measures, provides an informative update of Soviet efforts and deceptions in this area from the 1980s to the present.... [He] shows that supposed changes are more apparent than real and that the KGB is more polished than ever."

Shultz, Richard H., Jr., and Roy Godson. Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy. New York and London: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1984. 1984. [pb]

Sleeper, Raymond S., ed. Mesmerized by the Bear: The Soviet Strategy of Deception. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1987.

Smith, Charles L. "Soviet Maskirovka." Airpower Journal 2 (Spring 1988): 28-39. [Seymour]

Thomas, David. "KGB Anti-CIA Literature: A Preliminary Review." Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene 5, no. 4 (Jul.-Aug. 1986): 1.

U.S. Congress. House. Select Committee on Intelligence. Soviet Covert Action: The Forgery Offensive. 6 and 19 Feb. 1980. 96th Cong., 2d sess., 1963. Washington, DC: GPO, 1980.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Subcommittee on Internal Security. Testimony of Lawrence Britt [pseud., Ladislav Bittman]. 5 May 1971. 92d Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: GPO, 1971.

U.S. Information Agency. Soviet Active Measures in the "Post-Cold War" Era, 1988-1991. Washington, DC: U.S. Information Agency, 1992.

"A Report Prepared at the Request of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations." Click for TEXT of this report.

Wettig, Gerhard. Broadcasting and Detente: Eastern Policies and Their Implications for East-West Relations. London: C. Hurst, 1977. [Cummings]

Return to Active Measures Table of Contents

Return to Russia Table of Contents