General Overviews


Anderson, Julie.

1. "The Chekist Takeover of the Russian State." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 237-288.

In a devastatingly detailed article, the author argues that "Russia's intelligence service, the FSB,... has gained control of the country's political and economic sectors." This has had a "poisonous effect on state and society.... [A]n 'FSB State' composed of chekists has been established and is consolidating its hold on the country. Its closest partners are organized criminals."

2. "The HUMINT Offensive from Putin's Chekist State." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 258-316.

The author argues that "the Russian intelligence services' HUMINT operations have continued unabated since the Cold War's end." In fact, "the Kremlin has exploited the warmer relations with the West from cooperation in the war on terror to seed these states with intelligence officers and significantly intensify its espionage offensive."

Andrew, Christopher, and Vasili Mitrokhin. The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

This is a follow-on to The Sword and the Shield (1999), using the materials KGB archivist Mitrokhin brought with him when he defected in 1992. While the earlier book focused on Europe and the United States, The World Was Going Our Way covers KGB operations throughout the Third World. Click for reviews.

Applebaum, Anne. Gulag: A History. New York: Doubleday, 2003.

Pringle, IJI&C 17.1/fn.20, comments that the author "has used the former Soviet archives to give probably the best concrete history of the NKVD prison-economic system." In IJI&C 17.2, Pringle elaborates further, calling this work "a scrupulously researched and beautifully written account."

Boraz, Steven C., and Thomas C. Bruneau. "Reforming Intelligence: Democracy and Effectiveness." Journal of Democracy 17, no. 3 (Jul. 2006): 28-42.

"Democratizing or newly democratic countries ... must deal with the ... arduous task of transforming intelligence bureaucracies that once served undemocratic regimes." South Africa and Taiwan "have met the challenge of intelligence reform in varying ways, while Russia "has seen an intelligence establishment inherited from Soviet days promote a recent backslide toward authoritarianism."

Bruneau, Thomas C., and Steven C. Boraz, eds. Reforming Intelligence: Obstacles to Democratic Control and Effectiveness. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2007.

According to Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), this book's 13 chapters include "studies that discuss democratic control and effectiveness in three Western nations -- the United States, the United Kingdom, and France -- and seven new democracies -- Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Romania, South Africa, Russia, and the Philippines." Reforming Intelligence "is well documented, well written, and should serve as a foundation for studying this persistent problem."

Reddig, NIPQ 23.4 (Sep. 2007), calls this a "useful and thought provoking compendium of case studies," dealing with "the challenge of maintaining an intelligence establishment in a democratic framework." For Skarstedt, NIJ 1.1 (2009), "[a]ll of the authors provide outstanding analysis of their various subjects, and this book is a comprehensive study of intelligence reform and its problems. The commoin theme shared by all of the authors is that intelligence must be closely controlled."

Goldfarb, Alex, with Marina Litvinenko. Death of A Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Peake, Studies 51.4 (2007), comments that "[p]ublication of a book by two participants in the [Litvinenko] case gave hope of learning new details -- it didn’t happen.... [U]nburdened by answers," this book "broods on coincidence and implies the return of the KGB when what is needed is a rigorous scholarly treatment of this unusual case." [Italics in original]

Kouzminov, Alexander. Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2005.

According to Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), the author spent 10 years in the KGB (1982-1992), and emigrated to the West in 1994. Kouzminov "is concerned that Russia is pursuing a biological warfare capability and perhaps even testing agents on unsuspecting nations." The book "provides a detailed description of Directorate S -- the KGB action element for these programs.... Kouzminov is sincere in his warnings about the dangers of biological warfare.... His arguments should not be dismissed out of hand, but without documentation of any kind they cannot be accepted as fact."

Lefebvre, Stéphane, and Roger N. McDermott. "Russia and the Intelligence Services of Central Asia." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 21, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 251-301.

The authors cover Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as "Russia's lingering influence." The authors conclude that "the main intelligence agency in each of the Central Asian states has yet to operate similarly to those of mature democracies. For the most part, none is transparent or subject to any kind of rigorous review or oversight. In addition to traditional intelligence gathering functions, each has law enforcement powers that are at times used discriminately in support of the political regime in power."

McKnight, David. Espionage and the Roots of the Cold War: The Conspiratorial Heritage. London: Frank Cass, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), finds this to be "a valuable, provocative, and well-documented study of Soviet COMINTERN espionage in its many forms from the Bolshevik days until 1950." The reviewer is, however, less enamored of the theoretical base within which the author tries to work. To Schecter, I&NS 18.3, this is "a sometimes fascinating but too often uneven study." The work's main "contribution is in tracing the links between Tsarist police repression and the growth of conspiratorial methods to avoid arrest." There is also "new material on the role of the Comintern and espionage, especially among the Asian communist parties."

Mikoyan, Sergo A. "Eroding the Soviet 'Culture of Secrecy.'" Studies in Intelligence (Fall-Winter 2001): 45-56.

"The main purpose of this article is to examine the system that governed the flow of information to senior policymakers in the USSR. Fundamental cultural differences between the Soviet and Western worlds have impeded efforts by Westerners to fully understand this system."

Pacepa, Ion Mihai. Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination. Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, 2007.

Clark comment: The author is the former head of the Romanian foreign intelligence service; he defected to the West in 1978.

The reviewer for Publishers Weekly, 14 Sep. 2007, (via finds that "[e]ven those inclined to suspect a conspiracy was behind JFK's murder will likely remain unpersuaded by Pacepa's circumstantial, speculative case that the Soviet Union ordered Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate Kennedy.... While there is reason to doubt that the former Soviet Union was fully forthcoming about Oswald's time there, this book offers no convincing Soviet motive for the assassination."

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), sees this as an "account that rests rather flimsily on circumstantial evidence and supposition." The one saving grace is the book's revelation concerning Moscow's "directive to all satellite spy services" to blame the CIA for President Kennedy's assassination. For Peake, Studies 52.2 (Jun. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), the author "presents a conceivable explanation of Kennedy's assassination, but it is also implausible. Pacepa doesn't connect the dots, he adds new ones."

Roberts, Geoffrey. Stalin's War From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007) and Washington Times, 11 Feb. 2007, puts it this way: "As to Stalin and Cold War,... Roberts spouts some of the revisionism that even left-wing American academics have seen fit to abandon." Nevertheless, the reviewer goes on to note that the author "has done a tremendous amount of research, and Stalin's War is a remarkable historical work. Which is not to say, however, that all of it should be accepted at face value."

Sixsmith, Martin. The Litvinenko File: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007.

Goulden, Washington Times, 24 Jun. 2007, and Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer/Fall 2007), says that Sixsmith "gives a superb picture of how Russian intrigue has spilled over into the rest of Europe as rival business factions compete for riches." For Peake, Studies 51.3 (2007), the author "does a plausible job" of explaining "how and why Litvinenko was killed." However, he leaves the answer to who was responsible "in a haze of speculation."

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