Reference Materials

Included here:

1. General

2. Tsarist Russia

3. Soviet Era

4. Post-Cold War

1. General

Pringle, Robert W. Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Historical Dictionaries of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, No. 5. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

Peake, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), finds this to be "a valuable reference work, especially for students, analysts and readers unfamiliar with the role intelligence services played in Russian history." Nevertheless, the "book omits too many important cases and intelligence organizations, especially those occurring after the Russsian Revolution."

2. Tsarist Russia

Smith, Edward Ellis, with the collaboration of Rudolf Lednicky. The Okhrana: The Russian Department of Police -- A Bibliography. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1967.

Therkelsen, Studies 13.1 (Winter 1969), comments that "the literature about the Okhrana has remained ... essentially one-sided, all contra, with only an occasional morsel of pro and, therefore, hardly anything objective in-between." (italics in original) Smith's bibliography has not avoided this problem. Over two-thirds of the 909 entries refer to newspaper articles and editorials which "are almost exclusively from the revolutionary and post-revolutionary Communist and other leftist press." The reviewer is also bothered by the absence of materials on the Okhrana's counterintelligence activities against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey in World War I. And there are "still other materials, some well-known," that would have been appropriate to include in the bibliography. "With [a] few exceptions, the book is properly and well indexed..., but more consistency in transliterating proper names would normally be expected in an academic publication."


3. Soviet Era

Gebhardt, James F. Soviet Special Purpose Forces: An Annotated Bibliography. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Soviet Army Studies Office, May 1990. [Gibish]

Gordievsky, Oleg. "The KGB Archives." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 1 (Jan. 1991): 7-14.

Some odds and ends about the KGB's "extremely methodical" handling of documents and files.

Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy.

1. "Archives of Russia Seven Years After: 'Purveyors of Sensation or Shadows of the Past?'" Cold War International History Project, Working Paper No. 20, Part I. Washington, DC: CWIHP, 1998.

2. "Russian Archives in Transition: Caught Between Political Crossfire and Economic Crisis." The American Archivist 56, no. 4 (Fall 1993): 618-619.

Hammond, Thomas Taylor, comp. and ed. Soviet Foreign Relations and World Communism: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography of 7,000 Books in 30 Languages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Rocca and Dziak: "See pp. 1108-1119 for 109 selected items from the 1940s to the 1960s on 'Soviet espionage', with perceptive commentary by Robert M. Slusser. Especially useful is the inventory of defector and official sources, including U.S. Congressional publications."

Hershberg, James G. "Soviet Archives: The Opening Door." Cold War International History Project Bulletin 1 (Spring 1992): 1, 12.

Knight, Amy. "Russian Archives: Opportunities and Obstacles." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12, no. 3 (Fall 1999): 325-337.

The author surveys the the period from 1991-1993, when "researchers enjoyed unprecedented access to several Russian archives," to the present, where the "chill that began descending over the archives in 1993" continues. Knight is critical of several works "based on inadequate documentation," which have been portrayed by Western publishers as legitimate historical writings. Criticized specifically are Sudoplatov's Special Tasks and Weinstein and Vassiliev's The Haunted Wood.

Koenker, Diane P., and Ronald D. Bachman, eds. Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1997.

These documents became available through a collaborative arrangement between the Library of Congress and the Russian Committee for Archival Affairs.

Leonard, Raymond W. "Studying the Kremlin's Secret Soldiers: A Historiographical Essay on the GRU, 1918-1945." Journal of Military History (Jul. 1992): 403-421.

Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Soviet Intelligence and Security Services. 2 vols. Washington, DC: GPO, 1972-1975.

Vol. I: Soviet Intelligence and Security Services, 1967-70: A Selected Bibliography of Soviet Publications, with Some Additional Titles from Other Sources. 1972.

Vol. II: 1971-1972. 1975.

Rocca and Dziak call this a "comprehensive, annotated survey of Soviet books, magazines, and press articles on Soviet intelligence, security and related matters." Constantinides adds that the volumes contain about 3,500 items, listed alphabetically. "There is a descriptive synopsis of each but except for an occasional adjective, there is no evaluation of individual pieces." See also U.S. Congress, below.

Mitrokhin, Vasily, ed. KGB Lexicon: The Soviet Intelligence Officer's Handbook. London: Frank Cass, 2002.

Clark comment: Mitrokhin is the former KGB archivist who defected to the United Kingdom in 1992 with a treasure trove of handwritten notes from many of the documents he had handled. He earlier teamed with British intelligence historian Christopher Andrew on The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999) and The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World (New York: Basic Books, 2005).

Jonkers, AFIO WIN 9-02, 4 Mar. 2002, notes that the phrases and words in this dictionary are "mostly commonplace. But there are some gems.... The Russian word is provided, with English translation, and then the explanation" is given. This book "is easy to read, useful for researchers, historians, authors, [and] students of intelligence." Kruh, Cryptologia 26.3, describes this as "an English translation of an official KGB document.... A two-part dictionary, defining the KGB's activities in both offensive and defensive intelligence, this was the handbook used by KGB officers when writing their reports on spying activities both within the Soviet Union and against the West."

Parrish, Michael. Soviet Security and Intelligence Organizations, 1917-1990: A Biographical Dictionary and Review of Literature in English. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991. London: Meckler, 1991.

Surveillant 1.5: "A Who's Who of all Soviet security services since the Revolution, with a comprehensive bibliography."

Pforzheimer, Walter. "Postwar Soviet Espionage -- a Bibliography." Studies in Intelligence 6, no. 2 (Spring 1962): A35-A47.

"This is a selective bibliography [55 items with annotations] of publications that describe the activities of the Soviet intelligence services since the end of World War II."

Rocca, Raymond G., and John J. Dziak. Bibliography on Soviet Intelligence and Security Services. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

Clark comment: This is a useful compendium of 518 mostly English-language sources on Soviet intelligence, including books, articles, and Congressional and other documents. The entries "have been categorized into five sections: Selected Bibliographies and other reference works, Russian/Soviet Accounts (many available in English translation), Defector/First-Hand Accounts, Secondary Accounts, and Congressional and other government documents."

Schmemann, Serge.

1. "Soviet Archives: Half-Open, Dirty Windows on Past." New York Times, 4 Apr. 1995, A10.

2. "Soviet Archives Provide Missing Pieces of History's Puzzles." New York Times, 8 Feb. 1993, A4.

Slusser, Robert M.

1. "Recent Soviet Books on the History of the Soviet Security Police." Slavic Review 14 (Mar. 1965): 90-98. [Rocca and Dziak]

2. "Recent Soviet Books on the History of the Soviet Security Police -- Part II." Slavic Review 22 (Dec. 1973): 825-828. [Rocca and Dziak]

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws. Soviet Intelligence and Security Services, 1964-1970: A Selected Bibliography of Soviet Publications, with Some Additional Titles from Other Sources. 92d Cong., 1st sess., 1972.

See Library of Congress, above.


4. Post-Cold War

An interesting Web Site -- -- claiming a birthdate of 5 September 2000) has both Russian and English pages. It advertises itself as "about Russian and world special services." Although the English pages read awkwardly and not all links seem to work, this site -- created by a "group of journalists working in central editorial offices" -- offers pages on most of the Russian security organizations.

"Text of Statute on Federal Security Service of Russian Federation and Structure of Federal Security Service Agencies," as published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta on 15 August 2003 and translated by FBIS, is available at:

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Directorate of Intelligence The Russian Security Services: Sorting Out the Pieces. Washington, DC: 1992.

Surveillant 3.1: This "reference aid provides an overview of the Russian organizations that have evolved from the USSR's KGB and internal security services. The paper also includes leadership profiles of important figures within each new entity." Clark comment: In 2012, the material here is 20 years old, which limits its usefulness.

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