A History of the Russian Secret Service by Richard Deacon
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
I read the 1987 edition of Richard Deacon's book and I found it both interesting and very informative. The author is one of the leading writers on intelligence and has written many other books on intelligence, especilly on Russian/Soviet intelligence organizations. What the book does show is that Russian intelligence organizations do does not change very much in their mission be it the service of Ivan the Terrible,the Oprichniki, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great or the Soviet Cheka, NKVD or KGB. All these organizations have concentrated a great deal on suppressing internal dissent and to a certain extent in countering foreign intrigue seeking to exploit Russian/Soviet weaknesses. Russian intelligence seems to operate in a hidden way but paradoxically, it has always had a very open existence. Unlike in the West, Soviet citizens were aware of the existence of a huge State bureaucracy devoted to intelligence gathering. It is an integral part of the lives of the citizens of Russia. At the same time, it is characterized by deviousness and the use of terror.This is shown very clearly in Mr Deacon's fine book. There is also detailed description of the type of tactics used by Russian services. Two stand out: the Use of" Agents Provocateurs" and of "Disinformation" Also of interest are the portraits of intelligence officials who have contributed to develop Intelligence in Tsarist and Soviet Russia ranging from aides of Ivan the Terrible to Yuri Andropov, who ultimately ended up as leader of the USSR.Ussian and Soviet spies such as Richard Sorge and their actions are also covered in detail. Mr Deacon's book is a valuable reference and introduction to anyone interested in knowing more on Soviet and Russian intelligence.
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