As with the first, Mitrokhin has a co-author, Christopher Andrew, an historian who enjoys close ties with Britain's security and intelligence services. Despite being written by such insiders, this book is curiously unsatisfying. Much of it is an elegantly presented narrative of information already in the public domain about Soviet mischief-making during the cold war. That is worth having. The extent to which Soviet spooks sponsored terrorists and spread lies about the West is known, but is not common knowledge.
The world tends to remember more about the misdeeds of the CIA. In this nutritious but unexciting dough come little raisins of Mitrokhin's own revelations. Almost the first, a typical one, comes on page 50, where the reader learns that the Centre ie, KGB headquarters condemned the Nicaraguan Sandinistas' offensive in the summer of as premature. But what the context might be, the reader can't know. And that is where it is likely to stay. That's a problem for a book that wants to be a serious history.
A reader needs to feel that he or she can go to the source material and check to see if it is used fairly and accurately. Few do, but the knowledge of that scrutiny keeps historians honest. With this book there are three kinds of uncheckable possible distortion. First, the KGB documents themselves must be true. Given the way that the Soviet Union was founded on lies and deceit, and given the incompetence of its bureaucracy, that is a big, though not ludicrous, assumption.
Then the reader must be sure that Mitrokhin, writing in a great hurry, in great secrecy and in great danger, copied everything down right. And thirdly, we have to believe that MI6's chiefs wholly withstood the temptation to use the material even slightly selectively, for the purposes of disinformation. But then that's the problem with all factual books about intelligence.
Secrets and lies may be fascinating to many, but they are hard to hammer into truthful form. Vasili Mitrokhin was the senior KGB archivist who was given the task of moving the files of the First Chief Directorate - the KGB's foreign intelligence arm - to their new headquarters. This lengthy process gave him uninhibited access to those files until his retirement 12 years later. He took secret notes and extracts of what he read and smuggled them out to create his own, very private, archive. When, years later, MI6 revealed this archive to the FBI and CIA they described it as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source… the biggest counter- intelligence bonanza of the post-war period.
The disaffection that led him to risk his life daily in this manner had begun long before. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was a significant milestone in what he called his "intellectual odyssey", as was his later discovery of how the Soviet government had lied to its own people over Afghanistan. Frustrated in his desire to write an official history of the KGB, he determined to compile his own and publish it in the West.
In Mitrokhin put on shabby clothes, so as not to attract the attention of border guards, and took a train to one of the newly independent Baltic states. Hidden beneath the sausages in his rucksack was a sample of his notes. His approach to the British Embassy led to contact with MI6 and eventually to the secret exfiltration from Moscow of himself, his family and his entire archive which filled six large containers. Espionage necessarily in-volves deceit but it may also, paradoxically, be the midwife of truth.
Mitrokhin was passionate for truth; he wanted the Russian people and the world to know the truth about the oppression and deceit practised upon them by the organisation in which he had spent his working life. Essential to his agreement with MI6 was that the truths he had unearthed should not simply be transferred from one secret registry to another but that they should be published for all to see. Mitrokhin is now dead, but MI6 is keeping its bargain.
Revelations in the first volume such as the identity of the "Granny spy", Melita Norwood, and details of the KGB cultivation of Harold Wilson whom they never actually recruited , attracted a great deal of media attention.
But that temporary fuss rather obscured the book's major themes - the KGB's manipulation of Western media, its highly successful thefts of Western technology, its obsessive fear of subversion and the inability of its own government to take full advantage of the often excellent political intelligence it acquired. This volume traces those themes throughout the rest of the world, with the important addition of KGB dealings with Third World leaders.
The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West [Paperback]
Already it has been headline news throughout India because of its exposure of KGB penetration of Indian governments and political parties, particularly the Congress Party of Mrs Gandhi's period. A KGB director frankly admitted that it had "scores of sources throughout the Indian Government… It seemed as if the entire country was for sale. Among its best agents was one of Mrs Gandhi's senior ministers; yet all the while it was the threat of CIA subversion that worried her.
Indira Gandhi herself was never an agent, however. The KGB had relations with many world leaders but it generally sought to enlist them as "confidential contacts" whom they could support and influence rather than recruit as agents.
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Relations with President Allende of Chile, for example, began in and were elevated to "systematic contact" after During his years of power meetings were often arranged through his favourite mistress, along with sex films and associated cavortings. Relations with Castro were more troubled.
To start with, he was an affluent landowner who took no interest in Communism until in power although his brother Raul was more sympathetic. Then, having sided with the Soviet Union, he became embarrassingly supportive, comparing the election of President Reagan with that of Hitler and suggesting the redeployment of Soviet missiles to Cuba if US cruise missiles were sent to Europe. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the coup plotters against Gorbachev. There is much else in this well-written and often ironically amusing work, making it as great a credit to the scholarship of its author as to the dedication and courage of its originator.
It convincingly demonstrates that any assessment of 20th-century international relations that does not include the intelligence dimension is one-legged, at best. Russia's daily online.
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October 12, Arch-Important Witness. The amazing success of the first Mitrokhin Archive was, after all, the result of quite a fancy story [see the article below]. Many events described in the book have been widely covered long before. But they get some evidence only now.
Many national heroes of emerging countries are now seen in a drastically different light. It is quite obvious that she was under practically unlimited influence of the Soviet intelligence.
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The KGB started paying attention to Indira Gandhi as early as in the mids but at that time, she played an insignificant part of someone who could influence her father Jawaharlal Nehru, the first leader of the independent India. The first present that the KGB gave to Indira in was a fur coat.
Gifts were getting more and more valuable. From this moment, the Soviet influence on Indira Gandhi and her party became total. Meanwhile, the KGB still financed the ruling party of India. By late s, the Soviet secret service funded several ministers, many regional leaders, ten newspapers and one news agency.
Here is an example that could show how many spies worked for the USSR in the country. The documents published in London do not answer the question whether Allende knew where the money for his election campaign was coming from. But even if he did not, he must be suspecting. It was at the first date with Kuznetsov that the Chilean leader agreed to launch the military and intelligence service reform to strengthen the mutual understanding between the two countries.
He was quite diligent in realizing all Soviet recommendations but he evidently lacked the rigidity. He was unwilling to turn Chile into a second Cuba.
Nilanjana S Roy: The Mitrokhin Revelations
In September , unreformed units of the Chilean army rebelled, and Salvador Allende shot himself with the rifle Fidel Castro had given him as a present. Hydrologist The project to turn Nicaragua into a socialist state was somewhat more successful for the KGB. The Front was initially created not only to seize power in Nicaragua but also as to form sabotage groups to act throughout the whole of Northern and Central America. At the end of the s, that a Sandinist group was sent to Mexico to examine the region with the view to carry out sabotage operations in the United States.
Almost all operations of the Sandinists were fulfilled under the control or, at least, with the agreement of the KGB chiefs in Chile. It was the case in when a group led by Eden Pastora, another Sandinist and a future leader of contras, seized the building of the Nicaraguan Parliament and took the deputies hostages. Beforehand, Pastora agreed upon the details of the operation, aimed to release the imprisoned Sandinist leaders, with the KGB chief in Managua. The undertaking went off well.
The Second Caribbean Crisis Fidel Castro did not catch the eye of the Soviet intelligence straightaway, in defiance of the popular opinion. It took the KGB some time to examine him until they let him make the island the Soviet outpost in the Western hemisphere. Many things published now have been already widely known for a long time. And yet, the book contains some new and interesting details. For one, when Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel Castro went to Czechoslovakia to buy armaments, KGB agents in Prague reported that the second man in Cuba slept in his shoes and showed an exceptional fastidiousness in relationships with women demanding that all prostitutes who visited him be blond.
Readers of the second volume of The Mitrokhin Archive will naturally be surprised to learn that Cuba could have become the reason for the third world war twice, not only once, as was earlier thought.
The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World (TPB) (Group) by Christopher Andrew - surfcimangconfbeach.ml
The book cites a report on the meeting between Fidel Castro and some Soviet general who went to Havana on inspection in The Mitrokhin Archive does not describe the reaction of the Soviet. The Fate of the Re-Writer. Vasily Mitrokhin was born in in the village of Yurasovo, Ryazan Region. He served various assignments overseas during the s. In , for example, he accompanied the Soviet national team at the Olympics in Sydney. The officer started gathering the documents in when the archives of the First Directorate were moved from the Lubyanka headquarters to a new building in Yasenevo.
Mitrokhin buried his personal archive at his dacha outside Moscow. He went to Latvia with the archive in to place it at the disposal of the US intelligence. Yet, CIA officers did not consider Mitrokhin credible and thought that his archive, which was mainly made up of handwritten copies of top-secret documents, was fake. Mitrokhin, his family and the whole of his archive, which covers the operations of the Soviet secret service from the s to the late 20th century, were taken to Britain. The authenticity of the archive was confirmed.
Mitrokhin died in the UK on January 23, Russian Article as of Oct. October 02, The Sunday Times - Books. This long-awaited second tranche from the 2,folio KGB archive smuggled out of Russia by its archivist Vasili Mitrokhin reveals a classic case of hubris and nemesis.