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The KGB: Masters of the Soviet Union

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The belief that the Soviet Communist Party exercises control over the KGB, an idea popular in the West, is a fallacy, charge the authors. Deriabin, a Russian agent who defected to the West in 1954, here teams with political scientist Bagley in a chilling expose that lifts a veil off the inner workings of Soviet power. The KGB, they claim, dominates the highest echelons of party and bureaucracy; it monitors the armed forces, influencing key appointments; it directs the 300,000-man ``Internal Troops'' who crush workers' protests, food riots, political dissension and nationalist uprisings. The authors take us inside KGB headquarters in Moscow to show how the agency spreads its tentacles into the courts and police, into offices, farms and factories, and overseas. Dense with material from Soviet and Western sources, this report is compelling, whether one favors a hard-line or conciliationist U.S. policy toward the Soviets. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Deriabin came to the West after working in the KGB during the 1940s and 1950s. Since the book is written in the first person, political scientist Bagley's coauthorship contribution is unclear. Deriabin doubts that Gorbachev represents a break with the Soviet past and thinks the KGB continues to be the key to Soviet power. He is best at describing the KGB's inner workings, although he doesn't seem to recognize any of its failings. Important recent Western literature on the KGB, such as Amy W. Knight's The KGB: Police and Politics in the Soviet Union (Unwin Hyman, 1988) and Jeffrey T. Richelson's Sword and Shield: Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus (Ballinger, 1985) , is omitted, and Deriabin seems to pull back from a more pluralistic view of Soviet politics, offering instead a more mono-institutional assessment in which the KGB is all that matters. For larger Soviet collections.-- Daniel N. Nelson, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.
In order to maintain the continuing significance of their topic, Derabian (formerly KGB) and Bagley (formerly CIA) have to peddle the idea that nothing has really changed. In the course of doing just this (most obviously in the afterword) they undermine the credibility of their general analysis of the KGB's domestic and foreign activities from 1917 to the present. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870528040
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 0.10 (w) x 0.10 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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