Cross-Checking Espionage Stories: 1990s-2000s
Out of the Shadows: A Glimpse into the Real World of Stalin-Era Soviet Intelligence
It has been more than 60 years since the domestic Cold War began in America with startling revelations of Soviet espionage – and landmark espionage cases. More than 16 years have passed since the end of the Cold War, followed by no less startling revelations from the opening of formerly secret Soviet archives and the declassification of American Cold War decryptions of intercepted Soviet intelligence cable communiqués from the World War II period. Still, American discourse about Stalin-era Soviet espionage in America mostly revolves around the stories told by two famous American defectors from the Soviet cause – Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley – and centers on two landmark cases of the early Cold War era: the Hiss case and the Rosenberg case.
True, the history of espionage is mostly the history of failures, betrayals or penetrations into intelligence communication networks – with major espionage success stories remaining long-held and carefully guarded secrets. However, since the early 1990s some decades-old secrets have been ushered out of the shadows in post-Soviet Russia – making their appearance in declassified archival collections, in the writing and reminiscences of former Soviet intelligence brass and operatives, or through deliberate political decisions.
Most of this writing and documentation seems to have remained below the radar of American espionage historians – resulting in a sort of Berlin Wall separating these historians from the Russian writing and sources they could be consulting. Readers interested in looking behind that wall will find reliable Russian stories here about the operations of Soviet intelligence in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as life stories of some of its leaders and operatives, interviews, interesting photos and fascinating video clips. Do not expect to find bombshells here from the depths of secret vaults holding intelligence archives; you can feel secure, however, that the stories that will gradually be posted on this site have been verified and carefully crosschecked.