INSIDE THE SOVIET SECRET POLICE
A History of Soviet Security & Soviet Espionage,
4 credits: three class meetings each week, plus five required films
Chekist has two paths--promotion, or prison."
--Joseph Stalin, 1951
Professor Jeffrey Burds
Office: 269 Holmes Hall
Telephone: (617) 373-2079
. . . violence does not consist so
much in injuring and annihilating persons as
in interrupting their continuity, making them play roles in which they no longer
recognize themselves, making them betray not only commitments but their
Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity
No theme has more powerfully captured the Cold War imagination than the virtual obsession with Soviet spies. Repressing their own citizens at home, the Bolsheviks craved world domination. They sent spies abroad to sabotage our progress, to infiltrate our governments, to penetrate into the hearts and souls of freedom-loving peoples everywhere. Or so the story went.
The collapse of
10 percent of the final grade: Each student is expected to complete all of the assigned readings (averaging about 225 pages weekly) and to attend lectures and discussions regularly. Regular attendance is required. I will deduct 2 points in the class for each unexcused absence. Any student with five or more unexcused absences will not pass this course. Students with perfect attendance records for the semester will be awarded bonus points [generally the equivalent of raising a B- to a B]. The number of bonus points or points deducted will depend in part on your score on a special quiz reflecting basic understanding of all five films. The film quiz will be taken on Wednesday, August 15.
90 percent of the final grade: Students will be required to take two written in-class exams. The first is set for Thursday, July 26. The second is set for August 16. The two examinations together will account for 90 percent of the final grade for the course. THERE IS NO FINAL EXAMINATION.
There are no required papers in this course.
Students with a B+ or above on the midterm exam and paper may elect to choose an alternative final: to write a 10-12 page final paper on a theme to be agreed on with Prof. Burds, and take an oral final exam instead of the standard bluebook.
For bibliographies and extra-credit projects, see the Resource Page.
A Statement on Academic Honesty
All written work in this course must be the student's own original work. Plagiarism--"the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work"--is a serious violation. Please note that the same shortcuts that make plagiarism so easy in our day also facilitate the instructor's verification of each student's work. In this course, all student work is checked closely for plagiarism. Northeastern University relies on Turnitin technology: "Every paper submitted is returned in the form of a customized Originality Report. Results are based on exhaustive searches of billions of pages from both current and archived instances of the internet, millions of student papers previously submitted to Turnitin, and commercial databases of journal articles and periodicals." The point? If you misuse materials and submit other people's work as your own, you will be caught. Any student caught plagiarizing will automatically FAIL this course, and you will be formally charged for violation of university guidelines on academic honesty.
The following titles (marked with an asterisk) have been ordered at the University Book Store:
Tennent H. Bagley, Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2007). [Digital version available in Snell]
David Holloway, Stalin and the
Jerrold L. Schechter and Peter S. Deriabin, The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War (Washington: Brassey's, 1992). [out of print; a scan appears below]
Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness -- A Soviet Spymaster (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1994-1995). Revised Edition. [out of print; a scan appears below]
Robert W. Stephan, Stalin's Secret
War: Soviet Counterintelligence Against the Nazis, 1941-1945 (
All readings in this course are available for download from
Week 1 Introduction: Inside A 'Wilderness of Mirrors'
Tuesday, July 3. Introduction to the History of Soviet Espionage. Themes.
HANDOUT: The Soviet/Russian Security Police, 1917-1996
Discussion: Espionage and History
Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 1-64.
Jonathan W. Daly,
Autocracy Under Siege: Security Police and Opposition in
Jonathan W. Daly, The
Watchful State: Security Police and Opposition in
Frederic S. Zuckerman, The Tsarist Secret Police in Russian Society, 1880-1917 (New York: NYU Press, 1996).
Thursday, July 5. Antecedents. From the Third Department to the Tsarist Okhrana
Week 2 Against Foreign Interventionists in an Era of Capitalist Encirclement
Tuesday, July 10. The Origins of the Soviet Secret Police. Red Terror and the Cheka
Powerpoint: Regicide in the Russian Revolution
CASEBOOK 1: Introduction to Soviet International Operations, 1917-1922
Regicide in the Russian Revolution: The Murder of the Romanov Family [
HANDOUT Lenin's War Against the Russian Orthodox Church [Discussion]
John W. Long, “The Lockhart Plot in Russia, 1918,” Europe-Asia Studies Volume 47, Number 7 (November 1995): 1225-1235; and Andrew Cook, Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly (Glousteshire: Tempus Books, 2002), pp. 168-170.
[Red Terror]: Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 65-106.
George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police: the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, December 1917 to February 1922 (New York: Oxford, 1981).
Viktor Bortnevskii, White Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence during the Russian Civil War No. 1108 in The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies (University of Pittsburgh, 1995).
Feliks Dzerzxhinskii, Founder of the Cheka
David S. Fogelsong,
A. J. Plotke, Imperial
Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev, The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives (London: HarperCollins, 1998).
Wednesday, July 11. Soviet Espionage in the 1920s. Soviet Industrial Espionage
CASEBOOK 2: Sidney Reilly, Myth & Reality
Powerpoint: Soviet Foreign Operations
Stuart Finkel, "An Intensification of Vigilance: Recent Perspectives on the Institutional History of the Soviet Security Apparatus in the 1920s," Kritika Volume 5, Number 2 (Spring 2004): 299-320.
Peter Holquist, "'Information is the Alpha and Omega of Our Work': Bolshevik Surveillance in Its Pan-European Context," Journal of Modern History (September 1997): 415-450.
Vladlen Izmozik, "Voice from the Twenties: Private Correspondence Intercepted by the OGPU," The Russian Review 55 (1996): 287-308.
Harvey Klehr, et. al. "Clandestine Habits: The 1920s and the Early 1930s" in The Secret World of American Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 20-30, 40-41.
Thursday, July 12. A Popular Culture of Denunciation?
Powerpoint: Totalitarianism and the Panoptic State
Gábor Rittersporn, "The Omnipresent Conspiracy: On Soviet Imagery of Politics and Social Relations in the 1930s," in Stalinism and Its Aftermath: Essays in Honour of Moshe Lewin (M.E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. 101-120.
Sheila Fitzpatrick and Robert Gellately, "Introduction to the Practices of Denunciation in Modern European History," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 1996): 747-767.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, "Signals from Below: Soviet Letters of Denunciation of the 1930s," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 1996): 831-866.
Read Timothy Garton Ash's
critical review of ACCUSATORY PRACTICES
[London Review of Books,
Prisoner's Perspective: From the KGB
File of Italian Communist Edmondo Peluzo: Fragments from His Unsuccessful
Petition for Release (from the KGB Archive,
Resumé of a
Stalinist Policeman: Soviet Secret
Police Personnel Report on Service to the International Section of the Communist
Party in the 1930s (October 13, 1939), former Central Archive of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union,
CASEBOOK 3: Soviet Secret Police & Stalin's Internal Enemies
Week 3 'The Enemies Within': Stalin and the Terror
Tuesday, July 17. Verbovka: Soviet Recruitment Strategies
Powerpoint: The Cambridge Five
Aleksandr Orlov, Handbook of Intelligence and Guerilla Warfare (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1963).
Yuri Druzhnikov, Informer 001: The Myth of Pavlik Morozov (New Brunswick: Transaction Pubs., 1997).
Catriona Kelly, Comrade
Pavlik, The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (
Wednesday, July 18. Stalin's International Security Networks
Powerpoint: The Purge of International Cadres
Handout: The Purge in the NKVD, 1933-1939
Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 107-232.
CASEBOOK 4b: Aleksandr Orlov's Letter to Ezhov
Jeffrey Burds, “The
Soviet War against ‘Fifth Columnists:’ The Case of
Thursday, July 19. Soviet Interrogation
Powerpoint: Stalinist Interrogation Process
Handout: Stalinist Interrogation Process
Week 4 Operation Barbarossa & World War II
Tuesday, July 24. Soviet Intelligence on the Eve of Operation Barbarossa
Handout: Signals from Moscow (July 1940)
Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 233-340.
Giant: German Perceptions of Soviet Military and Economic Strength in
Preparation for 'Operation Blau' (1942)," in Christopher Andrew and Jeremy
Noakes, eds. Intelligence and International Relations, 1900-1945 (
Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness -- A Soviet Spymaster (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1994-1995). Revised Edition, pp. 126-171.
For further reading [optional]
Perry Biddiscombe, Perry Biddiscombe, "Unternehmen Zeppelin: The Deployment of SS Saboteurs and Spies in the Soviet Union, 1942-1945," Europe-Asia Studies Volume 52, Number 6 (2000): 1115-1142.
Perry Biddiscombe, "The problem with
glass houses The Soviet recruitment and deployment of SS men as spies and
saboteurs," Intelligence and National Security (
Kurt DeWitt, The Role of the Partisans in Soviet Intelligence (Alabama: Maxwell Air Force Base, 1954).
"Threat Identification and Strategic Appraisal by the Soviet Union,
1930-1941," in Ernest R. May, ed. Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence
Assessments Before the Two World Wars (
David M. Glantz, The Role of Intelligence in Soviet Military Strategy in World War II (Novato, CA: Presidio, 1990).
David M. Glantz, Soviet
Military Intelligence in War (
Leonid D. Grenkevich, Soviet Partisan Movements: A Critical Historiographical Analysis (London: Frank Cass, 1999).
David Kahn, ["MAX: Germany's Greatest Spy in the East,"] Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II (New York; Collier Books, 1978), pp. 312-317, 367-369.
Bradley F. Smith, Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941-1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996).
Colonel I. G. Starinov, Over the Abyss: My Life in Soviet Special Operations (New York: Ivy Books [Ballantine Books], 1995).
Bruce W. Menning, ed. At the Threshold of War: The Soviet High Command in 1941 in Russian Studies in History: A Journal of Translations Volume 36, Number 3 (Winter 1997-98), pp. 2-93.
Barton Whaley, Codeword
Barbarossa (Harvard, 1973),
Photo & Text of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact [23 August 1939]
Wednesday, July 25. Razvedka: The Role of Intelligence in the Soviet Victory
Casebook 5. Documents from Soviet Espionage Operations in World War II
Thursday, July 26. Midterm Examination
Burds Tips for Exams and Papers
Week 5 Origins of the Cold War
Tuesday, July 31. Espionage in Modern History
John Gaddis, "Intelligence, Espionage
and Cold War Origins," Diplomatic History, 13, no. 2
(Spring 1989), pp. 191-212.
CASEBOOK 6: The
Origins of the Cold War in Soviet
Powerpoint: The "Great Fear"
Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 341-366.
Kevin C. Ruffner, “Cold War Allies: The Origins of the CIA’s Relationship with Ukrainian Nationalists,” Fifty Years of the CIA (Langley, Virginia: Central Intelligence Agency, 1998): 19-43. [Declassified in 2004]
Wednesday, August 1. The Soviet Union vs. OPERATION ROLLBACK
Jeffrey Burds, "AGENTURA: Soviet Informants' Networks & the Ukrainian Rebel Underground in
Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War (New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988), pp. 3-11, 138-175, 264-290.
Photo: Soviet MVD
Special Tasks Unit near
The Origins of Containment: George Kennan's "Long Telegram" (Moscow-to-Washington) (February 22, 1946)
Sinews of Peace": Audio and Transcript of Churchill's Speech at
The Novikov Telegram:
Soviet Ambassador in
NSC-68 -- The Foundations of American Cold War Policy
Thursday, August 2. Case Study of Soviet Sister Services: The East German Stasi
"Secret Voices from the Past:
Powerpoint: Soviet Sister Services
Yuri Totrov, "Western Intelligence Operations in Eastern Europe, 1945-1954," The Journal of Intelligence History Volume 5, Number 1 (Summer 2005): 71-80.
Markus Wolf, "Spying for Love," Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster (New York: Random House, 1997), pp. 123-150.
Andrew & Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, pp. 422-476.
Dialectics of Pain: The Interrogation Methods of the Communist Secret
Timothy Garton Ash, The File: A Personal History (New York: Random House, 1997).
Gary Bruce, "The Prelude to Nationwide Surveillance in East Germany: Stasi Operations and Threat Perceptions, 1945-1953" Journal of Cold War Studies Volume 5, Number 2 (Spring 2003): 3-31.
Robert Gellately, "Denunciations in Twentieth-Century Germany: Aspects of Self-Policing in the Third Reich and the German Democratic Republic," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Dec., 1996): 931-967.
Week 6 The Soviet Bomb and Soviet Nuclear Espionage
Tuesday, August 7. The Red Scare, Venona
Handout: Venona Materials
Wednesday, August 8. The Soviet Nuclear Program & Atomic Spies
Powerpoint: Soviet Nuclear Program
David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The
Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness -- A Soviet Spymaster (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1994-1995). Revised Edition, pp. 172-220. Review documents on pp. 436-475.
National Security Agency -- contains links to two key collections: the VENONA archive of captured Soviets coded communications; and documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
National Security Archive Documents
Thursday, August 9. Red Defectors: Soviet Defectors since the Second World War
Discussion: CASEBOOK 7: Soviet Spies
Powerpoint: Red Defectors, Soviet Assassination
Vladislav Krasnov, Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1985).
Testimony of Alexander Orlov, Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-Seventh Congress. September 28, 1955. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962).
The Kremlin's Espionage and Terror Organizations; testimony of Petr. S. Deriabin, former officer of the USSR's Committee of State Security (KGB). Hearing Before the Committee of Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-sixth Congress, First session. Released March 17, 1959.
Murder International, Inc.: Murder and Kidnapping as an Instrument of Soviet Policy, Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth Congress. First Session. March 26, 1965. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965).
Harry Truman, The
Truman Presidential Papers, Volume 7 The Ideological Foundations of the
Cold War -- the "Long Telegram," the Foreign Affairs X
Article, the Clifford Report, and
Week 7 The Cuban Missile Crisis
Tuesday, August 14. Context, Course & Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Documentary Film: ABC News Nightline (10/24/1996): Inside the Oval Office – The JFK Tapes: Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis (327 megs—high speed only)
Powerpoint: Cuban Missile Crisis
Jerrold L. Schechter and Peter S. Deriabin, The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War, pp. 271-352.
Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, “Soviet Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Intelligence and National Security Volume 13, Number 3 (Winter 1998): 64-87.
Possibly useful: “Soviet Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” in Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999), pp. 180-184.
Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh, eds. The Cuban Missile Crisis: A National Security Archives Documents Reader (New York: The New Press, 1992).
Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Kennedy and Castro, 1958-1964 (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1998).
Oleg Penkovsky, The Penkovskiy Papers (New York: Doubleday, 1965).
Check out the National Security Agency's Cuban Missile Crisis Documents
Russian Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis [English translation from the Cold War International History Project]
Wednesday, August 15. Oswald in Russia, Nosenko Affair
Powerpoint: Nosenko Affair
C. Martin, Wilderness
of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception and the Secrets that Destroyed Two of the
Cold War’s Most Important Agents (
Listen to an interview with Tenant Bagley regarding Nosenko as a “False defector” (30 minutes)
to podcast of FBI (DavidMajor), KGB (Oleg Kalunin), and
attacks against the “false defector” thesis (17 minutes)
Listen to Nosenko’s 1998 talk to the CIA (more than an hour)
More about Nosenko
"The Great Molehunt," in Jeffrey T. Richelson, A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 286-292.
Stories: Of Moles and Mole Hunters," in Studies in Intelligence
Gordon Brook-Shephard, The Storm Birds. Soviet Post-War Defectors (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988).
Selections from Norman Mailer, Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery (New York, Ballantine Books, 1995), pp. 69-79, 221-233.
Tennent H. Bagley, Spy
Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games (
Part 2: Technology Espionage
Powerpoint: The End of the KGB
HANDOUT: Aleksandr Kabakov,
"Landscapes on Walls, "
CASEBOOK 8: The Farewell Dossier
Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975-1985 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).
Bearden and James Risen, The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the
Stephen Koch, Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West (New York: The Free Press, 1994).
Kouzminov, Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and
Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West (
C. Reed, At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War (
CASEBOOK 9: Misinformation, Disinformation, or Incompetence? Evaluating C.I.A. Assessments of the Soviet Economy
CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union: The Record versus the Charges
Thursday, August 16. Second Examination plus Film Quiz
Removing the Dzerzhinskii statue from in front