Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence

Title:                      Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence

Author:                 Robert W. Pringle

Pringle, Robert W (2015).Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield

LCCN:    2015008634

UB252.R8 P75 2015 Alc


Date Posted:      August 30, 2016

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[2]

Robert Pringle served in the State Department and later as a CIA analyst. This new edition of his book has 66 additional pages. While most of the additional pages are devoted to new entries, the extensive bibliography (with its own table of contents) and the appendices have been updated.

Pringle’s thoughtful introduction is worth the attention of those wondering about the background of the Russian intelligence services and why they remain of interest today. At first glance, readers may not find entries for relatively recent cases, as, for example, Adolf Tolkachev.

But he is mentioned in the entry for Edward Howard, the former CIA officer who exposed him to the KGB before defecting to Moscow in 1985. Had the publisher provided an index, this kind of problem would have been prevented.

Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence is a valuable contribution to the intelligence literature, especially for those seeking reliable summaries for important cases, evidence of how the Russian services function today, and some history on their origins.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, p. 120). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at http://www.cia.gov


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