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In 1992, the British Secret Intelligence Service exfiltrated from Russia a defector. Vasili Mitrokhin worked for almost 30 years in the foreign intelligence archives of the KGB, which in 1972 he was made responsible for moving to a new HQ just outside Moscow. He was congratulated by the head of foreign intelligence, Vladimir Kryuchkov (later the ringleader of the 1991 Moscow coup), for his success in transferring the archives and his devoted "service to the state security authorities". Unknown to Kryuchkov, Mitrokhin - a secret dissident - spent over a decade noting and copying highly-classified files which, at enormous personal risk, he smuggled daily out of the archives and kept beneath his dacha floor. This collection of KGB materials, supplemented by research from other published and unpublished sources, has enabled Christopher Andrew to cast new light on the history of both the Soviet Union and the East-West conflict which spanned three quarters of the 20th century.
This first volume gives an insight into the KGB's penetration of the West, its secret links with Western Communist parties, its covert role in maintaining the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe, and its brutal war against dissidents inside and outside the Soviet Union, all of which were on a scale and of a variety which we have never previously realized. Among the British Agents revealed for the first time are a corrupt Scotland Yard detective who became a KGB "Romeo Spy" on four continents, and a woman who was both the KGB's longest-serving British agent and its most important female spy. Both are still alive.
Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and Chair of the Faculty of History at Cambridge University. His authorised history of MI5 will be published by Penguin in 2009. Vasili Mitrokhin was a former senior officer of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence service whose career spanned the period between 1948 and 1984. He defected to the United Kingdom in 1992 and died in 2004.