Association of Former Intelligence Officers

INSIDE STALIN'S KREMLIN: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity and Intrigue, by (the late) Peter S. Deriabin with Joseph C. Evans, Brassey's, Washington & London, 1998, ISBN 1-57488-174-4. Deriabin, a member of the KGB's Kremlin Guards Directorate, escaped in 1954 and lived under cover in the US under CIA care until the fall of the Soviet Union. The publication of this book was delayed many years to protect associates in the Soviet Union from retribution. The author died in 1992, and his son edited his manuscript.

Inside Stalin's Kremlin recounts the story of the early postwar (WWII) years, of the murderous intrigues within the Kremlin and its psychopathic ruler. Inevitably, anti-semitism plays a role, for Stalin was an anti-semite -- a factor that has been relatively unexplored in terms of the Hitler-Stalin pact. In the book it plays out in the conflict between Beria and Stalin. But generally this is a personal view of events at the Soviet center, of sudden arrests and coups, of clashes between leaders such as Zhdanov and Malenkov, and of trials of state security chiefs and Stalin's mysterious death. The book concludes with the author's defection.

Much has been written about the general subject of Stalin's regime and its internal power struggles, but nevertheless this is a very readable and credible snapshot of a small but important piece of history. Some of the "cultural" mindsets may still be alive among the old guard former communists who are still leading Russia, and where the interaction between Security intelligence and the political leadership remains relevant as ever. Recommended reading for Russian and Intelligence history buffs and students. (RoyJ)

Reviewed in AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #39-99, 1 Oct 1999

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