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KGB: Death and Rebirth [Hardcover]

Martin Ebon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

February 23, 1994 0275946339 978-0387950044 First Edition

It was official. In 1991, two months after an abortive coup in August, the KGB was pronounced dead. But was it really? In KGB: Death and Rebirth, Martin Ebon, a writer long engaged in the study of foreign affairs, maintains that the notorious secret police/espionage organization is alive and well. He takes a penetrating look at KGB predecessors, the KGB at the time of its supposed demise, and the subsequent use of segmented intelligence forces such as border patrols and communications and espionage agencies. Ebon points out that after the Ministry of Security resurrected these domestic KGB activities, Yevgeny PrimakoV&Apos;s Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) assumed foreign policy positions not unlike its predecessor's. Even more important, Ebon argues, spin-off secret police organizations--some still bearing the KGB name--have surfaced, wielding significant power in former Soviet republics, from the Ukraine to Kazakhstan, from Latvia to Georgia.

How did the new KGB evolve? Who were the individuals responsible for recreating the KGB in its new image? What was the KGB's relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev during his regime? Did Boris Yeltsin plan a Russian KGB, even before the August coup? What has been the role of KGB successor agencies within the independence movements in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia? How has Yevgeny Primakov influenced foreign intelligence activity? What is the role of the FIS in Iran? What does the future hold? Martin Ebon meets these provocative questions head-on, offering candid, often surprising answers and new information for the curious--or concerned--reader. While the Cold War is over, Ebon cautions, the KGB has retained its basic structure and goals under a new name, and it would be naive to believe otherwise.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The KGB was abolished in 1991, but as Ebon ( The Andropov File ) demonstrates in this cogent report, the former Soviet spy agency continues its domestic activities as the Russian Ministry of Security, while its foreign operations are now handled by various successor agencies. Moreover, virtually every former Soviet republic has retained a KGB or KGB-like apparatus for its own national purposes. Ebon sheds light on Gorbachev's ties to the KGB, reveals Moscow's covert operations in Iran and documents the agency's efforts to sabotage the Baltic republics' independence movements. He also theorizes, on the basis of fragmentary, inconclusive reports, that the British Czech-born billionaire Robert Maxwell, who drowned under mysterious circumstances in 1991, appears to have been an "agent of influence" for the Soviet secret service.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

I picked up this book with sigh--not another "now it can be told about the USSR story"--but found myself fully engrossed in this tale of the post-1989 KGB. From the inside story of the 1991 anti-Gorbachev coup (never mind Gorby's connections to the KGB) to a range of questions (did Robert Maxwell have KGB ties? what happened to Raoul Wallenberg?), Ebon tells a fascinating and insightful history of the KGB, both in its sinister and its bumbling aspects. Ebon traces the rebirth of the KGB, especially in the new independent state, and examines its contemporary targets. His conclusion that "the KGB by any other name will still be the KGB" is a sobering reminder of the realities of geopolitics, Russian political traditions, and the persistence of intelligence agencies. Required reading for students of the former USSR.
- H. Steck, SUNY at Cortland
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; First Edition edition (February 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275946339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387950044
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,969,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Detail April 17, 2002
This book was an interesting look at the organization over the past ten years. I think we all have a view of the KGB which was formed during the years of the cold war, a large, well run organization that main times was one step ahead of the U.S. This book details what happened to the KGB after the USSR turned back into Russia and the coup was put down. It details the house cleaning of the top, long time KGB officials that took place after the coup and how that is changing the focus of the organization. It also goes on to detail the new focus of the KGB from 100% focus on the U.S. and NATO to one that also takes into its portfolio internal issue as organized crime and terrorist threats. The author also does remind the reader that even though the relationship between the U.S. and Russia has increasingly become warmer; there is still a high level of focus on the U.S. by the KGB.
Overall this is an interesting book that keeps the espionage junky up to date with what is going on inside the KGB. The book will probably become dated in a few years, but it should be up to date for now. The book is well written and keeps the readers interest through out.
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