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Loyal Comrades, Ruthless Killers: The Secret Services of the USSR 1920's to the Present Hardcover – June 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lewis International Inc; First edition. edition (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930983239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930983236
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,956,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Slava Katamidze has a background in the Soviet Military machine. He has written 7 books on world conflicts, including one on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and written or directed 14 TV documentaries on modern international affairs.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By H. Buning on August 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, not nearly as bad as the latter review, but not
as good as the former review, either. The early history of the
predecessors of the KGB is certainly gruesome. I'd be inclined to
believe the early history more, just because the current administration
of the KGB has possible connections with later events described.....
I'm not suggesting the author isn't honest, just that he has a sense
of self preservation. I grew up on the view that the KGB was made
up of emotionless psychos, as portrayed by Ian Fleming and others, then
saw a change in popular literature
to the opinion that they might be the good guys in some instances,
suggested more by John LeCarre (I never could quite accept that, sorry).
My current favorite spy storyteller, Alan Furst, describes the NKVD as
a dangerous organization, supporting a corrupt system, but staffed by
ordinary people, both good and bad....I think Mr. Katamidze's book adds
to our knowledge of at least the history of the USSR's secret services...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roberto Macías on November 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The secret services history is a most interesting theme, one that is often overriden by conspiracy theories and the like. The subject is also undermined by it's own complexity. Slava Katamidze does a great job in presenting it in a simple manner, without losing the connections, and without losing sight of the man on the front.

The whole facts presented, I found it astonishing, and extremely revealing in the many things that allowed the extension of the cold war. It also serves to present the facts behind the communist regime of terror. In the whole, this book serves not only to understand secret services of the USSR, but the whole history of the Soviet Union.

The whole book is written in chronological order, which serves to keep the reader in track of everything happening at the time onthe global scene. The hardcover edition, with high quality paper, and the picture filled pages make it worth buying. I, however, disliked the unattention to several facts of history underlying the development of the cold war. The book centers itself on the history of the secret services, and somehow misses part of the international big picture.
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Format: Hardcover
A disclaimer of bias first: the book - at length - mentions the OMSBON (Separate Motorized Rifle Bridage of Special Designation or, in Katamidze's translation: Special Purpose Motorized Brigade), a military alma mater of my own ('87-'89, Leningrad), although in the late 80s, in my experience Leningrad OMSBON was a total joke. But I certainly enjoyed reading about the elite history of a unit that - in my own late-80s experience - was anything but...

The book is clearly organized and spans from the early post-revolutionary days to the very last days of the Soviet empire. The book offers a wealth of photographic material and intriguing vignettes. Whereas the title entices with the coverage of the "ruthless killers" (the sublimated card-carrying socipaths), the bulk of the coverage is, however, more so on the "cunning spies," which - to a NKVD/KGB/FSB buff would be, perhaps, all too familiar.

The book offers a particularly nice coverage of Vympel unit's demonstrative seizure of Arzamas-16 nuclear warheads storage facility - as part of highlighting the inherent liabilities of the dissolution of the USSR and the risks of inadvertant nuclear proliferation.

Katamidze does a good job of covering the Afganistan invasion prep work performed by the Soviet specials ops (the anti-terrorist Alpha unit, the Zenith group, with the support of a volunteer Muslim Battalion of the Soviet Army). These forces, reports Katamidze, "took the presidential palace of Taj-Bek in 43 minutes" (p. 198).
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alex Kravchenko on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The only thing good about this book is pictures, but I am very disappointed by the content. It's like this book is written by KGB propaganda machine. I just cannot believe the year of publication, it's seems like the book is written in 60s or 70s and USSR is still a country. Where did the author get all his facts and numbers from? "Pravda" newspaper?

All the lies of the communist regime about crimes committed, about number of victims, about beginning of the Second World War are already discussed great deal in countless books. But it's like it does not exist, so keep repeating same lies over and over again. What a shame!
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