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The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov

The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov

Joshua Rubenstein
Alexander Gribanov
With an introduction by Joshua Rubenstein
Ella Shmulevich
Efrem Yankelevich
Alla Zeide
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov
    Book Description:

    Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989), a brilliant physicist and the principal designer of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, later became a human rights activist and-as a result-a source of profound irritation to the Kremlin. This book publishes for the first time ever KGB files on Sakharov that became available during Boris Yeltsin's presidency. The documents reveal the untold story of KGB surveillance of Sakharov from 1968 until his death in 1989 and of the regime's efforts to intimidate and silence him. The disturbing archival materials show the KGB to have had a profound lack of understanding of the spiritual and moral nature of the human rights movement and of Sakharov's role as one of its leading figures.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12937-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Alexander Gribanov
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. Chronology
    (pp. xix-xxiv)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  7. Introduction: Andrei Sakharov, the KGB, and the Legacy of Soviet Dissent
    (pp. 1-85)
    Joshua Rubenstein

    ON JULY 11, 1968, theNew York Timescarried a startling piece of news on the front page. Under the headline “Soviet Expert Asks Intellectual Liberty,” the article described how a distinguished Soviet physicist had “issued a plea for full intellectual freedom, Soviet–United States cooperation and a worldwide rejection of ‘demagogic myths’ in an urgent program to avert nuclear war and famine.” The physicist’s essay was now circulating inside the Soviet Union. Its author was identified as Andrei Sakharov, and according to the article, Sakharov had helped design his country’s hydrogen bomb. Over the next few days theTimes...

  8. CHAPTER ONE Emergence of a Public Activist
    (pp. 86-99)

    IN MAY 1968 a secretary at the Installation, the secret community where Andrei Sakharov lived and worked with other nuclear scientists, handed security officials a manuscript copy of Andrei Sakharov’s essay “Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom.” The KGB required her to pass along all material that the scientists shared with her. Sakharov was not naive; he fully expected her to alert the authorities, even as she typed the manuscript for him. But he had nothing to hide and was hoping that his essay would lead to a dialogue with Party officials. Andropov quickly summarized it for members of the Politburo,...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Who’s Afraid of an Organized Opposition?
    (pp. 100-166)

    BY OCTOBER 1970 the KGB had finally defined its position toward Sakharov and his role among Moscow’s human rights activists. It came to the conclusion that he could become a leader and that his philosophy could help provide a common approach for a growing and diverse culture of popular discontent. Andropov’s reports began to dwell on the theme of an “organized or a de facto established opposition.” The KGB always depicted an organized opposition as a product of foreign capitalist subversion and not as an authentic movement within the country.

    At the same time, the first half of the 1970s...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Counterattack: Disorganizing the Opposition
    (pp. 167-239)

    THE SUMMER AND FALL OF 1973 marked the first sustained crisis of the human rights movement. After the arrest of Pyotr Yakir and Viktor Krasin in 1972, the regime was able to compel both men to cooperate, and more than two hundred other people were then interrogated. Publication ofA Chronicle of Current Eventswas suspended in the fall of 1972 and did not resume until May 1974. Yakir even tried to persuade Sakharov to stop his dissident activities, urging him not to allow his name to be used, as Yakir now claimed his had been used, “for purposes of...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Bitter Air of Exile
    (pp. 240-314)

    ANDREI SAKHAROV was arrested at two o’clock on the afternoon of January 22, 1980. Each Tuesday, Sakharov made a point of attending a seminar at the Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences. As usual, he ordered a car from the academy’s motor pool and “intended to stop first at the Academy commissary to pick up some groceries.”¹ But police stopped the car and directed the driver to follow a patrol car to the procurator’s office on Pushkin Street.

    There Alexander Rekunkov, first deputy procurator general of the USSR, read Sakharov a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE New Rules of Engagement
    (pp. 315-350)

    A YEAR AFTER Gorbachev came to power, he was finally ready to address issues that Andrei Sakharov had so stubbornly raised for so long: the arrest of prisoners of conscience and the general lack of freedom and democracy in the country. By the end of 1986, Sakharov would be welcomed back to Moscow. For the remaining three years of his life, he was fully engaged in the political life of the Soviet Union, this time not as a dissident on the margins of society but as “one of the leaders of a legal opposition” (in the words of KGB Chairman...

  13. Annotated List of KGB Documents
    (pp. 351-372)
  14. Glossary of Names
    (pp. 373-384)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 385-386)
  16. Index
    (pp. 387-398)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 399-400)
  18. Illustrations
    (pp. None)