The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov


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Edited and annotated by Joshua Rubenstein and Alexander Gribanov; With an introduction by Joshua Rubenstein; Documents translated by Ella Shmulevich, Efrem Yankelevich, and Alla Zeide

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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.

Joshua Rubenstein is northeast regional director of Amnesty International USA and a longtime associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Alexander Gribanov is a literary scholar and archivist. He was the literary editor of the Chronicle of Current Events in Moscow, and arranged and processed the papers of Andrei Sakharov at Brandeis University.

A full set of the documents are available on the Stalin Digital Archive website in Russian and English.

“A fascinating, illuminating book, a treasure trove of information on the development of Sakharov's views and of the 'dissident movement' in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.”—Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.



"It is fascinating and inspiring to read these documents and witness how the Soviet security apparatus with all its spies and bugging devices was unable to break the will of one indomitably courageous man."—Richard Pipes, Baird Professor of History, Emeritus, Harvard University

"Sheds fascinating light on the working of the Soviet system at the highest level—its policy towards the intelligentsia and the dissidents."—Walter Laqueur

"A very important book. . . . It is riveting to even thumb through. . . . Certainly, the book is a profound contribution to American and Russian history."—Dennis Lythgoe, Deseret Morning News

"[An] important book."—Robert Conquest, New Republic

"[The documents] have been selected, introduced, and ably annotated. . . . [Sakharov] is someone of whom Russians can be justifiably proud."—Anne Applebaum, New York Review

“The documents contained in this volume are illuminating because they describe the attitude of the Soviet leadership toward Sakharov. In the process, they dispel a number of myths that still haunt Sovietological circles today. . . . The documents show that, far from being indifferent to the activities of Soviet dissidents, including Sakharov, Soviet leaders were preoccupied with the dissidents and discussed not just their activities but also their conversations, conflicts, and personalities.”—David Satter, New York Sun

"A tale of epic courage and consistency, a reminder of the bravery and moral fortitude exhibited by a small group of dissidents who helped to bring down one of the most repressive regimes in human history. . . . This book is a welcome reminder of a very different part of the Russian tradition."—Harvey Klehr, The Weekly Standard

"Reading this material, and the excellent commentary by editors Rubinstein and Gribanov, one begins to understand the extent of telephone taps, postal intercepts and physical surveillance that were employed to detect signs of ideological drift in the Soviet population."—Michael Johnson, Johnson's Russia List

"A long-overdue look at the inner world of the KGB and how it served the Soviet leadership."—John Ehrman, The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf
ISBN: 9780300106817
Publication Date: July 10, 2005
448 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
21 b/w illus.
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