The Soviet Secret Police

The Soviet Secret Police

The Soviet Secret Police

The Soviet Secret Police

Excerpt

The study of the Soviet secret police is beset by many difficulties. Ever since it was established in 1917 the secret police has followed the policy of not publishing important documents concerning its structure, functions and operations, while those documents which have been published have often been fragmentary or distorted. In the absence of reliable documentary evidence, scholars have been largely restricted to bare administrative announcements and accounts by former members of the secret police or its victims.

The world owes these men and women a great debt, for without their testimony, often rendered under conditions of immediate personal danger, the study of the subject would be immeasurably more difficult. Many scholars, nevertheless, have tended to ignore or underestimate this source, distrusting it because of its often sensational character and the difficulty of submitting it to adequate tests for reliability. Now that Khrushchov, in his secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress, has partially ripped the veil off the inner history of the Stalin era, however, it can be seen that some of the most sensational reports were no more than sober fact. The time has come, therefore, to undertake a full and objective study of the secret police and its role in the Soviet system.

The present volume has been planned as a contribution to such an undertaking. It aims at depicting in outline the main aspects of the development, structure and functions of the secret police. The editors and authors are well aware that such an attempt at the present stage of our knowledge can represent only a beginning. They are convinced, however, that the attempt should be made, and hope that it will serve to direct further attention to the problem.

The major portion of the book consists of nine essays by former Soviet citizens dealing with various aspects of the secret police's activities of which they had personal knowledge. The editors have . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.