AUTHORRubenstein, Joshua / Gribanov, Alexander, Eds.
TITLEThe KGB File of Andrei Sakharov
PUBLISHERYale University Press
CITYNew Haven, CT

This book focuses on the KGB's surveillance of and the Soviet Union's actions against Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov between 1968 and 1990. A Russian physicist who played a seminal role in the Soviet hydrogen bomb project, Sakharov defied his communist government for the sake of human rights. Edited by Russian studies experts Joshua Rubenstein and Alexander Gribanov, the book includes translations of official government materials, notably 146 KGB documents given to the editors by Sakharov’s wife, Elena Bonner, most of which had not been disclosed before. Organized chronologically, the documents show how Soviet authorities treated Sakharov, from the publication of his controversial essay “Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom" to his final days. Gribanov's preface discusses the difficulty of translating KGB reports into English, noting that the documents "abound in cliches and formulaic combinations" (xii) and contain "communist 'newspeak'" attributing "everything bad to imperialist intrigues" (xi). Besides a comprehensive overview essay, the editors include a chronology of Sakharov's life, numerous photographs, and a complete list of the 204 KGB documents that had been declassified as of the time of the book's publication.

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