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Near and Distant Neighbors

Near and Distant Neighbors

A New History of Soviet Intelligence

Jonathan Haslam

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


A revelatory and pathbreaking account of the highly secretive world of the Soviet intelligence services

A uniquely comprehensive and rich account of the Soviet intelligence services, Jonathan Haslam's Near and Distant Neighbors charts the labyrinthine story of Soviet intelligence from the October Revolution to the end of the Cold War.
Previous histories have focused on the KGB, leaving military intelligence and the special service—which specialized in codes and ciphers—lurking in the shadows. Drawing on previously neglected Russian sources, Haslam reveals how both were in fact crucial to the survival of the Soviet state. This was especially true after Stalin's death in 1953, as the Cold War heated up and dedicated Communist agents the regime had relied upon—Klaus Fuchs, the Rosenbergs, Donald Maclean—were betrayed. In the wake of these failures, Khrushchev and his successors discarded ideological recruitment in favor of blackmail and bribery. The tactical turn was so successful that we can draw only one conclusion: the West ultimately triumphed despite, not because of, the espionage war.
In bringing to light the obscure inhabitants of an undercover intelligence world, Haslam offers a surprising and unprecedented portrayal of Soviet success that is not only fascinating but also essential to understanding Vladimir Putin's power today.


The Secret Intelligence Service has existed for 150 years.* We, for 10. That is their advantage. But we have our advantages: a clear goal, our incorruptibility, sense of purpose; but above all, devotion to the...

Praise for Near and Distant Neighbors

“Jonathan Haslam has produced the first comprehensive account of Soviet policy between the October Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, using an astonishing array of original materials that take readers into the heart of decision-making in Moscow and its satellites.” —Michael Burleigh, The Sunday Telegraph on Russia's Cold War -

Reviews from Goodreads

Jonathan Haslam

Jonathan Haslam is Professor of the History of International Relations at Cambridge University, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He was a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, and is a member of the society of scholars at the Johns Hopkins University. His previous work includes Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall, No Virtue Like Necessity: Realist Thought in International Relations Since Machiavelli, The Vices of Integrity: E. H. Carr, 1892–1982, and several histories of Soviet foreign policy in the 1930s.

Jonathan Haslam

Jonathan Haslam's faculty profile

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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