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‘An Honourable Task for Chekists’

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The Moscow Olympics and the Role of the Security Services in Late Soviet Politics, 1975–1980

image of Russian History

Historians’ understanding of the involvement of the Soviet security services in the orchestration of the Moscow Olympics has heretofore been based on unsubstantiated rumours and anecdotes. Using previously unavailable sources, this article reveals for the first time how the USSR’s coercive apparatus was mobilized to both neutralize perceived threats to Soviet national security produced by the Olympiad and assist the CPSU in using it to promote Soviet socialism in the outside world during the Brezhnev era. The implications of this episode for our understanding of the KGB’s role in late Soviet politics are then considered, and compared with those which arise from a brief reading of the existing literature on the subject.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Post-Doctoral Researcher, Winchester


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