In This Review
Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy
New Lies For Old: The Communist Strategy of Deception and Disinformation
The Shultz/Godson book is a useful survey of how the Soviet Union uses "disinformation," propaganda, agents, covert political techniques and front organizations to influence events in foreign countries and to further its strategic aims such as discrediting America and weakening NATO. Parts of the presentation are novel, but the revelations are not particularly sensational. For originality and sensationalism, turn to the exposé and arguments of Anatoliy Golitsyn, a former KGB officer who defected in 1961. His thesis is that the Communists, by a massive disinformation campaign begun in 1958-60, hoodwinked the West's analysts and policymakers time and again. As carefully arranged examples of agreed Communist strategy, he cites the Soviet disputes with Yugoslavia since 1958, the rift with Albania, the Soviet-Chinese split, Romania's independent line, the Prague Spring, Eurocommunism, and the appearance of Solidarity in Poland. The author's KGB experience and background doubtless give him a special vantage point, but most of this story can be taken with several grains of salt.