Soviet Union | Wilson Center

Soviet Union

Cold War Exiles and the CIA: Plotting to Free Russia

At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, the United States government unleashed covert operations intended to weaken the Soviet Union. As part of these efforts, the CIA committed to supporting Russian exiles, populations uprooted either during World War Two or by the Russian Revolution decades before. No one seemed better prepared to fight in the American secret war against communism than the uprooted Russians, whom the CIA directed to carry out propaganda,
espionage, and subversion operations from their home base in West Germany.

28 Newly Translated Documents on Chernobyl, 1973-1991

Image: A helicopter sprays a decontamination liquid nearby the Chernobyl reactor in 1986. Source: IAEA Imagebank #02790036, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Operation “Denver”: KGB and Stasi Disinformation regarding AIDS

As the United States has been grappling with the issue of Russian disinformation over the past few years, a number of journalists have looked back to the history of Soviet disinformation during the Cold War in an effort to understand its methods and goals. During the Cold War, the Soviet Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, KGB) played a leading role in such disinformation campaigns; it was part of its covert psychological warfare activities or “active measures.”

Remembering and Recreating Chernobyl

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW, Craig Mazin, the writer, creator, and executive producer of the HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl, discusses his approach to creating a dramatized account of the historic 1986 nuclear accident in Ukraine which was then part of the Soviet Union. The critically-acclaimed miniseries tells the story of the men and women who made sacrifices to save Europe from an unprecendented disaster while battling the USSR's culture of disinformation.

 

Guest

Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania: The Criterion Association

In 1930s Bucharest, some of the country’s most brilliant young intellectuals converged to form the Criterion Association. Bound by friendship and the dream of a new, modern Romania, their members included historian Mircea Eliade, critic Petru Comarnescu, Jewish playwright Mihail Sebastian and a host of other philosophers and artists. Together, they built a vibrant cultural scene that flourished for a few short years, before fascism and scandal splintered their ranks. Cristina A.

Chernobyl: Memory, Meaning, and Legacy

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Joseph Dresen, Senior Program Associate with the Kennan Institute. He recalls his travels to Kyiv and the Soviet Union during the week of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 and previews the Kennan Institute’s upcoming screening of the first episode of the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl.”  That June 26 event will feature a conversation with writer, creator, and executive producer Craig Mazin.
 

Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands

Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands engages with the evolving historiography around the concept of belonging in the Russian and Ottoman empires. The contributors to this book argue that the popular notion that empires do not care about belonging is simplistic and wrong.

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