IN THE GUNSIGHT OF THE KGB by Alexander A. Ushakov


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A real-life thriller by a former Soviet professor who, in 1984, under threat of imminent arrest by the KGB for ""seditious writings,"" undertook a rigorous and dangerous escape across the Caucasus Mountains into Turkey (and on to Alexandria, Va., where he now lives). Ushakov writes with penetrating insight combined with brilliant logic and biting sarcasm. From his dramatic pages, there glare out not only the agonies of clinging to wet rocks atop cliffs while KGB flashlights seek him out, but also the shock that such Stalinesque goings-on (""the Big Safari"") were still possible as late as 1984. Fortunately for the author, previous military training, plus an intuition about his KGB shadows, helped him to elude his hunters: in Pavlovian fashion, he ""trained"" them to become smug in their abilities to keep up with his whereabouts; the night before his incipient arrest, he escaped by sitting under the brightest street lamp in Odessa--where his pursuers would never look--and then hopping a taxi. He was also helped by some plain good luck (e.g., meeting a young military recruit who happened to blurt out that the mountain passes would be rife the next day with KGB guards on a practice shoot); and despite dangerous close calls, Ushakov made his way out of the country--something, he learned later, accomplished by only about one percent of the Soviet Union's 2,000 would-be escapees each year. Early on, a police captain warned Ushakov: ""The country's big, but there's nowhere to go."" But the wily Ushakov proved that ""It may be big, but it's not bigger than the whole planet."" Another gem of dissident writing.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1989
Publisher: Knopf