INSIDE THE AQUARIUM: The Making of a Top Soviet Spy by Viktor Suvorov

INSIDE THE AQUARIUM: The Making of a Top Soviet Spy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A revelatory look into the most secret bureau of a most secretive government--the GRU, the Soviet Union's military intelligence organization, before which even the feared KGB shrinks--by a defector from that organization. Suvorov (a pseudonym) has previously authored Inside the Soviet Army and Inside Soviet Intelligence. A man of considerable mental abilities and unusual physical bravery, he was exactly the type of soldier that those inside the GRU kept their eyes open for as potential spies. Having passed a grueling series of psychological and physical tests, putting his stress capabilities to the limit, he was finally accepted into the Aquarium, the nickname for GRU headquarters. We learn here of training beyond the bounds of belief. Potential spies are trained to jump off speeding trains in progressively faster speeds. Parachute training is given low to the ground (recruits sometimes being required to jump from as low as 100 meters). In the field, operatives are provided with special boots with the heel in the front and the sole behind to confuse trackers. For fight training, sparring partners (here called ""puppets"") are criminals who have been condemned to death. These puppets sometimes fight to kill. Only the worthy spies survive. (It is interesting to compare all of this with the published descriptions of American spying which contend that spying is not like the cloak-and-dagger books; that it is, indeed, downright boring work.) Over all of this recital hangs the ever-present pall of surveillance. All GRU spies know that they are always being watched for signs of weakening or disabuse. One suspicion and the tattled-upon is a dead man. Disabused spies have no way of just quitting. They are, instead, strapped to a table and slowly given a horizontal ride into a furnance--feet first. The Soviet system is fair, though: all incoming spies are shown a film of an actual such incineration before they sign on. Suvorov became one of the disabused, but fortunately, through his wits, managed to escape while assigned in Austria. Each of his books has given the West new insights into Soviet espionage. This one is no different.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1986
Publisher: Macmillan