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Behind the Iron Curtain

Soviet Estonia in the Era of the Cold War


Edited By Tõnu Tannberg

During the Cold War, Estonia lay behind the Iron Curtain. Even in the grip of Soviet rule, the country underwent many important developments. This volume brings together fourteen papers on the political, economic, and cultural history of Estonia during the Cold War. Their topics range from international relations and the border regime to tourism and the media. The papers are based on extensive archival research and make use of many previously unexamined documents. The resulting book offers new insights into the history of Estonia and of the Cold War on a local level.
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KGB and Stasi Traces in Historiography: A Case Study of the Literature on the Estonian Prewar Military Intelligence Service


← 218 | 219 →Ivo Juurvee

Abstract: The paper demonstrates how the propaganda publications by the ESSR KGB operative Leonid Barkov were cited in the Soviet press in the 1960s to allege extremely close intelligence cooperation between Estonia and West Germany just before World War II and how this allegation was disseminated internationally with the assistance of Julius Mader, an operative of the GDR intelligence service.

It is likely that anyone interested in the subject of history has come across recurring claims in literature about some topic and found that the reference to the original source does not provide exact information, or worse, that there is no reference at all. Due to time constraints, lack of sufficient interest, or other reasons, it is not always possible to determine the original source, and frequently one can only take the claim for granted. If the same claim recurs in the works of established authors, it is only natural to believe it.

This article focuses on the search for an original source that serves as the basis for two frequently recurring claims about interwar-era Estonian military intelligence. The article also examines more fundamental questions, emerging from the analysis of complex cross-references, that will hopefully be of interest even to people who are not interested in the history of Estonian military intelligence. Are the recurring claims credible? To what degree can the analysis of Estonian history be influenced by the “active measures” of the KGB discussed below?

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