Learn more about Mitrokhin Archive
"The Mitrokhin Archive" refers to the collected notes taken by Vasily Mitrokhin over 30 years. The notes contain Soviet intelligence operations details obtained from KGB archives. Mitrokhin was a Major and senior archivist for the Soviet Union's foreign intelligence service and the First Chief Directorate of the KGB. He co-wrote several books with Christopher Andrew. "The Mitrokhin Archive" purports to represent a major body of historical evidence regarding Soviet operations and personnel assets during the Cold War. However, the primary sources the archive is allegedly based upon have never been seen, or studied. 
Among other revelations, the papers disclosed that more than half of Soviet weapons were based on designs stolen from the United States, that the KGB had tapped the telephones of American officials such as Henry Kissinger, and it had spies in almost all the country's big defence contractors. In France, at least 35 senior politicians were shown to have worked for the KGB during the Cold War. In Germany, the KGB was shown to have infiltrated all the major political parties, the judiciary and the police.
Spies exposed as a result of the defection include:
- Melita Norwood
- John Symonds (code-named Scot)
- Tom Driberg (code-named Lepage), a former elected Labour Party Member of Parliament who had visited Moscow with Guy Burgess.
- Raymond Fletcher (code-named Peter), a former elected Labour Party Member of Parliament.
- Robert Lipka, former clerk at the United States National Security Agency. <ref>New York Times, 25 September 1997.</ref> Lipka denied his guilt until the very last moments before his trial was to begin when it was revealed that the prime witness against him was a former KGB archivist with proof of his relation with the KGB.
- Claude Estier, former leader of the French Socialist Party and confidant of former president François Mitterrand
National leaders revealed to have cooperated with the KGB include:
- Salvador Allende, who, aside from his more visible role as a friend of Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro, took counsel and advice from his KGB case worker to reform Chile militarily and economically along lines suggested by the Soviet Union. <ref>The Times, 19 September 2005.</ref>
KGB operations revealed in the files include:
- attempts to incite racial hatred in the U.S.
- bugging MI6 stations in the Middle East
- bugging Henry Kissinger when he was serving as US Secretary of State.
- leaked documents from defence contractors including Boeing, Fairchild, General Dynamics, IBM and Lockheed Corporation, providing the Russians with detailed information about the Trident, Peacekeeper and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Accused but unconfirmed were:
- Richard Clements, ally of Neil Kinnock, former leader of the British Labour Party, who denied the allegation, saying that it was an over-inflated claim and "complete nonsense".
- Romano Prodi (see Mitrokhin Commission).
- Carlos Fonseca Amador of the Sandinista National Liberation Front was recruited by the KGB. <ref>Hearings of the U.S. House of Representatives, 26 Oct 1999.</ref>
 Praise for the Mitrokhin Archive
Characterized by the FBI as “the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source” the Mitrokhin Archive <ref> Stromberg, Stephen W. "Documenting the KGB". Oxonian Review of Books. Winter 2005</ref>, the publication of Mitrokhin's material has launched parliamentary inquiries in Great Britain, India and Italy. The New York Times described the revelations as “far more sensational even than the story dismissed as impossible by the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki)” when the first dismissed early reports of the existence of the archive and commented that Mitrokhin's archives may be the only references to a large volume of material that has since been destroyed by the KGB. <ref>New York Times Book review for The Sword and the Shield.</ref> Similarly. a review in the Central European Review described Mitrokin and Andrews work as “fascinating reading for anyone interested in the craft of espionage, intelligence gathering and its overall role in 20th-century international relations” offering “a window on the Soviet worldview and, as the ongoing Hanssen case in the United States clearly indicates, how little Russia has relented from the terror-driven spy society it was during seven inglorious decades of Communism” <ref> Stout, Robert. Central European Review. Vol 3, No 18. 21 May 2001.</ref> David L. Ruffley, from the Department of International Programs, United States Air Force Academy, said that the material “provides the clearest picture to date of Soviet intelligence activity, fleshing out many previously obscure details, confirming or contradicting many allegations and raising a few new issues of its own” and “sheds new light on Soviet intelligence activity that, while perhaps not so spectacular as some expected, is nevertheless significantly illuminating.” <ref>Review of Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, David L. Ruffley , Department of International Programs, United States Air Force Academy. April, 2002</ref>
 Criticism of the Mitrokhin archive
Noted Russia historian J. Arch Getty of the UCLA, as published in the American Historical Review, found Mitrokhin's material to be “fascinating," but he also questioned the tenuous plausibility that Mitrokhin could have actually smuggled and transcribed thousands of KGB documents, undetected, over 30 years. Other historians have raised questions about Mitrokhin's material, as his claims about the Soviet Union are unverifiable. Mitrokhin himself only took notes, not original documents. The archive itself is not a primary source for historians. According to Getty in the American Historical Review (106:2, April 2001): "Mitrokhin was a self-described loner with increasingly anti-Soviet views... Maybe such a potentially dubious type (in KGB terms) really was able freely to transcribe thousands of documents, smuggle them out of KGB premises, hide them under his bed, transfer them to his country house, bury them in milk cans, make multiple visits to British embassies abroad, escape to Britain, and then return to Russia, and carry the voluminous work to the west, all without detection by the KGB... It may all be true. But how do we know?" Former Indian counter-terrorism chief Bahukutumbi Raman also questions both the validity of the material as well as the conclusions drawn from them. 
 Mitrokhin Commission
In 2002 Italian Parliament, then led by center-right party, Forza Italia, created a Parliamentary Commission to investigate alleged KGB ties to figures in Italian politics. These allegations included former (and current) premier Romano Prodi, among others. The commission's President was Paolo Guzzanti, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. The commission was shut down in 2006 without any concrete evidence given to support the original allegations of KGB ties to Italian politicians. The final report maintains that the former Soviet Union was behind the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, without providing evidence to back this claim.
The Italian Mitrokhin commission received heavy criticism during and after its existence <ref name=Unit>L'Unità, 1 December, 2006.</ref>. Its main role seemed to be to discredit political enemies of then Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. According to an interview of former KGB agent Yevgeny Limarev published in La Repubblica<ref name="reut">Reuters, 28 November, 2006</ref>, Italian left-wing politicians were discredited through the Mitrokhin dossier, included Romano Prodi, Massimo D'Alema and Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio. Tellingly, Vasily Mitrokhin, the source of the Mitrokhin Archive, refused to meet Commission's members before his death<ref>http://www.comunisti-italiani-trentinoaltoadige.it/PdciTAAHOME_file/Attualit%C3%A0_file/Attualit%C3%A0107.htm.</ref>.
On December 1 2006<ref name=Unit>L'Unità, December 1, 2006.</ref> several Italian newspapers published interceptions of telephone calls between Guzzanti and Mario Scaramella, a consultant on the Mitrokhin Commission, who became involved in the events surrounding the death of KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in Great Britain. In the interceptions, Guzzanti declared that the Mitrokhin Commission's unstated goal was to depict Romano Prodi as tied to the KGB, and financed by Moscow. This was meant to discredit him. Scaramella, according to the interceptions, was to collect false witnesses among KGB refugees in Europe to support this aim.
Recently the Italian parliament instituted a new commission to investigate about Mitrokhihn Commission<ref name="reut">Reuters, November 28 2006</ref>.
- Mitrokhin, Vasili, Christopher Andrew (1999). The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00310-9.
- Mitrokhin, Vasili, Christopher Andrew (2005). The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. ISBN 0-476-00311-7.
- Mitrokhin, Vasili, Christopher Andrew (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
 Online library
The Questia Online Library hosts The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. (Login required) The entire work is complete with linked footnotes and references.
 External links
- Summary of press coverage
- Doubts about the material by B. Raman, Rediff.com India Ltd.
- Book Review by Getty, American Historical Review.