The Moscow Olympics and the Role of the Security Services in Late Soviet Politics, 1975–1980

in Russian History
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Historians’ understanding of the involvement of the Soviet security services in the orchestration of the Moscow Olympics has heretofore been based on unsubstantiated rumours and anecdotes. Using previously unavailable sources, this article reveals for the first time how the ussr’s coercive apparatus was mobilized to both neutralize perceived threats to Soviet national security produced by the Olympiad and assist the cpsu in using it to promote Soviet socialism in the outside world during the Brezhnev era. The implications of this episode for our understanding of the kgb’s role in late Soviet politics are then considered, and compared with those which arise from a brief reading of the existing literature on the subject.

The Moscow Olympics and the Role of the Security Services in Late Soviet Politics, 1975–1980

in Russian History




HornsbyProtest Reform and Repression17.


Oleg Khlobustov“Olimpiada-80: neizvestnaia istoriia”Samizdat14.07.2010 available at


KhlobustovAvgust 199148–52.


KhlobustovAvgust 199143–44; Sekrety bezopasnosti; Tomilina Konova and Prozumenshchikov Piat’ kolets 628–30 635–38.


 See S. Blizniuk“Whom Does Order Place at a Disadvantage? Lax Security at Munich was a Mistake”Sovetskii sport30.07.1980 available in Current Digest of the Soviet Press 32 no. 30 (27.08.1980): 4.


BookerGames War82–3.


Jeremy Bender“22 Photos Of Sochi Security That Look Right Out Of A War Zone”Business Insider14.02.2014


 See for example BookerGames War28–29; Kevin Klose “Kremlin begins Olympics purge” The Guardian 27.12.1979; Craig Whitney “Moscow Dissidents Flee Olympic Games” New York Times 11.05.1980; Editorial “Far from the Olympic Spirit” The Times 19.07.1980; Unknown author “kgb accused of engineering car crash ‘murders’” The Times 25.07.1980.


Richard SakwaSoviet Politics in Perspective (New York: Routledge1998) 72.


DuhamelCampaign Against Corruption48–99.


SakwaSoviet Politics72 204.


Vladislav ZubokZhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press2009) 103–7; Koivunen “Youth Festival” 56–57.


Elkner“Face of repression”153–56.


Michael KillaninMy Olympic Years (London: Secker and Warburg1983) 218.


BookerGames War74–76 83 174.


Baruch HazanOlympic Sports and Propaganda Games: Moscow 1980 (New Brunswick: Transaction Books1982) 186 200.


BookerGames War95 190.


Zhores MedvedevAndropov: His Life and Death (Oxford: Basil Blackwell1983) 64–5; Knight Police and Politics 80–91 307–11; John Keep Last of the Empires: A History of the Soviet Union 1945–1991 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1995) 183–84; Dmitrii Volkogonov The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire: Political Leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev (London: HarperCollins 1998) 335; Sakwa Soviet Politics 71–2 125–6 162; Duhamel Campaign Against Corruption 43–99; Roi Medvedev Andropov (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia 2012) 21728.


HornsbyProtest Reform and Repression17.


Susanne Schattenberg“Trust, Care, and Familiarity in the Politburo: Brezhnev’s Scenario of Power”Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 16 no. 4 (fall 2015): 835–58.


KnightPolice and Politics308–9; Sakwa Soviet Politics 126.


KnightPolice and Politics91–3; Royal Judson Mitchell Getting to the Top in the ussr: Cyclical Patterns in the Leadership Succession Process (Stanford: Hoover Institute Press 1990) 93–102; John Willerton Patronage and Politics in the ussr (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1992) 124–25 144; Archie Brown The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996) 65–6; Sakwa Soviet Politics 73–5.


Vladimir ShlapentokhSoviet Ideologies in the Period of Glasnost: Responses to Brezhnev’s Stagnation (New York: Praeger1988) 128–30 134; Knight Police and Politics 95–104; Keep Last of the Empires 335–42 351; Brown Gorbachev Factor 66 118 132; Breslauer Gorbachev and Yeltsin 53 61 69–70; Duhamel Campaign Against Corruption 94 195.


DuhamelCampaign Against Corruption48 50–51 60–61; Martin K. Dimitrov “Tracking Public Opinion Under Authoritarianism: The Case of the Soviet Union During the Brezhnev Era” Russian History 41 no.3 (2014): 333–38.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 5 5 4
Full Text Views 12 12 12
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0