By Gary Kern
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Extra info for A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror
Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror is the first book devoted to Krivitsky and the first account to follow his life and career in a consistent and comprehensive manner, bringing together all of the available intelligence files on Krivitsky, all of the memoiric literature in various languages, all of Krivitsky’s own writings (including some never previously noted in the literature), all of the previous writings about Krivitsky, intensive interviews with people who knew Krivitsky and, most tellingly, the first systematic and expert analysis of Krivitsky’s mysterious suicide notes.
Insiders used either designation in Krivitsky’s time. The later acronym GRU (three syllables) was not used in his day, but is handy, and sometimes appears here. A glossary provides the details. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations into English are by me. Cyrillic names are transliterated into Latin letters using the “popular” system, unless foreign equivalents were established by residence abroad. For example, Krivitsky had two friends, the Umansky brothers. But the unrelated Konstantin Umansky, an ambassador, established the spelling Constantine Oumansky while in France, and it is used here.
The chief account relates that he grew up in the household of a widow (Augusta, maiden name Kesten) with a brother (Manuel) and sister (Ida), both much older than he, and went to school in a district town, living with relatives. The reason for his late arrival and the death of his father (Hermann) can only be surmised, as can the effects of his odd situation. Small, pale and underfed like most other kids at the time, with bushy red eyebrows, deep blue eyes and a mischievous expression, he was the darling of the family, looked after by the others—and also by Kruzia, who promised him a brilliant future.
A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror by Gary Kern
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