A Spy in the Archives by Sheila Fitzpatrick

By Sheila Fitzpatrick

In 1968 historian Sheila Fitzpatrick used to be ‘outed’ through the Russian newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya as all yet a undercover agent for Western intelligence. She used to be in Moscow on the time, operating in Soviet information for her doctoral thesis on AV Lunacharsky, the 1st Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Despite KGB cognizance, and the impossibility of discovering an appropriate wintry weather coat, Sheila felt extra comfy in Moscow than in Britain—a feeling cemented by means of her friendships with Lunacharsky's daughter, Irina, and brother-in-law, Igor, a reform-minded previous Bolshevik who turned a surrogate father and a highbrow mentor. An affair with younger Communist activist, Sasha, pulled her additional right into a international during which she already felt at domestic. For the Soviet gurus and documents, despite the fact that, she may consistently be marked as a foreigner, and so most likely a spy.
Punctuated through letters to her mom in Melbourne and her diary entries of the time, and borne alongside by way of Fitzpatrick's wry, insightful narrative, A undercover agent within the documents captures the existence and instances of chilly conflict Russia.

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He wel­comed de­bate. He crit­i­cized the lim­its of his own work, not­ably the ten­dency in some writ­ings to adopt an ­overly ideal­ized de­pic­tion of peas­ant com­mu­nity ­patrols (ron­das) that had or­ga­nized ­self-defense ­against Shin­ing 16 Introduction Path. He under­stood what had been left aside in these es­says but re­quired more search­ing anal­ys­ is, for ex­am­ple, about the roles of the armed ­forces and the state as such. With­out aban­don­ing his own anal­y­sis, he knew how to learn from oth­ers, and to draw on re­search and con­cepts from other schol­ars or ­fields, to re­fine his ­thought.

Nor could Shin­ing Path be inter­preted prop­erly, re­gard­less of ideo­log­i­cal pre­tense, as a van­guard pro­le­tar­ian party. 20 At its core, what makes this book im­por­tant is not sim­ply its doc­u­men­ta­tion of ­Degregori’s ­thought, but its in­sight­ful focus on the pol­i­tics of the in­sur­gency, both in its inter­nal sense (ideol­ogy, or­gan­iza­tion, and so­cial base) and in its ex­ter­nal sense (re­la­tion­ships with other rel­e­vant so­cial ac­tors). The key is­sues an­a­lyzed in the es­says in­clude the fol­low­ing: (a) the re­la­tion­ships ­between the Shin­ing Path and other key so­cial ­forces, in­clud­ing uni­ver­sity youth, in­dig­e­nous/peas­ant com­mu­nities, and com­ pet­ing so­cial or po­lit­i­cal move­ments; (b) the ideo­log­i­cal di­men­sion of Shin­ing Path, and its con­nec­tion to ­cult-like lead­er­ship, and for­ma­tion of a com­mu­nity of in­sur­gency with ­strong co­her­ ence and spir­it­ ual com­mit­ment; (c) the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences of the war as it un­folded over time, es­pe­cially in ­grass-roots An­dean high­lands con­texts; and, (d) the na­tional and trans­na­tional dy­nam­ics that made pos­sible but also ­placed at risk the work of the Pe­ru­vian Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­at­ ion Com­mis­sion.

In order to con­vince the non­be­liev­ers, Ab­i­mael him­self ­showed up days later on TV, ­leaner but ­healthy, wear­ing a Mao style ­jacket in­stead of his ­striped ­prison uni­form, with beard and hair ­trimmed and ap­par­ently dyed. It was not ­enough. Some Shin­ing Path leaf­lets ­talked about a dou­ble, a look­ alike that was usurp­ing the per­son­al­ity of pres­i­dent Gon­zalo, who might well be dead. But the Red Cross was able to ac­cess the pris­oner and con­firmed that he was in good con­di­tion.

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