cover image Russia's Secret Rulers

Russia's Secret Rulers

Lev Timofeyev. Alfred A. Knopf, $21 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58639-7

In an important, often shocking expose, a journalist dissident who was jailed by the Gorbachev regime argues that little has changed in the former Soviet Union. The KGB is as strong as ever, maintains Timofeyev, an opinion buttressed by his interview here with ex-KGB general Oleg Kalugin. Moreover, he reports, former Communist Party apparatchiks hoard billions of rubles, grab private property and create ``underground'' political structures that enable them to retainmuch of their power and privilege. Timofeyev also reveals the pervasiveness of the black market and details the workings of a powerful criminal mafia whose lines of corruption allegedly extend from the factory floor to the Kremlin. His interviews with Elena Bonner and ex-foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze are inconclusive, but elsewhere Timofeyev presents a chilling picture of life in the Commonwealth of Independent States, which he sees drifting toward fascism. (Nov.)