POLITICAL SCIENCE

Russians Among Us: Sleeper Cells, Ghost Stories, and the Hunt for Putin’s Spies

Morrow. Feb. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9780062889416. $32.50. POL SCI
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With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, agencies in the United States and the UK scaled back their spying programs while Russia increased their operations. BBC security journalist Corera (Operation Columba) details Russian espionage in the U.S. from the end of the Cold War up through the 2016 presidential election. Often reading like a John Le Carré novel, this work traces the steps of Russian deep undercover agents and the efforts of the FBI to uncover them. Corera discusses how Russia turned to a new breed of spy; Anna Chapman and Maria Butina, for example, used their real identities to cozy up to influential people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the hopes of gathering useful information. Around the same time, Corera explains, Russia switched tactics from intelligence gathering to disruption. Cyber hackers attacked vital infrastructure in Estonia, Georgia, and Ukraine. During the 2016 presidential election, thousands of fake social media accounts run by Russian troll farms aimed to sow disruption and doubt among the American electorate. Based on over 20 years of experience and interviews, this is a thrilling, fast-paced look at Russia’s ongoing operations in the West.
VERDICT This exciting read will be enjoyed by fans of real life and fictional spy stories.

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