Although there weren’t high-tech gadgets like today, Cold War espionage was extremely efficient. In a geopolitical situation where the nuclear threat was constantly present, information was a key currency. As there were no smartphones, internet, or other benefits of the modern age, people were the most important.
During the early 80’s, increased tensions marked the new phase of the Cold War. Besides external, the Eastern Bloc countries faced many internal problems as well. The governments of these countries, especially the USSR, tried to spread optimism. But they didn’t see (or didn’t want to see) that everything would collapse soon. Therefore, it’s interesting to see how the secret reports full of optimism actually revealed the real state of affairs.
During the early 80s, the world was again on the brink. The diplomatic relations between the East and the West were very unstable. There were a few factors. The Soviets believed the United States was going to start a nuclear attack. A personal element was present, too. Yury Andropov was haunted by the events in Hungary in the 1950s and how the once powerful Communist state began to crumble. Therefore, he justified operation RYAN, or Raketno Yadernoe Napadenie (Nuclear Missile Attack). The whole purpose of the operation was to collect intelligence to prevent a possible attack. In other words, the project was a sort of intelligence operation among the countries of the Iron Curtain, primarily the (former) Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic as their close ally. The program was initiated in May 1981.
Charles Bridge in Prague in the 1970s (Photo: Vitold Muratov/ Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0) In the early 1970’s, Western Continue Reading