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Reluctant Cold WarriorsEconomists and National Security$
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Vladimir Kontorovich

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190868123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190868123.001.0001

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The Secrecy Hypothesis

The Secrecy Hypothesis

(p.129) 6 The Secrecy Hypothesis
Reluctant Cold Warriors

Vladimir Kontorovich

Oxford University Press

Secrecy is commonly cited in the literature to explain gaps in the understanding of the Soviet economy during its lifetime. Yet secrecy surrounding the military sector was a mixed affair. Western governments used their intelligence means to pry some of the secrets, and make public parts of what they found out. The Soviets themselves revealed significant information about the part of their economy that they generally tried to hide. Emigres, defectors, underground writers, and returning foreigners supplemented these two streams of information. Sovietologists did not point to secrecy as a barrier to studying the military sector, and expressed no surprise at or appreciation for colleagues who managed to do such work. There was enough information to support such work, but it was done mostly by the political scientists, think tank employees, and British scholars. Sovietology neglected the military sector by choice, not out of necessity.

Keywords:   Sovietology, Secrecy, Economic information, military sector, Western intelligence

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