Following his great trilogy of biographies of the giants who dominated the history of the Soviet Union - Stalin (1991), Lenin (1994) and Trotsky (1996) - Dmitri Volkogov delves deeper into the Soviet archives to produce new character evaluations and political assessments of the seven leaders who ruled the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991. A former general in the Soviet Army's propaganda department, Director of the Institute for Military History, and Defence Adviser to President Yeltsin from 1991 to his death from cancer in December 1995, Dmitri Volkogov had unrivalled access to Soviet military archives, Communist Party documents and secret presidential files. Basing his new book on these inside sources, he has continued his pioneering work of revealing the truth behind the activities of the world's most secretive political leaders. He throws new light on: Lenin's paraia about foreigners in Russia; his creation of a privileged system for top Party members; Stalin's repression of the nationalities and his singular conduct of foreign policy; the origins and conduct of the Korean War; Khrushchev's relationship with the odious secret service chief Beria; Brezhnev's vanity and stupidity; the Afghan War; Poland and Solidarity; Soviet bureaucracy; Gorbachev's Leninism and role in history.
Dmitri Volkogonov was a Colonel-General in the Soviet Army's propaganda department until his views came to be regarded as 'un-Soviet'. The biographer of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky, he became Defence Adviser to President Yeltsin. He died in December 1995, shortly after completing this book. Harold Shukman, who also translated Volkogonov's Stalin and Lenin, is a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.