Updates on ‘Confessions of a CIA Spy’

My stay in the Soviet Union was back in 1990. I had just finished a Master’s degree at an Ivy League University in Russian-Muslim relations and I was in a hurry to expand my Russian language and go to the Soviet Union since it was clear to me that it was on the verge of collapse, contrary to what my academic advisors thought. My chief advisor, now long dead, told me that the SU would last centuries, slowly declining like the Ottoman Empire. I could not persuade him otherwise. This was probably because he was a devout class-war Marxist so he could not see the problems. It was like he had blinders on. Although he taught me Russian history, he himself had never been to Russia, which was something I found odd.

He also tried to persuade me to abandon my study of Arabic. “They speak Uzbek in Uzbekistan, not Arabic,” he insisted. I tried to inform him that all places within the Islamic cultural zone had pious Muslims who would absolutely know classical Quranic Arabic. Again I could not persuade him of this. He did not know that I had applied to the CIA and had been recommended for employment. This was only due to my specialty in the history of Russian-Muslim relations which was virtually unknown at the time there being almost no specialists in the US on this topic. My goal in the SU was not only to do graduate research on this topic but to make contact with pious Muslims and ascertain what they thought and what their plans for the future may be.

Writing the book is bringing back many old memories. Today’s youth have little understanding of what the SU was and how Russians in the SU lived. Few Americans did in 1990, even fewer now. If my advisor on Russian history did not know, how could the general public? This book details my daily interactions with Russians and their Soviet institutions. It was quite an eye-opener. Readers who buy the book will likely find it equally informative. This book is proving very easy to write. While I was in Russia I kept a daily journal which I am using.

I also spent time in Kiev where I came to learn much about how Ukrainians regarded Russians. This too is informative on current events there. More updates later.