The KGB: A Knock on the Door

Georgi Vladimov, 51, a Soviet writer, hunches over a cup of tea in his small, fifth-floor apartment on the out skirts of Moscow. Outside, the sun has broken through the midwinter gloom, and in the courtyard below a father plays with his child among the birch trees. It is a scene of cheery placidity, but life is not placid for Vladimov. Like thousands of fellow citizens, he has learned firsthand about the implacable methods the KGB uses to intimidate those who deviate from prescribed norms of thought or behavior.

On Dec. 28, a team...

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