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13 November 2018

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The Main With the Poison Gun

Serhii Plokhy (Basic Books, $28.99)

A fascinating biography of Cold War assassin and spy Bogdan Stashinsky, whose defection in 1961 implicated top Soviet leaders in political assassinations and revealed a gruesome reality of Soviet espionage.

The biographical and historical background Plokhy sets out is excellent, portraying a full picture of this dark and troubling episode and closing the door on myriad conspiracy theories. Its focus on the Russia-Ukraine nexus is particulary germane given recent events.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Jan/Feb 2017