Sheila Fitzpatrick has written an enthralling and lightly humorous account, A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold War Russia, of the trials and tribulations of researching in the Soviet archives during the 1960s (News, 2 January). It was a time in the Cold War when the USSR bureaucracy was stable and, with effort, could become a known quantity.
Those of us who worked in Moscow immediately after the USSR imploded found things more unpredictable. In my own case, it did not help matters that A. V. Brushlinsky, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Psychology, with whom I had excellent relations, was brutally murdered in February 2002.
R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London