Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Geschichte Westeuropas und transatl. Beziehungen

Dr. Douglas Selvage

Dr. Douglas Selvage
wiss. Mitarb.
selvaged (at)

Einrichtung (OKZ)
Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften → Geschichte Westeuropas und der transatlantischen Beziehungen
Friedrichstraße 191-193 , Raum 4082
(030) 2093-70629
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin



Active Measures and Propaganda, 1966-1989: The Stasi, the KGB and their European Allies

In recent years, there has been extensive discussion in Europe and the United States regarding Russian and Soviet covert propaganda and influence operations or “active measures.”

Based on research in the secret-police archives of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine and the former East Germany, along with the Mitrokhin Papers at Cambridge University, as well as other relevant primary and secondary sources in Europe and the United States, my study will analyze the active measures of the Soviet-bloc security services with particular focus on the respective roles of the foreign-intelligence branch of the East German Stasi, the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, and the Soviet secret service, the Komitet gosudarstvenoi bezopasnosti (KGB). The study will trace the evolution of Soviet-bloc active-measures campaigns from 1966, the year in which the other Soviet-bloc intelligence services began to cooperate more intensively and regularly in this area, until the collapse of communism in East Central Europe in 1989. The structure of the resulting book will be chronological and thematic, based upon actual campaigns of active measures undertaken by the Soviet-bloc security services, led by the KGB. The book will analyze

  • Which governments, organizations and individuals were the targets of such active measures;
  • How and to what extent the Soviet-bloc security services coordinated not only with each other, but also with other state and Party organs, as well as various front organizations and presses outside the Soviet bloc, in their implementation of such activities;
  • Where such campaigns originated within the ruling structures of the Soviet bloc;
  • Whom such active measures sought to influence; and
  • The extent to which such campaigns achieved their stated goals.



2019- Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Chair for the History of Western Europe and Transatlantic Relations, Department of History, Humboldt University, Berlin.

2013-2019 Project Director, Division for Education Research, Agency of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic (BStU), for the research project, “The Ministry of State Security (MfS) and the MGB/KGB in the Soviet Bloc, 1950-1989: Structure, Content and Limits of their Relations.”

2013 Short-Term Research Grant in Southeast European Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.

2009 Arthur S. Link-Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

2008-2013 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Division for Education and Research, BStU, for the research project, “The MfS and the CSCE Process. The Struggle of the East European Security Services against Modernization and Globalization.”

2007-2008 Principal Investigator for the Research Project (Collaborative Research Grant), “The Cold War and Human Security: Translations for the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact,” funded by the National Endowment of Humanities, Washington, DC.

2006-2008 Assistant Professor of History, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida.

2004-2006 Lecturer, History Department, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

2001-2006 Historian, Department of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC. Compiled and edited documentary volumes for the Foreign Relations of the United States series.

2000 Research Fellow, East European Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.

1999-2000 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.

1998 Ph. D. in History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Fields of study: modern Polish and German history and the history of international relations.

1995-1997 Kosciuszko Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

1995-1996 Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Yale University.

1995 DAAD short-term research grant.

1994-1995 Bradley Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship.

1993-1994 IREX Language Grant and Dissertation Research Fellowship.

1991 Master of Arts (M. A.) in U.S History, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specialization: U.S. foreign relations.

1990 Graduate Seminar Essay Prize, History Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

1989-1991 Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities.

1988-1989 Fulbright Scholarship for the Department of Political Science, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn.

1988 Bachelor of Arts (B. A.), Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. Majors: German and International Studies.

1986-1993 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.



Staatssicherheit und KSZE-Prozess: MfS zwischen SED und KGB (1972–1989) [State Security and the CSCE Process: The (East German) Ministry of State Security and the KGB, 1972-1989], Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019 (with Walter Süß).

“The Limits of Repression: Soviet Bloc Security Services vs. Transnational Helsinki Networks,” in Badalassi, Nicolas, and Snyder, Sarah B., eds.: The CSCE and the End of the Cold War: Diplomacy, Societies and Human Rights, 1972-1990, New York/Oxford: Berghahn, 2019, pp. 207-29.

“Operation ‘Synonym’: Soviet-Bloc Active Measures and the Helsinki Process, 1976-1983,” in Bułhak, Władysaw, and Friis, Thomas Wegener, eds., Need to Know: Eastern and Western Perspectives (Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2015), pp. 81-96.

Die AIDS-Verschwörung. Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit und die AIDS-Desinformationskampagne des KGB [The AIDS Conspiracy. The Ministry of State Security and the KGB’s AIDS Disinformation Campaign], BF Informiert 33, Berlin: BStU, 2014 (with Christopher Nehring). [Open Access]

“SA-CIA-HV A: Dr. Emil Hoffmann and the ‘Jungle of the Secret Services,’” in Spiekerman, Uwe: The Stasi at Home and Abroad: Domestic Order and Foreign Intelligence. Bulletin of the German Historical Institute, Supplement 9 (2014), pp. 115-138. [Open Access]

“’Human-Rights-Demagoguery Hostile to Détente’: The German Democratic Republic and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1975-1989,” in Mariager, Rasmus, and Molin, Karl, eds., Human Rights during the Cold War, London and New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 139-149.

“Operacja ‘Synonim’: czechosłowacki aparat bezpieczeństwa, środki aktywne bloku sowieckiego i proces KBWE (1976–1983) [Operation “Synonym”: The Czechoslovak Security Service and Soviet-Bloc Active Measures in the CSCE Process, 1976-1983], Pamięc i sprawiedliwość 23:1 (2014). [Open Access]

“The Superpowers and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1977-1983: Human Rights, Nuclear Weapons, and Western Europe,” in Peter, Matthias, and Wentker, Hermann, eds., Die KSZE im Ost-West Konflikt: Internationale Politik und gesellschaftliche Transformation (1975-1990), München: Oldenbourg, 2012.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011 (with Melissa Jane Taylor). [Open Access]

“Transforming the Soviet Sphere of Influence? U.S.-Soviet Détente and Eastern Europe, 1969–1976,” Diplomatic History 33:4 (Sept. 2009), pp. 671-687.

“The Politics of the Lesser Evil: the West, the Polish Crisis, and the CSCE Review Conference in Madrid, 1981-1983,” in Leopoldo Nuti, ed., The Crisis of Détente in Europe: From Helsinki to Gorbachev 1975-1985, London: Routledge, 2008.

“The Warsaw Pact and the European Security Conference, 1964-69: Sovereignty, Hegemony, and the German Question,” in Wenger, Andreas; Mastny, Vojtech; and Nuenlist, Christian, eds., Origins of the European Security System: The Helsinki Process Revisited, 1965-75, London: Routledge, 2008.

Soviet-American Relations: The Détente Years, 1969-1972, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007 (with David C. Geyer). [Open Access]

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXXIX: European Security, 1969-1976, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007. [Open Access]

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXIX: Eastern Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, 1969-1972, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007 (with James Miller and Laurie Van Hook). [Open Access]

“Wskrzeszenie polityki wypierania: administracja Eisenhowera a polski pażdziernik 1956 roku [The End of the Policy of Liberation: The Eisenhower Administration and the Polish October of 1956],” in Jan Rówiński, ed., Polski pażdziernik w polityce światowej, Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2006.

“The Treaty of Warsaw (1970): The Warsaw Pact Context,” in Bulletin of the German Historical Institute, Supplement 1: American Detente and German Ostpolitik, 1969-1972, ed. David C. Geyer and Bernd Schafer, Washington: German Historical Institute, 2004. [Open Access]

“Poland, the GDR, and the ‘Ulbricht Doctrine,’” in M.B.B. Biskupski, ed., Ideology, Politics and Diplomacy in East Central Europe, Rochester Studies in Central Europe, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2003, pp. 227-41.

“Poland and the Sino-Soviet Rift, 1963-1965,” Cold War International History Project E-Dossier 10, January 2004. [Open Access]

“Papírháromszög: Lengyelország, az NDK és Csehszlovákia [Paper Triangle: Poland, the GDR and Czechoslovakia],”Külpolitika [International Affairs: Budapest] (2001: 1-2), pp. 167-87. [Open Access]

“The Warsaw Pact and Nuclear Nonproliferation, 1963-1965,” Cold War International History Project Working Paper 32, January 2001. [Open Access]

“Khrushchev’s Berlin Ultimatum, November 1958: New Evidence from the Polish Archives,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin 11 (Summer 1999). [Open Access]

“The End of the Berlin Crisis: New Evidence from the Polish and East German Archives,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin 11 (Summer 1999). [Open Access]

“Poland, the German Democratic Republic and the German Question, 1955-1967,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, December 1998.

Translation: Auschwitz: Nazi Death Camp, Oświęcim: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1996.

“Polska - NRD. ‘Doktryna Ulbrichta’ w świetle dokumentów [Poland-GDR: The `Ulbricht Doctrine’ in Light of Documents],” Rocznik polsko-niemiecki 3 (1994).