Vitaly Shlykov

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Vitaly Shlykov (Russian: Шлыков, Виталий Васильевич)
Allegiance Soviet Union Soviet Union
Russia Russian Federation
Service GRU
Active 1958–1988
Rank Colonel
Award(s) Order of the Red Star
Codename(s) Bob[1]
  Nikolaev Vasilyevich

Birth name Vitaly Shlykov
Born 4 February 1934
Kursk
Died 19 November 2011
Moscow
Buried Troyekurovsky Cemetery
Nationality USSR
Residence USSR
Occupation Spymaster

Vitaly Shlykov (Russian: Шлыков, Виталий Васильевич; 1934–2011) was a spy master in the GRU, Russian deputy minister of defence and founder of the influential Council for Foreign and Defense Policy.

Spying career[edit]

Shlykov was arrested in Switzerland in January 1983 following his betrayal by Dieter Gerhardt under U.S. Central Intelligence Agency interrogation. Gerhardt was a South African national who spied for the Soviet Union for 20 years before his position was compromised by the Farewell Dossier. Shlykov was arrested when he travelled to Zurich under the false name Nikolaev Mikhail Vasilyevich to meet with Gerhardt's wife, Ruth, who acted as a courier. Despite not dislosing his real name or any other details to Swiss authorities, he was jailed for three years for spying for the Soviet Union.

After his release from prison, he started the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, an influential think tank that provides advice to the Kremlin on security issues.[2]

He later rose the position of deputy minister of defence in the Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin.

Analysis of the demise of the Soviet Union[edit]

Shlykov argued with his superiors that the Soviet Union was basing its military and economic policies on faulty assumptions, inherited from the Joseph Stalin era.

Namely, he posited that the Soviet war plans were based on the assumption that the upcoming military conflict between the USSR and NATO would strategically and technologically resemble World War II.

To prepare for this contingency, it was planned to mobilize between 4 and 8 millions of soldiers and to continuously supply them with enormous quantities of materiel: tanks, cannon, planes etc., since it was expected that the materiel (and the soldiers) would be constantly attritted at a high rate.

Therefore, most industrial plants in the USSR were required to set aside significant production capacities during peacetime, in order to "mobilize" them when war broke out and to produce the requisite enormous quantities of war materiel. This had the effect of severely undermining the Soviet economy.

Shlykov argued that the assumption that World War III would resemble World War II was wrong and that the above-described approach was ruining the Soviet economy without actually preparing it for possible future conflicts. He pointed out that the Western powers opted out of the World War II-era approach and were actively developing "smart" weapons in order to counter the Soviet preponderance in manpower and classical materiel.

For his efforts he was summarily dismissed from the Soviet Army. He later publish his arguments after the fall of the Soviet Union in the open press.

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