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During the Second World War, Stalin was keen to ensure that all reporting from the Eastern Front presented the policies of the Soviet Union in a positive light.
British and American writers and correspondents residing at Moscow’s Metropol Hotel were bribed with luxurious meals and given a choice of young women to employ as translators.
While some of these women succeeded in turning journalists into couriers of Kremlin propaganda, others were brave dissenters who secretly relayed the reality of Soviet life.
In conversation with Giles Milton, Alan Philps will lift the lid on Stalin’s attempts to muzzle and control Western reporting, highlighting the important role these young women played.
Alan Philps first worked in Moscow in 1979–80 as a Reuters trainee correspondent, returning in 1985 at the start of the Gorbachev era. He was ordered to leave in September of the same year in retaliation for Margaret Thatcher’s expulsion from London of 25 alleged Soviet spies.
After joining the foreign staff of The Daily Telegraph, he returned to Russia as the Moscow correspondent from 1994 to 1998. Alan has kept up a connection with the Metropol Hotel over the years, staying there several times to attend charity balls.
Giles Milton is the million-copy, internationally bestselling author of 12 works of narrative history. His books have been translated into 25 languages. His most recent book is Checkmate in Berlin: The First Battle of the Cold War. His book Nathaniel’s Nutmeg was serialised by the BBC.