International Conference “Need to Know IX: Intelligence and major political change” – Tallinn, 28–29 November 2019

Processes of political change and intelligence services are often interrelated. In popular culture, conspiracy theory of the hidden hand of secret services thrives, but what is the reality? The ninth Need to Know focuses on intelligence services ability to predict or even promote political change at home or abroad. 

Conference-language is English.

The conference is organized by the the International Centre for Defense and Security, Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, the Center for Cold War Studies of the University of Southern Denmark, the King’s College London, and the Norwegian Aviation Museum.

Submissions and additional questions should be sent to:


Need to Know IX: Intelligence and Major Political Change

Tallinn, Estonia, 28-29 November 2019


28 November 2019

Majandus-ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications) - Suur-Ameerika 1, 10122, Tallinn

9:00 – 9:30  Introduction: Ivo Juurvee (International Centre for Defense and Security)

Opening Speeches:

  • Kristina Miskowiak Beckvard – Danish Ambassador to Estonia
  • Grzegorz Kozłowski – Polish Ambassador to Estonia
  • Representatives of the organizers


Erik Kulavig (University of Southern Denmark)
Jacek Tebinka (University of Gdansk)

I. Intelligence and Major Political Change

Chair:  Ivo Juurvee (ICDS)

  • 9:30-9:45         Michael Herman (Oxford University): Intelligence Lessons of the Cold War
  • 9:45- 10:00      Mark Kramer (Harvard University): The Soviet Intelligence Services and the Impact of the 1989 Upheavals in East Central Europe
  • 10:00-10:15     Władysław Bułhak (Institute of National Remembrance): Transformation of intelligence services after the end of the Cold War and the Birth of the European School of Intelligence Studies
  • 10:15-10:45     Discussion

10:45-11:00     Coffee break

II. 1924: Soviet Hybrid Warfare?

Chair: Michael Fredholm (International Republican Institute)

  • 11:00-11:15     Ivo Juurvee (ICDS): Planning and Execution of the Coup d'état Attempt in Estonia
  • 11:15-11:30     Kęstutis Kilinskas (Vilnius University): Lithuanian Defense and Intelligence Reaction to Communist Coup in Tallinn
  • 11:30-11:45     Tomasz Gajownik (University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn): The Communist Coup in Estonia in 1924 in a Papers of the Polish Military Attache in Rewel. The Case Study of Soviet`s Foreign Politics in the 1920s
  • 11:45-12:00     Igor Cașu (State University of Moldova): Tatarbunar Rebellion in Romanian Bessarabia (1924): an Operation of Soviet Secret Services or a Modern Jacquerie?
  • 12:00-12:30     Discussion

12:30-14:00     Lunch

III. West German Intelligence Services’ Transformation

Chair: Aleksandra Gasztold (Warsaw University)

  • 14:00-14:15     Thomas Wegener Friis (University of Southern Denmark): Dealing with the devil. Nordic relations with the BND
  • 14:15-14:30     Bodo Hechelhammer (BND): "Dieser Dilettanten-Verein" - public criticism of intelligence
  • 14:30-14:45     Agilof Kesserlring (Finnish National Defense University): From Cold Peace to Total War – How the Federal German Intelligence Service would have mobilized
  • 14:45-15:00     Helmut Müller-Enbergs (University of Southern Denmark): West Germany and the dissolution of the GDR
  • 15:00-15:30     Discussion

15:30-16:00     Coffee break  

IV. New Archival Releases and Interpretations from East and West

Chair: Karl Kleve (Norwegian Aviation Museum)

  • 16:00-16:15     Joe Maiolo (King’s College London): The US intelligence failure in Pearl Harbor?
  • 16:15-16:30     Michael Goodman (King’s College London) The new opening from the British archives
  • 16:30-16:45     Polly Corrigan (King’s College London): The background of the opening of the Ukrainian intelligence archives
  • 16:45-17:15     Discussion

19:00               Dinner at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland (Suur-Karja 1, 10140 Tallinn)


29 November 2019


Paul Madrell (Loughborough University)
Witold Bagieński (Institute of National Remembrance)

V. Transformation of Europe and Rise of Communism

Chair: Bernd Schaefer (George Washington University)

  • 9:00-9:15         Kevin Riehle (National Intelligence University): Escaping Two Dictators: Czechoslovakian Intelligence Defectors from the New Communist Regime, 1948-1949
  • 9:15-9:30         Dieter Bacher (Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Kriegsfolgenforschung): Social unrest or “attempted red revolution”?  The Austrian general strikes 1950 and the role of Soviet secret services and occupation as seen by British intelligence in Austria
  • 9:30-9:45         Cees Wiebes (Netherlands): Nests of Communist Spies? The Polish Legation in the Hague and the Dutch Embassy in Budapest
  • 9:45-10:00       Przemysław Gasztold (Institute of National Remembrance): Spies and Diplomats: Polish-Dutch Intelligence Rivalry
  • 10:00-10:30     Discussion

10:30-10:45     Coffee break

VI. Dictatorships in Crises

Chair:             Anna Piekarska (Museum of Polish History)

  • 10:45-11:00     Sofia Tzamarelou (Brunel University London): Post-dictatorship intelligence reform in Southern Europe
  • 11:00-11:15     Mirosław Sikora (Institute of National Remembrance): Line "G". Reaction of OECD countries to economic transformations in Poland through the lens of civil intelligence service in the 80s.
  • 11:15-11:30     Marek Hańderek (Institute of National Remembrance): Between threat and inspiration. Polish intelligence station in Beijing reports on Chinese authorities and pro-democracy demonstrators attitudes towards the “Solidarity” Movement in the late 1980s
  • 11:30-12:00     Discussion

12:00-13:30     Lunch

VII. 1989: the Major Political Change

Chair:             Robin Libert (Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre, RUSRA-KUIAD)

  • 13:30-13:45     Nadia Boyadjieva (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences): Bulgarian Intelligence services and Political Changes in the Eastern Bloc in 1989
  • 13:45-14:00     Daniel Běloušek (Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic): The Response of the State Security apparatus in November 1989 - an attempt of self-preservation
  • 14:00-14:15     Kristina Burinskaitė (The Genocide and Resistance Research of Lithuania): Why KGB missed soviet regime collapse in Lithuania? 
  • 14:15-14:45     Discussion

14:45-15:15     Coffee break

VIII. Beyond the Cold War

Chair:             Philip Gurski (Borealis Threat and Risk Consult)

  • 15:15-15:30     Danny Pronk (Netherlands Institute of International Relations): Witness to Change. The Domestic Security Service and the Global 1980s
  • 15:30-15:45     Tomasz Kozłowski (Institute of National Remembrance): Why can’t we be friends? Establishing a relationship between Polish and American intelligence agencies in the context of political transformation
  • 15:45-16:00     Constant Hijzen (Leiden University): Terrorism during the Holiday from History: how Western Security Services Dealt with Terrorism between 1989 and 2001
  • 16:00-16:30     Discussion
  • 16:30-16:45     Meeting with Joseph Gilling – the editor on the Digital Resources team at Routledge, Taylor & Francis
  • 19:00               Reception at the Danish Embassy (Wismari 5, 10136 Tallinn)

Conference-language is English.

The conference is organized by the the International Centre for Defense and Security, Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, the Center for Cold War Studies of the University of Southern Denmark, the King’s College London, and the Norwegian Aviation Museum.

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