SOVIET MAP DISTORTION POLICY (GC/77-10147-M)

Created: 12/27/1977

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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HAP DISTORTION POLICY

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The Soviet Union8ystematic program of thinning nut And distorting detail on their unclassified naps andegan to shift the geographic coordinate lines on all maps they released.

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This policy has continued to the present time.

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The utility of these paps In research has been diminished since the information, they containplace names and settlement locations, roads and railroads. Internal political and economic region boundaries, and rivers ond other water bodiesmust now be checked against other sources. On the other hand, the distortion program poses no critical loss to the UJ Intelligence needs

Ironically,8 the Sovietssheet physical nap of the USSRcaleillion that was highly accurate.

The accompanying graphs illustrate the distortion by comparing en area on8 physical map with the same areaecently produced Soviet map at the same scale.

Ue reported these distortion practices9 study, the main elements of which vera released to the press at that tine; we concluded then, and still believe, that the map changes were loposed

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by the Soviet intelligence service*n effort consistent with tht general Sovlit practices of deception and of withholding Information that would be useful to foreign analysts and planners. Tht timing of thendicates that the map distortion decisions were madeht er* ofnd tht Penkovskly case

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the Soviet security establishment was shaken end very active.

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The exptnst of compiling and drafting erroneous plates and thetht morale of the cartographic community have made the programto the USSR. Sincestatements by

Soviet officials with Intimate knowledge of the mapping establishment that confirm this suspicion. One stated,

"Of course, any child or Idiot can clearly see such distortions, but things like that do happen when higher-ups fall to consult with the experts and then you have to blush every time you neat your foreign colleagues."

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