Nathan Leites; Expert on Soviet Leaders


Nathan C. Leites, an immigrant from Russia who became an expert on his native land by examining the motivations and intentions of Soviet leaders for the U.S. government, has died in France. He was 75 and died Friday in Avignon of pulmonary complications from Park1768846191spokesman for the Rand Corp., where Leites had been an associate since 1947.

Leites gained an international reputation among scholars by applying principles of psychoanalysis to the study of world figures, including Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Weeks said.

In addition to his work for Rand--a Santa Monica-based nonprofit institution engaged in analysis of issues of national security and domestic welfare--Leites also served on the faculty of the University of Chicago. He retired to the French countryside last October and will be cremated there near the city of Orange.


Andrew W. Marshall, director of Net Assessment in the office of secretary of defense, said that one of Leites’ studies, “The Operational Code of the Politburo: 1951” was a landmark work.

“It influenced many people and more recently led to an attempt to duplicate that style of analysis for other countries,” Marshall said.

“Throughout his life he provided for those who would listen unique and valuable insights on many subjects and especially on the behavior of the leadership of the Soviet Union,” Marshall said.

Leites was born in St. Petersburg, since renamed Leningrad, and obtained his early education in Denmark and Germany before coming to the United States in 1936.

He worked at the University of Chicago before World War II and during the war served with the Office of War Information and the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service.