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Nicholas Daniloff Edit Profile

educator , journalist

Nicholas Daniloff is an American journalist who graduated from Harvard University and was most prominent in the 1980s for his reporting on the Soviet Union.


Daniloff, Nicholas was born on December 30, 1934 in Paris. Son of Serge Y. and Ellen Crosby (Burke) Daniloff. came to the United States, 1935.


AB cum laude, Harvard College, 1956; Bachelor, University of Oxford, 1959; Master of Arts, University of Oxford, 1965.


He came to wider international attention on September 2, 1986 when he was arrested in Moscow by the KGB and accused of espionage. The Reagan administration took the position that the Soviets had arrested Daniloff without cause, in retaliation for the arrest three days earlier of Gennadi Zakharov, an employee of the Soviet UN Mission. The Soviets initially contended that Daniloff had confidential government documents on him when he was arrested.

After intense discussion between the governments, on September 23 Daniloff was allowed to leave the Soviet Union without charges, Zakharov was allowed to leave the U.S. after pleading nolo contendere, and Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov was released to the West. However, the diplomatic crisis did not end there. Expulsions of diplomats and suspected spies escalated to the point that by the end of October 1986, 100 Soviets, including a further 80 suspected Soviet intelligence agents, were expelled by the U.S. The Soviets expelled ten U.S. diplomats and withdrew all 260 of the Russian support staff working for the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Daniloff later contended in his autobiography, Two Lives, One Russia, that he had never held classified documents, and that the KGB had created false information. Daniloff became an instructor at Northeastern University's School of Journalism and, in 1992 was named director of the school. Daniloff's grandfather, general Yuri Danilov, was a chief of operations of Russian Imperial Army general-headquarters during World War I.



  • Other Interests

    Avocations: jogging, rowing, marathon running.


Married Ruth Daniloff, June 21, 1961. Children: Miranda, Caleb.

Serge Y. Daniloff

Ellen Crosby (Burke) Daniloff

Ruth Daniloff

Caleb Daniloff

Miranda Daniloff