The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was to prove advantageous for Japan and its Western maritime backers Britain and the United States, while the conflict was a multifaceted disaster for Russia. Amidst the bloodshed, however, were found moments of chivalry exemplified by the warriors of each side. Here is one such account:
Hunter and scout Vasilii Timofeevich Riabov was born in 1871 and grew up in the village of Ivanovka outside Penza. Almost a century and a half has gone by, yet his memory persists through the centuries.
After his discharge from active military duty and joining the reserve, Riabov relocated to the neighboring village of Lebedevka. He was a brave and active man, he loved the theater and his wife, even though he sometimes hit her after drinking. And sometimes he used other people’s things without permission. That happened too. But he atoned for all his sins with his act of bravery. Continue reading Death of a Russian Samurai
How did the KGB train its deep-cover officers to pose, operate and live under the guise of foreign nationalities? Former KGB Chairman Vladimir Efimovich Semichastny (1924-2001) describes how the KGB First Chief Directorate’s elite Directorate S processed, prepared and deployed illegal officers for work abroad in the field – without the protection of the Soviet embassy or Moscow Center.
Our nation’s intelligence was distinguished by one particularity that could be discovered only extremely rarely in the practices of other secret services. This concerns the training and use of so-called “illegals” – Soviet citizens who settled in other countries under assumed names, thereby allowing us to create the consummate agent network. Such a network couldn’t be uncovered by the Western counterintelligence services that were orbiting mainly around our embassies; representations; trade missions; bureaus; and press agencies. Continue reading KGB Directorate S: Training an Illegal
Veteran chief of the KGB’s elite Alpha Group Maj. Gen. Gennady Nikolaevich Zaitsev recounts the 1977 operation to arrest CIA intelligence officer Martha Peterson, who worked out of the US Embassy under diplomatic cover. Peterson had been handling a valuable agent – Aleksandr Ogorodnik, code-named Trigon, a highly-placed staffer at the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Little did Peterson know at the time that Ogorodnik had already been arrested and committed suicide in custody with poison supplied from Langley. The trap carefully laid by the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate was set…
It so happened that I had the opportunity to participate in an arrest of a spy even before joining the spetsnaz Alpha Group. At that time, I served in the Seventh Directorate of the KGB of the USSR. Do you remember the film TASS is Authorized to Declare …? It told the story of how the KGB exposed Trigon, an enemy agent. In reality, this was Alexander Ogorodnik (Trigon), a staff member at the American Department of the Directorate for Planning Foreign Policy Measures at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He committed suicide during arrest. Continue reading The Spy with the Broken Bracelet
KGB Colonel Stanislav Lekarev (1935-2010) was an especially apt observer of the interplay between intelligence, culture and deep politics. While we know about the CIA’s extensive ties with Hollywood, the KGB had its own assets in the USSR film industry. Here Lekarev, an officer of the KGB First Chief Directorate, goes undercover as a Soviet film executive in 1970’s London, where he crosses swords with British counterintelligence, MI5.
SovExportFilm wasn’t a cover for everyone – you could crash and burn quickly here. A three-month probation period in State Cinema before my departure gave me little to work with. Moscow negotiations with Western commercial representatives didn’t allow me to delve into the nuances of SovExportFilm’s specifics. Viewing Western productions also didn’t help me any. And it was so obvious their quality was higher. Only on the job do you understand that you have to figure out the details of film production – be able to precisely determine the worthiness of reels from the point of view of mastery by scenarists, directors, cameramen, actors, as well as the quality of the film. It’s additionally useful to know the basics of the Stanislavsky System; this impresses those conversing with you. Along with all of that, you need accounting knowledge and the ability to write reports. If you don’t go the distance, the question of your replacement will be raised. So it happened – people wishing to replace you will always be found.
Continue reading Lights, Camera, Covert Action
In late 1943 SS commando Otto Skorzeny, known as “the most dangerous man in Europe,” was tasked by Hitler with a daunting mission: kill Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill, the Big Three, in Tehran, Iran. The bold plan, code-named Unternehmen Weitsprung (Operation Long Jump), might even have succeeded but for the efforts of Allied intelligence services. Below is the story of Ivan Agayants, Soviet NKVD resident in Tehran, who played a key role in foiling Berlin’s assassination plot.
In the old Soviet action film Tehran-43, the fearless and sexy intelligence officer sent from Moscow to Iran’s capital with a special mission dashingly neutralized Hitler’s terrorists, who were preparing the assassination of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. In that film there are three truths. The first: At the end of 1943 in Tehran, the Big Three Conference took place. The second truth: the fascists were preparing an assassination attempt on the leaders of the USSR, USA, and Great Britain. And the third: Soviet intelligence liquidated the terrorists. Continue reading Stopping Skorzeny
In his analysis of the modern world, French Traditionalist thinker René Guénon noted that the true masters of revolutions, materialism and secularism were not actually ends in themselves, but only the initial phases in the occult processing of society. The ultimate end of the cryptocratic elites, Guénon believed, was the destruction of sacred tradition and the enthronement of infernal forces in a new counter-religion. With the experience of the Bolshevik Revolution and early-period Soviet intelligence’s forays into the realms of the esoteric, we have a powerful example of Guénon’s thesis in action, as recounted by contemporary Russian journalist Georgy Filin.
Sami sorcerers and Buryat shamans, connoisseurs of cryptography and ancient poisons, hypnotists and psychics, telepaths and clairvoyants – who wasn’t brought in to work in the OGPU [Unified State Political Directorate] Special Department directed by one of Lenin’s closest colleagues, Gleb Bokii. The Special Department was consulted by luminary of Soviet psychiatry academic Vladimir Bekhterev, and one of its key officers was none other than the famed terrorist Yakov Blumkin, a favorite of Cheka head Felix Dzerzhinsky and the prototype of Maksim Isaev, Stierlitz. And Bokii himself possibly served as the prototype of another well-known personage – Bulgakov’s Woland. It was said that at the Chekist’s dacha events frequently took place akin to the ball described in Master and Margarita.
Continue reading The Bolsheviks’ Occult War
Directorate K (Kontrrazvedka: Counterintelligence) of the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (FCD – Foreign Intelligence) was responsible for protecting the FCD from infiltration as well as penetrating hostile intelligence services. A decorated veteran of “Line KR,” KGB Colonel Viktor Ivanovich Cherkashin, shares his insights and experience in this interview.
1985 was christened Year of the Spy, when as a result of of the treachery of a number of officers, Soviet intelligence suffered significant losses among its agent networks, but simultaneously it was able to recruit high-level American intelligence officers overseas. Reserve Colonel from the KGB First Chief Directorate’s (FCD) Directorate K (Foreign Counterintelligence) Viktor Cherkashin tells us about this and a number of other major spy scandals.
Continue reading KGB Foreign Counterintelligence