Major General Yuri Drozdov, the legendary last chief of Directorate S (Illegals) within the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (FCD – Foreign Intelligence) tells of working with KGB Chairman and future General Secretary Yuri Andropov. Andropov was known for his sophisticated approach to intelligence matters, and was a generous patron to Directorate S.
There were many leaders with whom I was to meet and work: Yuri Andropov, Andrei Gromyko, Boris Ponomarev, Viktor Chebrikov, Vladimir Kryuchkov, and others. On these meetings and conversations I could speak much and for a long time. I’ll say just a few words on Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov.
In recent times more is being written about Yuri Vladimirovich – as a KGB chairman, diplomat, and man overall – both here in Russia and abroad. Continue reading Andropov & KGB Directorate S
Using his unique access to the Kremlin, German journalist Alexander Rahr shares the inside story on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s formative years in Leningrad and his path to the KGB.
Putin never concealed his background. Spiridon, his grandfather on the father’s side, was a cook, but not a regular one. Initially, he prepared meals for Lenin, then—for Stalin. A person working in such a position and in such proximity to the Kremlin’s leaders could not not be a staffer at the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD), KGB’s predecessor. Spiridon served the dictator daily, and it is beyond any doubt that he was being watched much more closely than any Politburo member.
Continue reading Putin’s Path to the KGB
GRU Maj. Gen. Dmitry Polyakov (1921-1988) was a decorated veteran of the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and an old-line Stalinist. Yet beginning in 1959, when on assignment under diplomatic cover at the UN Mission in New York, he was also a US intelligence asset after he volunteered his services to the FBI. Until his arrest in 1986, Polyakov shared the GRU’s most guarded secrets on its international agent networks with Washington, making him the highest-ranking and most damaging mole in the history of Soviet intelligence. Polyakov was finally brought to heel in 1986, when the KGB tracked him down thanks to leads from their own moles – CIA officer Aldrich Ames and FBI special agent Robert Hanssen. The KGB’s Third Chief Directorate, military counterintelligence, swung in to action.
From the last decade of the Soviet Union presented in the FSB Museum’s “Spy Gallery,” it especially follows to turn our attention to a photograph of an elderly man sitting in the dock of the accused in the proceedings hall of the Supreme Court’s Military Collegium.
He knew his punishment beforehand and wasn’t hoping for leniency. Almost 25 years of work for the FBI and CIA could not be atoned for by his candid admissions. On the conscience of former General Dmitry Feodorovich Polyakov was the blood of Soviet secret intelligence officers, the shattered fates of his colleagues in intelligence, and the most important state secrets betrayed to the adversary. Continue reading Washington’s GRU General
Colonel Aleksei Mikhailovich Kozlov (1934-2015) was a deep-cover intelligence officer in the KGB’s elite Directorate S, the Illegals, during the height of the Cold War. Posing as a traveling German businessman, he was captured by South African counterintelligence in 1980, but not before passing onto Moscow Center shocking information on joint South African-Israeli nuclear weapons tests. This December 20th, 2009 interview with the newspaper Izvestia provides another fascinating inside look at the global-scale operations of KGB Directorate S.
Izvestia: How did you get into Illegal Intelligence?
Kozlov: In 1953 I arrived in Moscow from Vologda to go to the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO). My character brought me to humanities, and I very much loved the German language. I had wonderful teacher in school – Zelman Shmulevich Pertsovsky. He was a Polish Jew who in 1939, when the Germans entered Poland, crossed the Bug River and turned up on our side. He was simply in love with the German language and quoted Schiller and Goethe by heart. He called me a “slacker” and helped a lot with preparing for higher education. Continue reading Deep Cover in South Africa
Retired KGB Major General Boris Ratnikov has a story to tell – about the Soviet and Russian intelligence services’ use of psychic espionage in the Great Game. While Ratnikov’s story may sound fantastic, the details on Cold War-era remote viewing programs in both the United States and Soviet Union are very real. With that in mind, perhaps the general’s claims aren’t so far-fetched after all. In this 2006 interview with state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta (RG), Ratnikov (BR) reveals some aspects of his mysterious work that no less than mirror the popular film Inception.
Major General Boris Ratnikov, 62 years old. Worked in the UKGB [Upravlenie – Directorate] for Moscow and Moscow Oblast. From 1991 he was the first deputy chief of the Russian Federation Main Protection Directorate (GUO). From 1994 to 1997 he was the main consultant to the Russian Federation Presidential Security Service (SBP) and Advisor to the chief of the Federal Protection Service (FSO). Today he is Advisor to the Chairman of the Moscow Oblast Duma. Continue reading The Kremlin’s Psychic Spies
Before the murder of John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald – or even possibly a double – visited the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. Retired KGB Lt. Gen. Nikolai Leonov, then on assignment in Mexico’s capital as an intelligence officer, met Oswald that day, and he has little doubt the young American was just a pawn in a much wider plot.
An intelligence officer’s workdays were full of work with active agent networks, with those who had been brought into partnership with Soviet intelligence by previous shifts of our colleagues, and with agents arriving from other countries, etc.
Continue reading Oswald & the KGB in Mexico
Former KGB General Filipp Bobkov was a veteran counterintelligence officer and chosen by Yuri Andropov to head the Fifth Chief Directorate (Ideological Counter-Subversion), which he led from 1969 to 1983. Bobkov recounts the twilight war of counterespionage waged between the CIA and KGB – a contest with deadly consequences.
In the Cold War, as in any other war, there were successes and defeats – failures and miscalculations that at times led to inescapable consequences. Any intelligence service will suffer the blows of the enemy with difficulty, and the KGB also had to undergo not a few such blows. Betrayals by apparatus officers – those with whom you spend all day, whom you see in the elevator and at meetings, with whom you’re connected by constant engagement in shared matters – these were taken especially painfully.
Continue reading Treachery at Lubyanka
The dark arts of espionage share more in common with historically-rooted secret societies than the media would care to admit. Using decades of experience and observation, KGB First Chief Directorate Col. Stanislav Lekarev (1935-2010) takes us into the murky netherworld of globalist powerplayers, occult orders, and state intelligence services.
In the “Masonic-intelligence” complex, it’s difficult to say who’s more central – who’s the real “leader,” and who’s being “led.” This has taken shape in various ways. It’s well-known that through its men in the Masonic lodges, the CIA is able to channel the work of the international business community into directions needed by the United States. But Masons who work in the CIA are also capable of setting the tone they require.
Continue reading Malta, Masonry & the CIA
The Soviet Union’s first ambassador to Egypt, Nikolai Vasilievich Novikov, recounts his pioneering role in establishing diplomatic relations in 1944 with Syria. Novikov provides a rich context to the genesis of Russo-Syrian partnership, describing the geopolitical arena and its attendant intrigues conducted by rival great powers like Britain and France. Novikov’s passage serves as an excellent background to an alliance between Russia and Syria that has regained strategic significance in the Great Game of our own day.
One hellishly hot day, June 15, when all the thoughts of Cairo’s residents—charred from heat—turned if not toward the relaxing beaches of Alexandria, then toward a cool bath or a shower, a respectable-looking stranger from Syria showed up at the Soviet Embassy. Met by advisor Daniil Solod, he introduced himself as Naim Antaki, a member of Syria’s parliament from Damascus, and the former Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Naim Antaki confided that he had arrived in Cairo with a secret message from the Syrian government and can only discuss it with the Ambassador. Continue reading Mission to Syria
Retired KGB Colonel Vladimir Usoltsev shares his psychological portrait of “Volodya” – his one-time subordinate and current Russian President Vladimir Putin, from their time serving together in a KGB intelligence group in Dresden, East Germany, during the 1980s.
The supply of episodes I remember, ones which I could expound without the risk of fabrication, is gradually being exhausted. I could still recount much, resting on foggy glimpses, but I’d fear to be accused of lying. And the goal itself of my story is not only to tell of our life in Dresden and fill in the gap in the biography of an extraordinary Russian politician, but also to clear up any fantasies and lies. Continue reading Putin in East Germany