According to new revelations, the ultra-wealthy financier and elite sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had a mentor who recruited him into Israeli intelligence early in his career: billionaire media tycoon Robert Maxwell. And nearly three decades before Epstein’s highly suspicious death, Maxwell would suffer a similar murky fate. What did Soviet intelligence know about Maxwell? KGB veteran Col. Nikolai Shvarev tells Moscow Center’s side of the story:
At the beginning of the 1990s, his mysterious death became a sensation. And that’s just for starters, after all, 68-year-old Lord Robert Maxwell – owner of one of the largest media empires on the planet; a billionaire; friend of Leonid Brezhnev and other politicians around the world; a carouser and debauchee whose impressive size and ferocious personality earned him the nickname “the killer whale” – had died. Continue reading Robert Maxwell & the KGB
The mystery of Lord Victor Rothschild’s (1910-1990) connections to Soviet intelligence has vexed researchers for over a half century now. As the scion of an ultra-wealthy banking house and confidante to Winston Churchill, Rothschild was an influential figure in Britain’s power elite for decades, occupying key positions in counterintelligence, the energy sector and strategic policy planning. But was he also the notorious Cambridge Spy Ring’s “Fifth Man,” a spy for Moscow who could access the crown jewels of UK secrets?
The Cambridge network – consisting of Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt, and John Cairncross – has gone down in history as one of Soviet secret service’s most successful penetrations, to the shame of the British establishment. Long after their exposure, Rothschild was well-situated as a grey cardinal of UK politics, seemingly untouchable. Continue reading Victor Rothschild, Soviet Spy
Did Russian intelligence sway the outcome of the 2016 United States presidential race? Ask the CIA and mainstream Western media organs, and they’ll have you believe that yes, it was none other than Moscow’s shadowy operatives who managed to infiltrate Donald Trump into the newly gold-bedecked Oval Office. Blame the Russians, our betters declare, rather than a year of skewed coverage and loaded polls. While the theory has become popular among opposition to the new administration, it is based on exactly zero evidence – which means we should designate it under the establishment’s own rubric as “fake news.”
To bolster the charge, the US Intelligence Community (of Iraq WMD fame) has released a public report intimating that Vladimir Putin “hacked the election.” Through cyberwarfare, agents of influence and information campaigns, we are told, the Kremlin pulled off the unthinkable and effectively ran a regime-change operation in America. Warmongering neoconservatives and virtue-signaling liberals alike commenced their reenactment of Red Dawn. Piling on, CNN and Buzzfeed unveiled a sloppy, error-ridden and highly dubious dossier detailing Trump’s alleged Russian ties and sexual blackmail material (kompromat). None of these claims have been backed by a shred of credible proof presented to the public, so why should they be taken as an article of faith? Continue reading Did Russia Hack the Election?
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
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
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
The Soviet KGB’s elite Ninth Directorate was responsible for leadership protection and well as guarding the Kremlin, Communist Party headquarters and other special sites. Learn how the KGB created not only the world’s top intelligence and counterintelligence services, but also a first-class bodyguard unit.
A study of the history of personal protection in the USSR shows a clear tendency: if a good relationship developed between the principal and the chief of a detail, then the latter stayed loyal to him to the end, even after his death. And the other way around: arrogance, fault-finding, and ingratitude in communication with officers of the security detail could, at a tough moment, leave the leader of a vast country alone with his problems and his enemies.
Continue reading Inside the Kremlin Guard
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
On radio program Esoteric Hollywood, Jay Dyer and I discuss spy films and how they relate to real-world espionage in the ongoing Great Game. From depictions of KGB Directorate S in the current hit show The Americans to the shadowy backers of 1989’s silly propaganda bomb Red Scorpion, we delve into the lesser-known aspects of spy culture that reflect the realities of intelligence history.