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
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
While it is known that German intelligence targeted Soviet leader Josef Stalin during World War II, how close did they come to succeeding? The following tells the story of SS Operation Zeppelin and the brilliant counter-moves, known as Operation Fog, undertaken by Soviet military counterintelligence (SMERSH) officer Grigorii Grigorenko, who would go on to head the KGB Second Chief Directorate during the Cold War.
Much has been said and written about the attempt to liquidate Stalin during the Second World War—at the same time, nothing specific, but rather things at the level of speculation or fiction.
The failed assassination of the Supreme Commander of the Soviet Union, planned by German saboteurs, is a thrilling subject, after all. And they indeed planned to kill him. However, the story of capturing terrorist saboteurs turned into the prequel to one of the most successful operations by Soviet counter-intelligence, codenamed Fog and carried out by Major Grigorii Fedorovich Grigorenko, a resident of Poltava, today’s Ukraine. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) recently declassified this operation.
Continue reading Hitler’s Plot to Assassinate Stalin
From the archives of the SVR comes a broad overview of the Second World War by the chief of Soviet intelligence in World War II, Lt. Gen. Pavel Fitin:
“Pavel Matveevich Fitin headed the Fifth Department of the NKVD GUGB [Chief Directorate for State Security] – the NKGB First Directorate from May of 1939 to 1946. The basis of this material is formed by his memoirs, which were written by the author in 1970 for the 50th anniversary of Soviet foreign intelligence.”
Not claiming to fully shed light on everything, for this would demand special research, I would like to recount certain matters of the multifaceted activity of the intelligence service of the Soviet state security organs during the years of the Great Patriotic War.
Continue reading Soviet Intelligence in World War II
Pavel Anatolyevich Sudoplatov, chief of NKVD special operations in World War II, gives a strategic overview of Soviet intelligence in the years leading up to the second military cataclysm that would devastate Europe in the twentieth century.
The role of the organs of state security in Soviet history can only be evaluated after the Soviet Union ceased to exist. After Lenin’s death the country’s primary special service was reformed into the Unified State Political Directorate (OGPU). However, as before, it remained the apparatus for enacting political repression both inside the country and abroad. Alongside this, it is very important to understand the repression was viewed by the Party and Soviet leadership as a necessary, forced action, the goal of which was the suppression of political opposition and the strengthening of the Soviet state.
Continue reading Soviet Intelligence on the Eve of WWII