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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Intelligence Operations in the Cold War

This is a collection of primary source documents that discuss intelligence issues during the Cold War. The documents come from archives in many different Soviet bloc countries. They are mainly decision memorandums, descriptions, agreements, and reports. The collection includes mainly bilateral agreements for cooperation between Communist countries and domestic intelligence reports from Bulgaria. See also the Mitrokhin Archive and the Vassiliev Notebooks. (Image, KGB symbol)

  • April, 1989

    Committee for State Security (KGB), 'About Results of Intelligence Activities to Note Indicators for a Surprise Nuclear Missile Attack'

    This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in April 1989 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.

  • October 04, 1989

    East German Ministry of State Security, 'Nuclear, Chemical, and Ballistic Missile Potential of Selected Threshold Countries' (excerpt)

    Iraq's WMD capacity as of October 1989 from Stasi Perspective

  • June, 2007

    The Case of Hmelyova: "The Witch." Folder 37. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin relates the KGB details surrounding “The Witch”—Aida Moiseeva Hmelyova (b. 1936), a native of the Kokchetavskii region in Russia. Mitrokhin describes how Hmelyova was investigated by Moscow’s Fifth Directorate of the KGB which shadowed her throughout 1969.

  • June, 2007

    The Yuri Case. Folder 91. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB sources to describe Yuri Velichkov Bagomil Stanimerov (b.1941), a Bulgarian citizen who graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1968. Stanimerov was recruited by the Bulgarian branch of the KGB in 1970, and became a resident of Sweden in 1972. Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that in April 1974, CIA officer Huey Walter “Hearst” made Stanimerov an offer in the name of the National Security Council. While Stanimerov refused the offer, he told Hearst that he would continue collaborating with him. Stanimerov subsequently traveled to many foreign countries, but the Americans no longer expressed interest in him. In 1975, Stanimerov was sent to work in the Bulgarian embassy in the United States. The Americans began to train Stanimerov as a spy and tried to ideologically convert him. The Mitrokhin account posits that the KGB gave Stanimerov instructions in case the latter succeeded in infiltrating the CIA. In 1978, the KGB received information regarding the fact that Stanimerov was being investigated by the FBI for his ties with the Bulgarian intelligence services

  • June, 2007

    The Vernii (Devoted) Case. Folder 92. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe Ivan Illarionovich Ortinskii-“Vernii” (b. 1922), a native of the Lvov region, Ukraine. A priest in a Greco-Catholic church, Vernii pursued his religious studies at the Vatican and lectured at a seminary in Rome in 1964. Beginning in 1973, Vernii lived in Ingolstadt, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). According to the entry, the KGB established contact with Vernii when the latter visited his parents and kin in Lvov in 1968. In 1971, Vernii was recruited as an agent by the KGB branch of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Between 1971 and 1974, collaboration between Vernii and the KGB took place within the territory of the Ukrainian SSR. As an agent, Vernii provided the KGB with information regarding his church, and the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that Vernii transmitted information to the KGB through his sister, Ukrainian SSR agent “Chestnaya” (born Ortinskaya). Mitrokhin concludes the entry by stating that in 1978, Vernii informed the KGB from Vienna that he would no longer work as an agent, since he had aroused much suspicion within the Greco-Catholic Church.

  • June, 2007

    The Case of Dissident Velikanova. Folder 38. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin describes how on November 1, 1979 KGB operatives arrested dissident Tatiana Mikhailova Velikanova. Mitrokhin relates that since Velikanova’s name was widely known outside Soviet borders, the KGB warned its resident agents abroad to adopt certain procedures in case of an emergency. Tatiana Mikhailova Velikanova (b.1932) was a highly-educated Russian and a mother of three. Beginning in the late 1960s, Velikanova actively participated in public anti-state demonstrations—particularly at the Pushkin Square in Moscow. Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin mentions that in 1969, Velikanova became a member of the Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights, a club which according to the KGB, boasted Tatar autonomists, extreme nationalists, religious fanatics, and secessionists amongst its ranks. For more than ten years, Velikanova and her associates were producing anti-Soviet and politically harmful material, distributed to foreign publishing houses and radio stations. Under Velikanova’s initiative, The Chronicles of Current Events, a samizdat publication was issued in Moscow in 1974. The Chronicles described topics such as arrests, judiciary procedures, the pursuit of dissidents, and other aspects of political life in the Soviet Union. The periodical shed negative light on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). By Mitrokhin’s account, although Velikanova had been officially sanctioned by the state with regards to continuing her work, she paid no heed to the warnings. In essence, Velikanova remained largely unmoved by the searches and interrogations subsequently conducted by the State Prosecutor’s Office. The KGB file stated that the West had helped Velikanova by supplying her with financial resources. Velikanova further received assistance from the Fund for Aiding Political Nonconformists. Velikanova’s file stated that she was being investigated by the KGB in accordance with the wishes of the Prosecutor’s Office.

  • June, 2007

    The Homyakov Case. Folder 87. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe Martin Ole Heinstadt-“Homyakov” (b.1947), a citizen of Norway, and a secretary/archivist at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. According to the entry, the Second Chief Directorate (SCD) of the KGB sent one of its operatives, Valerii Evgenevich Zverev, to a function at the Norwegian embassy in Moscow in May 1971. Zverev had been sent to the embassy in order to strengthen ties with SCD KGB operative “Pavlov.” As a cover, Zverev had adopted the identity of a foreign correspondent. The entry states that during the May 1971 gathering, Zverev met Homyakov with whom he was subsequently able to meet regularly. Homyakov began to give Zverev information about official embassy business, including details regarding Soviet citizens and embassy visitors Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that in order to continue receiving information, the SCD KGB ensured that Homyakov and Zverev met in a secluded region, away from the eyes of foreign visitors. The SCD KGB sent operative Andrei Mikhailovich Agekyan, who acted as a mediator between Homyakov and Zverev. Agekyan presented himself as an attorney who was capable of resolving disagreements. The entry mentions that Agekyan was able to “rescue his friends from impending problems.” KGB sources, as described by Mitrokhin, state that there was an agreement with Homyakov regarding the means of establishing contact with the SCD while he was in Norway. From May 4 to September 3, 1972 Homyakov was again in Moscow, where he worked as a guard at the Norwegian embassy. In relocating Homyakov to Moscow, the SCD KGB was able to continue to maintain its operations in the Norwegian embassy, and receive key documents from the Norwegian military attaché. Homyakov was later arrested by Norwegian authorities for espionage.

  • June, 2007

    The Ezhov Case. Folder 85. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin gives an account of KGB operative Peter Yots (codename “Ingo” or “Ezhov”), and his assignments within the FRG. The KGB file presents a brief biographical sketch of Yots who was born in 1937 in Berlin, and was trained as an electrical technician who specialized in deciphering coded radio transmissions and telegrams. Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin asserts that Yots worked as an agent in the First Chief Directorate which sent him to West Germany in 1961 to fulfill the aims of operation “Glavnoiie.” The operation, according to the file, required Yots to monitor the movement of FRG forces and military equipment at the “Aizedlerhoff” railroad station. Yots was, nonetheless, soon relocated to Nuremberg where he took up a job as a lighting technician at a local theater. Between 1962 and 1964, Yots contributed to operation “Delta” from the island of Nidervert off the coast of Nuremberg. The KGB account relates that Yots was authorized by the First Chief Directorate to use necessary means to intercept telegraph messages and other communications, so as to inflict “maximum damage” upon the enemy. In 1967, Yots was relocated to Munich, where he became employed as a lighting technician at a local television station. One of Yots’ Munich missions, codenamed “Zarevo,” involved carrying out the surveillance of the “Alley Café”—a bar owned by Adolf and Mariette Laimer which was frequented by Americans. The KGB entry mentions that Yots also monitored the U.S Consulate and all surrounding public venues which attracted American diplomats and personnel. Yots was relocated by the First Chief Directorate to Czechoslovakia on August 2, 1968 but returned to Munich in 1969.

  • June, 2007

    The Kardinal and Mavr Case. Folder 94. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe “Kardinal” (formerly “Lord”)-Lothar Schwartz (b. 1928), a member of the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany, and a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

  • June, 2007

    The Ref Case. Folder 68. The Chekist Anthology.

    Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin presents a profile of Marcel Laufer “Ref,” a Uruguayan citizen of Jewish ancestry and a special agent of the KGB.

  • June, 2007

    The Lucy Case. Folder 74. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe Erlich Vranni “Lucy” (b. 1948), a native of Bern, Switzerland and the secretary of the Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia from 1969-1970. Beginning in January 1970, Lucy collaborated with Sergei Nikolayevich Argunov, an agent within the KGB’s branch in Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • June, 2007

    The Skeptic Case. Folder 54. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB sources to describe Boris Yakovlevich Krilov (“Maximilian”), an agent from the KGB’s First Chief Directorate, who was responsible for the surveillance of Soviet citizens. Maximilian’s duties led him to investigate a certain Nikitin about whom the latter compiled the following entry.

  • June, 2007

    The Richard Zorge Case. Folder 59. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin recounts how during the 1960s the leadership of the KGB had shown its Dzerzhinsky Central Club agents a 2-part French movie entitled “Who Are You, Doctor Zorge?” A Soviet spy, Zorge aroused much interest within the ranks of the KGB. Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin states how Zakharov, the Deputy Director of the KGB, consequently issued an order to prepare a report on Zorge.

  • June, 2007

    The Nationalism Case. Folder 57. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin expresses the KGB’s views on the threat of organized oppositionist nationalism within the Soviet bloc.