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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Mitrokhin Archive

The Mitrokhin Archive consists of summarized notes taken by Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to the United Kingdom after the fall of the Soviet Union. Primarily, this collection contains items from his "Chekist Anthology," which covers activities of the secret Soviet organization Cheka in places such as Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and Egypt. For more context, please read the "Note on Sources" and biography of Mitrokhin below, all of which should be read before any other documents. See also Intelligence Operations in the Cold War and the Vassiliev Notebooks. (Image, Mitrokhin)

  • June, 2007

    Hot Pursuit, 1975. Folder 25. The Chekist Anthology

    Vasili Mitrokhin reports that on 7 May 1975 the border patrol officers detained a suspiciously-looking young man, between 20-22 years of age, for trespassing on the border zone in the village of Lunka, Glybovsky District, Chernivsty Oblast, who identified himself as Muntianov Boris Borisovich, resident of Odessa. His likeness did not match the passport photo and the officers asked that he follow them to the local security checkpoint. Muntianov resisted and attacked one of the officers, hitting him in the face. He headed for the deep forest and was able to escape. Searching the area, officers retrieved the trespasser’s rucksack that contained the Russian-English dictionary, a chocolate bar, flashlight, batteries, large-scale map of Chernivtsi Oblast, electric razor, binocular, four passports with different surnames, birth certificate, work-book, and a registration card issued to Petraukas Zigmas Yuzovich, native of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Lithuanian KGB informed that Petraukas is a wanted criminal. Local residents of Novoselitskoe and Glybovsky districts actively assisted in the search of Petraukas. On May 8, fifteen search teams with trained dogs scanned the forest. Petraukas was intercepted near the village of Marshynitsy, approximately five kilometers away from the border. Petraukas confessed during questioning that he was dissatisfied with the life in the USSR and was planning to escape via Romania to a capitalist country. The testimony was confirmed through the interior investigation in his cell.

  • June, 2007

    The Bukovsky Case 1959-1976. Folder 26. The Chekist Anthology

    Vasili Mitrokhin describes the KGB handling of Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky, native of Bembei, Bashkir ASSR. Bukovsky has been under investigation by the KGB since 1959, when he was still in the 10th grade in the Moscow Secondary School No. 59. As a high school student, he authored a journal “Martyr” that contained negative comments about the CPSU. In 1960, he established a youth organization that produced illegal leaflets. Since then, Bukovsky engaged in a number of dissident events and was time and time again warned by the KGB against participating in such activities. Bukovsky continued and in 1963 Miss Stevens, an American citizen, passed to him a copy of a book by Milovan Djilas entitled “The New Class.” Bukovsky proceeded to disseminate it. On 1 June, 1963 criminal charges were pressed against Bukovsky following his arrest. It was decided to enroll him at the psychiatric clinic, the custody was first granted to his parents. Bukovsky continued his anti-Soviet activity and on 5 December 1965 joined protests in defense of Siniavsky and Daniel. He was interned in a psychiatric clinic that month. In the fall of 1966, Bukovsky, Daniel and Gubanov established a youth organization called “Avangard.” In 1967, Bukovsky was arrested once again. At trial, he spoke against Article 70 and 190 of the Constitution, stating they were ambivalent, vague and exploited to persecute political opponents of the CPSU. In 1972, Bukovsky was sentenced and sent to a labor camp. In 1976, he was exchanged for Corvalan, the leader of the Communist Party of Chile.

  • June, 2007

    The Troyitsky Couple, 1964-65. Folder 27. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin reports on KGB investigation of the Troyistsky couple. Troyitskaya Lidiya Petrovna was a legal consultant at the Central Bureau of Technical Assistance, Glavzapaduralstroy. Her husband Troyitsky Zinovy Anatoliyevich was a member of the CPSU, senior instructor of law at the Perm State University. In order to distract the Troyitsky couple and wiretap their apartment, A. G. Korolkov, a member of the CPSU, reserve colonel, and the deputy director of the Central Bureau of Technical Assistance at Glavzapaduralstroy, was encouraged to establish friendly relations with them. From the audio record of the couple’s conversation, it was clear they were intending to go on vacation on September 2, 1964 and travel on a cruise ship to Astrakhan, stopping over in the town of Volsk, Saratov Oblast, on the way back to see Troyitskaya’s sister—L. P. Kazakova. The KGB launched the operation “Artists.” listening equipment was installed in their cabin on the ship. The couple slandered the USSR and expressed concerned for their safety in their conversations. At Kazakova’s apartment, the Troyitsky couple listened to the Voice of America, BBC and other radio stations. On September 17, the KGB conducted a covert search of the premises and photographed a notebook with addresses of their Soviet and foreign contacts On March 23, 1965 the KGB searched Troyitskys’ apartment, discovering a copy of the NTS (Narodno-trudovoy Soyuz) brochure in a Christmas ornament, and other items. In the aftermath of the search, the Troyitsky couple was arrested. Zinovy Troyitsky was sentenced to six years in various strict-regime facilities and was stripped of his license to teach. Lidiya Troyitska was sentenced to three years in a strict-regime colony.

  • June, 2007

    About an Embassy. Folder 78. The Chekist Anthology

    Folder 78 concerns KGB operations against the Syrian embassy in Moscow in the early 1970’s. It begins with brief biographical descriptions of the KGB agents and confidential contacts involved in penetrating the embassy. The Syrian Ambassador, Vhaya Jamil, was targeted by female KGB agents and confidential contacts who were told to express a romantic interest in him, while an official from the embassy’s military procurement bureau was targeted by a KGB agent who enticed the official into engaging in foreign currency speculation. As a result of his actions, the official was expelled from the Soviet Union. The KGB also used specially organized hunting trips on which agents and confidential contacts developed relations with Ambassador Vhaya. During one such hunting trip the Ambassador revealed the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Nikolai V. Podgorny would visit Egypt in January 1971 to sign a friendship agreement with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. On a similar occasion on 12 September, 1973, Ambassador Vhaya explained that the short term goal of Middle Eastern leaders was to debunk the myth of Israeli invincibility, while the long term goal of destroying Israel, would have to wait for 5-15 years. Finally, Ambassador Vhaya became one of the KGB’s confidential contacts on a KGB organized hunting trip codenamed OPERATION T, which was personally approved by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov. During the trip, a KGB agent was assigned to invite Vhaya to what was purported to be his aunt’s dacha. Subsequently the Ambassador was considered to be a KGB confidential contact.

  • June, 2007

    By the Church Gates. Folder 1. The Chekist Anthology.

    This folder includes information on the arrest of Patriarch Tikhon, 1919 and 1922, and Felix Dzerzhinsky’s minutes of 2 December 1920 meeting asserting exclusive role of the VChK in undermining the Church. The note includes extracts of a 23 February 1922 decree on confiscation of Church treasures, and describes the subsequent liquidation of Bishop Phillipe and Professor Uspenski, the emergence and persecution of the True Orthodox Church and True Orthodox Christians operating underground, and KGB Penetration of the True Orthodox Church’s top leadership during the 1960’s. Efforts to strengthen Orthodox control over Belorussian, Kazakh, and Ukrainian national churches, the February 1975 conference of heads of Warsaw Pact security services and their decision to engage in joint action against the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and other religious institutions in the West, and the KGB’s campaign against underground religious manuscript publishers (samizdat) during 1970’s are discussed. The file contains KGB statistics on religious participation throughout the USSR, and a description of Archbishop Sinod’s, anti-Soviet activities in 1920’s and his support for Hitler during the Great Patriotic War. The notes section includes Mitrokhin’s thoughts on religion in Kievan Russ in 988 and extracts from FCD operations files on Church personalities involved in operations abroad. Includes operational codenames of KGB agents who had infiltrated the True Orthodox Church

  • June, 2007

    Disarming 'Osot' ideologically, 1963-73. Folder 12. The Chekist Anthology.

    Vasili Mitrokhin provides a detailed account of the KGB active measures in the case of Vladimir Dremluga, codenamed “Osot.”

  • June, 2007

    Pseudonym. Folder 11. The Chekist Anthology.

    Mitrokhin states that discipline was the main reason for assigning a pseudonym to a KGB agent. Some agents refused to choose a pseudonym, considering it to be humiliating. But as Mitrokhin points out, a refusal to use a pseudonym could diminish the psychological and operational effect of the recruitment process. The KGB Order No. 00430 stipulated that all recruits had to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding their collaboration with the agency. The KGB Order No. 00235 specified that the most valuable agents had to be indexed solely by their respective pseudonyms. As a recruitment tactic, Mitrokhin notes, the use of a pseudonym enhanced agent’s awareness of the secretive nature of one’s work and accentuated the conspiratorial function of the KGB.

  • June, 2007

    Directorate K Memorandum No. 153/838, 21 January 1976. Folder 13. The Chekist Anthology

    The Memorandum No. 153/838 considered problems associated with the dissident movement of the Peoples Workers’ Union (Narodno-trudovoy soyuz, NTS). Vasili Mitrokhin writes that among the primary concerns mentioned in the Memorandum was the execution of complex active measures to aggravate contradictions between the leadership of various NTS groups. The Memorandum instructed operatives to observe relations of the NTS with the publishers of the journal “Continent.” In order to fuel up tensions between the NTS groups, operatives needed to, among other things, find out whether members of the “Continent” received higher payments than members of the NTS. In general, Mitrokhin suggests that the foremost purpose of the Memorandum was to gather disreputable information and undermine activities of the NTS.

  • June, 2007

    Tracking down writers of anonymous letters and leaflets, 1957-74. Folder 14. The Chekist Anthology.

    Vasili Mitrokhin describes investigative methods used during anti-Soviet incidents in Sverdlovsk and Serov. On November 7, 1969 anti-Soviet leaflets were distributed in the city of Sverdlovsk. The KGB collected 60 copies. It was determined that the leaflets were made on a portable typewriter of a foreign make using a standard-format paper. It was also estimated based on the content of the leaflets that the author was approximately 17-20 years old. On April 26, 1970 the anonymous leaflets appeared in the city for the second time. They were printed on the same typewriter, but differed in content. The KGB operatives collected 14 copies. Similarly to the first group of leaflets, they feature a signature of the “Executive body of the party ‘Free Russia’.” On May 1, 1970 identical leaflets were disseminated in the city of Serov. The KGB operatives narrowed down the circle of suspects to 176 students. From local testimonies, they discovered that Uzlov, a student at the Ural Institute of Engineers, had been a member of a youth organization called “Revolutionary Workers’ Party,” which was later renamed to “Free Russia.” Nikolay Shaburov (born 1945) and Victor Pestov (born 1946) were leaders of the “Free Russia.” They designed the text of the leaflets and recruited followers to help distribute the copies. Members of the “Free Russia” were arrested and convicted.

  • June, 2007

    The 'MRAKOBES' [Obscurantist] Case, 1960-61. Folder 15. The Chekist Anthology.

    This report from Vasili Mitrokhin presents evidence of an anonymous writer—“Mrakobes”— who between 1960 and 1961 delivered anti-Soviet letters and caricatures of government and party leaders to foreign embassies and Soviet institutions in Moscow. The letters were written by hand and contained Church Slavic fonts and constructions. They were put in a letter box at different times of the day, in different parts of Moscow. Each set of letters was put in a different letter box. Examination of text, envelopes, and paper demonstrated that the anonymous author was familiar with rare literature, had a good command of musical and church lexicon, and made good use of figures of speech. The author was also estimated to be a middle-age male with education in humanities. From some letters intercepted by the KGB, operatives obtained his fingerprints. They also observed that one letter box was frequented by the anonymous writer more than others. The KGB laid an ambush. The hideout for the operatives was camouflaged as a storage room and a light signal was set up. Several weeks later, on February 5, 1961 “Mrakobes” delivered four letters. A surveillance team identified him as S.F. Petrakov (born 1924). To verify it was the right person, the team wanted to check his fingerprints against the earlier obtained fingerprint. Petrakov was invited to a medical inspection, during which an operative posing as a doctor fingerprinted him with a magnifying glass. Petrakov’s identity was confirmed. He confessed to having produced around 100 anti-Soviet documents that had been mailed by post at various times.

  • June, 2007

    The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast. Folder 17. The Chekist Anthology.

    Mitrokhin observes that having surveyed Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, codenamed “Pauk” (Spider), for a long time, the KGB had sufficient evidence to prosecute him. However, their intention was to debunk his teachings. The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast invited agent “Marina”—Natalia Reshetovskaya— to participate in their actions against Solzhenitsyn. Mitrokhin indicates that Marina went through an intensive course of operative and psychological preparation. The KGB familiarized her with the nature of ideological subversion practiced by security services dealing with Solzhenitsyn. Marina also gained necessary expertise by performing practical tasks, learning the surroundings of Solzhenitsyn, and taking a look at his literary works. Beyond Solzhenitsyn, the KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast also oversaw various clubs and organizations attended by intelligentsia that might have had harmful political inclinations. There were several instances of such developments recorded in Ryazan Oblast. In 1967, Belik, teacher at a music school in Ryazan, founded the Olymp Society, whose policy was to combat government censorship. Bigalko, teacher of Russian language at the Pedagogical Institute, started a discussion club called “Disk” that encouraged students to think critically and challenge authority. The KGB Directorate of Ryazan Oblast compiled reports on teachers and representatives of intelligentsia who held anti-Soviet views. Professor Vilensky was one of them. He urged the introduction of another political party, listened to foreign radio programs, and drew comparisons between the Soviet and bourgeois ways of life. Such behavior contributed to an atmosphere of impunity among citizenry, which further encouraged unwanted generalizations.

  • June, 2007

    Solzhenitsyn, Codenamed Pauk [Spider]. Folder 40. The Chekist Anthology.

    This folder contains information about KGB active measures directed at author Alexander Solzhenitsyn following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1974. The operational directives prepared by the KGB’s leadership for 1974 and 1975 are reproduced verbatim. They included plans to limit Solzhenitsyn’s influence in the West, discredit him and the pro-democracy literary journal “Continent” with which he was closely associated, and make his family fear for their personal safety. Many of the specific measures undertaken by the KGB are described in the document. These included televised interviews with men featured in “The Gulag Archipelago” in which they claimed that Solzhenitsyn fabricated or misrepresented their statements to him, the publication of personal letters between Solzhenitsyn and his close male friends which were intended to reveal the “intimacy of their relations,” and the publication of an article claiming that Solzhenitsyn failed to pay his taxes while he resided in Switzerland. The 1978 operation codenamed “Vampire 1” involved planting a news story which suggested that Solzhenitsyn was a KGB spy, and having it reprinted in prominent newspapers and journals throughout Europe and the US. The document concludes with an index of acronyms, people, and codenames mentioned in the folder.

  • June, 2007

    The Telegram "Dogma." Folder 50. The Chekist Anthology

    According to Mitrokhin, in 1979 KGB headquarters sent a telegram to its residencies abroad stating that Soviet intelligentsia, the American embassy in Moscow, and foreign correspondents who were accredited to work in the Soviet Union, had been holding anti-soviet activities. The telegram text, which is provided by Mitrokhin in his entry, states that Kopalev, Chukovskaya, Kornilov, Vladimov, and Vojnovich were expelled from the U.S.S.R. Union of Writers for their anti-socialist publications. However, after this incident they started to gain influence among Soviet writers and many anti-soviet materials were published, which led to publication of the almanac “Metropol.” The American embassy assisted the publication by organizing events with influential intelligentsia of the West who inspired Soviet writers in favor of capitalism. Mitrokhin states that KGB officials ordered all residencies to immediately stop these activities. It was planned to publish provocative materials about all Western supporters of the almanac. KGB residencies in the West were in charge of collecting these materials.

  • June, 2007

    Association of the United Postwar Immigrants. Folder 52. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry Mitrokhin provides an example of methods the KGB used to make foreign intelligence services distrust Soviet anti-socialist organizations. Mitrokhin cites the case of the Association of the United Soviet Postwar Immigrants. According to Mitrokhin, the head of the organization was a former citizen of the Soviet Union, but after WWII he stayed in Western Germany and had been actively promoting anti-socialist ideology among immigrants. Mitrokhin does not provide his real name, but uses his KGB codename “Konstantinov.” According to Mitrokhin, in February of 1963 the KGB sent counterfeit documents to West German counter-intelligence stating that “Konstantinov” had been an active KGB spy since WWII. The KGB also sent letters in the name of Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants to National Alliance of Russian Solidarists stating that the officials of the latter organization are “politically bankrupt” and that they were no longer able to promote anti-socialist ideology. The KGB residency in Belgium prepared a flyer with false information stating that the Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants was a corrupt institution whose president used its funds for personal use. According to Mitrokhin, the reputation of the Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants was destroyed and no longer remained influential.

  • June, 2007

    Kompromats. Folder 34. The Chekist Anthology.

    June 01 2007 - In this entry Mitrokhin explains the importance of having kompromats (a form of grey propaganda used in information warfare against opponents in business and politics) for Soviet anti-socialist activists. Mitrokhin provides two examples of KGB kompromats that played significant roles in repressing oppositionists. In late 1960s the Ukrainian nationalist movement had been growing in popularity. Ivanchenko was one of the radicals who allowed himself to publicly criticize Soviet policies and claimed that Ukraine faced Russification. He organized a club that promoted anti-socialist philosophy. All these facts of his biography were documented by the KGB. Mitrokhin states that Ivanchenko knew many influential Ukrainian nationalists very well. His connections were critical to the KGB. According to Mitrokhin, in 1970 he was blackmailed by the KGB. They used a kompromat: either Ivanchenko became their undercover agent and helped them to fight the anti-socialist movement or he would be excluded from the university and charged for his ideological crimes. Ivanchenko was recruited and his new codename was “Nikolai.” In another example of kompromat Mitrokhin states that in the second half of 1972 Jewish population in Odessa started an opposition movement against the Soviet immigration policies. One of their leaders, Emmanuel Pekar, was once arrested at the Odessa market for selling watches of foreign origin; however he was not charged. Mitrokhin states that Pekar was offered a choice—to become a KGB undercover agent in the Jewish community or go to trial for speculation. Pekar was recruited and his new codename was “Milan.”

  • June, 2007

    The USSR-France Society. Folder 71. The Chekist Anthology

    This note describes the relations between the U.S.S.R. – France Society and the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (SSOD). According to Mitrokhin, SSOD was founded in 1958 as a public organization for intellectuals interested in Soviet studies. However, the U.S.S.R. – France Society served as a cover institution for KGB agents. Although the multi-national organization was a threat to leaks of confidential information, undercover agents used the relations between the two organizations to establish connections with diplomats, the heads of influential clubs, journalists, and scientists. It was convenient for KGB agents to organize events to promote political goals. Because of the relations developed as a result of these activities, the KGB residency prevented a number of anti-socialist decisions.

  • June, 2007

    Stiffening control over citizens. Folder 56. The Chekist Anthology

    This report provides evidence of a secret Moldovan KGB and Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) conference which took place in July 2, 1976. In this folder Mitrokhin provides a detailed plan for cooperation between these two institutions in order to provide state and public security. According to Mitrokhin, state security had been threatened by foreign spies, anti-socialist leadership, foreign tourists from capitalist countries, Jewish and German extremists, and sectarians. In order to counter these perceived threats, the officials of both institutions agreed to provide each other with the needed information, to organize events to promote socialism and patriotism, and to cooperate under any circumstances. This folder provides evidence that the officials were most concerned about foreign visitors and their activities in Moldova. A number of actions were taken to prohibit any kind of a threat, including special control over temporary residents, prohibiting immigration of people of Jewish and German descent, confiscating weapons from civilian foreigners, and detaining them in case they violate law and order. Mitrokhin points out that the officials agreed that strengthening the State Automobile Inspectorate (GAI) and border patrol would be necessary to avoid the chance of the smallest opposition movement.

  • June, 2007

    Operational Techniques. Folder 76. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Mitrokhin reports on some spy techniques used by the KGB in major western European cities (including Helsinki, Geneva, Bucharest) in 1975. According to Mitrokhin, the main tasks for KGB residents trained in the use of operational techniques were to check post offices for foreign correspondence, to secretly receive information about meetings of officials of a certain country, and to videotape any acts of anti-socialist movements. This note provides detailed statistics on the photographs taken of foreign mail, telephone recordings, and radio-intercepts. Mitrokhin specifically focuses on operations which took place in Vienna. As his note states, KGB agents photographed thousands of pages of secret materials using the “Zagadka,” a mini-camera built into a regular pen. The KGB residency had their own “TS” correspondence service with 98 N-line—undercover agents operated by legal residents—around Europe. Residents used microdot script and steganography —the art of writing hidden messages—for agents of N-line. As Mitrokhin states, X-line—residency subunit of scientific-technical investigation—agents’ tasks were to provide materials for secret operations. They built in a recording device in an ashtray, used the inside of an automobile seats to keep secret materials, and batteries for cameras. Mitrokhin also provides the exact number and names of all KGB residency agencies in Vienna in 1975, and describes security techniques used for their technology and agents.

  • June, 2007

    Agent Reports. Procedural guidance on the form of agent reports in criminal cases. Folder 10. The Chekist Anthology.

    This document outlines the limits and requirements of an agent’s engagement in the implementation of given objectives. The limits of an agent’s participation in a criminal investigation are set by an operative responsible for a particular case. Taking into account concrete circumstances of each assignment, the operative determines proper format of an agent report in order to fully detail all relevant information. The primary requirement of agent reports is to capture the circumstances, connections, and function of persons and events under investigation. Agent reports must be comprehensive, complete and objective. In criminal cases, every agent must conduct a deep examination of one’s lifestyle, behavior, habits, psychological condition, peer pressure, facial expressions and intonation. Agent reports are attached to an agent’s Working and Personal files. When an agent is relocated to a different KGB center, the reports included in the Working file remain in the original center for 10 years, while his or her Personal file is sent to a new location, where a new Working file is created.

  • June, 2007

    Actions to Promote Discord. Folder 90. The Chekist Anthology.

    Contains information on active measures undertaken by the KGB residency in Ankara, Turkey during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The residency carried out active measures to destabilize Turkey’s military regime, undermine US military personnel’s sense of security through the publication of threatening leaflets, inflame the rivalry between Greece and Turkey, and foster anti-American sentiments. Mitrokhin provides detailed descriptions of several operations involving altered or fabricated personal correspondence, as well as newspaper articles written by, or ‘inspired’ by KGB agents or confidential contacts. The KGB residency claimed that these operations resulted in, among other things, the removal of Foreign Minister Nuri Birgi from office, and the expulsion of several American diplomats for allegedly interfering with Turkish elections.