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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 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.

  • June, 2007

    The Case of Zinovyeva and Others, 1972. Folder 23. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin describes KGB reports on slanderous and politically harmful material disseminated in Kaluga Oblast.

  • June, 2007

    The Conrad Case. Folder 72. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Mitrokhin describes the work experience of German KGB agent Conrad (codename “Gregor”), his experience as a spy, involvement with communist parties in different countries, and activities as the head of military sabotage groups in Western Europe.

  • 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

    Neutralizing of Dissidents’ Activities in the 1970s. Folder 49. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Mitrokhin describes dissidents’ activities in the Soviet Union and KGB attempts to stop them.

  • 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 Sakharov-Bonner Case. Folder 44. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this folder Mitrokhin provides a detailed history of Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner’s anti-socialist activities in the Soviet Union as well as their achievements and failures.

  • June, 2007

    The KGB of the Ukrainian SSR. Annual review by V.V. Fedorchuk of counter-intelligence operations in 1970. Folder 16. The Chekist Anthology.

    Annual review presented by V.V. Fedorchuk, chairman of the KGB in the Ukrainian SSR, summarizes the main successes, failures, and future priorities of the KGB in 1971.

  • June, 2007

    The Baptists. Folder 2. The Chekist Anthology

    This folder includes information on Cheka operations against the Evangelical Christian Baptist Church, (EHB) between 1917 and 1984.