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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June, 2007

    Gulag Camps, 1959-73. Folder 19. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin provides an overview of several corrective labor camps in different parts of the Soviet Union. He selectively describes the state of these facilities, the kinds of prisoners, disciplinary measures, difficulties, etc.

  • June, 2007

    Heat Haze. Folder 20. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin notes that beginning in December 1970 and during the 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the KGB had the following objective: to enhance intelligence and counter-intelligence activities of the Cheka. To achieve this purpose, the KGB established a strategic unit consisting of heads of directorates, deputy secretaries, and other leading committee members chaired by Lieutenant General S.K. Tsvigun. Particular attention was given to signs of terrorist intentions. The unit counteracted eight anti-Soviet groups and organizations, including the Revolutionary Party of Intellectuals (Sverdlovsk), Russian Workers’ Party (Rostov-na-Donu), Struggle for Personal Freedom Union (Temirtau), Struggle for Liberation of Armenia Union (Yerevan), a group of Zionists, and others. Security level was elevated for entry into Moscow, monitoring of important targets, and conducting street patrols. On Red Square, 67 people harboring anti-Soviet views were detained, and four attempted suicides by burning were prevented.

  • June, 2007

    Disintegration, 1976-77. Folder 22. The Chekist Anthology

    In 1976, Leningrad KGB Directorate initiated active measures against “Plushkin,” laboratory director, and “Monarkhist,” employee of a suburban forestry, both of whom were intending to establish an anti-Soviet organization.

  • June, 2007

    About the Middle East. Folder 81. The Chekist Anthology

    Information on the situation in the Middle East prepared by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov in April 1973, prior to a 7 May 1973 discussion in the Politburo. Andropov stated that given the increase in anti-Israeli propaganda in Egypt and Syria, as well as the heightened state of readiness of their armies, it was possible that a coalition of Middle Eastern states could resume military operations against Israel before, or during the upcoming Nixon-Brezhnev summit. To prevent this, the KGB initiated a series of active measures. Specifically, they dispatched KPSU Politburo Candidate Member K.G. Mazurov to speak with Egyptian President Sadat and Syrian President Assad on the USSR’s behalf; informed the United States government through unofficial channels that a resumption of hostilities in the Middle East was not in Moscow’s interests; delayed the delivery of new Soviet surface to surface missiles to Egypt; and dispatched a well known Soviet journalist specializing in Middle Eastern affairs to Cairo and Damascus to study the situation.

  • June, 2007

    National Alliance of Russian Solidarists. Folder 53. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Vasili Mitrokhin expresses the KGB concerns regarding the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists’ (NTS) anti-socialist activities held in the Soviet Union and in the West. Mitrokhin states that the KGB had the task of taking control of NTS’ activities as well as destroing their reputation and connections with other anti-Soviet organizations. In order to paralyze the NTS, the KGB’s fundamental goal was to establish strong connections with the organization by sending undercover agents. Toward the end of 1963, the NTS became familiar with the presence of KGB agents among their members. KGB’s main goal was to create an illusion that the NTS was ruled by the KGB, which would help to make America and the West to distrust the organization. According to Mitrokhin, taking over the NTS’s publication “The Posev” was important as well. Mitrokhin provides a KGB plan to overturn the publication and he also attaches the list of all KGB agents who were involved in this undertaking, including their short biographies and codenames.

  • June, 2007

    The Cheka Emergence. Folder 96. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Mitrokhin provides a history of the Cheka’s creation and its missions in Europe between 1918 and 1925.

  • June, 2007

    The Operational Situation as Reported in 1971, 1975, and 1981. Folder 35. The Chekist Anthology.

    In folder 35 Mitrokhin discusses the KGB’s assertion of an increase in domestic dissent and unrest in the 1970s and early 1980s as well as the methods the KGB utilized to combat this threat. Soviet intelligence believed that this increase in domestic unrest was due primarily to an increased effort by the United States and its allies to promote internal instability within the USSR. In response, the KGB continued to screen foreigners, increased the harshness of penalties for distribution of anti-Soviet literature, and monitored the activities and temperament of nationalists, immigrants, church officials, and authors of unsigned literature within the Soviet Union. Mitrokhin’s note recounts the KGB’s assertion that foreign intelligence agencies were expanding their attempts to create domestic unrest within the USSR. These activities included the support and creation of dissidents within the Soviet Union, the facilitation of the theft Soviet property such as aircrafts, and the public espousal of a position against Soviet persecution of dissidents and Jews. Responding to public exposure of these activities, the KGB proclaimed its legality and trustworthiness while also beginning to assign some agents verbal assignments without written record.

  • June, 2007

    A Directive from the Centre. Folder 79. The Chekist Anthology.

    This 25 April 1974 directive from the Centre is attributed to an author identified as “Sviridov.” It was sent to KGB Line A residencies in Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Aden, Samaa, and others, and contains instructions for planning “active measures.” “Sviridov” identified a variety of channels through which the KGB could influence Middle Eastern governments, militaries, and political groups, while suppressing anti-Soviet groups. Additionally, the residencies were instructed to plan active measures in advance to prepare for future contingencies. In an explanatory note, Mitrokhin explains that “Sviridov” is a pseudonym for then KGB Chairman Yuriy Andropov, and that Line A is the arm of the KGB concerned with active measures intended to influence foreign countries.

  • June, 2007

    Coordination of Soviet and Czechoslovak Intelligence Operations. Folder 80. The Chekist Anthology.

    This folder consists of a detailed operational plan for cooperation between the Czechoslovakian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB for the years 1975-1978. Specific objectives include penetrating the military, political, and economic establishments of the United States, Britain, West Germany, France, and NATO, impeding the activities of the Czech Congress of National Development (KNR), collecting information on “Zionist intrigues,” gathering scientific/technical information on Western achievements in the fields of biological, chemical, and thermonuclear weapons, and using active measures to curtail the activities of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in West Germany.

  • June, 2007

    The Cherepanov Case, 1968-1980 Folder 24. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Vasili Mitrokhin reports that in 1968, a part-time student of the Vilnius Polytechnic University, Cherepanov, was sentenced to two years in a correctional facility for disseminating inflammatory leaflets in downtown Vilnius calling for the overthrow of the Soviet government. In 1970, he returned to Vilnius upon release and was unable to find employment. The KGB recruited Cherepanov, but in 1974 he was fired from the agency network for attempting to exploit his connection with the KGB for personal use, for behaving provocatively and making derogatory statements about the leadership of the KGB, and for intending to leave the Soviet Union. In 1978, Cherepanov met Yolanda Vachatis, citizen of Canada. They tried to get married, but the KGB intervened. In January 1980, Cherepanov attempted to leave for Israel. He applied for permission from the Office of Visas and Registration at the Ministry of the Interior, but was denied. In March 1980, Cherepanov met with Heikki A. Surye, citizen of Finland. Heikki agreed to assist Cherpanov and handed him a map marked with locations safe for escape. Cherepanov persuaded Surovets to come along. The two began collecting information critical of the Soviet regime in order to publish it in the Western press. On June 30, Cherepanov and Surovets left Vilnius for Riga. Once in Riga, Cherepanov mailed a letter to Vachatis, who resided in France at that time, saying that he was planning to meet her there sometime in July. On July 7, Cherepanov and Surovets reached the border zone. The warning system was set off, but, due to a rainy weather, footsteps could not be traced, enabling Cherepanov and Surovets to cross the border. Heads of the 11th and 2nd customs checkpoints and others were reprimanded for negligence and mismanagement of the situation. Cherepanov and Surovets were taken back to the USSR on July 24.

  • 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.