KGB Handbook, 'Ukrainian Bourgeois Nationalists' (excerpt)
Source: Chapter selected from Ukrainian Bourgeois Nationalists (Moscow, Advanced School of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, 1963). Authors: Col. B.S Shul’zhenko, leader; Col. I.V. Khamaziuk; Col. V.T. Dan’ko. Translated for CWIHP by Richard Iserman. Original obtained by the Ukrainian Center for Research on the Liberation Movement (CDVR), D-Archive, www.avr.org.ua
XI. Clandestine Operations of State Security Services to Suppress Enemy Activities of Ukrainian Bourgeois Nationalists on the Territory of the USSR in the Modern Period
Detection and Suppression of Attempts to Conduct Organized Enemy Activity
The main task of state security services in relation to Ukrainian nationalists at the present time consists of preventing the establishment of nationalist anti-Soviet organizations by conducting intelligence and ideological operations and procedures through the use of appropriate political expedients so that Ukrainian nationalists no longer present a force with any capability to oppose the Soviet regime under any circumstances.
For this reason the state security services in their struggle against the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists are focusing attention on the following:
- Efforts to investigate and conduct surveillance on former nationalist ringleaders and criminal authorities that play a role in organizing nationalist activity;
- Examining the connections and groupings of nationalists;
- Preventing and suppressing openly hostile activities by nationalists;
- Interception of any channels of communication used by nationalists to communicate with emigrant centers abroad that are uncovered in the process of investigation.
In order to get a sense of the volume of Chekist work that is being done in this area, it is enough to remember that even just within the western regions of Ukraine there are over a thousand former ringleaders and criminal nationalist authorities. Many of them have attempted to conduct active anti-Soviet activities immediately after their return from prison, to incite their associates to open hostile demonstrations and to exercise political influence in some of the cities in the western regions of Ukraine.
In 1957-58, the attention of state security services was brought to bear on the criminal acts of dozens of former nationalist ringleaders who were engaged in this kind of activity. Some formerly active nationalists, attempting to resume anti-Soviet activities after their early release from prison, were returned to prison in accordance with the law to serve out their full terms.
In 1956 an amnestied Ukrainian nationalist by the name of Lutsyk was released from prison, a former leader of one of the regional branches of the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists]. According to intelligence, he conducted anti-Soviet nationalist activity in prison and arrived in Ukraine with hostile intentions. In order to learn about Lutsyk’s behavior one of his fellow inmates was used, agent "Solovev," as well as other agents.
An operational review of Lutsyk established that from his first days in Ukraine he started to make contact with former inmates, who were living at that time in the regions of Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk. In meetings with these individuals he demanded that they become involved in active anti-Soviet work.
According to "Solovev," Lutsyk’s goal was to bring together a group of nationalists, set up an underground printing press, organize the preparation and distribution of handbills and make it clear to his former associates that the conditions for an anti-Soviet struggle were at hand, that nationalists are continuing to actively operate and thereby to include them in his plans for active enemy operations. Lutsyk’s former associates, including those used by our agents, were skeptical that under the circumstances it would be possible to act openly without risking punishment. After this Lutsyk decided to go underground and complete his plans alone, demonstrating the "unbroken will to fight" of the Ukrainian nationalists.
Thanks to “Solovev’s” correct behavior, the opportunity for gaining information on Lutsyk was not lost, and the KGB was kept informed about his likely hiding places, his connections and his hostile intentions.
Although Lutsyk was unable to persuade any of his associates to join him, it was undesirable to allow him to remain underground. Therefore measures were taken for his arrest. Receiving information from agent "Solovev" about Lutsyk’s upcoming arrival to a village for a meeting with one of his contacts, state security services organized an assault and captured him, finding a gun and anti-Soviet documents in his possession.
In those years there were many former nationalist ringleaders and criminal authorities released early from prison, like Lutsyk, who showed an aspiration see a swiftly unfolding anti-Soviet struggle break out. But, convinced that nationalism was fundamentally compromised, that popular support was lacking and that prevailing conditions made an anti-Soviet struggle impractical, many of them, as indicated earlier, changed tactics and focused their efforts on accumulating strength and on building ideological unity among those who shared their views. The same former ringleaders and criminal authorities conduct themselves very conspiratorially and circumspectly, so as not to give a reason for repressive measures against them. Given the current circumstances, some have even suggested the conspiratorial ruse of appealing to the legal authorities for a legal conviction for past nationalist activity, just in order to decrease attention from state security services.
One of Lutsyk’s fellow inmates in the prison camps was an OUN “branch” member named Vanevich. Like Lutsyk, he conducted active anti-Soviet work while in prison and returned to Ukraine with the intention of organizing active nationalist operations. But Vanevich quickly understood that under the current conditions it would be impossible to conduct anti-Soviet activity and escape punishment and that he couldn’t count on any particular support from the surrounding community, since the people did not see former nationalists as heroes, but as criminals.
At first Vanevich worried little about the conspiracy of his meetings with his inmates, but after state security services arrested several nationalists who were well-known to him, he suddenly changed his behavior shortly before his early release from prison. According to intelligence from Vanevich he is continuing to take anti-Soviet positions, but has at least kept his meetings and correspondence with his associates to a minimum and is not undertaking any practical measures toward resuming enemy activity.
In order to expose Vanevich’s intentions an operation was conducted whereby he was introduced to “Ternopolskii,” a trusted and qualified agent, through one of his fellow inmates who already had Vanevich’s confidence and was also known to the agent.
“Ternopolskii’s” conspiratorial behavior (he hid the fact of his former incarceration from his neighbors and was careful in his selection of contacts etc.) and his reticence in conversations with Vanevich won him over to Vanevich, and after a little while he revealed his views and intentions.
According to “Ternopolskii,” Vanevich believes that at the present moment the main task is to remain a nationalist, to look to the surrounding community, study them, skillfully seek to develop an anti-Soviet spirit, share hostile intentions only with specially trusted people, follow the strictest conspiratorial secrecy in meetings with former inmates and refrain from openly nationalist anti-Soviet activities that would enable the state security services to suspect them of disloyalty to the Soviet regime.
Vanevich hopes for the possibility of developing “a self-sufficient Ukraine,” which could happen, in his opinion, as a result of military conflict of the two world socio-political systems. He thinks that as a result of this conflict the Soviet Union will be weakened, which the nationalists must take advantage of. Therefore the main task of the nationalists consists of preparation for this upcoming struggle.
In the course of investigating Vanevich attention was especially focused on documenting his enemy activity in order to suppress it.
The majority of ideologically dangerous former ringleaders of Ukrainian nationalists debate and act like Vanevich. Their behavior provides few visible grounds for active covert investigation; they reveal their plans and intentions only to those who are especially trusted.
It is enough to say that that according to group intelligence operations that have been done in recent years in Ukraine, usually former ringleaders have not gone by the wayside, although they are informed about these groups and have influence on their activity. It is also rarely possible for state security services to determine the connections of former ringleaders to Ukrainian nationalists that live abroad, which is mainly due to their caution.
It would therefore be incorrect to draw the conclusion that intelligence work in the relations of former ringleaders and criminal authorities has fallen by the wayside. Covert surveillance of this category of individuals must be permanent and precise, because in the current environment they can maintain highly secret periodic contact with foreign centers and secretly instigate nationalist group activity, although they may not be organizationally connected with any groups themselves. Former ringleaders are attentively teaching their former associates, periodically meeting with them, revealing their political views and determining the appropriateness for a struggle against the Soviet regime at the current time or in the future. The training is conducted personally by former ringleaders as well as through their trusted connections.
Often it is difficult to distinguish a formerly active participant of the OUN that has abandoned his enemy views from a chameleon who is still ideologically dangerous. Some of these chameleons go to places where nobody knows them and cleverly set themselves up with a job and assiduously fulfill their work-related responsibilities, attentively following political events and explaining their viewpoints to colleagues and neighbors, using their authority in their work.
Not all former ringleaders of the OUN have identical views of the Soviet regime. Many of them, like a large number of all rank nationalists, have permanently broken ties with their former anti-Soviet activity. There are those who have not completely conquered their nationalist convictions, and there are furthermore some who are gradually preparing for a new level of struggle against the Soviet regime in the event of international complications. For this reason the state security services are obligated to know the position of every former nationalist ringleader on this question.
In accordance with the orders of the KGB former nationalist ringleaders are routinely under surveillance, if there are no grounds for establishing a more intense covert investigation. Some workers may imagine that surveillance is a less important form of intelligence work. But considering current tactics of Ukrainian nationalists and their hostile intentions, one must conclude that surveillance of every ringleader is no less important than conducting covert investigations.
At the present time the covert intelligence operations of the state security services are directed towards the detection and suppression of the activities of nationalists, which are trying to create groups and alliances, develop the nationalist spirit of ideologically unsound individuals and spread nationalistic literature. To these ends Ukrainian nationalists are trying to restore old contacts of an anti-Soviet character and establish new ones, without in the process sowing division between followers of [Ukrainian nationalists Stepan] Bandera, [Andrei] Melkin and other factions within the OUN. They attempt to exert influence on criminal elements, improve ties with Uniate and Autocephalous priests and recruit new members, as well as establish contact with nationalists in other Republics of the Soviet Union or People’s Democracies [i.e., Soviet Bloc countries].
As indicated earlier, the tendency toward creating groups is highly characteristic of the current tactics of nationalists within the country. Such a tendency is followed throughout the Soviet Union. For example, recently nationalist groups have been exposed and uncovered by state security services not only in the western regions of Ukraine, but even in the Donbass, Dniepropetrovsk, Kiev, Kharkov, and in the Komi ASSR [Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic]. Ordinarily nationalist groups have organized contacts in other regions, Soviet Republics and sometimes also in neighboring People's Democracies.
Regarding the detection and investigation of nationalist groups it is useful to note certain characteristics. One of these is that in recent years nationalists, avoiding the practice of serious struggle against the Soviet regime, have not usually created groups with formal organizational attributes. They do not develop programmatic documents or collectively discuss them, they don't keep any kind of accounting of groups’ members. Interestingly, the groups created by young people that have fallen under anti-Soviet influence in recent years provide more material for determining the nature and content of their criminal activity, although they are focused on secrecy and hiding their activity. These groups develop programs and charters, collect membership fees, keep track of their members and conduct conspiratorial meetings, the nature of which may be determined even without covert infiltration.
Out of 62 nationalist groups that have been uncovered by state security services in the past six years, in only four were participants preparing and distributing handbills and in two they had hung up nationalist flags.
This type of activity can be determined by some characteristics worth noting in investigating nationalist groups. Usually it is impossible to count on extracting material evidence of criminal activity of groups consisting of experienced nationalists. In many cases state security services must detect and document criminal activity without collecting material evidence of lawbreaking. For this reason the presence of an agent inside a group being investigated is indispensable, whether inserted or recruited from the ranks of its membership.
For a full detection of the nature of the group’s activities it is desirable to use covert technical equipment, since even a well-prepared agent will not be able to reproduce the contents of an hours-long conversation of a large group of nationalists in a way that is sufficiently detailed and error-free. For the documentation of this kind of activity state security services can use declarations from the group members’ contacts and from individuals who have been exposed to enemy investigation.
In 1962 a case was opened by the state security services in the regions of Rovno, Chernovits and Ivano-Frankovsk in Ukraine on a group created with the help of a man named Sukhovarskii, a member of one of the Soviet regional organizations of the Rovno region. Information received indicated that he had anti-Soviet relations with several of his acquaintances. Examination of his enemy activity was conducted by introducing three agents whose personal information was similar to that of individuals the Sukhovarskii had inducted to the anti-Soviet group, according to primary sources.
KGB agents worked as though continuing one another’s activity, but none of them entered into relations with the targets under investigation far enough that their behavior constituted enemy acts. In the places where it was presumed Sukhovarskii was attempting to recruit members, recording equipment was installed and documentation was conducted through surveying Sukhovarskii’s organizational contacts.
The fact that the overwhelming majority of nationalist groups harbored plans of anti-Soviet struggle and conducted ideological enemy recruitment but very few groups committed audacious enemy manifestations can be explained by the fact that many groups are uncovered in the early stages of their formation and still haven’t taken shape or determined their possibilities and the means of enemy work. Moreover, they haven’t managed to begin carrying out their intentions. Sukhovarskii’s group was found after 4 months of investigation. The first tip that Sukhovarskii was conducting recruitment into a nationalist group was received shortly after Sukhovarskii strenuously expressed his ideological convictions to his closest peers about the necessity of organizationally carrying out their enemy intentions, gathering recruits and preparing for practical anti-Soviet activity. The initial information was received from a trusted individual, to whom one of Sukhovarskii’s associates suggested joining them.
In cases where the state security services do not have the operational means for uncovering enemy intentions in time, the nationalists are able to commit crimes that may go undetected for a long time.
From June 1959 to December 1960 in one district of the Kirovograd region a handbill was distributed seven times under the name of the “Ukrainian Workers’ and Peasants’ Liberation Union” and the “Union of Struggle” in which there was slander against the Soviet reality and which contained calls to organized struggle against the Soviet regime. Moreover, four cases have been noted where 49 messages of enemy content were made on the walls of houses and factories.
From materials gathered by surveillance and expert conclusions it was evident that the preparation and distribution of anti-Soviet handbills was done by a group of young people.
In the course of conducting search operations, attention was turned to a worker in a mechanical factory named Svistun, and Laenko, an individual of indeterminate occupation attending 10th grade in night school. They attracted suspicion of involvement in preparing and distributing handbills.
Agent “Bystro” (“Fast”) provided information regarding Svistun after hearing him say on a bus to a young man sitting next to him, “We must write, and raise up the people. That only counts as hooliganism on our part and they’ll only give you 2 years for it.”
With regard to Laenko there was information that on November 6, 1960, the day when the anti-Soviet graffiti appeared, that he was supposed to take part in an amateur concert, but he did not appear at the concert. He gave a muddled explanation to a certain R., a trusted individual. Laenko’s mother said two men came to her son and took him with them into the city.
On November 20, 1960, also a day when graffiti appeared, Laenko was accompanying a young female acquaintance along the street where anti-Soviet graffiti was found, according to information from a trusted individual.
An examination of the information received on Svistun and Laenko through the agents “Borisov,” “Bystrov,” and trusted individuals confirmed the suspicions that had been raised. They were placed under active covert investigation with the use of qualified intelligence procedures and recording equipment, as well as outdoor surveillance.
At the end of 1960 experienced agent “Fedorov” was engaged in the investigation of Svistun. He quickly entered into the trust of the target individual and by their second meeting Svistun had already communicated to him that Laenko and two of his associates had prepared handbills and distributed them.
On December 20, 1960, as a result of a search conducted at Laenko’s home the following were found and removed: program records, various notes of anti-Soviet content, a small bottle with signs of an acid, fingerprints that were on one of the distributed handbills and notes belonging to a certain Malyk, written in a handwriting similar to that of some of the handbills.
When Malyk’s residence was searched printed manuscripts were found, made with black India ink, as well as pen nibs bearing a resemblance to those with which the handbills were prepared and a bottle with the remnants of the black India ink.
An interrogation with the use of the uncovered evidence revealed an anti-Soviet gang of nationalist character active in the region consisting of young people. Further investigation established that the gang developed from 1959-1960 by the initiative of Laenko, whose anti-Soviet views formed over the course of several years.
Hatching plans of active anti-Soviet operations, Laenko prepared a draft of a program on the basis of which a deeply secret organization was supposed to develop and work.
In order to attract other individuals to the anti-Soviet struggle he started creating a gang and preparing and distributing anti-Soviet handbills. He first prepared and distributed these handbills in July of 1959. Then he attracted Malyk and Ovchuk into the anti-Soviet gang, with whose participation he prepared and distributed handbills in November 1959.
In 1960 the remaining participants were brought into the gang. In summer of that same year Laenko conducted some illegal meetings of all the group’s participants in which questions were raised about the group’s organizational structure and the activation of enemy work and the content of handbills for distribution and for anti-Soviet graffiti was discussed.
At these same gatherings the decision was made to pay membership dues, an oath was sworn in which participants committed to follow strict conspiratorial secrecy. Participants of the gang, acting on Laenko’s orders, went out in groups of 2-3 people for distribution of handbills in August and carving graffiti in October, November and December of 1960 and twice paid membership dues of 3 rubles.
In this way the anti-Soviet group was actively working for over a year before the KGB became aware of it.
Not infrequently state security services receive a tip about gangs of enemy individuals that do not contain any information about the possible nature of their meetings, since the informant was relying only on externally visible information. Meaning was given to these signs because some of these individuals systematically communicating with one another under some circumstances let enemy views slip. When talking about former nationalists it is necessary to pay attention to even such messages as these.
Sometimes in examining this kind of tip the error is made of examining, for example, the behavior of these individuals in the village, their relations to work or opinions of their village activist association. But it is clear that if these individuals are part of a nationalist group and are really harboring enemy intentions they won’t give their local community a reason to think badly of them. In order to get to the bottom of a tip from an informant it is always necessary to infiltrate the group with an agent.
In cases when operatives tried to make decisions regarding a group without first taking this step, they often made mistakes. There have been cases when on the basis of surface information a conclusion was made that no anti-Soviet activity was taking place, work was halted on studying the group, the case was submitted to the archive, but then a few years later had to be reopened because information was received about subversive activity in further advanced stages from participants of the group.
For example, in the Ternopol region the KGB received information in 1957-1958 about a gang of individuals of a nationalist orientation surrounding a certain man by the name of Bogus. A surface examination of this information did not reveal anything and the case was closed. In 1961, when the group started attempting to recruit a KGB agent, work resumed on the group. It turned out that this was a developing group that was discussing struggles against the Soviet regime, and had a project program and was doing active recruitment work. In 1962 work on the group was concluded, its active participants arrested and tried and the ideologically unsound individuals taken in by the group were stopped. This is just one of many other similar examples.
In order for tips about gangs of nationalist types to get to the KGB in due time, it is necessary to organize not just surveillance of nationalists deserving operatives’ attention, but also to study the factions and attitudes among young people, whom the nationalists are mainly interested in influencing. The nationalists, like other enemy elements, count on young people because they have not yet worked out their political views, they aren’t settled and they are easier to shake.
Nationalist views of history and modern times penetrate the environment of young people:
- From abroad through radio programs, the sending of literature and handbills;
- As a result of reading nationalist literature, which is kept by many citizens of Ukraine in special library foundations;
- As a result of oral nationalist propaganda conducted by nationalist individuals of the older generation, former members of the OUN and particularly representatives of the old intelligentsia that have not entirely left behind their nationalist views;
- From individuals, particularly young people, who are not well versed in national politics, hostile elements recruit their associates and those who fall into error may become the enemy.
So that this doesn’t happen it is necessary to know who is doing this, why and to what measure they have fallen into error. For this intelligence is needed, as well as a wide network of trusted individuals.
In 62 of the nationalist groups uncovered in the last six years by state security services there were 20 former active OUN members, 58 people who had formerly belonged to nationalist organizations, but had not been suppressed, 56 relatives of former active nationalists and more than 200 young people who earlier had not participated in anti-Soviet activity or had connections in past years with nationalists. The attention of operatives is constantly focused on preventing and suppressing open enemy activities of the most hardened nationalist elements. As always special attention is given to examining indications of nationalists’ intentions to commit terrorist acts or sabotage, or their possession of weapons that can be used for hostile ends and also to information about their intentions to flee abroad.
The issue is that Ukrainian nationalists up to this time have not refrained from subversive activity against the Soviet regime as punishment against the Soviet and Party activists and sabotage, etc. They are trying to create a material base for anti-Soviet work, and are receiving money, weapons and equipment for underground presses.
In order to suppress the enemy activity of Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists the KGB, police and prosecutor’s office arrested 500 people in 1956-57. Most them had served sentences for anti-Soviet nationalist activity and had managed to commit new crimes. At the same time, in response to a request from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR the KGB canceled the decisions of its commissions to release 60 former OUN ringleaders and bandit-terrorists early and they were again placed under guard.
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR published an order on November 9, 1956 forbidding former leaders of the OUN, bandits and terrorists from living in the western regions of the Ukrainian SSR, which limited the surge of nationalist elements into Ukraine. This was a temporary measure required at the time by attempts by nationalists to organize an active anti-Soviet struggle.
In recent years, despite preventative measures, and though it is more seldom seen still there have been instances of nationalist handbills being distributed and murders of Party and Soviet activists. Such cases are seen as extreme occurrences. For the majority of them, groups of KGB operatives are created to investigate, bringing in police and other forces as needed.
In the western regions of Ukraine some nationalist elements sometimes threaten the village activists and sometimes commit hooligan acts against them. These manifestations are stopped by suppressive measures from state security services, or sometimes the police or prosecutor’s office, as well as community influence. Even in cases when the acts against the village activists appears outwardly like hooliganism, state security services should pay special attention to individuals committing the acts. In the regions of Lvov, Ternopol and Rovno in recent years nationalist groups have been uncovered that were engaged in the beating of village activists, damaging community buildings and so forth.
The KGB in Ukraine is now conducting a search for individual former OUN members that hid at the time when nationalist gangs were destroyed.
From 1956-1962 more than 120 OUN illegals were found, out of which 2 were killed when they offered armed resistance, 23 were arrested and the rest were effectively neutralized or were even made a part of intelligence operations.
In 1960 the administration of the KGB Council of Ministers under the Ukrainian SSR of Ternopol region detected an armed group of illegal OUN members at the head of which was a former member of the Podolskii regional branch of the OUN by the nickname “Petro.”
At their arrest the illegals offered armed resistance and after a skirmish two of them were killed and two taken alive and arrested.
After the liquidation of the OUN’s armed underground by state security services together with the police, as many as 20,000 weapons were taken from caches in the homes of former OUN members. According to information from 1962 around 400 Ukrainian nationalists have guns and 100 people are trying to get one.
State security is conducting work to find and remove firearms in the possession of nationalist elements and the general population that could be used for anti-Soviet purposes.
An important part of the work of state security services is operations to intercept and employ possible channels of contact between nationalist elements living in the USSR and nationalist centers abroad. This work is largely done by agents in the counterintelligence division inside the country.
Foreign centers of Ukrainian nationalists after the rout of the underground within Ukraine continue to search for new channels of communication with former OUN members who retain their enemy points of view. But even recently cases have been encountered of emigrant agents traveling to Ukraine by illegal channels. There may be more cases in the future. It is wholly likely that relatives and former organizational contacts will be used as legal cover for such intelligence action.
In summer of 1957 the KGB received information that the OUN’s foreign center is preparing to send a group of emissaries to Ukraine to conduct nationalist and espionage activities. Information received earlier (surveillance of correspondence and intelligence messages) gave a basis for supposing that upon their arrival the emissaries may use the home of the former OUN member Romanchuk as a safe house and through him try to make contact with former members of the defunct OUN underground.
According to intelligence, Romanchuk was a ringleader well-known to the OUN’s foreign center as a relative of active nationalists living outside the USSR, known as an experienced conspirator and as a man beyond compromise to the Soviet regime.
Because of this reputation, Romanchuk was recruited by the KGB after being thoroughly vetted and given in-depth training, and given the pseudonym “Sokol” (“Falcon”). During his vetting he confirmed and clarified facts received by the KGB about his contacts with nationalists abroad and gave consent to immediately send word about the appearance of OUN emissaries at his place.
In August, “Sokol” sent word to an operative that two unknown individuals had arrived from abroad calling themselves “Klën” (“Maple”) and “Iasen’” (“Ash tree”) and demanding to be put in touch with members of the underground.
In order to determine the precise purpose of their arrival and finding their possible associates in Ukraine and determining the expedience of recruiting them or arresting them they were led to a KGB base and investigated through the use of agents posing as OUN members.
Groups of foreign intelligence agents, couriers and emissaries from foreign nationalist centers that arrived in recent years and meeting points took measures to examine a set of former OUN contacts in order to determine their devotion to nationalism and fitness for use by the leaders of emigrant organizations for subversive goals including as gatekeepers of safe houses for subsequent groups. The KGB should take this into account in its work.
State security services sometimes get information through foreign intelligence opportunities about individuals engaged in covert assignments, selecting and sending spies to Ukraine from among emigrants with nationalist attitudes. In this case a careful study is made of relations and organizational ties of these individuals. So at the present time work is being done by the Ukrainian KGB on one of the ringleaders of the Foreign Division of the OUN, an English intelligence agent “Krot” (“Mole”) who is actively involved with selecting and preparing emissaries of the OUN for illegal travel into the USSR.
In studying the contacts of “Krot” in Ukraine attention was paid to the fact that his sister maintains regular written contact with him through a third party in Poland. The sister and her contacts are under observation by state security as they may be used for introducing enemy agents into Ukraine.
The KGB in recent time has strengthened surveillance of old organizational ties and relations of one of the leaders of the ZP UHVR [Zakordonne Predstavnytstvo Ukrains’koyi Holovnoyi Vyzvol’noyi Rady, or External Representation of the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council] in connection with info about its illegally sending representatives to Ukraine who have undergone intelligence training in American schools, also with the use of private business excursions from Poland and tourist trips.
Of course, leaders in foreign centers may send couriers and emissaries using not only their own personal connections, but also organizational ties and relations of other active members of emigrant nationalist gangs.
The KGB is taking measures to take operational control of the channels of communication of nationalist elements living in the USSR with foreign centers.
The Ukrainian nationalist “Karta” (“Map”) who has collaborated with the KGB, after returning in 1961 from prison began to seek out opportunities to establish ties with nationalists in Poland, and through them with foreign centers. According to intelligence, “Karta” undertook this attempt under orders from members of a nationalist group into the staff of which she entered a corrective labor camp.
The KGB placed “Karta” in contact with the agent “Telegraphist,” who knew her well from having worked on nationalist activity together in the past and had the opportunity to go to Poland.
At the time of his arrival in the PRP [Polish People’s Republic] the agent, on “Karta’s” direction, contacted a Ukrainian nationalist living there who was in touch with nationalists in Austria, France, the FGR and the USA according to information gathered by the Polish state security and passed along a request to him.
If a connection is made by this channel from the nationalist group to the center, it will be under the control of the KGB and state security services will be able to make a decision in their interests.
Characteristics of Acquiring and Using Agents of State Security for Investigating Ukrainian Nationalists
As in all operations of state security one of the basic tools in the fight against subversive activity of Ukrainian nationalists is intelligence. Intelligence played a large role in the liquidation of the armed OUN underground. At the present time it is being used to detect and investigate nationalist individuals and prevent and suppress their enemy activity. It also puts ideological pressure on individuals who in their political unsoundness fall under the influence of nationalists.
In the years of struggle with the OUN armed underground it was mainly intelligence that provided information on gang members who were living underground and their close ties. All of the work done by the agent was conducted to the end of exposing the location of the bandits and dealing them a blow from state security.
The operational environment, having changed since the liquidation of the armed OUN underground, has demanded different forms and methods of Chekist work. It is no longer necessary to use covert militant groups, create fake OUN “branches” and organizations, or conduct Chekist-military operations. But the importance of intelligence in accomplishing the tasks of suppressing enemy activity of Ukrainian nationalists has only increased.
The KGB is constantly working on strengthening its intelligence division and training its agents to fulfill concrete assignments and is systematically filling out a network of new agents capable of infiltrating the nationalist environment and exposing the deeply conspiratorial enemy activity of nationalists.
The work of the KGB on renewing its intelligence division is a constant, ceaseless process.
Recruiting for intelligence work among Ukrainian nationalists may be done through appeals to patriotism, or just as easily with the use of compromising materials. In the latter case, it must be taken into account that an agent whose views are far from those of his target cannot usually count on this individual’s trust and consequently will not be able to successfully carry out a successful investigation for the KGB. There have been dozens of cases when a target spent months or even years testing an agent who was trying to investigate him.
Even formerly, Ukrainian nationalists were carefully verifying every new contact and took care about preventing infiltration of their ranks by state security services. More recently, their fear of the KGB has greatly increased. Ukrainian nationalists are especially suspicious of anyone who proposes establishing contact. Hostile former OUN members are well aware that the majority of their former associates have abandoned nationalism, and so those who show interest towards them are viewed primarily as planted state security agents.
This circumstance should be borne in mind in selecting targets for recruitment as well as determining agent behavior.
Recruiting agents among Ukrainian nationalists has its own characteristics. For instance, the vast majority of Ukrainian nationalists, especially those who have served prison time, are first of all well versed in the methods of state security work, particularly about the fact that agents are often recruited from their own midst. Second of all, ideological reasoning is extremely ineffective in their recruitment. Sometimes when a members is recruited into a network of informants by state security they send word to their nationalist ringleaders about their new position.
Naturally, it is always necessary to pay attention to these points when selecting and recruiting agents.
As is known, in the second half of 1956 in connection with the return from prison of a large number of former bandits and members of OUN the question was raised of obtaining intelligence from them, which would help the KGB detect hostile nationalists among their contingent and organize their investigation.
The issue is that intelligence, which was successfully used in the liquidation of gangs in large part has proven useless under new conditions for penetrating the nationalist environment and exposing their criminal intentions. It has been especially difficult to work among nationalists who had returned from prison and those of a nationalist bent from among the intelligentsia and younger generation.
The operational environment in Ukraine regarding the return of ideologically dangerous nationalists from prison demanded urgent measures from the KGB to suppress their attempts to undertake anti-Soviet activities. The task arose before the KGB of creating a strong intelligence apparatus for recruiting agents primarily from among the nationalists who came from the prison camps and were very knowledgeable about the hostile techniques of the nationalist underground and had access to a wide network of contacts.
The use of such recruiting was not as much necessary because of the increase of nationalist elements in Ukraine as because the former bandits returning from prison camps and their accomplices were united in groups, usually with individuals who were known to them from their shared time in prison, and tried to shun new acquaintances. They viewed members of the OUN underground who had not been accused by the Soviet regime for previous crimes with particular circumspection. The majority of agents belonging to the KGB were precisely such individuals.
In the course of 1956-1957 the KGB conducted a large operation to recruit agents from OUN members returning from prison camps, and this intelligence work played a positive role in the study of nationalists released from prison. Among agents recruited in 1956-1957 for the fight against Ukrainian nationalists, more than 60% were former prisoners.
In recent years it has become obvious that intelligence work as it is currently being done by the state security services of Ukraine is not fulfilling its duties to detect and suppress anti-Soviet nationalist activity among individuals who had not formerly belonged to organizations of Ukrainian nationalists, particularly among the intelligentsia and the younger generation. For this type of work agents of a different type were needed: those recruited from these groups.
As already mentioned, former Ukrainian nationalists show extreme resistance to recruitment. Those who have not completely abandoned nationalism naturally will avoid cooperating with state security services since taking orders from the KGB will go against their convictions and goals. Those who firmly decided not to engage in any more enemy activity are also reluctant to cooperate with the KGB, fearing reprisal from their former associates for treachery and betrayal.
As experience shows obtaining agents from individuals returning from prison is in many cases is only accomplished with great difficulty. Nationalists released from prison give various pretexts for refusing to consent to cooperation with state security services.
In order to investigate the reasons individuals returning from prison and exile refuse to cooperate with state security services it is first and foremost necessary to bear in mind that former OUN ringleaders did a great deal of work to expose and destroy the intelligence efforts of state security services within prisons, prison camps and places of exile. They told fellow inmates, often with distortions, about some of the KGB’s methods and taught the means of detecting state security agents, emphatically inculcating the skills of conspiracy. This is exactly what explains the complexity and duration of efforts to recruit former Ukrainian nationalists into the network of informants, and the reason it demands great patience and skill on the part of operatives in narrowly targeting the psyche of their targets in order to break their resistance.
It is rarely the case that a Ukrainian nationalist will agree to cooperate after only a single conversation. There is almost always more than one meeting for recruitment. In some cases it is better to space them apart by a few days, in others, much closer together in order to consolidate gains in changing the views of the target and not allow him to change his mind, if it becomes clear that he is ready to cooperate.
In 1958 the KGB recruited the agent “Fedorenko,” who had a wide network of contacts in the nationalist underground. “Fedorenko” was tried in 1950 because he had fallen under the nationalist influence of one of his fellow soldiers in the army and adopted anti-Soviet views. In the prison camps he was approached by nationalist ringleaders and criminal authorities by the names of Logvin, Stepaniuk and Goroshko, who strengthened his anti-Soviet views. Before his release from prison in 1956 he received an assignment from them to take housing for himself in Kiev and establish contact with nationalists living there in order to continue enemy activity.
In the course of investigation it was established that “Fedorenko” returned from the prison camp with enemy intentions, and took measures to carry out the assignments given to him by the ringleaders.
State security services learned that “Fedorenko’s” father was a member of the Communist Party from 1918 onwards was a Party worker. Three of his brothers served in the Great Patriotic War, and one of them died at the front. “Fedorenko” himself entered the Soviet Army at the age of 14 and participated in battles. It was noted that more recently he has been absorbed in establishing a family and is worried about securing his position at work.
The impression was given that he felt the assignments given to him by the nationalists as a burden and was carrying them out without personal interest, as a necessary obligation.
“Fedorenko” became of interest to state security services because many Ukrainian nationalists knew about his enemy convictions and the trust placed in him by authoritative leaders within the movement. Such an agent would have access not only to close organizational ties, but could also penetrate into circles of previously unknown individuals.
Therefore it was decided to recruit “Fedorenko.”
To establish contact with “Fedorenko” he was summoned to short-term military retraining sessions.
“Fedorenko” interpreted a secret meeting between the workers and an operative as an omen of his impending arrest for his attempts to continue his nationalist activities.
For five days an operative met with “Fedorenko.” Bit by bit his trust was gained. Through frank discussion, his doubts were deepened about the advisability of anti-Soviet work. “Fedorenko” became a KGB agent. At every meeting, work was conducted to educate him. In the end it was evident that he would do everything for the sake of the Motherland. “Fedorenko’s” behavior was modified in a way calculated to preserve and strengthen his existing connections with nationalists. Figuratively speaking, “Fedorenko” quit being a nationalist and began playing the role of one. The new KGB agent traveled to various regions of Ukraine to complete his assignments, continuing to make use of the trust of his former connections. The information he was given was used by state security to solve a number of serious problems in the effort to suppress nationalist enemy activity.
The use of agents recruited from among the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists has a number of characteristics. They may be noted as follows:
1) It is necessary to educate and re-educate agents who have been recruited through the use of compromising materials in order to ensure the change in their ideological convictions is complete
2) It is necessary to follow strict conspiratorial secrecy in working with such agents, since the smallest mistake will lead to the agent’s downfall, and as is well-known, agents who have been unmasked in the past were killed, but now are used blindly for disinformation purposes
3) It is advisable to send agents on regular missions in other regions and Soviet Republics
The expediency of sending agents to travel regularly rests in the fact that nationalist elements live in various parts of Ukraine and in other Soviet Republics, but they all harbor intentions of creating a “self-sufficient” Ukraine.
One must not forget that an agent recruited from among the nationalists requires ongoing systematic work to re-educate and check up on him.
Re-education of agents recruited from among the enemy nationalists is necessary first of all because an agent who adheres to bourgeois ideology cannot reliably assist state security services and sincerely serve the Communist ideology. He must be re-educated first in order to be able to firmly count on his assistance.
Let us consider a practical example of an agent’s re-education.
In Vorkut an agent named “Vladimir” was recruited by the KGB from the local branch of the OUN. Intelligence had indicated that he occupied the position regional leader in that organization.
At the time of his recruitment “Vladimir” attempted to show that that he was a man who had left his past behind, and without particular hesitation agreed to provide assistance to the KGB, although he did not say anything about his participation in any nationalist organization.
Studying the particulars of “Vladimir’s” character, his insincerity was not immediately exposed, but rather it was pretended that he was being trusted.
Subsequently work was undertaken to ideologically re-educate “Vladimir.” To this end some conversations were held with him demonstrating with concrete examples the damage wrought by the nationalists on the Ukrainian people and the threat they pose at the present time.
In terms of the possible and expedient he was offered help in his personal life. So, at one time his relations with his wife had been ruined and he was threatened with the dissolution of his marriage. This became known to a KGB operative, who knew how to give “Vladimir” advice that enabled him to settle the family conflict.
Sensitive handling of “Vladimir” and conversations with him on political topics led to his raising the question to an operative at one of the meetings with him: “Do you fully trust me and see me as a helper?” The operative answered that there were no grounds for distrusting him. Then “Vladimir” revealed that he had hitherto not been sincere with the KGB agents because he did not trust them and thought they were only capable of causing unpleasantness for people, even if it was deserved. Only now, after thinking long and hard about it, he had come to the conviction that he had been held captive for a long time by dangerous misconceptions that could cause harm to himself or someone else.
After this “Vladimir” related information about the existence of an OUN organization in Vorkut and his role in it, and also showed the places where some of the documents and a typewriter were kept by the OUN organization. With “Vladimir’s” help the state security services were able to prevent enemy activity by the group of Ukrainian nationalists in time.
All of this bears witness first and foremost to the fact that “Vladimir” was ideologically disarmed by his re-education and was filled with the conviction that bourgeois nationalists are dangerous enemies of the Ukrainian people and it is necessary to fight decisively against them.
In this way, the ideological re-education of an agent obtained from among the nationalists can be seen as as the first task of the KGB agent who works with him. Disregard for this task will always lead to the downfall of intelligence work and other dangerous consequences, since working with an agent from among the nationalists who has not been disarmed is tantamount to cooperation with a clear enemy. There is much that can be learned on this point from KGB practice, and in particular it shows the signs by which one may identify a potential traitor.
The majority of traitor agents from among the Ukrainian nationalists who have been found by state security services in recent years have provided information about themselves and their contacts that the KGB already knew, and during the time of cooperation do not provide anything new about the behavior of their contacts that was of interest to the KGB.
In other words, these individuals still in the process of being recruited have started acting as double agents, deceiving the state security services.
In the process of investigating the case of the members of the famous nationalist organization “The Association” who were arrested in 1959-1960, it was established that “Vernik,” an agent of the KGB, was the point of contact between the ringleaders of this organization, named Leoniuk and Khristinich, and was carrying out important assignments from them.
A review of the materials of “Vernik’s” personal and work affairs showed that he was recruited into the intelligence network Nesterovskii by the Lvov district KGB division without the necessary background check and investigation. The whole affair led to the communication of no more than surface information that characterized his behavior after returning from prison.
In the process of recruiting “Vernik” and working with him operatives not only uncovered him as a member of the nationalist organization “The Association” but even did not survey him about facts that were known to him of nationalist enemy activity in prison camps and after his release from prison.
No background check was conducted on “Vernik,” and as a consequence this ideologically dangerous nationalist was able to carry out assignments from the ringleaders of nationalist organizations under the cover of cooperation with the KGB for an extended period of time.
In carrying out the group intelligence operation “Mirage” on former members of the so-called “Trans-polar Branch” of the OUN, which was trying to resume nationalist activity, treachery was uncovered on the part of several agents who had been recruited through those targeted by the operation.
So in 1960 the UKGB [Ukrainian KGB] in the Volynsk region the agent “Radiuk” was recruited in order to target a certain man by the name of Shust for investigation. The two were former inmates in the prison camps. The basis used for recruiting “Radiuk” was informational materials gathered from trusted sources that characterized his behavior after release from prison and “Radiuk’s” oral attestations that he knew Shust from the prison camps.
The essence of “Radiuk’s” assignment consisted of uncovering Shust’s possible organizational contacts with the nationalist Voitiuk and other associates living in the Rovno region.
Throughout the time of his cooperation with the UKGB no information was provided that was important for the case. No examination or investigation of “Radiuk’s” behavior was made and most importantly no work was done with “Radiuk” to liberate him from the influence of bourgeois nationalist ideology.
After Shust’s arrest it became known that “Radiuk” was and remained an active Ukrainian nationalist. In particular, he told Shust about his recruitment by the KGB and the nature of the assignment he had been given.
After being uncovered, “Radiuk” admitted he had been taken in by the organization while in prison and brought nationalist documents to Ukraine on Voitiuk’s orders and maintained organizational ties to Shust and Voitiuk and was selecting and dealing with associates in an anti-Soviet spirit, and had acquired a weapon for criminal purposes.
The agent “Lavrentev,” who was recruited by the Lugansk UKGB in 1961 is a close connection of Shust through mutual nationalist activity in the prison camp and now no longer in prison.
Having decided to recruit “Lavrentev,” operatives proceeded on the fact that there was an extended period of time for which no information was available about his enemy intentions. There were no trustworthy means available to the UKGB of determining “Lavrentev’s” true face.
Taking on the role of a double agent, “Lavrentyev” told operatives some generally known facts about the activities of Ukrainian nationalists within the prison camps and claimed to have left behind nationalist ideas and expressed a desire to cooperate with state security services. However did not actually intend to abandon nationalism.
Without any preliminary verification of the fledgling agent, “Lavrentev” was sent to the Volynsk region with the assignment to target Shust and, as has been established, instead told him about his recruitment by the KGB. In the course of events it became clear that “Lavrentev” used his presence in the KGB’s intelligence network in order to assist Shust with his subversive activity.
There are also cases when nationalists attempt to infiltrate the KGB’s intelligence network by their own initiative with their people in order to learn of the state security services’ intentions and carry out illegal acts based on this.
The active OUN member “Som” (“catfish”) appeared more than once at the office of the KGB Commissioner under the Council of Ministers of the Komi ASSR in Vorkut, offering his services in detecting and uncovering Ukrainian nationalists. At the time of a conversation with an operative “Som” offered no information deserving attention. As far as could be seen, “Som” had come with a specific goal, and they rejected the services offered. In the course of further investigation of “Som” it was revealed that he was engaged in criminal activity.
On the subject of nationalists infiltrating the KGB’s intelligence network “Som” told one of the agents “I myself sent our people to the KGB with the goal of receiving information about their interests, of course, I first collected written agreements about strict and absolute submission to us and observing the secrecy of our assignments. And it worked, even if not in every case, but it worked.”
The facts of treachery of agents recruited from among nationalist elements and the sending of nationalists of their people to the KGB’s intelligence network obligates operatives to conduct a systematic and thorough check of these agents in order to detect double agents, disinformants and traitors in a timely manner.
Observing particular secrecy with agents working among nationalists is the second task of every operative.
The ringleaders of nationalist groups demand first and foremost for members of these groups to share their enemy convictions and be ready carry out any assignment given to them. Under these circumstances an agent who has infiltrated the group must act very carefully so as not to arouse the slightest suspicion.
If it is not possible to decline carrying out an assignment, the agent must do it together with other members, of course only if these assignments do not necessitate the agent’s participation in dangerous state crimes. The agent is required to prevent any dangerous crime, if not on his own then with the help of a state security services operative.
Usually at the beginning of one’s time in a nationalist group after infiltration an agent does not receive assignments connected with inflicting material damage or threats to life or the health of Soviet citizens.
Information about nationalist groups uncovered in recent years in Ukraine attest to the fact that their leaders demand from every inductee first and foremost the recruitment of other new members (this serves as an initial test). State security services can use this in their interests in order to infiltrate the group with more agents and strengthen their position there.
In the case of the group “the Restorers” the agent “Ivan” was used. The KGB sent him to the leader of a nascent nationalist group in order to recruit others into the group, which was called (in Russian letters) the OPVU, the “United Party for the Liberation of Ukraine.” Some time after the agent was “recruited” into the OPVU he was given to understand that he was in turn required to participate in expanding the group. In the course of a few months “Ivan” explained his failure to recruit anybody by pointing to difficulties of ideological indoctrination and the intractability of the first candidates he had selected and his fear of prosecution by state security services, since he had already served time for past nationalist activity.
At some point it became clear to the KGB that the agent was going to lose trust if he did not “recruit” a new member into the group. The agent “Spravnii” was offered as a new member of the nationalist organization recruited by “Ivan.” The leader of the group liked him. “Ivan’s” position was strengthened. After this, “Spravnii” also earned their trust.
Thanks to these agents state security services obtained the ability to conduct complex operations through the use of recording equipment and studied the most active members of the group, their plans and intentions.
Sometimes it is possible for an agent to escape carrying out orders to expand a nationalist group by preparing to “recruit” one of its members about whose participation in the group its leadership had not informed the agent.
It is known that often group members are not acquainted with all of the other members, but usually only know a few people. This was used by the administration of the KGB in the Rovno region in a case involving a nationalist group called Operation “Echo.”
“Arsen,” prepared as an agent for recruitment by state security services, sent word that a teacher in one of the schools had anti-Soviet views. “Arsen” was given the assignment (he was recruited) of going to the target and pretending to have grievances against the Soviet regime, and agreeing with the target’s judgments. After some time the teacher told “Arsen” in a frank conversation that he and his associate Bosiakevich had created the “Progressive Party of Ukraine” (PPU), which has cells in Lvov and Kiev and several parts of the Rovno region, but he gave no information about them and suggested “Arsen” join the PPU. After “hesitating” the agent joined the PPU. In order to strengthen his relations with him the teacher had the agent sign a written oath of loyalty to nationalism. A series of regular meetings with the leaders of the PPU were dedicated to his ideological re-education. Then came the time when the teacher decided that “Arsen” was ready and suggested that “Arsen” meet with and examine his acquaintances, to test how they react to anti-Soviet views and recruit those who were appropriate into the organization.
According to other information acquired in the course of Operation “Echo,” a certain Kolotusha was known as a likely member of the PPU. In order to strengthen the position of the agent in the group and simultaneously detect whether Kolotusha was involved in the PPU, it was recommended to “Arsen” that he find a way to approach Kolotusha and prepare him for recruitment into the PPU. This operation was successful for the KGB.
For some time the agent and Kolotusha examined each other and prepared for recruitment into the PPU. When “Arsen” sent word to the teacher that he had prepared a person to the point that, in his opinion, the time was right for the teacher to meet with him about joining the party, the teacher decided that “Arsen” should be present with him at the first meeting and asked him to tell him at length about Kolotusha. Recognizing who it was “Arsen” was talking about, the teacher was forced to admit to the agent that Kolotusha had already long been a member of the PPU.
Considering the complexity of infiltration operations and the necessity for strictest secrecy in conducting them, it is necessary from the very beginning to determine an exit strategy for an embedded agent for use once intelligence has been gathered, and this strategy should be updated and maintained throughout the course of the operation and all that follows it.
It is greatly difficult to extract an agent who in the course of carrying out his assignment for the KGB has been forced to take active part in the group’s activities. In such cases it is necessary to turn to complex operational procedures to extract the agent. How these work can be seen in the example of the extraction of agent “Vnukova” from operation “Spadkoemtsy” (Ukrainian for “Heirs”).
In 1960 under orders from the KGB the agent agreed to join a nationalist group, the so-called “Ukrainian National Committee.”
The group had a large membership and harbored intentions to commit a number of audacious enemy activities including terrorist acts and sabotage, and operated under strict secrecy, and so state security services were forced to instruct the agent to actively participate in some some of the activities led by the group’s leadership, in order to preserve their trust and not lose the opportunity to control the ringleaders and to be in a position to prevent terrorist acts and sabotage.
The agent signed an oath, had a gun, participated in the construction of a bunker, selected candidates for the leadership of the “Security Service” of the nationalist group and was appointed as a regional leader.
The plan for extracting the agent was developed based on the fact that Gritsyna, the leader of the “Ukrainian National Committee,” who had recruited the agent into the organization and worked with him, had a hostile attitude toward the Soviet regime and was our indisputable enemy and therefore following arrest would try to hide his associates. Except for Gritsyna, a few others knew the agent’s face but they did not know anything about him.
At the beginning of the trial of those arrested in the case no testimony from the agent was given. Later Gritsyna declared that one of the regional leaders was a nationalist by the name of Stepan working in a horse stable at a collective farm and living in the village of Velikii, and that a meeting had been arranged with him for July 22, 1961 at the river near the village.
Returning to the prison cell, Gritsyna excitedly told a secret agent posing as a prisoner that he sold the KGB agents a bill of goods by lying about where Stepan lives and fabricating the story about the planned meeting at the river.
On July 22 Gritsyna was taken to the place he had named. Of course, nobody appeared. A report was written up about the excursion and Stepan’s failure to appear. An inquiry into the collective farm Gritsyna had named showed that no groom by the name of Stepan worked there in the stables. The report and written inquiry were added to the investigation of case.
In the interrogation of Gritsyna that followed, agents continued to demand that he reveal, among other things, the last name of Stepan. After refusing at length, Gritsyna provided information by which the agent could be identified.
But up to that time “Vnukov,” acting on the KGB’s instructions did not go to his place of work, but took his wife, who was informed about her husband’s cooperation with the KGB and went to the Donbass.
In order to more fully cover the agent’s tracks a “thorough search” of his former place of residence was made, and his mother was interrogated in detail about the circumstances of her son’s departure, his connections, the possible presence of a weapon, etc.
From the agent’s place of work a written inquiry was made and added to the evidence of the case that showed that he had not been at work since July 19 (that is from the start of the operation) and had not collected his pay.
In a conversation describing “Vnukov,” Gritsyna told an agent planted in prison with him that Stepan is a businesslike man, he had already escaped the KGB once and hidden for several years in Siberia under an assumed name. “I hope,” he said, “that they don’t catch him now, since he has a different passport, military papers and if he realized that I’ve been arrested, he probably hid himself.”
“Vnukov’s” extraction from the operation was accomplished successfully without raising the suspicions of those arrested.
An important point worth noting in intelligence work on Ukrainian nationalists is that it frequently requires the use of agents living in other regions and Soviet Republics.
Now one may frequently encounter a situation in which nationalists with hostile views who were involved together in the same case or served together in the same prison now live in different regions or Republics, but maintain organizational ties. Ukrainian nationalists persisting in anti-Soviet activity are careful about their behavior in their new places of residence and do not socialize with strangers. For this reason information can only be gathered from them by the use of local agents. In these cases one may turn to sending agents on regular trips. In doing so, agents are selected who are trusted by the target individual.
In the Kirovograd region at the end of 1957 and start of 1958, when some former nationalists were suspected of distributing handbills, it turned out that the agent involved had no means of approaching them and could not be used to confirm or deny the suspicions.
An agent living in Siberia who was known and trusted by the suspected individuals was sent into the region under a plausible pretext. His arrival from Siberia directly to the Kirovograd region might have put the suspects on their guard. So a plan was made for him to go first to the Rovno and Dniepropetrovsk regions, and stop by the Kirovograd region “along the way.” The agent, “Gromov,” helped to test the suspicions and discover handbills that had been prepared, after which he caught one of the members of the group red-handed.
In similar situations it is extremely important to carefully work out a back story for the explanation of the motives of the agent’s appearance close to the target, and think of the most natural way possible for arrange their meeting.
The agent “Umelii” (“Skilled”), living in one of the southern regions of Ukraine, had an assignment to meet with a nationalist in Kiev. His arrival in Kiev was organized as a work-related trip. But the agent did not know where the person of interest was living. It was decided to set up an accidental meeting of the agent and the target in an alleyway which was on the target’s route to work. In order not to arouse suspicion, agent “Umelii” went with another KGB agent, with the cover that she was an acquaintance of his.
At the time of an investigation of one nationalist group it was necessary to determine whether any handbills had been produced at the home of a particular nationalist in the Rovno region. Agent “Ternopolskii” was sent to investigate him from another region under the pretext of obtaining some construction materials, which had been bought with the help of the individual under investigation.
The administration of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR for the Ternopol region conducted investigations of the information received about the suspicious behavior of a group of Ukrainian nationalists, who had been tried earlier for anti-Soviet activity.
Attempts to determine the character of this nationalist group using an agent and trusted individuals from the targets’ places of residence were unsuccessful for some time.
In the process of searching for intelligence opportunities it was established that there was an agent, “Groza” (“Thunderstorm”) connected to the Administration of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR for the Lvov region, who had served a prison sentence together with those under investigation and had their trust, as well as as pretext for visiting them. He explained his arrival by saying that he was looking for a buyer for a house.
After sending the agent on an excursion into the field it was established that the suspects were joined in a group whose purpose was to carry out organized anti-Soviet activity, and their concrete enemy acts and intentions were discovered. They were found to have nationalist literature and a typewriter. New contacts connected to the suspects were also discovered.
Based on materials that were present earlier and a message received from agent "Groza" the suspects were placed under investigation.
Intelligence work in prisons containing Ukrainian nationalists demands strict, exclusive secrecy. As is known, the circumstances demand that operational investigation and intelligence gathering are conducted on Ukrainian nationalists in prisons. In doing so the goal is to study the behavior of nationalists in prison, their views and attitude towards past enemy activity. As a result of investigation of Ukrainian nationalists in prison information is also being obtained about their associates outside prison.
In a work camp in the city of Dubrav, which has held Ukrainian nationalists along with other state criminals since 1960, a KGB division was created with the task of finding undetected capitalist intelligence agents among the prisoners and active members of nationalist and other anti-Soviet organizations, and their criminal contacts. The division also had the goal of suppressing attempts by prisoners to resume enemy activity while in prison and after release.
The intelligence office in the prison camp’s work consists mostly of recruitment there, as well as recruitment by regional state security services of arrested nationalists who are sent to prisons after their trials with the task of investigating both prisoners and their connections outside the prison.
The KGB division in the prison camp also obtains agents from among the prisoners who can be used actively after their release in investigating enemy individuals who may appear.
After his arrest, agent “Ivanov,” who was recruited in Ukraine, carried out orders to study Ukrainian nationalists in prison camp and obtained information about nationalist groups in Karaganda and Kemerovo.
Agent “Ozerov,” recruited in a prison camp by KGB staff, provided great help in investigating former nationalist ringleaders in the KGB operation “Spiderweb.”
Thanks to agent “Ukrainskii” (“Ukrainian”), who provided information on the rank nationalist Gorbovii in the prison camp at Dubrav, it was possible to prevent the sending of an anti-Soviet document abroad in 1962 through contacts in Ukraine.
Some ideologically dangerous former OUN members commit crimes for which they are brought to justice by the police and prosecutor’s office and serve prison terms together with other criminal types. There have been cases in which such individuals carry out illegal anti-Soviet propaganda among the criminals and attempt to form hostile groups within the labor camps, whose members are given assignments to carry out subversive anti-Soviet activity after their terms are served. In such cases the cooperation of all state security agencies and prison intelligence departments is needed in order to uncover and suppress the anti-Soviet activity of enemy elements.
In May of 1962 the Ukrainian KGB under the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR in the Kiev region, together with the Operchekotdel in Corrective Labor Prison Colony No. 84, uncovered a group of Ukrainian nationalists whose members were trying to establish a branch of a nationalist organization whose members were drawn from the prisoner population of the camp.
At the group’s meetings members discussed methods of fighting against the Soviet regime and of adding individuals with hostile or angry attitudes to the group’s membership by involving them in committing criminal acts.
The group had its program, the essence of which was an overthrow of government through armed fighting against the Soviet regime in Ukraine, and seizure of Ukraine from the USSR and creation of a Ukrainian nationalist government.
At their release from prison the group’s members received assignments to continue their anti-Soviet work outside prison, to select and induct new individuals into nationalist activity and obtain weapons and printing equipment.
Intelligence agents can and should use individuals who are suspected of nationalist anti-Soviet activity for studying and intelligence gathering. Agents are participating in the carrying out of tasks from state security services that are predominantly already determined. Testing suspicions and investigating hostile nationalist elements are extremely important tasks of the KGB. But it is no less important to receive tips about suspicious behavior, enemy intentions or the nationalist views of one or another individual in time. Of course it is impossible to have agents in every place where nationalists may appear. This task can only be accomplished by trusted individuals. Trusted individuals can be had anywhere where there are former OUN members whose attitude toward their past is unknown to the KGB. Trusted individuals are needed in educational institutions, since nationalist elements are trying to exert influence in all cases on student-age youth.
Agents working on the struggle against the Ukrainian nationalist are usually individuals from an environment hostile to us. Trusted individuals, other other hand, are of the patriotic type. These people usually do not have the trust of hostile individuals, to whom all secrets are not revealed but as they are unswervingly devoted to the Soviet regime they observe everything suspicious in behavior and action of enemy individuals and provide primary information about them. For the testing of this information in many cases other intelligence strategies are used, including human intelligence. But the value of trusted individuals rests in their ability to provide tips in a timely manner about the any possible appearance of any possible nationalist.
Toward the end of 1962 there were 68 tips being examined by Ukrainian state security services concerning the creation of nationalist groups, 14 of which were received from trusted informants, 13 from Soviet citizens who had not formerly been in contact with state security services. In all of the tips received by the KGB in 1962 relating to Ukrainian nationalists, more than 35% came from trusted individuals.
Initial information about a nationalist group calling itself the “Ukrainian Workers’-Peasants’ Union” was received from a Soviet citizen who had not formerly been in contact with state security services. Later he was recruited and was used in investigating this group.
In the course of searching for criminals distributing anti-Soviet handbills in Nikolaev, a city in the Lvov region, a tip was received from a trusted individual in 1961 that two inhabitants of Khodorov by the names of Kapitonenko and Shcherbitskii were expressing nationalist views and had weapons.
The informant was unable to investigate Kapitonenko and Shcherbitskii. His report was followed up on through agents who had access to the named individuals. The report was confirmed to be true. A investigative case was opened against Kapitonenko and Shcherbitskii and a complex series of operational procedures were carried out that enabled the uncovering of a nationalist group consisting of eight people.
It has been established that members of the group held meetings during which they discussed the activation of anti-Soviet activities, including reprisals against the local village community activist group, mass release of the collective’s livestock and obtaining weapons. Weapons and explosives were taken from among members of the group at their arrest, as well as tools that they were planning to use to commit terrorist acts against the collective and sabotage on railroads.
Combined operations between Covert and Investigative Agencies
The necessity of cooperation between intelligence agents and investigators flows from the characteristics of the Ukrainian nationalists’ tactics. The fact is that Ukrainian nationalists conduct their subversive activity in secrecy. Every group member only knows a few other members, with no conception of the rest. Each of them knows only about the activity that he was brought in to carry out. In many cases nationalists leave no material evidence of criminal acts, and meetings are often conducted one on one.
All of this significantly complicates both intelligence and investigative work.
In almost all cases, when a group of Ukrainian nationalists is being examined, all its members are not exposed until intelligence forces are brought to bear on the case.
For this reason in the course of an investigation one must not limit attention to the criminal activity of individuals and materials uncovered through covert operations. Often from the moment a covert case is close and prosecution begins, opportunities are opened to uncover new accomplices and crimes.
With many groups of Ukrainian nationalists state security services have turned to combined operations between covert and investigative forces, and organized investigations of those arrested controlled by classified services and disinformation campaigns with the participation of those arrested and their contacts outside prison.
The effectiveness of these combined operations can be easily seen in the example of an investigation of members of the nationalist organization “The Association.”
For a year and a half state security services were engaged in the search for the authors and distributors of anti-Soviet handbills in the Kirovograd region. The distributors of these handbills were established, and the question was being investigated of where, how and by whom they were being made.
One of the distributors of the handbills, Bulavskii, arrested in February 1959 showed that the handbills were brought to him by Banatskii, who up to the moment of investigation of the case was located in a prison camp. Banatskii was transferred to solitary confinement with the KGB, but was defiant under interrogation and had no desire to give any testimony, and categorically refused to give any information about Bulavskii. A large ideological re-education operation was conducted on Banatskii. Special attention was given to explaining the anti-Soviet nature of Ukrainian nationalism. Banatskii was systematically given newspapers to read, as well as statements made in print from former nationalists and ringleaders of the OUN.
After some time Banatskii decided to testify and said that after his release from prison in 1957 he was living in the city of Inta in the Komi ASSR, and that he was still in contact with former inmates Leoniuk, Khristinich, Zatvarskii and Bulavskii. From Leoniuk he then acknowledged the existence of an organization there that Ukrainian nationalists released from prison were joining and gave money for expenses connected to obtaining an underground printing press. Before leaving for Ukraine Leoniuk gave him more than 1000 anti-Soviet handbills to pass along to Bulavskii.
Banatskii gave more than half of the handbills to Bulavskii; he gave some to his relative in the Rovno region, and hid the rest in the city of Belaia Tserkov in the Kiev region in the attic of the house where he was living until his second arrest. The handbills were removed and Leoniuk, against whom Banatskii and Bulavskii had testified, was arrested. In the investigation Leonyuk did not admit his guilt and declared that he did not know Bulavskii and Banatskii at all.
A search of his apartment yielded nothing. Regardless of the fact that Leoniuk was shown a group photograph showing him together with Banatskii and Bulavskii, for a stretch of six months he did not give any testimony.
A nationalist by the name of Vintoniv who was in a prison camp at that time was interrogated, who intelligence had shown was closely connected to Leoniuk and others until 1957.
Vintoniv testified that he knew Zatvarskii and Khristinich from the prison camp and that Zatvarskii gave him the text of the oath required for joining the organization “The Association” to learn.
Zatvarskii was also arrested and began to categorically deny the accusations that were made.
After this a covert operation was undertaken using agents posing as prisoners, who persuaded him to give sincere testimony. Under the influence of the agents he finally talked about the presence of an organization in Inta and named Khristinich as a member, who was also arrested. Khristinich denied his involvement in the organization and declared that he was being slandered.
Regardless of the arrests made, fundamental questions of the case were still unclear. The membership and leadership of the organization were still unknown, and information was lacking about the whereabouts of the underground printing press.
Then the decision was made to conduct a disinformation operation through controlled correspondence between the arrested individuals using of the exercise yard of the isolation chamber. It had been learned that the accused did not know which of the members of “The Association” had been arrested, what essential proof had been obtained, and that they were trying to establish contact among themselves.
As a result of operations conducted by three inside agents within the prison, the idea was planted to start a correspondence between Zatvarskii and Leonyuk. Notes that were of interest were withdrawn, and in their place notes with different content were prepared in Zatvarskii’s and Leoniuk’s handwriting to replace them. To establish trust in the targets of the operation that these were the genuine correspondence of their peers, specific expressions were used in the text peculiar to the one in whose name the note purported to be. In a fortunate unfolding of circumstances Zatvarskii was left a note in Leoniuk’s name recommending that he enter the KGB’s trust and try for the sake of the organization to gain his freedom. Zatvarskii answered that he agreed, but doing so would either require his becoming an agent, a decision difficult for him, or he would have to give up the printing press, and asked Leonyuk to tell him where the press was.
In the course of the operation two hiding places were found with organizational documents, nationalist literature and a typewriter.
One of the notes in Leoniuk’s name to Zatvarskii said, “I’m most interested in the one who stayed after my arrest.” Zatvarskii answered, “This person exists, he came back from vacation.”
The person in question was the leader of the group. An investigation established three of closest contacts of those arrested who at the time indicated were returning from vacation. Further operations clarified the position of each of them in the organization. And only after the arrest of Gasiuk, the leader of the group, at the beginning of 1960 and active ideological pressure was put on him was it possible obtain information about the location of the underground printing press.
It can be affirmed on firmly established grounds that without the cooperative effort between investigative and covert forces it would have been impossible to uncover “The Association.”
As a result of cooperative operations between investigative and covert agencies the main membership was uncovered of the group mentioned earlier called the “Ukrainian National Committee.” The case began with the arrest of three members of the organization: Gritsyna, Koval’ and Gnot. From the investigation of the case it became known that they had armed a bunker and intended to kill an agent who owned an apartment used as a safe house within the apartment itself, as well as another operative. It was also known that the nationalists had several firearms.
As the case was investigated it was decided to start after Koval’ and Gnot secretly went from Lvov to a village outside the city on July 18th, 1961 and brought something heavy from there in a duffel bag, likely printing equipment or a weapon. The three members of the group who had been found through investigation were arrested on July 19th. At the time of the arrests around 10 kg of printing equipment were taken, a copy of the organization’s numerical cipher code, two pistols, six bullets and four membership application forms.
Thanks to well-organized intelligence work using secret agents within prisons and an active investigation in cooperation with covert operatives among the contacts of those arrested, it was possible to uncover 50 more people involved in the “Ukrainian National Committee,” 17 of whom were arrested.
One of those uncovered in the course of the investigation of the organization’s members, unknown to the KGB in the covert case, was Soroka, who was a regional leader of the OUN in 1945-46, but in connection to an illness confessed his guilt and now decided to “atone” for his guilt to the organization and actively take part in its work.
Soroka, it was later established, was one of the organizers of the “Ukrainian National Committee.” He obtained the printing press, which was intended to be used to organize the printing of an illegal nationalist newspaper called (in Ukrainian) “The Worker’s Word.”
In the course of the investigation information was received about Mashtaler, Pokor and Iovchik, who had an assignment to commit sabotage on the railroad and had already prepared a subversive device.
As a result of investigative and covert operations 15 firearms were removed that were being stored in several hiding places and equipment related to an underground printing press, and a hiding place was found with organizational documents. It was established that the membership application forms, membership oath and program were typed by a certain Shevchuk, working as a marshal of the court in one of the national courts of Lvov, using the court’s typewriter. Information was also obtained that the the group’s members prepared an anti-Soviet declaration and printed it on a printing press in Lvov and hid it in a specially equipped hiding place. Information also showed that a member of the “Ukrainian National Committee” who was working as a chauffeur in one of the regional military commissariats was given the assignment to steal secret topographical maps or photograph them.
It was uncovered that Gritsyna gave Pokora a message to send abroad through a foreign tourist about the location of one particularly important object, and that members of the organization were discussing the question of establishing contact with foreign intelligence.
Thanks to these operations it was established that the organization’s members had selected safe houses in Lvov for conducting secret meetings and were planning to kill two citizens: one for writing an article that uncovered the brutality of the Ukrainian nationalists, and the other for having taken part in the liquidation of the nationalist underground.
In the experience of the Ukrainian state security services there were instances when dangerous nationalist groups were uncovered after a skillfully executed combined operation on individuals arrested for committing criminal acts by covert and investigation forces within prisons by police or the prosecutor’s office.
In May of 1959 in the village of Kupichvolia in the Nesterovskii district anti-Sovet nationalist handbills were distributed by unknown individuals, the authors of which could not then be established. In November of 1960 in the village of Boiarnets in the same district about 12 tons of the collective farm’s straw were burned. There was no visible connection between these events.
The investigation of the arson case was conducted by the district prosecutor’s office and police. Because there had been more than one case in the district of arson involving animal feed, but the search for the criminals who had burned the straw for the collective farm’s livestock was dragging on, the regional state security services sent their own agents to find the criminals.
Two agents and several trusted individuals suggested that Anton Ronchka, Adam Levitskiy and Viniarskii, residents of the village Kupichvolia, could have committed the arson. On the evening in question they had taken the collective farm’s cart to Boianets for a religious holiday and had stopped near the haystack in question. But neither the police and prosecutor’s office nor state security obtained any information about the involvement of the named individuals in the crime.
At the end of December in 1960 Ronchka committed an act of hooliganism and was taken in with the prosecutor’s sanction and placed in temporary confinement, where agent “Vernii” (“Loyal”) was also located, allegedly having been brought in for the same acts.
In a confidential conversation Ronchka told the agent, that someone from his village had burned the straw, Adam Levitskii, and that together with Levitskii, he, Viniarskii and Godis’ went in the cart to Boianets on November 21st, 1960.
Under interrogation Ronchka, Viniarskii and Godis’ testified that Levitskii had burned the straw. Based on this testimony Levitskii was arrested with the prosecutor’s sanction and in order to uncover possible accomplices was placed in temporary confinement, again together with an agent. Levitskii told the agent that he had burned the collective’s straw on the orders of the leader of Viniarskii’s nationalist youth organization. He confirmed this even under interrogation, explaining that he had committed the crime in question in order to prove himself and join the anti-Soviet organization (in this way his loyalty to the organization was tested).
In order to confirm Levitskii’s testimony Viniarskii was then taken in with the prosecutor’s sanction and subjected to investigation through a prisoner-agent. In a conversation with agent “Radun” Viniarskii expressed a concern that the arrest of Levitskii could uncover the existence of an anti-Soviet organization in Kupichvolia, and named a few of its members. He later gave more detailed testimony on this question under interrogation.
Insofar as the materials received testified to the anti-Soviet activity of the indicated individuals, a criminal case was opened in January of 1961 by the Ukrainian KGB and with the prosecutor’s sanction Viniarksii was arrested.
Under interrogation Viniarskii testified that the nationalist youth organization in Kupichvolia had been in existence since the summer of 1958 and named 12 of its members, their nicknames, and told about the positions they occupied in the organization and about anti-Soviet acts that each of them had carried out.
According to Viniarskii’s testimony, every member swore an oath upon joining the group in the presence of all its other members, and after this was given a nickname and a concrete anti-Soviet task to complete. The members of the organization made it their goal to exert a hostile influence on the youth of the village and continue the Ukrainian nationalist tradition of preventing young people from joining Komsomol [Soviet youth organization], preparing and distributing anti-Soviet nationalist handbills, obtaining weapons, destroying state property and collective farms and performing other hostile acts.
Viniarskii also testified that from 1959-1960 the members of the organization had more than once held meetings in the forest and their homes where they had put together the text of anti-Soviet handbills, taken in new members and discussed questions about the making of a nationalist flag, obtaining a printing press, financial issues and other questions connected to the organization’s activity, and that they had hatched plans to commit a terrorist act against the head of the village council.
In 1959-1960 the organization’s members prepared and distributed anti-Soviet handbills twice in Kupichvolia, and in the cities of Velikie Mosty and Krasnograd, in the Lvov region.
After a search of the homes of Viniarskii, Levitskii and Siniuta writings and poetry of a nationalist nature were found and removed, as well as two firearms. The testimony of the arrested Viniarskii and Levitskii was also confirmed by other members of the organization under interrogation in the case as witnesses.
The examples provided demonstrate that the judicious use of cooperative efforts between covert and investigative agencies in the state security services’ fight against Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists always leads to positive results.
 Translator’s note: For the sake of consistency, place names have been rendered using the Russian forms as in the original Russian text (e.g. Rovno and Lvov), although some cities are better known today in their Ukrainian forms (i.e Rivne and Lviv). Proper nouns have been romanized according to the ALA-LC standard.
 An unofficial designation of Eastern Ukraine comprising parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
 Village activist associations were groups of politically active Soviet citizens, typically older community members, common in the Soviet period.
 An administrative department supervising security platoons in labor camps. Cf. Fyodor Vasilevich Mochulsky, Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 212.
KGB handbook describing techniques for identifying, monitoring, and combating anti-Soviet nationalists movements in Ukraine.
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