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April 2004

STASI German/Russian Lexicon of Intelligence Terms Introduction

STASI German/Russian Lexicon of Intelligence Terms

[English language introduction by Vasili Mitrokhin. To see the dictionary, please download the PDF file provided above.]

People with an inquiring mind are here offered another arcane dictionary from THE MITROKHIN ARCHIVE (1)
. This compact German-Russian dictionary came to light in 1967. The dictionary is anonymous: it has no indication of title, authorship, publisher, place and date of publication - there are no indications at all. On reading through it, it is clear that it contains Cheka terminology, and was compiled after 1954. The format of the dictionary is convenient for keeping in a pocket: 10.7 x 15.3 x 0.3 cm with 65 pages of fine print, which suggests that the dictionary was intended for frequent, everyday use. It contains about 1,250 words and phrases. The dictionary consists of 8 sections, with Russian headings, but the terms are in German, using the Latin alphabet.

When translated into Russian, these terms were to assist operational officers working in the USSR KGB Establishment attached to the GDR MfS [Ministerium für Staatssicherheit] - helping them to read secret German - language materials supplied in great quantities by the GDR MfS (2)
, sent on to the Centre with a cover note, and to carry on conversations on Chekist themes with their German colleagues.

The dictionary contains numerous abbreviations which are commonly used in Russian texts ("razvedrabota", "komu-l", "NN", "PK"), and technical jargon ("aufs Kreuz legen" - translated as "to crack" [raskolot'] i.e., to get an admission from the accused; "Grüne Minna" (a)
- translated as "black raven" [che'rny'y voron], a vehicle for conveying people under arrest in the days of the OGPU and NKVD; "rollen" - "to lead up the garden path" [vodit' za nos]). This tends to indicate by whom, why and for whom this dictionary was compiled, especially as the operational staff of the KGB Representative's Establishment was impressively large(3) , but not all operational officers had a profound knowledge of German.

On the other hand, there are numerous errors and inaccuracies in the dictionary. The Russian translation of the German word "Transferierung" is given as "trasfer valyuty" (instead of "trasfert valyuty"). Several times the abbreviation "i t.p." (for "i tomy podobnoye") is given incorrectly as "itp". " Ausshreitung" is rendered incorrectly as "ekscess" instead of "ekcess". Along with terms which convey a precise concept, for example, "verlegen" - "perenesti" (to switch a meeting, time or rendezvous point), "entgehen" - "uskolzat'" (to slip away, probably in the sense of evading surveillance), there are some words, which do not lend themselves to conveying a Chekist concept: "ziehen" - "vytashchit'" (literally to drag out); "platzen" - "lopnut'" (literally to burst or crash(4)
). The additional, blank pages at the end of the dictionary are headed "Notizen", whereas in Russian they would be headed "Dlya zametok" (For notes). Such details tend to suggest that the translator and the proof-reader of the Russian part of the dictionary at the very least displayed negligence. But there is no satisfactory answer to the question of how did this come about.

The dictionary's German vocabulary is presumably drawn from the daily practice of GDR MfS agencies and that of other States, as well as the varied literature of State Security agencies.

The great majority of the German terms relates to the agencies' counterintelligence work and the conduct of an investigation, The nomenklatura was consolidating its positions in the country. Judging by some of the data, this work was conducted with zeal. (5)

Ordinary dictionaries have a cultural-educational purpose, in that they deepen knowledge of societies and help people to know each other better. But the present dictionary hardly pursues such aims: it is no ordinary dictionary. It is a nameless, secret dictionary, available only to a very limited readership in security agencies. Not only is its terminology unpublicised: it is kept hidden, and access to it is hindered by protective barriers. Working in close cooperation, the USSR KGB and the GDR MfS realised that their activities ran counter to ethical principles and the laws of their respective States.

By keeping the dictionary secret, the agencies thereby also concealed their activities.

Explanatory notes

1. The first Russian-English dictionary from the Mitrokhin Archive, "The KGB Lexicon" was published in 2002. It belongs to the category of explanatory dictionaries, which explain the meaning of a word or phrase.

2. In 1974, 3,198 items amounting to 230,000 pages were received from the GDR MfS on the Science and Technology [NTR] net. Of these, 10% dealt with military topics and military applications.

In 1975, the GDR MfS provided 65% of all the information reports contributed by the State Security services of the Socialist countries.

In 1976, the GDR MfS handed the USSR KGB 6,700 information reports, and in 1977, 6,200. In 1978, 6,953 items were received from the GDR MfS.

3. Its operations covered the territories of the GDR, the FRG and West Berlin. In 1965, the KGB Establishment in the GDR totalled 252 men, of whom 222 were operational officers. Its agent network consisted of 138 agents of foreign nationality.

Since 1967, standing orders authorised the Head of the KGB Establishment attached to the GDR MfS to fix the salaries of agents and Residents up to 1,500 GDR Ostmarks and 500 FRG Deutchmarks (accountable under Article 9 - "Special expenditure"). The KGB Chairman's Order No.O12 of 5 January 1971 rescinded this procedure. From then on, in order to allocate the monthly salaries of agents and Residents, the KGB Establishment in the GDR was to send proposals to the KGB FCD, for submission to the USSR KGB leadership, in order to obtain authority for payments of that kind.

Article 9 of the Special Fund gives a KGB official the right to expend foreign currency or Soviet money for specific purposes within that official's competence. "Special expenditure" under Article 9, by the KGB Establishment in the GDR (in convertible roubles).

Year--- GDR Marks--- FRG Marks
1969--- 636,000----- 235,600
1970--- 641,100----- 265,100
1971--- 719,500----- 330, 200

In 1971, the KGB Establishment spent 634,000 roubles in GDR Marks under Article 9, and in 1972, it spent between 930,000 and 940,000 (against an estimate of 1,014,000 roubles).

In 1971, it spent between 340,000 and 350,000 roubles in FRG Marks (against planned expenditure of 416,000 roubles).

In 1973, it spent 423,000 roubles in FRG Marks, or 73,000 more than in 1972.

In 1973, 10,276,000 convertible roubles were spent in GDR Marks, or 87,000 more than in 1972.

In accordance with a USSR KGB decision dated 15 September 1972, a KGB Residency was established in West Berlin, under cover of the USSR Consulate General This was to be part of the KGB Establishment in the GDR, subordinate to it for operational, technical operations and financial purposes. The Residency at that time consisted of 5 operational officers.

The staff establishment of the KGB Representative attached to the GDR MfS totalled 356 individuals in 1971, plus 48 operational officers working under cover. This did not include a number of Liaison Officers.

A 1973 agreement governing cooperation between the Chekist agencies of the GDR MfS and the USSR KGB provided that the KGB Mission in the GDR would bear al the expenses of its staff while the GDR MfS would bear the cost of its Representation in Moscow.

In reality, the Germans incurred considerable expenditure to meet various requirements of the KGB Representation in the GDR; in actual terms, this amounted to 1,300,000 GDR Marks.

In 1974, the staff establishment of the KGB Representation attached to the GDR MfS totalled 399 individuals, 313 of whom were officers and 86 were employees. The breakdown by sections was as follows:

- 1st Department (political intelligence in West Berlin, the FRG, and the GDR) - 32 operational officers (24 of whom were under cover);
- 2nd Department -
- 3rd Department (Illegal Intelligence) - 59 operational officers (of whom 2 were two under cover);
- 4th Department (Scientific and Technical Intelligence) - 21 operational officers (of whom 14 were under cover);
- 5th Department (Counter Intelligence, cultivation of special services) - 31 operational officers (of whom 12 were under cover);
- The KIS (Coordination and Liaison) Group of senior KGB Liaison Officers working with the GDR MfS - 15 operational officers;
- The Disinformation Group - 3 operational officers;
- Secretariat and typing pool;
- Operational equipment Group;
- Radio communication Group;
- Accounting section;
- Dental clinic staff;
- German language instructors;
- Personnel Department Group;
- Cipher Group;
- Motor vehicle maintenance and repair Group; operational drivers;
- Intelligence Departments in [military] districts - 64 operational officers (of whom 6 were under cover);
- Information Group - 20 operational officers;
- Group "Z" (a group operating under cover of the Committee for cultural relations with compatriots abroad) - 10 operational officers, all under cover;
- The Housekeeping Department - 52 staff, consisting of one officer and 51 contract employees.

The main part of this enterprise was located in Berlin, in the suburb of Karlshorst. A Museum on the "Capture of Berlin" dedicated to the military glory of the Soviet Army was also set up there.

As at 1 January 1974, the agent network of the KGB Representation in the GDR comprised 253 agents who were citizens of Western countries and 600 citizens of the GDR (including 303 confidential contacts and 93 Residents).

In 1977, the 2nd Department of the Representation had 109 agents (40 of whom were citizens of Western countries and 38 were citizens of the GDR), plus 4 confidential contacts who were citizens of Western countries and 23 who were Soviet citizens).

By 1 December 1979, the agent network consisted of 133 agents and confidential contacts, of whom 39 were citizens of Western countries, 52 were citizens of the GDR and 42 were Soviet citizens.

By 1 December 1980, the agent network consisted of 143 agents and 2 confidential contacts, namely 46 Westerners, 52 GDR citizens and 45 Soviet citizens.

Active Measures by the KGB Establishment in the GDR in 1974:

- Through GDR MfS assets, an item entitled "Unsavoury", which criticised SOLZHENITSYN's book "The Gulag Archipelago", was published in the West Berlin weekly (No.4 of 11 January 1974);
- Conveying to the Americans the idea that it is inadmissible to maintain and operate "Radio Free Europe" and "Radio Liberty" at a time of detente. These themes were conveyed to the target just before the visit of President Nixon of the USA and during the visit of President Ford of the USA to the USSR;
- Discrediting "POSEV", the NTS Publishing House.

The KGB Representation in the GDR had many agents targeted on the Ukrainian nationalists: this gave the impression that the sector was well covered. However, not a single agent was directly infiltrated into the OUN [Ukrainian Nationalist Organisation] centre (as of 1978).

4. I cannot refrain from recounting an incident in our family history which involves the term "lopnut'" - to burst or "go phut". My grandmother, of blessed memory, Stepanida Dmitriyevna, and my grandfather, Nikolay Prokopyevich, were comfortably off in tsarist times, and had savings which they kept in the bank, (my grandmother was the ballerina Geltser's(b) . maid and my grandfather was a stonemason). In the early 1920s some strange fellows came to see my grandmother, asking where she hid her gold. My grandmother honestly admitted that she had savings - money that she kept in the bank, but it has "gone phut". Her granddaughter, Klava, girl of four or five, listen to this conversation. She knew that small coins are called "money", and she knew about "piggy banks" of various kinds, but she simply could not understand how money could "go phut" in a bank.

75 years later, even the adult population of Russia cannot understand how its money can "go phut" in the banks.

[Translator's note: The Russian text has been slightly paraphrased, as the anecdote relies on a play on words - between "bank" and "banka" (jar or container)].

5. The most pressing problem for the GDR MfS was to put a stop to the flight of its citizens to the West. In 1977, citizens of the GDR submitted 35,000 applications to move to the West. In the GDR, 500,000 citizens were hostile to the regime, and the adversary would for a long time find a basis of support in the GDR. GDR citizens fled to the West through Czechoslovakia and Hungary (up to 90 incidents), Bulgaria (up to 50 incidents) and Poland. The fraternal countries effectively frustrated attempts to flee and every year handed back to the GDR MfS agencies more than 400 GDR citizens. It was only possible to prevent one-third of the attempts to flee abroad. In 1977, 927 people were prosecuted for attempting to flee abroad, while in 1976 the total was 1,050.

The MfS had a staff of more than 60,000, and each year the Ministry's establishment increased by more than a thousand. The main sources for the recruitment of staff were the Dzerzhinsky Security Regiment (providing between 2,500 and 2,700 recruits each year), servicemen demobilised from the army (500 - 600 men), and experienced agents. MfS operational officers underwent training at The Humboldt University with MGB stipends (in all, 200 recruits), and at other Institutes of Higher Education (700 recruits, including 150 at the Foreign Languages Institute and 400 at the Higher Juridical School). Altogether, more than 4,000 operational officers were under training in educational establishments. MfS officers were sent for training in USSR KGB and CPSU Central Committee establishments. MfS personnel were brought up to act as the armed wing of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), in the struggle against the enemies of socialism.

There was a steady trend to expand the agent network by 3% or 4% each year. New recruits were set to work among young people and churchgoers, in foreign economic relations, or in underground political activity.

The GDR MfS launched the following number of prosecutions for dissemination of anti-socialist leaflets, disruption and damage to State flags, posters and notices:

1977 - 1,563,

1978 - 1,999.

The following prosecutions were launched for pro-Fascist activity:

1976 - 1,753,

1977 - 1,709,

1978 - 5,000.

On 20 April, Hitler's birthday, there were Fascist - style greetings, attempts to create disorders, and threatening inscriptions. During the first 9 months of 1979, the GDR MfS arrested 1,400 individuals (compared with 1,264 in the first 9 months of 1978).

The 10th Congress of the SED took place in April 1981. The GDR MfS prepared itself for this. It arranged operational monitoring of 12,000 individuals on whom there were serious compromising materials; 7,300 searches were carried out; 531 individuals were investigated; 7,600 cautionary conversations were held; of 176 undesirable groups known to the MfS, it proved possible to disrupt 113, and they disintegrated. In Berlin 19 groups disintegrated; 23 individuals were arrested in Berlin and in all 109 were arrested.

The following were joint operations by the KGB Second Chief Directorate and the GDR MfS:

- cultivation of a Vatican agent who tried to make contact with Catholic clergy in the Baltic republics;
- measures against the Evangelical church;
- measures to stop the dispatch of church and religious literature to the Soviet Union;
- measures to cultivate members of the FRG Embassy in Moscow and their relatives living in the GDR.

There were joint operations by the GDR MfS, the KGB First Chief Directorate and the KGB Second Chief Directorate to discredit the following:

- [Heinrich] Lübke(7)
- Chairman of the Bundestag M. Gerstenmayer (8)
- Minister [Ernst] Lemmer(9)
- State Secretary [Dr.Friedrich Karl] Vialon(10)
- Ambassadors Mohr(11)
., Duckwits(12) ., Pauls(13) . and others;
- Director of the central department investigating Nazi crimes in Ludwigsburg [Erwin] Schule. (14)
- The activity of the CDU/CSU;
- The Hallstein Doctrine[15]. in Arab and Asian countries;
- Active measures to exacerbate differences between West German Parties.
- Taking active measures for kindling of the differences between the West German parties.

a. Green Minna, - in English "Black Maria"
b. Yekaterina Vasilyevna GELTSER (born Moscow 14.11.1876, and died there 12.12.1962) was a ballet dancer, awarded the title of People's Artiste of the Republic in 1925 (the first ballet dancer to be given this title). She was the daughter of the famous dancer and teacher V.F.Geltser (1841 - 1909).
7. President of the FRG from 1959 to 1969
9. Ernst Lemmer (CDU), Minister of All-German Affairs, of Posts and Communications etc
10. Staatssekretär
11. Dr. Ernst-Günther Mohr.
12. Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz.
13. Rolf Pauls, German ambassador in Israel.
15. The Hallstein Doctrine, named after Walter Hallstein, was a key doctrine in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) between 1955 and 1969. It was supported by the Christian Democratic Party.
According to the doctrine, the Federal Republic of Germany had the exclusive right to represent the entire German nation, and with the exception of the Soviet Union, West Germany would not establish or maintain diplomatic relations with any state that recognized East Germany.

This compact German-Russian dictionary came to light in 1967. The dictionary is anonymous: it has no indication of title, authorship, publisher, place and date of publication - there are no indications at all. On reading through it, it is clear that it contains Cheka terminology, and was compiled after 1954. When translated into Russian, these terms were to assist operational officers working in the USSR KGB Establishment attached to the GDR MfS [Ministerium für Staatssicherheit] - helping them to read secret German-language materials supplied in great quantities by the GDR MfS [2], sent on to the Centre with a cover note, and to carry on conversations on Chekist themes with their German colleagues.


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Contributed to CWIHP by Vasili Mitrokhin.


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