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Austria

Popular Documents

June 2007

KGB Practices. Folder 70. The Chekist Anthology.

This entry contains brief descriptions of a variety of KGB operations carried out between the early 1960’s and late 1970’s, and provides a sampling of the kinds of operations that were common in that era. Operation “Grom” [“Thunder”] involved fabricating a US State Department memo on Soviet citizens’ inclination towards treason. The memo discussed ways in which the US could exploit this tendency to its advantage. It was published on the front page of the British newspaper “Daily Express.” A pamphlet created by the KGB and attributed to the terrorist organization ‘BAS’ (South Tyrolean Liberation Committee) was introduced as evidence in the trial of BAS leader Norbert Burger in Austria. In July 1976 the KGB residency in Singapore spied on Chess Grandmaster Boris Spassky during his visit to Singapore, and noted in its report that he spent much of his free time on the tennis court. The KGB created and disseminated a letter, ostensibly from nationalist Ukrainian emigrants, protesting the French government’s cooperation with Zionists, and threatening reprisals against French Zionists. The KGB residency in Austria organized operation “Bonga” [“Bigwig”] in which forged letters from Chairman Mao were produced. These letters indicated that Mao himself had essentially organized the opposition to Hua Guofeng’s reforms, and that Hua might lead China to a revisionist course. In March 1977, the newspaper of the Austrian Communist Party printed a translation of a secret Chilean document in which the Chilean secret police asked Gen. Augusto Pinochet for additional funds to carry out undercover operations abroad. Pinochet’s reply contained a harsh rebuke for the request, and a strong admonishment against engaging in clandestine operations abroad. Mitrokhin did not mention where the document came from, nor did he state whether it was authentic or a forgery.

June 2007

Once More about Radio Liberty. Folder 66. The Chekist Anthology.

Contains information on KGB active measures to undermine the activities and credibility of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, and Voice of America during the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s. In one operation, personally authorized by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov, the Spanish journal “Arriba” and 42 other Spanish journals published articles stating that Radio Liberty broadcasts into the USSR violated the Helsinki Accords because they impinged upon Soviet sovereignty, and were contrary to Spanish national interests. Following this activity, the Spanish leadership decided not to extend its agreement with the US which allowed Radio Liberty to broadcast from Spain. During a 1976 operation, an East German agent who worked as an international lawyer spread disinformation about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty’s ‘illegal’ activities in 35 foreign embassies in Vienna. In October 1977, the KGB sent letters to a variety of Western news outlets, including the Washington Post, claiming to be from a group of Radio Free Europe employees. These letters were directed specifically at US Senators Edward Kennedy, Charles Percy, and Frank Church, and Representatives Edward Derwinsky, Clement Zablocky, Herman Badillo, and Berkley Bedell. In 1981, with the help of the journal “Pravda,” the KGB exposed the role of Radio Liberty in the ‘events’ in Poland.

June 2007

Operational Techniques. Folder 76. The Chekist Anthology

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

June 2007

The Vernii (Devoted) Case. Folder 92. The Chekist Anthology.

In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe Ivan Illarionovich Ortinskii-“Vernii” (b. 1922), a native of the Lvov region, Ukraine. A priest in a Greco-Catholic church, Vernii pursued his religious studies at the Vatican and lectured at a seminary in Rome in 1964. Beginning in 1973, Vernii lived in Ingolstadt, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). According to the entry, the KGB established contact with Vernii when the latter visited his parents and kin in Lvov in 1968. In 1971, Vernii was recruited as an agent by the KGB branch of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Between 1971 and 1974, collaboration between Vernii and the KGB took place within the territory of the Ukrainian SSR. As an agent, Vernii provided the KGB with information regarding his church, and the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that Vernii transmitted information to the KGB through his sister, Ukrainian SSR agent “Chestnaya” (born Ortinskaya).
Mitrokhin concludes the entry by stating that in 1978, Vernii informed the KGB from Vienna that he would no longer work as an agent, since he had aroused much suspicion within the Greco-Catholic Church.

October 31, 1946

Report from Bulgarian Intelligence on the Situation in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France

A report on the political climate in Western Europe and the activities of the Bulgarian communities abroad. The author concludes that since a new war seems imminent, the diplomatic and intelligence apparatus needs to be overhauled and old cadres dissmissed.