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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 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

    Operation "LES" (The Forest). The 1940-50 MGB Operation Against Moldavian "Freedom Party." Folder 8. The Chekist Anthology.

    In the post-WWII period there were approximately 30 active anti-Soviet organizations in Moldova. Operation “LES” aimed at the elimination of the “Freedom Party” that existed from 1949 until 1950. “Freedom Party” was established in May 1949 by brothers Istratiy and Viktor Andreev. It was divided into separate cells of five members. Each member created their own cell, and each cell had its own leader. The organization networked with nationalist groups throughout Moldova and western Ukraine, where it often purchased ammunition and enlisted nationalist-minded partisans. According to its charter, the core function of the “Freedom Party” was to restore people’s freedom and guarantee the return of monarchy. By 1950, the operation “LES” involved more than 20 KGB agents. Agents “Moriak,” (Sailor) “Busuioc,” (Basil) and “Vernyj” (Trustworthy) were among the KGB’s main informants. At the time of their arrest on 5 June 1950, the anti-Soviet formation “Freedom Party” had 33 members.

  • 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.

  • June, 2007

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

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

  • June, 2007

    By the Church Gates. Folder 1. The Chekist Anthology.

    This folder includes information on the arrest of Patriarch Tikhon, 1919 and 1922, and Felix Dzerzhinsky’s minutes of 2 December 1920 meeting asserting exclusive role of the VChK in undermining the Church. The note includes extracts of a 23 February 1922 decree on confiscation of Church treasures, and describes the subsequent liquidation of Bishop Phillipe and Professor Uspenski, the emergence and persecution of the True Orthodox Church and True Orthodox Christians operating underground, and KGB Penetration of the True Orthodox Church’s top leadership during the 1960’s. Efforts to strengthen Orthodox control over Belorussian, Kazakh, and Ukrainian national churches, the February 1975 conference of heads of Warsaw Pact security services and their decision to engage in joint action against the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and other religious institutions in the West, and the KGB’s campaign against underground religious manuscript publishers (samizdat) during 1970’s are discussed. The file contains KGB statistics on religious participation throughout the USSR, and a description of Archbishop Sinod’s, anti-Soviet activities in 1920’s and his support for Hitler during the Great Patriotic War. The notes section includes Mitrokhin’s thoughts on religion in Kievan Russ in 988 and extracts from FCD operations files on Church personalities involved in operations abroad. Includes operational codenames of KGB agents who had infiltrated the True Orthodox Church

  • June, 2007

    Kompromats. Folder 34. The Chekist Anthology.

    June 01 2007 - In this entry Mitrokhin explains the importance of having kompromats (a form of grey propaganda used in information warfare against opponents in business and politics) for Soviet anti-socialist activists. Mitrokhin provides two examples of KGB kompromats that played significant roles in repressing oppositionists. In late 1960s the Ukrainian nationalist movement had been growing in popularity. Ivanchenko was one of the radicals who allowed himself to publicly criticize Soviet policies and claimed that Ukraine faced Russification. He organized a club that promoted anti-socialist philosophy. All these facts of his biography were documented by the KGB. Mitrokhin states that Ivanchenko knew many influential Ukrainian nationalists very well. His connections were critical to the KGB. According to Mitrokhin, in 1970 he was blackmailed by the KGB. They used a kompromat: either Ivanchenko became their undercover agent and helped them to fight the anti-socialist movement or he would be excluded from the university and charged for his ideological crimes. Ivanchenko was recruited and his new codename was “Nikolai.” In another example of kompromat Mitrokhin states that in the second half of 1972 Jewish population in Odessa started an opposition movement against the Soviet immigration policies. One of their leaders, Emmanuel Pekar, was once arrested at the Odessa market for selling watches of foreign origin; however he was not charged. Mitrokhin states that Pekar was offered a choice—to become a KGB undercover agent in the Jewish community or go to trial for speculation. Pekar was recruited and his new codename was “Milan.”

  • June, 2007

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

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

  • June, 2007

    Non-conformism. Evolution of the 'democratic movement' as a politically harmful process since the mid-1950s. Folder 9. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this transcript, Mitrokhin points out that according to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) bourgeois ideology affected cohesion of the Soviet society in three major ways: 1) by creating opposition and manipulating people’s personal weaknesses in order to pull apart the Soviet organism; 2) by inflaming disputes between younger and older generations, members of intelligentsia and working class; 3) by building up everyday propagandist pressure.

  • June, 2007

    The Nationalism Case. Folder 57. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin expresses the KGB’s views on the threat of organized oppositionist nationalism within the Soviet bloc.

  • June, 2007

    The KGB vs. Vatican City. Folder 29. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry Mitrokhin describes the history of chilly diplomatic relations between the KGB and Vatican City from the 1960s through the mid 1980s.