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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June, 2007

    The Komsomol meeting. Folder 47. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this note Mitrokhin describes events which took place at Moscow State University (MGU) in November 1956. Three students from the faculty of geography, Varuschenko, Nedobezhkin and Nosov, openly criticized actions of the Central Committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League (Komsomol). According to Mitrokhin, they claimed that the committee did not represent the youth’s interests, that the leaders of Komsomol were corrupted by the Communist Party, and that there was an absence of activities. The students stated that the Central Committee required fundamental reform in order to keep students united and active in political life. According to Mitrokhin, most students from all MGU faculties agreed with the statements made by the activists from the faculty of geography. They demanded to elect Varuschenko to the executive board of the Central Committee and also proposed to organize an independent organization to discuss issues that concerned most youths. That month Varuschenko was elected to the Central Committee and the Independent Club of Geographers was founded. Mitrokhin states that the KGB was extremely concerned about these circumstances. The administration feared that they had lost control over the youth. The KGB stated that the reason for this opposition was foreign propaganda brought to the Soviet Union by foreign students. As a result, the KGB quickly disbanded the new club and the new executive board of the Central Committee. Varuschenko was expelled from the university.

  • June, 2007

    Counter-Intelligence Protection, 1971. Folder 97. The Chekist Anthology.

    Information on KGB counter-intelligence surveillance of Soviet tourists vacationing in other socialist countries who had contact with foreigners. The document states that Western intelligence services organized “friendship meetings” through tourist firms to meet Soviet citizens, gauge their loyalty to the USSR, and obtain political, economic, and military intelligence. KGB counter-intelligence paid particular attention to Soviet citizens who were absent from their groups, took side trips to different cities or regions, made telephone calls to foreigners, or engaged in “ideologically harmful” conversations in the presence of foreigners. Mirokhin regrets that the KGB underestimated the strengths and methodology of Western intelligence services. He concludes that the KGB should have adopted some of the same methods, and targeted Western tourists visiting socialist countries.

  • June, 2007

    Around the Nomination (The Case of Orlov). Folder 42. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Mitrokhin expresses the KGB’s concerns regarding the potential for Yuri Orlov’s nomination for a Nobel Prize. Orlov was well known in the Soviet Union for his dissident activities and for organizing the Moscow Helsinki Group to monitor Soviet adherence to the 1975 Helsinki Accords. According to Mitrokhin, he openly supported all anti-soviet groups and organized public protests for the Soviet human rights movement. As the KGB was concerned, they made many efforts to take the movement under control, but these did not lead to success. Mitrokhin provides examples of the KGB’s attempts to stop Orlov’s activism. Mitrokhin states that the West, however, was in extreme support of Orlov’s ideology. In order to help his movement to gain more influence, Western officials nominated Orlov for the Nobel Prize in 1978. The KGB immediately developed a complex plan to assure Nobel officials that Orlov did not deserve the prize and that it would have been unfavorable for the prestige of the Nobel Prize if Orlov was awarded it. Mitrokhin states that KGB chief Yuri Andropov took control over the operation because Orlov winning the prize would have been crucially harmful for the Soviet political system. Mitrokhin provides the detailed plan in this entry. A KGB resident in Oslo sent an urgent telegram to Moscow on October 27, 1978 stating that Anwar El Sadat and Menachem Begin became laureates of the Nobel Peace prize. Mitrokhin provides full telegram text in this entry and also states that the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his satisfaction with the fact that Orlov did not win the prize because it would have negatively affected relations between the two countries.

  • June, 2007

    The Yuri Case. Folder 91. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB sources to describe Yuri Velichkov Bagomil Stanimerov (b.1941), a Bulgarian citizen who graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1968. Stanimerov was recruited by the Bulgarian branch of the KGB in 1970, and became a resident of Sweden in 1972. Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that in April 1974, CIA officer Huey Walter “Hearst” made Stanimerov an offer in the name of the National Security Council. While Stanimerov refused the offer, he told Hearst that he would continue collaborating with him. Stanimerov subsequently traveled to many foreign countries, but the Americans no longer expressed interest in him. In 1975, Stanimerov was sent to work in the Bulgarian embassy in the United States. The Americans began to train Stanimerov as a spy and tried to ideologically convert him. The Mitrokhin account posits that the KGB gave Stanimerov instructions in case the latter succeeded in infiltrating the CIA. In 1978, the KGB received information regarding the fact that Stanimerov was being investigated by the FBI for his ties with the Bulgarian intelligence services

  • June, 2007

    The Case of Dissident Velikanova. Folder 38. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin describes how on November 1, 1979 KGB operatives arrested dissident Tatiana Mikhailova Velikanova. Mitrokhin relates that since Velikanova’s name was widely known outside Soviet borders, the KGB warned its resident agents abroad to adopt certain procedures in case of an emergency. Tatiana Mikhailova Velikanova (b.1932) was a highly-educated Russian and a mother of three. Beginning in the late 1960s, Velikanova actively participated in public anti-state demonstrations—particularly at the Pushkin Square in Moscow. Drawing upon KGB files, Mitrokhin mentions that in 1969, Velikanova became a member of the Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights, a club which according to the KGB, boasted Tatar autonomists, extreme nationalists, religious fanatics, and secessionists amongst its ranks. For more than ten years, Velikanova and her associates were producing anti-Soviet and politically harmful material, distributed to foreign publishing houses and radio stations. Under Velikanova’s initiative, The Chronicles of Current Events, a samizdat publication was issued in Moscow in 1974. The Chronicles described topics such as arrests, judiciary procedures, the pursuit of dissidents, and other aspects of political life in the Soviet Union. The periodical shed negative light on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). By Mitrokhin’s account, although Velikanova had been officially sanctioned by the state with regards to continuing her work, she paid no heed to the warnings. In essence, Velikanova remained largely unmoved by the searches and interrogations subsequently conducted by the State Prosecutor’s Office. The KGB file stated that the West had helped Velikanova by supplying her with financial resources. Velikanova further received assistance from the Fund for Aiding Political Nonconformists. Velikanova’s file stated that she was being investigated by the KGB in accordance with the wishes of the Prosecutor’s Office.

  • June, 2007

    The Homyakov Case. Folder 87. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe Martin Ole Heinstadt-“Homyakov” (b.1947), a citizen of Norway, and a secretary/archivist at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. According to the entry, the Second Chief Directorate (SCD) of the KGB sent one of its operatives, Valerii Evgenevich Zverev, to a function at the Norwegian embassy in Moscow in May 1971. Zverev had been sent to the embassy in order to strengthen ties with SCD KGB operative “Pavlov.” As a cover, Zverev had adopted the identity of a foreign correspondent. The entry states that during the May 1971 gathering, Zverev met Homyakov with whom he was subsequently able to meet regularly. Homyakov began to give Zverev information about official embassy business, including details regarding Soviet citizens and embassy visitors Mitrokhin’s summary of KGB documents indicates that in order to continue receiving information, the SCD KGB ensured that Homyakov and Zverev met in a secluded region, away from the eyes of foreign visitors. The SCD KGB sent operative Andrei Mikhailovich Agekyan, who acted as a mediator between Homyakov and Zverev. Agekyan presented himself as an attorney who was capable of resolving disagreements. The entry mentions that Agekyan was able to “rescue his friends from impending problems.” KGB sources, as described by Mitrokhin, state that there was an agreement with Homyakov regarding the means of establishing contact with the SCD while he was in Norway. From May 4 to September 3, 1972 Homyakov was again in Moscow, where he worked as a guard at the Norwegian embassy. In relocating Homyakov to Moscow, the SCD KGB was able to continue to maintain its operations in the Norwegian embassy, and receive key documents from the Norwegian military attaché. Homyakov was later arrested by Norwegian authorities for espionage.

  • June, 2007

    About the Middle East. Folder 81. The Chekist Anthology

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

  • June, 2007

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

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

  • June, 2007

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

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

  • June, 2007

    About an Embassy. Folder 78. The Chekist Anthology

    Folder 78 concerns KGB operations against the Syrian embassy in Moscow in the early 1970’s. It begins with brief biographical descriptions of the KGB agents and confidential contacts involved in penetrating the embassy. The Syrian Ambassador, Vhaya Jamil, was targeted by female KGB agents and confidential contacts who were told to express a romantic interest in him, while an official from the embassy’s military procurement bureau was targeted by a KGB agent who enticed the official into engaging in foreign currency speculation. As a result of his actions, the official was expelled from the Soviet Union. The KGB also used specially organized hunting trips on which agents and confidential contacts developed relations with Ambassador Vhaya. During one such hunting trip the Ambassador revealed the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Nikolai V. Podgorny would visit Egypt in January 1971 to sign a friendship agreement with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. On a similar occasion on 12 September, 1973, Ambassador Vhaya explained that the short term goal of Middle Eastern leaders was to debunk the myth of Israeli invincibility, while the long term goal of destroying Israel, would have to wait for 5-15 years. Finally, Ambassador Vhaya became one of the KGB’s confidential contacts on a KGB organized hunting trip codenamed OPERATION T, which was personally approved by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov. During the trip, a KGB agent was assigned to invite Vhaya to what was purported to be his aunt’s dacha. Subsequently the Ambassador was considered to be a KGB confidential contact.

  • June, 2007

    The Telegram "Dogma." Folder 50. The Chekist Anthology

    According to Mitrokhin, in 1979 KGB headquarters sent a telegram to its residencies abroad stating that Soviet intelligentsia, the American embassy in Moscow, and foreign correspondents who were accredited to work in the Soviet Union, had been holding anti-soviet activities. The telegram text, which is provided by Mitrokhin in his entry, states that Kopalev, Chukovskaya, Kornilov, Vladimov, and Vojnovich were expelled from the U.S.S.R. Union of Writers for their anti-socialist publications. However, after this incident they started to gain influence among Soviet writers and many anti-soviet materials were published, which led to publication of the almanac “Metropol.” The American embassy assisted the publication by organizing events with influential intelligentsia of the West who inspired Soviet writers in favor of capitalism. Mitrokhin states that KGB officials ordered all residencies to immediately stop these activities. It was planned to publish provocative materials about all Western supporters of the almanac. KGB residencies in the West were in charge of collecting these materials.

  • June, 2007

    Neutralizing of Dissidents’ Activities in the 1970s. Folder 49. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Mitrokhin describes dissidents’ activities in the Soviet Union and KGB attempts to stop them.

  • June, 2007

    The Baptists. Folder 2. The Chekist Anthology

    This folder includes information on Cheka operations against the Evangelical Christian Baptist Church, (EHB) between 1917 and 1984.