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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June, 2007

    The Ginzburg's Case. Folder 48. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this folder Mitrokhin specifically focuses on Alexander Ginsburg’s anti-Soviet activities in the 1970s. The note recounts that Ginsburg was a repeat offender for promoting opposition to the Soviet regime and the head of the Russian Social Fund and Solzhenitsyn Fund. His position allowed him to receive financial and material aid from different foreign institutions–something that was prohibited by Soviet law. Ginsburg had been supplying these funds to many organizations promoting anti-socialist propaganda (including Ukrainian nationalist clubs, Jewish extremists, and Orthodox activists). According to Mitrokhin, Ginsburg received 270,000 rubles of foreign aid in the 1970s. Mitrokhin reports that the KGB believed that in 1976 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ordered Ginsburg to unite all anti-Soviet adherents to actively and publicly support the Helsinki Accords. He also had been passing on important information about major anti-Soviet activities held in the Soviet Union to American correspondents Thomas Kent, Alfred Short, and others. As Mitrokhin reports, in 1979 the CIA exchanged Ginsburg for two Soviet spies. After the exchange, Alexander Ginzburg was tried, but was not convicted because all witnesses refused to give evidence.

  • June, 2007

    Aleksandr Antonov, 1917-1921 case. Folder 7. The Chekist Anthology.

    Contains a detailed account of the Tambov Province peasant revolt. The article narrowly focuses on the causes of the revolt, Aleksandr Antonov’s biography, and the NKVD efforts to suppress the revolt. In 1919-1921, a forced systematic collection of peasant food and supplies coupled with high taxes contributed to an atmosphere of unrest in Tambov Province. Together with several followers, Aleksandr Antonov launched a resistance movement directed against Bolshevism. In 1919, Antonov trained 150 men in the art of war and the number of followers grew rapidly since then. Having penetrated Antonov’s inner circle and arrested some of the key figures of the organized resistance movement in Tambov, the NKVD eventually put down the revolt.

  • 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 Logician (The Zinoviev’s Case). Folder 46. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this short entry, Mitrokhin claims that the Fifth Chief Directorate of the KGB handled the case of Alexander Zinoviev. Zinoviev was an author of anti-soviet books, including "Yawning Heights" and "Bright Future." Mitrokhin states that Zinoviev was stripped of his Doctorate of Philosophy and also expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for his anti-socialist publications. His KGB code-name was “Logician.” In November, 1978 the KGB residency in Bonn was ordered to monitor Zinoviev’s activities after he immigrated there.

  • June, 2007

    The Campaign against Soviet Economic Policy. Folder 31. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin states that in 1978 the West attempted to gain influence over Soviet fiscal policy because the U.S.S.R. was in opposition to the Helsinki Accords. Soviet officials ensured the Soviet public that any attempts by the West to change the socialist system in the country would not affect domestic politics in any way. However, it would negatively affect the development of relations between the West and the East and would damage international economic and trade cooperation. According to Mitrokhin, the Soviet administration was especially concerned with Carter’s efforts to end any kind of collaboration with the Soviet Union. Mitrokhin provides a detailed plan prepared by Soviet officials to stop the anti-socialist campaign in the West that was led by the Carter administration.

  • June, 2007

    The Case of Hmelyova: "The Witch." Folder 37. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry, Mitrokhin relates the KGB details surrounding “The Witch”—Aida Moiseeva Hmelyova (b. 1936), a native of the Kokchetavskii region in Russia. Mitrokhin describes how Hmelyova was investigated by Moscow’s Fifth Directorate of the KGB which shadowed her throughout 1969.

  • 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

    Heat Haze. Folder 20. The Chekist Anthology

    Mitrokhin notes that beginning in December 1970 and during the 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the KGB had the following objective: to enhance intelligence and counter-intelligence activities of the Cheka. To achieve this purpose, the KGB established a strategic unit consisting of heads of directorates, deputy secretaries, and other leading committee members chaired by Lieutenant General S.K. Tsvigun. Particular attention was given to signs of terrorist intentions. The unit counteracted eight anti-Soviet groups and organizations, including the Revolutionary Party of Intellectuals (Sverdlovsk), Russian Workers’ Party (Rostov-na-Donu), Struggle for Personal Freedom Union (Temirtau), Struggle for Liberation of Armenia Union (Yerevan), a group of Zionists, and others. Security level was elevated for entry into Moscow, monitoring of important targets, and conducting street patrols. On Red Square, 67 people harboring anti-Soviet views were detained, and four attempted suicides by burning were prevented.

  • June, 2007

    Disintegration, 1976-77. Folder 22. The Chekist Anthology

    In 1976, Leningrad KGB Directorate initiated active measures against “Plushkin,” laboratory director, and “Monarkhist,” employee of a suburban forestry, both of whom were intending to establish an anti-Soviet organization.

  • June, 2007

    National Alliance of Russian Solidarists. Folder 53. The Chekist Anthology

    In this entry Vasili Mitrokhin expresses the KGB concerns regarding the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists’ (NTS) anti-socialist activities held in the Soviet Union and in the West. Mitrokhin states that the KGB had the task of taking control of NTS’ activities as well as destroing their reputation and connections with other anti-Soviet organizations. In order to paralyze the NTS, the KGB’s fundamental goal was to establish strong connections with the organization by sending undercover agents. Toward the end of 1963, the NTS became familiar with the presence of KGB agents among their members. KGB’s main goal was to create an illusion that the NTS was ruled by the KGB, which would help to make America and the West to distrust the organization. According to Mitrokhin, taking over the NTS’s publication “The Posev” was important as well. Mitrokhin provides a KGB plan to overturn the publication and he also attaches the list of all KGB agents who were involved in this undertaking, including their short biographies and codenames.

  • June, 2007

    The Operational Situation as Reported in 1971, 1975, and 1981. Folder 35. The Chekist Anthology.

    In folder 35 Mitrokhin discusses the KGB’s assertion of an increase in domestic dissent and unrest in the 1970s and early 1980s as well as the methods the KGB utilized to combat this threat. Soviet intelligence believed that this increase in domestic unrest was due primarily to an increased effort by the United States and its allies to promote internal instability within the USSR. In response, the KGB continued to screen foreigners, increased the harshness of penalties for distribution of anti-Soviet literature, and monitored the activities and temperament of nationalists, immigrants, church officials, and authors of unsigned literature within the Soviet Union. Mitrokhin’s note recounts the KGB’s assertion that foreign intelligence agencies were expanding their attempts to create domestic unrest within the USSR. These activities included the support and creation of dissidents within the Soviet Union, the facilitation of the theft Soviet property such as aircrafts, and the public espousal of a position against Soviet persecution of dissidents and Jews. Responding to public exposure of these activities, the KGB proclaimed its legality and trustworthiness while also beginning to assign some agents verbal assignments without written record.

  • 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

    The Bukovsky Case 1959-1976. Folder 26. The Chekist Anthology

    Vasili Mitrokhin describes the KGB handling of Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky, native of Bembei, Bashkir ASSR. Bukovsky has been under investigation by the KGB since 1959, when he was still in the 10th grade in the Moscow Secondary School No. 59. As a high school student, he authored a journal “Martyr” that contained negative comments about the CPSU. In 1960, he established a youth organization that produced illegal leaflets. Since then, Bukovsky engaged in a number of dissident events and was time and time again warned by the KGB against participating in such activities. Bukovsky continued and in 1963 Miss Stevens, an American citizen, passed to him a copy of a book by Milovan Djilas entitled “The New Class.” Bukovsky proceeded to disseminate it. On 1 June, 1963 criminal charges were pressed against Bukovsky following his arrest. It was decided to enroll him at the psychiatric clinic, the custody was first granted to his parents. Bukovsky continued his anti-Soviet activity and on 5 December 1965 joined protests in defense of Siniavsky and Daniel. He was interned in a psychiatric clinic that month. In the fall of 1966, Bukovsky, Daniel and Gubanov established a youth organization called “Avangard.” In 1967, Bukovsky was arrested once again. At trial, he spoke against Article 70 and 190 of the Constitution, stating they were ambivalent, vague and exploited to persecute political opponents of the CPSU. In 1972, Bukovsky was sentenced and sent to a labor camp. In 1976, he was exchanged for Corvalan, the leader of the Communist Party of Chile.

  • June, 2007

    Directorate K Memorandum No. 153/838, 21 January 1976. Folder 13. The Chekist Anthology

    The Memorandum No. 153/838 considered problems associated with the dissident movement of the Peoples Workers’ Union (Narodno-trudovoy soyuz, NTS). Vasili Mitrokhin writes that among the primary concerns mentioned in the Memorandum was the execution of complex active measures to aggravate contradictions between the leadership of various NTS groups. The Memorandum instructed operatives to observe relations of the NTS with the publishers of the journal “Continent.” In order to fuel up tensions between the NTS groups, operatives needed to, among other things, find out whether members of the “Continent” received higher payments than members of the NTS. In general, Mitrokhin suggests that the foremost purpose of the Memorandum was to gather disreputable information and undermine activities of the NTS.

  • June, 2007

    The 'MRAKOBES' [Obscurantist] Case, 1960-61. Folder 15. The Chekist Anthology.

    This report from Vasili Mitrokhin presents evidence of an anonymous writer—“Mrakobes”— who between 1960 and 1961 delivered anti-Soviet letters and caricatures of government and party leaders to foreign embassies and Soviet institutions in Moscow. The letters were written by hand and contained Church Slavic fonts and constructions. They were put in a letter box at different times of the day, in different parts of Moscow. Each set of letters was put in a different letter box. Examination of text, envelopes, and paper demonstrated that the anonymous author was familiar with rare literature, had a good command of musical and church lexicon, and made good use of figures of speech. The author was also estimated to be a middle-age male with education in humanities. From some letters intercepted by the KGB, operatives obtained his fingerprints. They also observed that one letter box was frequented by the anonymous writer more than others. The KGB laid an ambush. The hideout for the operatives was camouflaged as a storage room and a light signal was set up. Several weeks later, on February 5, 1961 “Mrakobes” delivered four letters. A surveillance team identified him as S.F. Petrakov (born 1924). To verify it was the right person, the team wanted to check his fingerprints against the earlier obtained fingerprint. Petrakov was invited to a medical inspection, during which an operative posing as a doctor fingerprinted him with a magnifying glass. Petrakov’s identity was confirmed. He confessed to having produced around 100 anti-Soviet documents that had been mailed by post at various times.

  • 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

    Association of the United Postwar Immigrants. Folder 52. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry Mitrokhin provides an example of methods the KGB used to make foreign intelligence services distrust Soviet anti-socialist organizations. Mitrokhin cites the case of the Association of the United Soviet Postwar Immigrants. According to Mitrokhin, the head of the organization was a former citizen of the Soviet Union, but after WWII he stayed in Western Germany and had been actively promoting anti-socialist ideology among immigrants. Mitrokhin does not provide his real name, but uses his KGB codename “Konstantinov.” According to Mitrokhin, in February of 1963 the KGB sent counterfeit documents to West German counter-intelligence stating that “Konstantinov” had been an active KGB spy since WWII. The KGB also sent letters in the name of Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants to National Alliance of Russian Solidarists stating that the officials of the latter organization are “politically bankrupt” and that they were no longer able to promote anti-socialist ideology. The KGB residency in Belgium prepared a flyer with false information stating that the Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants was a corrupt institution whose president used its funds for personal use. According to Mitrokhin, the reputation of the Association of United Soviet Postwar Immigrants was destroyed and no longer remained influential.

  • 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

    Stiffening control over citizens. Folder 56. The Chekist Anthology

    This report provides evidence of a secret Moldovan KGB and Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) conference which took place in July 2, 1976. In this folder Mitrokhin provides a detailed plan for cooperation between these two institutions in order to provide state and public security. According to Mitrokhin, state security had been threatened by foreign spies, anti-socialist leadership, foreign tourists from capitalist countries, Jewish and German extremists, and sectarians. In order to counter these perceived threats, the officials of both institutions agreed to provide each other with the needed information, to organize events to promote socialism and patriotism, and to cooperate under any circumstances. This folder provides evidence that the officials were most concerned about foreign visitors and their activities in Moldova. A number of actions were taken to prohibit any kind of a threat, including special control over temporary residents, prohibiting immigration of people of Jewish and German descent, confiscating weapons from civilian foreigners, and detaining them in case they violate law and order. Mitrokhin points out that the officials agreed that strengthening the State Automobile Inspectorate (GAI) and border patrol would be necessary to avoid the chance of the smallest opposition movement.

  • June, 2007

    Signs of Anti-Sovietism, 1972. Folder 21. The Chekist Anthology

    On December 25, 1972 Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council granted the KGB authority to issue official warnings. The goal of the warnings was to prevent activities that threatened national security. Mitrokhin’s notes demonstrate that they were not intended as a punishment or penalty. The order of the Presidium provided for the use of the official warnings as a preventative measure.