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Mitrokhin Archive

The Mitrokhin Archive consists of summarized notes taken by Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to the United Kingdom after the fall of the Soviet Union. Primarily, this collection contains items from his "Chekist Anthology," which covers activities of the secret Soviet organization Cheka in places such as Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and Egypt. For more context, please read the "Note on Sources" and biography of Mitrokhin below, all of which should be read before any other documents. See also Intelligence Operations in the Cold War and the Vassiliev Notebooks. (Image: Vasili Mitrokhin)

Popular Documents

April 2004

KGB Active Measures in Southwest Asia in 1980-82

Materials provided by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin to CWIHP, following the publication of the Working Paper No. 40, "The KGB in Afghanistan." As with all Mitrokhin’s notes, his compilation on Soviet “active measures” in South and Southwest Asia is based on other smuggled-out notes and was prepared especially for CWIHP. Please read the Notes on Sources for information on the nature and limitations of these documents.

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

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.

April 2004

STASI German/Russian Lexicon of Intelligence Terms Introduction

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.

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.