Saturday, June 23, 2001

Inside Soviet Military Intelligence (III) by Victor Suvorov (1984)

Inside Soviet Military Intelligence (III) by Victor Suvorov (1984)

Chapter Five
Agent Communications
GRU theoreticians officially admit that agent communications -that
complex of channels for transmitting instructions and material - is the
weakest link in the chain. It is the fault of communications, they say, that
there are so many failures, and to some degree they are right. Whatever the
theoreticians say, however, we in the field know that by far the greatest
damage to Soviet intelligence is caused by the defection of GRU officers.
Enormous damage was done when Igor Gusenko went over to the West. By this
one gesture the whole powerful current of technological intelligence on the
production of atomic weapons, which was flowing like a river into the hands
of Stalin and his blood-thirsty clique, was stopped dead. And historians
will remember with gratitude the name of the GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky.
Thanks to his priceless information the Cuban crisis was not transformed
into a last World War. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that after the
phenomenon of willing and mass defection to the side of the enemy, which was
clearly absent in the old Russian intelligence service of the
pre-revolutionary period, agent communications is the most vulnerable sector
of Soviet intelligence.
All agent communications are divided into personal and non-personal.
Personal contact is the most vulnerable element, and preference is always
given to non-personal contact. At the same time, in the first stages,
especially during cultivation, recruitment and vetting, personal meetings
are an inescapable evil with which one has to come to terms. Later on, as
agents gain experience and involvement in their work, personal contacts
gradually give way to non-personal ones. Many of the most experienced agents
have not had a personal meeting with their case officer for several years.
If such meetings are absolutely unavoidable, the GRU prefers that they
should take place either on its own or on neutral territory.
Routine meetings are organised between agents, however. For example an
illegal will meet his agent or officers of the undercover residency their
agents. The details for these meetings are worked out previously. Whoever is
the senior man will give instructions to the junior as to where, when, and
in what circumstances they will meet. Experienced agents are often given a
programme of meetings for six months ahead, sometimes a year, and in some
cases even five years or more. Routine meetings usually take place in cafes,
restaurants, cinemas, night clubs or parks. Both parties try to give the
impression that it is a normal meeting between ordinary people discussing
important topics. Frequently they will try to give the impression that they
are collectors of such items as postage stamps, postcards or coins and will
have these objects spread out in front of them in the restaurant or cafe
where they are meeting. Sometimes these meetings take place in cinemas or
public conveniences. Longer meetings, especially during the vetting stage of
agents, will take place in hotels and camping places, caravans, yachts or
boats which either are the property of the agent or are hired by him. In all
cases, and this also applies to other operations involving agents, GRU
officers will try to avoid city quarters which are known to be the haunt of
criminals or prostitutes, and railway and police stations, airports, guarded
state military or commercial undertakings - in other words all those places
where police activity may be expected to be at its highest. The alternative
meeting is a carbon copy of the main meeting for which arrangements are made
at the same time as the main meeting: 'If one of us should be unable to get
to the meeting we will meet in the same place in a week's time'. A
complicated system of alternative meetings is set out for experienced
agents, and there may be up to three or four alternative meetings for each
main meeting. With so many alternatives it is essential that places and
times are changed.
This system of alternative meetings is introduced by GRU officers long
before recruitment. A man who has as yet done nothing for the GRU, who does
not even suspect its existence, is already being indoctrinated into secrecy
and is already being introduced to the system of agent communications.
Usually the subject is introduced in various quite innocent ways; for
example, the officer says, 'I shall be very pleased to meet you again but I
simply don't know whether I shall be able to be on time. The life of a
diplomat contains so many unexpected happenings. If I am late, then don't
wait for me more than ten minutes. In any case we will meet again in three
days' time.' If you have a good friend in the Soviet embassy and he says
that sort of thing to you, and at the same time has a hundred reasons why he
cannot use the telephone in such a simple case, be sure that the GRU has a
thick file on you and that sooner or later you will receive a proposal of
recruitment and notice with astonishment that all ways out seem to be
At the other end of the spectrum there is the emergency meeting. This
access is accorded only to the most experienced agents, and those who may
communicate information of such outstanding importance that it brooks no
delay at all. The agent is told how he should go about calling the officer
on stipulated telephones or telegrams or signals. In the same way the agent
is also given the possibility of communicating danger. For example, if he
rings up on the telephone and says, 'I need John,' then the officer will
come immediately. If the agent says, 'Ring John,' then they will reply that
he has made a mistake. If the agent uses the second variant, then he is
showing the GRU that he has been arrested by the police who are trying to
get to the case officer through the agent.
Brush contacts are for handing over material, instructions, money and
so on. The officer and the agent carry out only one contact, in very
populous places, in the underground, on full buses, at peak hours and when
the crowds come out of stadiums, for example. Brush contact must be carried
out with great precision otherwise the crowd may separate those taking part.
On the other hand the transmission of the material must not attract
attention especially if one of the participants is under strict
surveillance. The check meeting is carried out in the same conditions as the
routine meeting. However, the most junior of those taking part must not
suspect that it is not a routine meeting and that he is in fact being
checked. A number of GRU officers take up position before the meeting, in
places where they can easily observe what is going on (for example, on
observation platforms for tourists where there are powerful binoculars and
telescopes installed). The entry of the agent to the meeting place is
checked from a great distance. They check his punctuality, his behaviour,
they watch for anybody who follows him, they observe the presence of any
suspicious movement in the area of the meeting place prior to the meeting.
After the agent has realised that nobody is going to come and meet him, the
GRU officers may observe what he does, where he goes after the aborted
meeting and what action he takes.
The secret rendezvous (Yavka) is often confused with the secret house
or Yavotchnaya Kvartira. At the present time the term 'secret house' is not
used in the GRU. It has been replaced by the term 'secret flat' or KK but
the word Yavka is used to mean a meeting between two men who are unknown to
each other, for example two illegals, or an agent with his new case officer.
The secret rendezvous as an element of agent communications is given to all
agents without exception - they are given the place, time, recognition
signals, password and answer - because the secret rendezvous is essential
for re-establishing lost contacts. For example, if in extreme circumstances
the whole of the Soviet embassy was declared persona non grata and had to
leave the country, the agent who had lost contact with his case officer
would be obliged to go to a certain place on the 31st of every month which
has thirty-one days, that is seven times a year, having previously agreed
recognition signals (brief case in left hand, book in right hand, and so
on). In the appointed place another person will come towards him and will
give the previously arranged password to which the agent gives the proper
reply. In giving the correct reply the agent shows to his new leader that he
has not made a mistake and secondly that the agent acknowledges the
authority of his new case officer. If nobody comes to the pre-arranged
place, the agent is obliged to repeat the process until such time as
somebody does appear to re-establish contact.
As the agent becomes more and more involved in his work, elements of
non-personal contact gradually take the place of personal contact. The most
experienced agents have only one element of personal contact - the secret
rendezvous or Yavka -and several elements of non-personal contact. Let us
examine these. First there is the long-range two-way radio link, generally
imagined as a special portable radio set which may transmit information
directly to the receiving centre on Soviet territory or to a Soviet ship or
satellite. This classical element in all spy films is in practice only used
in wartime. Instead agents and illegals are issued with small written
instructions containing several types of ordinary current components which
may be bought in any radio shop, and the means whereby they may be put
together to make a long-range two-way set. This solves two problems at the
same time. If an agent is arrested there is only to be found in his flat a
pair of good Japanese receivers, a tape recorder and other components which
can be bought in any shop. There is therefore no way that he can be
suspected of any criminal activity. And secondly the problem of the
transportation and secret storage of a radio set of comparatively large
proportions is avoided. The GRU is continually looking at the market as
regards radio sets and components, and working out new recommendations as to
how they should be assembled. In times of war, however, quick-acting and
ultra-quick-acting sets are used, exploiting technical means of radio
transmission in seconds or micro- seconds. Satellites are used in
conjunction with these sets and this makes it possible to transmit
information on a narrow radio beam vertically overhead. The long-range
one-way radio link does not replace, but augments the two-way link. The most
convenient, reliable and secure type of link is inevitably the one by which
the agent receives from the Centre. One-way radio links are usually
broadcast by Soviet radio stations or special ships or polar stations to be
received anywhere in the world by ordinary radio receivers. Instructions to
the agent are transmitted in the form of previously agreed phrases or
numbers in ordinary radio programmes, or as a simple numerical code. Even if
a police force should by some means or another guess that the transmission
they are hearing is not a coded transmission for cosmonauts or warships,
they cannot possibly determine for which spy it is destined, or even which
country. The agent who hears such a transmission is also not exposed to any
great risk. However, for the GRU it is often necessary that the agent
himself transmits. For this the short-range radio link exists. The agent
transmits information to the Soviet embassy with the help of small
transmitters, like the sort of walkie-talkie sets which can be bought in any
shop and which are used for guiding model aeroplanes and ships (one cannot
help noticing how many aerials there are on the roof of the Soviet embassy).
In this type of radio exchange the GRU takes the cover of a fireman,
ambulance driver, construction worker or a policeman. All radio
conversations within the city limits are thoroughly studied by GRU
specialists and any of them may be used by the GRU for its dark ends. A
short-range special link is an alternative to short-range radio links. In
connection with increasing the monitoring of radio exchanges, the GRU
frequently undertakes the transmission of signals under water. One fisherman
will transmit signals by means of a rod put in the water and another several
kilometres distant from him will receive the signal by using the same
method. Or water and gas pipes can be used. Significant research is also
going on in the field of electro-optical communications.
Dead-letter boxes are the favourite GRU means of contact. They have the
most universal application and in addition to communications they may be
used for the storage of everything that has to do with a spy's work -
documents, money, radio sets, special photographic equipment, for example.
Thousands of types of dead-letter boxes are known, from cracks in
gravestones and brickwork to specially devised magnetic 'letter boxes' in
the form of metal nuts. Applied to the structure of a bridge among thousands
of similar nuts and rivets this device is easily hidden and just as easy to
undo. The GRU also makes wide use of boxes constructed in the form of a
plastic hollow wedge with a lid. These can very easily be pushed into the
ground in any public park. Underwater dead-letter boxes are also widely
Their selection is always a complicated and responsible business. The
primary criterion is that as far as possible they must not be prone to
accidental discovery. They are threatened by many possible happenings: they
may be found by children, by the police, even by archaeologists. There may
be floods, or the heat of summer may affect them. Someone may start building
on the site. All this must be taken into account. Equally important is that
the dead-letter box's location must be easy to describe to another person,
even by somebody who only knows about it at secondhand. It must also be
located in a place where it is possible for the case officer to go at any
time with a plausible cover story for his presence there. Some random
examples from GRU practice are worth describing.
As a general principle of security, each dead-letter box (DLB) may only
be used once. Documents on all DLBs are stored in the GRU command point and
after the completion of a DLB operation the document is stamped 'used' and
transferred to the archives. An officer at a command point, working in a GRU
top secret archive, once discovered the description of a DLB on which there
was no 'used' stamp. The document was very old, pre-war. The DLB has been
selected in 1932 and three years later some material had been put in it -
money and valuables for the use of the illegal residency in case of
emergency, apparently 'in various currencies to a total sum of 50,000
American dollars'. The officer carefully inspected the document again, but
there was nothing on it to show that the DLB had been emptied. The officer
informed his chief of what he had found and he in his turn informed the GRU
chief, who decided on an investigation. The affair was not complicated and a
week later the investigation disclosed that the dead-letter box had belonged
to the Hamburg illegal residency which in 1937 had been recalled to Moscow
lock, stock and barrel for 'instructions', and shot. All the materials of
the residency had been handed in to the archives, together with the document
about the unused DLB. The new officers who took the place of those who had
been shot were completely inexperienced and started work with new sets of
documents. There was no time, in any case, to look into the old documents.
Then the new GRU staff was also liquidated. So there were many documents
which were completely forgotten and simply collected dust in the archives.
The GRU chief took two decisions, firstly, to nominate a group of
specially trusted officers for permanent archive work- perhaps something
else of interest might be discovered - and secondly, to give an order to one
of the GRU residencies in West Germany to find this old unused DLB. Suppose
it was still there. If it was, then the value of its contents would have
increased many times.
In fact the DLB had survived, in spite of the war, the fierce bombing
of Hamburg, the rebuilding of the city after the war, and the enormous
expansion in the development of the city. The DLB consisted of a
hermetically sealed container, about the size of a small suitcase, which had
been buried at the bottom of a lake in a quiet park. For greater security it
had been covered with an old tombstone which had been sprinkled all over
with sand and silt. The container was removed to Moscow and opened there.
Much to the disappointment of all those present, all that was inside was a
few dozen old-fashioned silver watches of very little value, a hundred or so
American dollars and a few thousand crisp German Marks of the time of the
Third Reich.
The second dead-letter box was in the very centre of the American
capital. At the beginning of his lunch break, the agent would go into a park
and hide top secret documents in the hollow of a tree. Some minutes later a
Soviet 'diplomat' would appear, remove the documents and with the help of
two other 'diplomats' copy them in his car which was parked at the Capitol.
The operation was an especially daring one, and succeeded several
times—after the GRU chief had sanctioned repeated use of the DLB. The
copying of the documents in the car did not take more than twenty minutes,
and the agent, on his return from his lunch break, was able to walk in the
park for a few minutes longer and retrieve his documents. One day the case
officer was making his way towards the dead-letter box. Suddenly his
attention was attracted by a sheet of white paper blowing about with the
first yellow and red leaves. The officer picked it up and, horrified, saw
the stamp 'top secret'. He looked around. All over the park were dozens of
similar sheets of paper. The officer realised that squirrels getting ready
for winter had taken up residence in the hollowed-out tree; the pieces of
paper had got in their way and they had thrown them out. He immediately set
about picking up the pieces, many of which were torn by the sharp teeth and
claws of these lovable little animals. At that dramatic moment a policeman
appeared in the park. He evidently took the Soviet diplomat for one of the
White House workers who had had his papers blown out of his hands by the
wind. Without a word, the policeman also started to collect the papers.
Having gathered a considerable number, the policeman held them out to the
embarrassed case officer. The latter took them and smiled in the most
foolish way, even forgetting to thank his saviour and helper, who saluted
and withdrew. Nevertheless the situation remained highly critical. There was
absolutely no time, as the agent had already appeared on the opposite side
of the park. The case officer hurried to meet him, although this was
strictly forbidden. Quickly outlining the situation, the officer suggested
two possible ways out: either the agent should tell his department that he
had in error torn up the papers and thrown them into the waste-paper basket
but then had remembered in time; or he should wait for four days. The agent
chose the second option. Within hours, an officer with diplomatic rank had
made two changes of aircraft in Europe and arrived in Warsaw where a fast
fighter interceptor was waiting for him. Again only hours later, the GRU had
carried out a complete forgery of the documents, and a day later they were
returned to the agent. Of course, all this time he had been threatened with
exposure, but the GRU's swift action had saved him.
A third dead-letter box was in a small drainage pipe on the embankment
of a river in northern Europe. The officer had to lower into the pipe a
small metal box with a magnet attached. The magnet was very strong and
normally there would have been no risk that the box would come unstuck.
Pretending to tie up his shoe-lace, the officer carefully lowered the little
box into the drainage pipe with the magnet and took out his hand. But the
first frosts had started and the officer had not taken into account the fact
that the interior of the pipe was covered with a thin layer of ice. The box
slid down the pipe, giving out a harmonious ringing noise, and after a few
seconds flew out into the river, which was unfortunately also covered with a
thin sheet of ice. Had the river not been iced over, the box would have sunk
and that would have been that. But instead it skidded on the ice right to
the middle of the river. The ice was too thin to walk on, and nor was it,
possible to throw things at the box across the ice to send it to the other
side. In the box was a film with instructions for an agent. There was only
one way out. The officer ran into a shop and bought a fishing rod; then, for
an hour and a half, to the astonishment of passers-by, he cast his hook onto
the ice until it was taken by the magnet. By carefully winding in his line,
he succeeded in retrieving the valuable box. This happened in the heart of
one of the Western capitals in broad daylight.
Signals, too, are a means of exchanging information which is highly
favoured by the GRU. Office pins are used as signals stuck in a
predetermined place, dots, bands, crosses, signals are made with chalk,
pencil, paints, lipstick. A car parked in a pre-arranged place at a pre-
arranged time may serve as a signal or a doll placed in a window of a house.
These are used as warnings of danger, requests for meetings, confirmation of
the reception of radio instructions and for hundreds of other intentions.
Usually an agent who has worked for some years with the GRU will have
as a minimum the following elements of communication: the secret rendezvous,
long-range one-way radio link, short-range radio line or special link and a
system of dead-letter boxes and signals. An agent group in addition is
obliged in every case to have a long-range two-way radio link.

Chapter Six
The Practice of Agent Work
So our agent has been recruited, trained during long routine meetings
(perhaps in a small hotel off the beaten track), and there has been worked
out for him a complicated system of agent communications including both
personal and non-personal forms of communication and also the actions to be
taken in case of a sudden break of all channels of communication. Elements
of non-personal communication have been gradually introduced and have
gradually superseded the personal meetings. In these meetings the agent has
handed over photocopies of secret documents and has received in exchange
small sums of money. Attempts by the agent to protest or refuse to work have
been successfully suppressed. The material received from him has been
thoroughly compared and checked with analogous material received from other
sources. So far, all is going well. What happens next is a new stage, the
thinking behind which includes the segregation of the agent from the Soviet
embassy and from all meetings with official Soviet representatives.
Up till the Second World War not only the agents of undercover
residencies, but also illegals and agents subordinate to illegals, were tied
to the embassies. With the outbreak of war, when the embassies were closed,
all contact with the powerful agent network was lost. The flow of agent
information was cut off at the very moment when it would have been of the
greatest value. The deputy head of the GRU was sent into occupied Europe
with several radio officers and unlimited powers. Within a short time he had
successfully organised a small illegal resident network on the territories
of Belgium and Holland. Subsequently, by means of secret rendezvous, he was
able to re-establish contact with all the illegal residencies. However, the
agent radio station by the name of 'Sever', which had been established
before the war, proved useless. Nobody had supposed that the advance of the
Nazis would be so precipitate, and the radio station had not been designed
to deal with such long distances. The ships of the Soviet Baltic fleet were
blockaded in their own bases and could not be used for the reception of
agent transmissions. Then the GRU organised a receiving centre on the
territory of the Soviet embassy in Sweden. Information from all the illegal
residencies came to the illegal residency network and from there was
transmitted directly to the Soviet Union. This was perhaps the only possible
solution at the time and of course it had many disadvantages. First of all,
the agents, their case officers and the illegals found themselves in one
gigantic residency, a state of affairs which compromised many hundreds of
men. It could not be long before it collapsed, and the collapse began in the
most vulnerable place, deep in the nerve centre of this most unprecedently
powerful underground organisation. One of the illegal radio operators,
wishing to obtain the favours of a girl, boasted to her that he knew all the
latest news in the world, as he regularly listened to the radio (which was,
of course, forbidden on occupied territory). The girl, in her turn eager for
the favours of a certain German corporal, informed him of this fact. So the
most powerful underground intelligence organisation in history was
discovered - this organisation which had penetrated many of Germany's most
sensitive secrets. Referred to by the Germans as 'the Red Orchestra', the
organisation was completely neutralised and all the agents and illegals of
this gigantic octopus arrested.
The GRU learnt its lessons very quickly. Already, only a few months
after what had happened, illegal residencies were functioning on the
territories of its true 'allies', the United States, Great Britain and
Canada which were completely separate from the embassies. This now cast-iron
rule is observed by the GRU everywhere. Undercover residencies support
illegals, but only on instructions from the Centre without having any idea
for whom they are working. All operations in support of illegals are worked
out in such a way that the officers of the GRU undercover residency do not
have one crumb of information which is not necessary. Operations are planned
in such a way that there is no possibility of the illegals becoming
dependent on the actions of the undercover residency. Another lesson learnt
from the arrest of the 'Red Orchestra' is the division of residencies into
even smaller independent parts, especially insofar as this concerns
illegals. And, thirdly and significantly, there is the separation of agents
from the embassy which is our present concern.
The recruited, tested and trained agent must be kept separate from
official Soviet institutions abroad. The process of separating the agent is
undertaken only after he has handed over to the GRU a significant quantity
of secret material, that is, made it impossible for himself to go to the
police. The separated agent comes in three guises: the separated acting
agent, the agent group and the agent residency.
The most valuable agents, those that provide specially important
material, are taken out of residencies very quickly. The moment the Centre
feels that such and such an agent is handing over material of exceptional
importance, it will immediately demand that no more information or documents
are taken from him. All attention is switched from questions of obtaining
information to questions of security and training. The GRU will then take
the step of sending him immediately to a soft country to undergo his
training there - during a 'holiday', perhaps. If circumstances permit, he
may be transferred from the soft country to the Soviet Union. Thence he will
go back to his own country, but as an independently acting agent. He will be
run exclusively by the Centre, in concrete terms the head of a section,
even, in special cases, the head of a directorate and in extreme cases the
deputy head of the GRU or the head himself. The running of such an agent is
thus carried out exactly as the running of illegals is.
A complex system of non-personal communications and contacts must be
worked out for an independent agent. Usually he will transmit his material
by means of dead-letter boxes. The residency which was responsible for the
agent's recruitment may receive the order to empty such and such a numbered
dead-letter box of films. It will not know from whom it is receiving these
films, whether from a local illegal or a transiting illegal, an 'artist on
tour' as they are still called, or from an agent who has been recruited by
that particular residency. The processing of films (which are called
schtchit - the Russian word for shield) is carried out only in the Centre.
The film will be a dual-purpose one. Firstly a pseudo-secret document is
photographed on the film by the GRU, then the film is given to the agent and
he photographs genuine secret material on it. Any attempt to develop the
film outside the walls of the GRU Technical Operations Scientific Research
Institute leads to the real secret text being destroyed and only the
pseudo-secret text appearing, which is designed to lead the police on a wild
goose chase.
The Scientific Research Institute of the GRU has done much important
work in developing films of the schtchit type. Hundreds, or even possibly
thousands, of formulae have been worked out. In each case, for each and
every valuable agent, a separate and unrepeatable formula is used. The GRU
tries by all possible means to limit the number of personal contacts with
independent agents, which is why they are taken out of the residencies. If
personal meetings have to take place, they are only carried out in soft
countries or secretly in the Soviet Union. In any case, they are carried out
extremely rarely.
Other agents recruited by residencies are gradually organised into
agent groups of three to five men each. Usually, agents working in one
particular field of espionage are put together in one group. Sometimes a
group consists of agents who for various reasons are known to each other.
Let us suppose that one agent recruits two others. A group automatically
organises itself. The GRU obviously considers family groups containing the
head of the family and his wife and children to be more secure and stable.
The members of such a group may work in completely different fields of
espionage. The leader of an agent group is called a gropovod, and only he is
in contact with Soviet officers. Thus to a certain extent the members of
agent groups are completely isolated from Soviet diplomatic representation.
The agent group is in contact with the undercover residency for a period of
time, then gradually the system of contact with the residency comes to an
end and orders begin to be received directly from Moscow. By various
channels the group sends it material directly to Moscow. Finally the contact
with Moscow becomes permanent and stable and the agent group is entirely
separated from the residency. With gradual changes in personnel at the
residency, like the resident himself, the cipher officers and the
operational officers with whom there was once direct contact, nobody outside
the Centre will know of the existence of this particular group. Should it
happen that operating conditions become difficult, or that the embassy is
blockaded or closed down, the group will be able to continue its activities
in the same way as before.
The GRU tolerates personal contacts with group leaders only in
exceptional circumstances and where there is favourable security. Agents
going into agent groups do not by any means always know each other, nor is
it necessary that they should. They may know the group leader alone, not
guessing at the existence of other agents.
An agent group may gradually get bigger as the group leader or his
recruiting agent continues to recruit other agents. If the Centre permits a
group leader to recruit agents independently, his agent group, even if it
consists of only two men, acquires the status of an agent residency, and the
group leader becomes the agent resident. This status was acquired by one of
the American nuclear physicists whom the GRU permitted to recruit his
colleagues at his discretion. Interestingly this agent resident never made a
Sometimes the GRU will post one or more illegals to an agent residency.
The presence of even one Soviet illegal (he is of course considered as the
leader) in an agent residency of any size automatically transforms that
residency from an agent residency into an illegal residency. This process of
increasing the numbers and the gradual self-generation of independent
organisations continues endlessly. The process is similar to the spread of a
fearful illness, with the difference that, in this case, surgical
intervention always gives excellent results. Hundreds of examples have
proved this.
If the GRU feels that there is likely to be a clampdown and that
operating conditions will become more difficult at any moment, it takes
measures to ensure that it does not lose the agent network which has already
been recruited but not as yet separated from the undercover residency. With
this aim in mind some of the most experienced officers of the undercover
residency are in a continual state of readiness so that at any moment, on
the order of the Centre, they may go over to illegal status and run the work
of their agents. These officers are in possession of previously prepared
documents and equipment, and gold, diamonds and other valuables which will
be of use to them in their illegal activities will have been hidden in
secret hiding-places beforehand. In case of war actually breaking out, these
officers will unobtrusively disappear from their embassies. The Soviet
government will register a protest and will for a short time refuse to
exchange its diplomats for the diplomats of the aggressive country. Then it
will capitulate, the exchange will take place and the newly fledged illegals
will remain behind in safe houses and flats. Afterwards they will gradually,
by using the system of secret rendezvous, begin to establish the system of
contacts with agents and agent groups which have recently been subordinated
to the undercover residency. Now they all form a new illegal residency. The
new illegals never mix and never enter into contact with the old ones who
have been working in the country for a long time. This plainly makes life
more secure for both parties. The formation of new illegal residencies where
there were already old ones in action is yet another example of the constant
striving for duplication.
However important the problems of recruiting agents, training them and
organising agent networks may be, there is still one overriding objective:
the acquisition of secrets belonging to an enemy or a probable enemy. The
material acquired by the GRU breaks down into information, documents and
specimens or samples. Information includes commentaries and reports.
Documents are not the subjective opinions or observations of agents but
official secret papers, books, drawings or copies of them. Specimens or
samples are self-explanatory: actual weapons, examples of military
technology, instruments and equipment which the GRU uses for study and
The photographing of documents and eavesdropping on conversations are
in real life exactly as they are portrayed in spy films. But how does the
agent contrive to steal secret equipment and remain undetected? Many ways
and means exist: we have already examined one of them when we discussed the
recruitment of the owners of small private companies producing military
equipment. The owner of a small firm has not much difficulty in producing
one extra specimen of an instrument or a gadget and it is very advantageous
for him to sell it to the GRU. But what about really big objects like a
tank, an aeroplane or an atomic reactor? Not only does one have to obtain
such an object without its loss being noticed, but it also has to be
transported to the Soviet Union. There is, perhaps surprisingly, a number of
solutions to these problems. Samples of objects which can only be used once
-rockets, torpedoes, shells, cartridges - are usually stolen during
instructional periods, military displays or tests. An entry may be made, for
example, in the official accounting documents that there were a hundred
launchings of a certain anti-tank rocket whereas in actual fact there were
only ninety-nine. The hundredth rocket will have been quietly sold to the
GRU without anybody noticing. Very often written- off equipment is able to
be sold because there exist official documents certifying that it has been
written off or destroyed. One agent suggested to the GRU that he should
obtain for them a lateral scanning radar for aircraft which permitted the
aircraft to carry out intelligence work on the territory of the enemy while
it was actually over its own territory. The GRU, of course, agreed to the
suggestion, although the agent said that he did not know exactly when he
would be able to acquire the apparatus. It might be within a day or two, it
might take years. The GRU agreed to wait. Several months later the agent
obtained the apparatus, and a year later it was taken into service with the
Soviet Army. The agent worked in an experimental training ground, and when
an aircraft equipped with the required apparatus crashed, the agent, in
spite of very strict control, was able to steal a broken radar. This was
quite sufficient for the Soviet Army to catch up with the United States in
that particular field. Frequently agents go as far as deliberately damaging
secret arms and equipment so that they can be written off and then sold.
Wide use is made of countries of the Third World which receive equipment
from Western countries, as was made clear in the GRU's (unsuccessful)
attempt to acquire a French Mirage III from the Lebanon. Any armed conflict
or change of government is usually accompanied by intense GRU activity,
because this is the most favourable time for stealing military technology
and armaments.
The diplomatic mail is the most often-used method of transporting
specimens to the Soviet Union. The main problem is to transport the specimen
into the Soviet embassy. From that time onwards, of course, it crosses all
frontiers in sealed packing cases and accompanied by armed diplomatic
couriers. Sometimes the difficult problem arises of a specimen weighing
several tons which cannot be accommodated in the diplomatic post. This
happened when, in one of the countries which had bought Leopard tanks in the
Federal Republic of Germany, GRU agents were able to steal a written-off
tank engine — an item of exceptional interest to Soviet industry. The theft
went unnoticed but the engine weighed more than a ton and there was no way
it could be accommodated in diplomatic containers. The Soviet consulate then
bought an old cruising yacht. The yacht was straight away sent for a refit
and, for a very substantial sum, the small repair workshop installed the
heavy tank engine in the yacht. The yacht went to sea on a number of
pleasure trips and during one such trip fortuitously met a Soviet trawler. A
special team of fitters literally tore the tank engine out of the yacht in a
few minutes. The yacht put to sea several times after this to maintain its
cover, before being sold.
Another, more reliable method of transporting heavy equipment exists.
After an item has been acquired, GRU officers in the guise of a trade
delegation will poach from a firm some completely unnecessary item of quite
innocent nature. The important thing is that the quantity of containers and
their weight approximate to the packing of the secret equipment.
Subsequently the markings on the packing cases are changed and they make
their way innocently through customs control. So items of exceptional
importance are transported to the Soviet Union in the form of equipment for,
say, a canning factory. Sometimes, too, specimens are sent to a safe address
in one of the Third World countries where they can be loaded onto Soviet
ships without any trouble.
In general terms the GRU leadership is quite confident that it is
capable of obtaining any technological secret from the West provided it has
been allocated a sufficient sum of money. Only one technological secret
exists which the GRU is incapable of obtaining. Even if it did obtain it,
the Soviet system would not be able to copy it since for that, the whole
structure of communism would have to be changed. Yet this technological
secret is of vital importance to the Soviet system. It is the Achilles' heel
of socialism - strike at it and socialism will fall to pieces, all invasion,
nationalisation and collectivisation will cease. This secret is nothing more
than the means of producing bread. Socialism, for all its gigantic
resources, is not capable of feeding itself. How easy it would be, one
sometimes thinks, to place an embargo on the supply of bread to the Soviet
Union, until Soviet forces no longer found themselves in occupied
Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, until such time as the Cubans
no longer held sway in Africa, until the Berlin Wall disappeared. It would
only be necessary to withhold supplies of grain for a few months, and the
whole edifice of socialism might fall to pieces.

Chapter Seven
Operational Intelligence
Operational intelligence marks a complete departure from the kind we
have talked about until now. It embraces intelligence organisations
subordinated to operational units - fronts, fleets, groups of forces,
military districts, armies, flotillas - whose job is to aid in the
implementation of the military activity. Organisationally, the Soviet Army
consists of sixteen military districts and four groups of forces in Germany,
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In war, or at the time of preparations
for war, the groups of forces and military districts are transformed into
fronts and army groups. Each military district, groups of forces and front
has a staff, each with its own intelligence directorate (called RU or Second
Directorate of the Military District Staff). The chief of the Second
Directorate of the Military District Staff is the chief of all intelligence
units of the military district. He is officially called the head of military
district intelligence. All twenty heads of military district intelligence
and groups of forces are under the command of the head of the GRU Fifth
Directorate. The GRU Fifth Directorate supervises the activity of the
intelligence directorates, carries out the posting of senior officers of
operational intelligence, collates the work experience of all operational
intelligence and issues corresponding recommendations and instructions. In
addition, the head of intelligence is subordinated to the chief of the
military district staff. The chief of staff directs the daily activity of
the head of intelligence. The head of intelligence of a military district
works exclusively in the interests of his military district, in conformity
with the orders of the chief of staff and the commander of the military
district. At the same time, all information obtained is forwarded to the GRU
too. The role the GRU plays is to collect information from all heads of
intelligence and forward to them information obtained by other intelligence
organs. Sometimes, the intelligence directorate of the military district may
work directly in the interests of the GRU but this must be done only with
the agreement of the military district commander. The chief of the general
staff is the supreme arbiter in disputes between the commander of the
military district and the head of the GRU. However, in practice such
disputes occur extremely rarely.
Each front, group of forces and military district consists of armies.
Normally a front has an air force, a tank army and two to three all-arms
armies. Each army consists of four to seven divisions. Sometimes a corps is
included - two to three divisions. Each army and corps has a staff, among
whose members is an intelligence section which is called RO [Razvedyvatelnyi
otdel] or Army Staff Second Department. The head of the army intelligence
section is the head of all intelligence units belonging to a given army. He
also ranks below two other officers: the chief of staff of his army, and the
chief of intelligence of the military district.
His relationship with his chiefs is based on similar lines. He works
exclusively in the interests of his army, obeying the orders of the army
commander and the army chief of staff. At the same time, all information
acquired by him is also forwarded to the intelligence chief of the military
district. A reciprocal arrangement exists whereby the intelligence chief of
the military district forwards information to his heads of army intelligence
which he has received from other armies, the intelligence directorates of
the military districts and the GRU.
The Soviet navy consists of four fleets, the Northern, Pacific, Black
Sea and Baltic fleets. Each of the fleets is the equal of a military
district, group of forces, and front, and has a staff which includes an
intelligence directorate or Naval Staff Second Directorate. Its head is the
chief of Naval Intelligence. The naval directorates have the same
organisation as those in military districts, fronts and groups of forces.
The difference lies in the fact that while the army directorates are
subordinated directly to the Fifth Directorate of the GRU, the four naval
directorates fall under an organisation called naval intelligence. In its
turn naval intelligence comes under the head of the GRU and is controlled by
the Fifth Directorate. The reason for this extra organisational step is that
ships of all four fleets frequently operate in all oceans as combined
squadrons. For this reason the ships need information, not about a narrow
sector like the troops of a military district, but on a much wider scale.
Naval intelligence was created to co-ordinate naval information from
every ocean of the world, and is a component of the High Staff of the Navy
of the USSR. In addition to its normal powerful apparatus for gathering
information, there is also the naval cosmic intelligence department. The
Soviet Union therefore possesses two independent cosmic intelligence
organisations, the GRU's own and the Navy's cosmic intelligence
organisation. Although naval cosmic intelligence works in the interests of
the High Commander of the Soviet Navy, all information from it is handed
over to the GRU. The co-operation between the two cosmic services is
co-ordinated by the chief of the General Staff. Should a very serious
situation arise, the same task may be set at the same time to both services
and the results arrived at then collated and compared.
The organisation of intelligence directorates (RUs) on the staffs of
military districts, groups of forces, fronts and fleets is standardised. The
intelligence directorate consists of five departments and two groups:
First Department or Department of Reconnaissance directs the activities
of the reconnaissance units of the tactical wing, that is, reconnaissance
battalions of divisions and reconnaissance companies of regiments. In naval
terminology this department is called the Ship Reconnaissance Department. It
directs the collection of information which comes directly from serving
surface vessels and submarines at sea, bearing in mind that what is meant
here are normal warships and not special intelligence collecting ships. The
training of officers of First Departments is carried out in the intelligence
faculty of the Frunze Military Academy and the corresponding faculty of the
Naval Academy. The officers of First Departments are usually experienced
army and navy officers who have considerable experience of service in
reconnaissance units.
Second Department or Department of Agent Intelligence is concerned with
the recruitment of secret agents and the obtaining through them of
intelligence information of interest to the staff. The recruitment of agents
and the creation of agent networks is carried out on the territories of
contiguous countries where the military district concerned would expect to
operate in war-time. Naval Intelligence is interested in recruiting agents
from all territories, especially in large ports and naval bases. An
intelligence centre and three or four intelligence points are subordinated
to the Second Department which is directly concerned with agent work.
The centre is concerned with the recruitment of agents in the
contiguous state, whereas the intelligence points only recruit agents in
specific sectors and areas. They work independently from one another,
although they are co-ordinated by the chief of the Second Department. The
training of officers for work in the Second Departments and also in centres
and points is carried out by the Third Faculty of the Military-Diplomatic
Academy (the Academy of the Soviet Army).
The Third Department or Spetsnaz Department is concerned with the
preparation and carrying out of diversionary acts on enemy territory, the
liquidation of political and military leaders, the destruction of lines of
communication and supply and the carrying out of terrorist operations with
the aim of undermining the enemy's will to continue fighting. A Spetsnaz
intelligence point is subordinated to this department and this carries out
the recruitment of agent-terrorists on the territory of any possible future
enemy. There is also a Spetsnaz brigade which consists of 1,300 cut- throat
soldiers. The officers who work in the Spetsnaz intelligence points and
those who direct their activities in the Third Department are trained,
rather incongruously, in the Third Faculty of the Military-Diplomatic
Academy, although for the Spetsnaz brigade and the officers connected with
it training takes place in the Frunze Academy. Analogous organisations can
be seen in the Navy, with this difference: the brigades are called Spetsnaz
naval brigades (not to be confused with Naval infantry brigades) and the
same 'diplomats' direct the activity of all agent- assassins in the fleets.
The Fourth Department or Information Department carries out the
collection and collation of all intelligence coming into the intelligence
The Fifth Department is occupied with electronic intelligence, and this
department directs two regiments, the Radio Intelligence Regiment and the
Radio-Technical Intelligence Regiment. Radio Intelligence carries out the
interception of radio signals and Radio-Technical Intelligence is concerned
with tracking emissions from the enemy's radar.
The Intelligence Directorate Technical Facilities Group is occupied
with the interpretation of air photographs. The training of specialists for
such work is carried on at the Second Kharkov Higher Military Aviation and
Engineering School.
The Interpreters' Group or 'the Inquisition' deals with the deciphering
and translation of documents obtained, and with the interrogation of
prisoners of war. Specialists for this group are prepared at the Military
Institute (of Foreign Languages).
The Intelligence Department of the Army Staff
This may be seen as an intelligence directorate in miniature. It has
very similar organisation: First Group or Reconnaissance Group: analagous to
the First Department of an Intelligence Directorate and concerned with
directing tactical reconnaissance, the difference being that it is only
responsible for the divisions of one army, whereas the First Department of
an Intelligence Directorate is responsible for all the divisions of its
military district; Second Group or Secret Intelligence Group; Third Group or
Spetsnaz Group: responsible for terrorist acts in the area of operations of
its army - a specialist company of 115 cut-throat soldiers is part of it;
Fourth Group — Informational; Fifth Group which commands two battalions,
radio intelligence and radio-technical intelligence -the Intelligence
Department likewise has its own interpreters.
It would be a mistake to think that operational agent intelligence is a
kind of second-class citizen compared with strategic intelligence. Every
intelligence directorate is a kind of GRU in miniature with its electronic
facilities, information services, secret agents and even, where the fleet is
concerned, its independent cosmic service. During the course of a war, or
immediately before war breaks out, the power of an intelligence directorate
is immeasurably increased by the infiltration in the enemy's rear of
thousands of Spetsnaz saboteurs. The intelligence directorates taken
altogether form a very powerful intelligence conglomerate, in no way
inferior in its scope to strategic intelligence. In other words the GRU, in
the form of strategic and operational intelligence, has created two agent
networks independent of one another and each duplicating the other. In
countries like Norway, Sweden, West Germany, Austria, Turkey, Afghanistan
and China the operational intelligence agent network by far exceeds
strategic intelligence in strength, effectiveness and invulnerability. This
can be confirmed by examining the task of the different intelligence
Northern Fleet - covering Norway, Great Britain, France, Spain,
Portugal, Canada and the USA. There is no doubt that Northern Fleet
intelligence is mainly restricted to targets on the sea shore or coastline,
although this certainly does not preclude deep agent penetration of the
whole territory of the country being investigated, including the central
government organs.
Baltic Fleet - covering Sweden, Denmark, West Germany.
Black Sea Fleet - covering Turkey and the whole Mediterranean
Pacific Fleet - covering the USA, Japan, China, Canada and all
countries of the Pacific Basin.
Leningrad Military District - Norway and Sweden. Agent intelligence
work is not carried out on Finnish territory, since this country is well
inside the Soviet sphere of influence, and its behaviour pleases the Kremlin
much more than that of certain Warsaw pact countries, for example, Romania.
Baltic Military District - Sweden, Denmark.
Soviet Groups of Forces in Germany, the Northern Group of Forces in
Poland, the Byelorussian Military District - all are concerned with the
study of the German Federal Republic.
Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia - covering the German Federal
Republic and Austria.
Southern Group of Forces in Hungary - Austria.
Carpathian Military District - covering Greece and Turkey from
Bulgarian territory.
Kiev and Odessa Military District - Turkey, Austria.
Trans-Caucasian Military District — Turkey, Iran.
Turkestan Military District - Iran, Afghanistan.
Mid-Asian Military District - Afghanistan, China.
Trans-Baikal and Far Eastern Military Districts - China.
Moscow, Northern Caucasian, Volga, Ural and Siberian Military Districts
- these do not run agent networks in peace time.
Taking two countries, West Germany and Turkey, as examples, let us
analyse the strengths and facilities of strategic and operational
intelligence networks and likewise the KGB networks:
West Germany has been infiltrated by: the GRU strategic agent network;
several illegal residencies and agent groups; five undercover residencies in
Bonn and Cologne, and three Soviet-controlled missions in British, American
and French sectors; the Berlin direction of the GRU; it is also covered by
the GRU operational agent network. Here, completely independently, work is
also carried out by the intelligence directorate of the Baltic Fleet, Soviet
troops in Germany, and the Northern and Central groups of forces in the
Byelorussian Military District. In other words West Germany is subject to
the attentions of: the agent networks of five intelligence centres; fifteen
to eighteen intelligence points plus five intelligence points belonging to
the Spetsnaz group; five Spetsnaz brigades and up to fifteen to twenty
separate Spetsnaz companies belonging to the same organisation which are at
full alert to carry out terrorist acts (the total number of cut-throats is
up to 8,000 men). This accounts only for GRU activities. The KGB agent
network also runs several illegal residencies and agent groups and two
undercover residencies in Bonn and Cologne.
Turkey contains a similar proliferation of Soviet espionage: a GRU
strategic agent network in the form of an illegal residency and two
undercover residencies in Ankara and Istanbul; a GRU operational network in
the form of five intelligence centres belonging to the Carpathian, Odessa,
Kiev and Trans-Caucasian Military Districts, and the Black Sea fleet;
fifteen to twenty intelligence points, plus five Spetsnaz intelligence
points and a corresponding quantity of Spetsnaz brigades. The KGB provides a
strategic network (one illegal residency and two undercover residencies);
and a KGB operational network. This network is subordinated to the KGB
frontier troops.
These two examples provide a blueprint for intelligence activity in
many other countries, especially those having common frontiers with the
Soviet Union or its satellites.
The basic difference in working methods between strategic and
operational intelligence in the GRU is that officers of operational
intelligence do not in peace-time work on the territories of target
countries. All operations concerning the identification of suitable
candidates, their vetting, testing, recruitment, training and all practical
work are carried out on the territories within the Eastern bloc or from
inside its frontiers. It may be thought that operational intelligence does
not have the range and potential of the strategic branch, whose officers
mainly work abroad, but this is not so. Without the possibility of
recruiting foreigners in their own countries, operational intelligence seeks
and finds other ways of establishing the necessary contacts. Its officers
exploit every avenue of approach to attract foreigners visiting the Soviet
Union and its satellites into their network. Prime attention is paid to
students undergoing instruction in Soviet higher educational institutes, and
to specialists visiting the Soviet Union as members of delegations. Naval
intelligence actively works against sailors from foreign ships calling at
Soviet ports, and operational intelligence is equally careful to study the
affairs of Soviet and Eastern bloc citizens who have relatives in countries
of interest to it.
Operational intelligence is quite unceremonious in using methods of
pressurising its candidates, seeing that the recruitment of foreigners is
taking place on its own territory. Having recruited one foreigner, the
intelligence directorate then uses him for selecting and recruiting other
candidates without a Soviet officer taking part. Frequently, one recruitment
on Soviet territory is sufficient for the agent who has been recruited to
return to his country and recruit several more agents. Contact between
agents who have been recruited and their case officers in the Soviet Union
is usually carried out by non-personal channels - radio, secret writing,
microdots, dead-letter boxes - and couriers are greatly used, too, people
like train drivers and conductors, crew members of aircraft and ships and
lorry drivers. Personal contact with operational intelligence agents is only
carried out on Soviet bloc territory. There exist numerous examples where
meetings with agents take place only once every five to seven years, and
cases are known where agents have never met their case officer and have
never been either on Soviet or satellite territory. A useful example is that
of a lorry driver belonging to a large transport company who was recruited
by Soviet operational intelligence whilst visiting Czechoslovakia.
Subsequently, having returned to his own country, he recruited a friend who
worked in an armaments factory and his brother who lived not far from a very
large military airport. The lorry driver only occasionally visited eastern
Europe and rarely had contact with Soviet officers because there was always
a driver's mate with him. However, every time a journey to eastern Europe
was planned, he notified his case officers in good time by means of
postcards. Postcards with pre- arranged texts were sent to different
addresses in the Eastern bloc and every time the driver crossed into
Soviet-controlled territory, officers met him either at customs, or in the
restaurant or even the lavatory, to give him short instructions and money.
The meetings were carried out in the shortest possible time so that the
driver's mate would not suspect anything.
The absence of contact with agents outside territory under the control
of the Soviet Union gives GRU operational intelligence exceptional
advantages. Firstly, it is extremely difficult to unmask and expose such
agents; secondly, and perhaps more important, the Soviet officers of
operational intelligence have no chance to defect to the West and expose the
activities of the agents recruited by them. (In strategic intelligence this
occurs quite regularly but we have as yet not one example of it happening
amongst operational intelligence officers.)
Yet another important advantage of operational intelligence, and one
which gives it exceptional invulnerability, is its diversification. A
defecting officer from strategic intelligence can say a lot about the
activities of the central apparatus of the GRU, but an officer of the
operational network who did succeed in defecting would be able to reveal
only one or two intelligence points or centres - and there are more than a
hundred of these in the Soviet Army. Each of them is carefully isolated from
the others and, to a great extent, camouflaged. Centres and points are
mostly found on the premises of military buildings of exceptional
importance, and consequently with the maximum possible protection. Even if
an officer did succeed in disclosing the true significance of a particular
building, he could only say that it was, for example, a store for nuclear
weapons or a rocket depot; it would be almost impossible to determine that
in addition there was also an intelligence point. Cases are known where
intelligence points have been located on the premises of the personal
country houses of important generals or the well-guarded premises of
punishment battalions (in other words, military prisons). And the
diversification of the operational networks in no way indicates the absence
of co-ordination. All these organs and organisations are included in a rigid
pyramid system headed by the Fifth GRU Directorate (in turn, of course,
subject to the head of the GRU). However, in the activities of the
intelligence directorates there exists a certain freedom which invariably
engenders useful intiative. The GRU central apparatus prefers not to
interfere in the daily running of the intelligence directorates provided
that they work in a productive manner and toe the line. The GRU will
occasionally interfere, in cases where two different directorates have
recruited the same agent, although it will always encourage a situation
where different intelligence directorates recruit agents for the same
target. For example, the intelligence directorate of a group of forces once
recruited an agent for an important scientific research target. Unwittingly
the intelligence directorate of another group of forces recruited another
agent for the same target. Both agents provided almost identical information
which was eventually received in Moscow where it was carefully analysed. The
moment one of the agents began to provide false information, it was spotted
by the Fifth Directorate which demanded that work should stop with one agent
and that there should be greater vigilance in the work with the other agent.
Independent penetration is, as we know, practised at all levels in the GRU.
The head of an intelligence point may check his agents and reveal negative
aspects in their work in good time. The heads of intelligence in military
districts check the heads of points and centres and the head of the GRU
checks his heads of military district intelligence. An illegal agent network
may be used to check the agents of the undercover residencies and
operational agent networks and vice-versa. Of course nobody suspects that he
is engaged in checking somebody else. All anybody knows is that he is
procuring material for the GRU.
Spetsnaz intelligence is the sharpest and most effective weapon in the
hands of the heads of intelligence directorates or departments. It consists
of two elements - Spetsnaz agents and Spetsnaz detachments. Spetsnaz agents
are recruited by an intelligence point, and the whole process of recruiting
and running agent-saboteurs is identical to the work with ordinary agents of
operational intelligence. However, their tasks differ in essence. The basic
task of the procurement agent is to provide necessary information. The task
of the Spetsnaz agent is to carry out terrorist acts. Intelligence
directorates try to recruit these agents from within the most important
economic and transport targets. On receipt of orders, they must be able and
willing to carry out acts of sabotage upon these targets. For the GRU the
most important thing is to render unserviceable power and transport targets,
electric power stations, electric power lines, oil and gas pipelines,
bridges, tunnels and railway equipment. Great stress is placed on carrying
out acts of sabotage which will have a strong effect on the morale of the
inhabitants over a wide area, such as the blowing up of a large dam or the
burning of oil storage tanks. Spetsnaz agents form the so-called 'sleeping'
agent network which does no work in peace-time but springs into action the
moment hostilities break out. Operational intelligence tries to limit its
meetings with these agents to exceptional cases.
The Spetsnaz detachment is quite different. It is the true elite of the
Soviet armed forces. Its members are crack soldiers and officers. On Soviet
territory they wear the uniform of airborne troops, on satellite territories
they are disguised as auxiliary detachments, normally signals units. (Of
course they have no connection with airborne troops or signals. Eight
divisions of airborne troops are subject to the commander of airborne
forces, who in his turn is answerable only to the Minister of Defence. The
airborne forces form a strategic element acting exclusively in the interests
of the higher command.) Spetsnaz detachments are an organ of the operational
field and act in the interests of fronts, fleets and armies. The Soviet Army
includes four naval Spetsnaz brigades (one to each fleet); sixteen Spetsnaz
brigades - one to each group of forces and the basic military districts; and
forty-one separate companies.
A Spetsnaz brigade consists of a headquarters company, three or four
airborne battalions and support detachments. In all there are 900 to 1,300
soldiers and officers ready to carry out terrorist operations in the rear of
the enemy. A Spetsnaz naval brigade is similar, containing a headquarters
company, a group of midget submarines, a battalion of parachutists and two
or three battalions of frogmen. Sometimes the Spetsnaz naval brigade is
confused with the brigade of the fleet marine infantry, mainly because naval
Spetsnaz use the uniform of marine infantry to disguise their soldiers and
officers. Spetsnaz companies in armies and tank armies consist of three
platoons of saboteurs and one communications platoon. This means that, all
told, there are in peace-time alone 27,000 to 30,000 first-class saboteurs
available. During mobilisation this number can be increased by four- or
five-fold by recalling reservists who have previously served in these
The deployment of saboteurs in the enemy's rear is normally carried out
by parachute, though in the fleets frogmen also take part. Spetsnaz hardly
ever use helicopters, because the deployment generally takes place at a
considerable distance from the front line. Small groups of Spetsnaz brigades
are dropped at a depth of 500 to 1,000 kilometres to act in the interests of
the frontal forces who will be attacking through areas cleared by atomic
action, air attacks and sabotage activities. Simultaneously with the
dropping of the front brigade, each army taking part carries out the
dropping of its own Spetsnaz companies. These are also dropped in small
groups, a maximum of fifteen consisting of five or six men each, at depths
of 100 to 500 kilometres. There are usually three or four armies and one
tank army in each front, so in the course of an attack at a frontal level
there are one brigade and four or five separate companies operating at a
depth from 100 to 1,000 kilometres in the rear of the enemy. In other words
around 250 groups totalling 1,500 to 1,700 men. It must be added that, on
West German territory for example, preparations are in hand for not one, but
four or five fronts to operate. At the same time the Spetsnaz agents are
The Spetsnaz detachments have two basic duties: the destruction of the
system of the State government and its armies, that is the destruction of
staff, command points, networks and lines of communication; and the
destruction of nuclear weapons and the means of supplying them - attacks on
depots and stores of nuclear weaponry and rockets, aerodromes, rocket
launchers and launching pads. Simultaneously with these two basic tasks, the
Spetsnaz detachments strive to disorganise the internal life of the State
and Army and to sow uncertainty and panic.
In carrying out the first task, the leading role is allocated to the
staff companies of the Spetsnaz brigades. These companies differ from other
detachments of Spetsnaz in that they are not manned by soldiers who are
serving their time, but by professional men, 'ensigns'. These Spetsnaz staff
companies are specially trained for the kidnapping or destruction of State
leaders of the enemy, members of the government and senior military
commanders. Their existence is cloaked in the very strictest secrecy.
Frequently, many officers and sergeants of Spetsnaz brigades do not even
suspect the existence of such companies in their brigades. They are kept
apart from the normal brigade and camouflaged as parachutists, boxers,
wrestlers, unarmed combat experts, marksmen, even sports teams of the
military district. The staff company of the Spetsnaz brigade is the only
unit which carries out its tasks not in camouflaged uniform but in civilian
clothes or in the military or police uniform of the enemy. These companies
are also the only ones amongst the Spetsnaz detachments which, in the course
of military operations, may establish contact and act together with the
agent-saboteurs of Spetsnaz. All the remaining units of saboteurs undertake
night flights, mine-laying and the seizure of prisoners in order to obtain
information. Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) belonging to
the enemy are of special interest for saboteurs, and all groups have the
task of making sudden attacks on AFVs with the aim of stealing them for
future use in attacks against given targets. Several groups may take part in
an attack on a certain target, and after the attack they will disperse and
go their own ways. There is a constant alternation between the collecting of
information and the carrying out of sabotage acts. A group may collect
information on enemy troop movements in a certain region and transmit the
information to its staff, then it may destroy a rocket launcher in another
area, then go on to collect more information on troop movements. Everything
depends on the tasks set to the group and the initiative of the group
commander. When prisoners are taken, the saboteurs know no laws or humanity
in their methods of interrogation; nobody who has been in any way connected
with Spetsnaz will deny their brutality, which extends even to their own
members, because speed of results is paramount. They will kill their own
wounded -the group cannot transport a wounded man, nor can it let him fall
into the hands of the enemy. And if a rocket launcher or an aircraft
carrying nuclear weapons is ready for action, they will attack it even if it
means the inevitable destruction of the entire group.
Let us examine one case study which underlines both the importance and
effectiveness of operational intelligence. The greatest interest for the
staff of military districts is not the political situation or technology but
pure military information: the deployment, numbers, equipment and plans of
the troops of a probable enemy in sectors where an attack by Soviet forces
is likely. An agent who had been recruited by the second department of the
intelligence directorate of the Byelorussian Military District on West
German territory selected places for parachute landings by the Spetsnaz
groups. He photographed these locations and made diagrams. Obviously, since
the prime motive was sabotage, his choices were near important bridges, dams
and narrow passes in lakeland areas. His photographs were transported by
courier into East Germany to one of the intelligence points of the
Byelorussian Military District. Copies were also sent to the third and
fourth departments of the Byelorussian Military District intelligence
directorate. While they were being studied, an officer noticed a group of
American soldiers who kept on appearing in close-up. The soldiers were doing
something at a kind of metal hatchway on the side of the road, and the
suggestion was put forward that they were laying a cable for military
communications. This was scotched by officers of the fifth department who
had been invited for consultations and who said categorically that the
Americans would not have a cable in that region. The laying of military
cable on West German territory would in any case be discovered by agents of
the military district. In the opinion of the signals officers, the
photographs showed that the soldiers' work was unlikely to be concerned with
cables. The photographs were immediately dispatched to the GRU information
service, where a new suggestion was put forward. Could these not be
anti-personnel land mines which are prepared in peace-time where Soviet
sabotage units might be active in the event of war? This suggestion greatly
alarmed the GRU leadership. The fifth directorate immediately gave orders to
all intelligence directorates running agents in West Germany to pay
particular attention to the activities of small groups of soldiers in the
neighbourhood of important bridges, dams, railway stations and crossroads.
At the same time, the first GRU directorate gave similar orders to all its
residents in West Germany. A month later, the information service of the GRU
had at its disposal thousands of photographs of groups of soldiers working
at metallic hatchways. Every hatchway that had been discovered was marked on
a map. This alone did not permit a final conclusion to be drawn about the
significance of the hatchways, and the GRU had a series of enlargements
taken from a distance of not more than one metre. The photographic
interpreters were interested to see that the thickness of the hatchways was
no greater than that of the wall of a good safe, but the locks would have
been the envy of any bank. This led to the opinion that the land mines were
of a more complicated design. Further analysis showed that the mine-shafts
were very deep, and sometimes placed at some hundreds of metres from the
object which they were supposed to destroy in case of war. It was this which
finally convinced the specialists that it was not a case of ordinary land
mines, but of a nuclear variety, whose purpose was not to counter a
parachute attack but to halt all Soviet troops in case they began an attack
on Europe. Simultaneously, one of the GRU residencies on West German
territory acquired documentary evidence confirming the conclusions of the
information service.
The possibility of nuclear land mines being used completely disrupted
all Soviet plans for a blitzkrieg attack on Europe. The general staff, the
Ministry of Defence and the Central Committee would now have to find new
ways of attack, new methods of employing their troops and ways and means of
surmounting strong radioactive fallout caused by the underground explosions.
In a word, all tactics, operational methods and strategic plans would have
to be changed. All this was thanks to the fact that the new NATO tactics had
become known to the general staff in good time.

Chapter Eight
Tactical Reconnaissance
There is yet another level to the practice of military intelligence.
Intelligence organs and detachments subject to tactical units and formations
of divisional strength and below, which facilitate their military
operations, come under the heading of tactical reconnaissance. Their
activities are under the full control of operational intelligence, which of
course comes under the control of the GRU central apparatus. So all tactical
reconnaissance organs have, in exactly the same way as operational
intelligence organs, a twofold subordination. The head of reconnaissance of
a division is subordinated to the chief of army intelligence, more
accurately the first group of the Army Intelligence Department. The chief of
regimental reconnaissance is subordinate to the regimental chief of staff
and the chief of divisional reconnaissance. Each motorised-rifle and tank
division has on its strength an independent reconnaissance battalion. The
word 'independent' shows that the battalion does not form part of the
regiment but is directly subject to the divisional staff. Each of the four
motorised-rifle and tank regiments on the strength of a division has a
reconnaissance company. Reconnaissance companies are controlled by the
regimental reconnaissance chiefs. Artillery and anti- aircraft missile
regiments are not included as their reconnaissance detachments are not
active in the enemy's rear.
A divisional independent reconnaissance battalion consists of a
headquarters, a deep reconnaissance company, two reconnaissance companies, a
company electronic reconnaissance and auxiliary services.
Deep Reconnaissance
The deep reconnaissance company is the smallest but the best of all the
companies and batteries of the division. There are twenty-seven men in the
company including six officers and an ensign. It has a small headquarters of
the commander and a sergeant-major, and five reconnaissance groups of four
men, each with an officer at its head. There is a total of six jeeps, each
group having one and one for the commander.
The company's task is to discover and destroy enemy rocket launchers in
its divisional sector. Deep reconnaissance groups are deployed in the
enemy's rear by helicopter, either with or without their jeeps, to depths of
from thirty to 100 kilometres.
On discovering an enemy rocket installation, the group immediately
reports it to the staff. Should the rocket be ready for launching, the group
must attack it. However, unlike the Spetsnaz groups, the group will not kill
its wounded unless the action is on foot - a rare occurrence. The deep
reconnaissance company may also be called upon to kidnap staff officers and
to hunt for their staffs, but only in cases where the commander of a
division is certain that there are no enemy nuclear facilities in his
divisional sector.
The Reconnaissance Companies of the Battalion have exactly similar
organisation. In each company there are three tanks, seven reconnaissance
vehicles and ten motorcycles.
The Electronic Reconnaissance Companies have eighty men and thirty
vehicles with electronic equipment. The company operates only from its own
territory. Among its tasks are intercepting and deciphering radio
conversations of the enemy, taking bearings on radio stations and radio
locators, and monitoring the extent to which its own side observes radio
security regulations.
Each motor-rifle and tank regiment has its own reconnaissance company.
Regimental companies operate at a depth of up to fifty kilometres as against
the battalion company's operation to eighty kilometres. All these companies
penetrate enemy territory under their own power, using gaps in the enemy's
defence. The basic method of obtaining information is the capture and cruel
interrogation of prisoners.
The Soviet army has approximately 180 motor-rifle and tank divisions.
Many of these, especially those deployed in the rear, are under strength.
Undermanning is never allowed, however, in the case of reconnaissance
detachments. There is about the same number of independent reconnaissance
battalions, and there are also about 700 regimental reconnaissance
companies. In other words there are about 95,000 men directly under GRU
command in tactical reconnaissance. We have not included in this number the
strength of chemical, engineering and artillery reconnaissance companies
independent of these.

Chapter Nine
The Training and Privileges of Personnel
These are the educational institutions which take part in the training
of personnel for Soviet military intelligence: the Intelligence Faculty at
the General Staff Academy; the Training Centre of Illegals; the Military-
Diplomatic Academy; the Reconnaissance Faculty of the Frunze Military
Academy; the Reconnaissance Faculty of the Naval Academy; the Special
Faculty of the Military Signals Academy; the Military Institute of Foreign
Languages; the Cherepovetski Higher Military Engineering School for
Communications; the Special Faculty of the Higher Military Naval School of
Radio Electronics; the Spetsnaz Faculty of the Ryazan Higher Parachute
School; the Reconnaissance Faculty of the Kiev Higher Military Command
School; and the Special Faculty of the Second Kharkov Higher Military
Aviation and Engineering School.
This list gives an impression of the extent of the training of
specialists for the GRU system. Some of these educational establishments are
devoted exclusively to this work, others have only one faculty. However, in
any case, we are talking of many thousands of first-class specialists who go
into military intelligence every year. All the higher military schools give
instruction at university level to their students. The best of these
subsequently enter the academies which provide a second university
Students entering the Soviet Army's higher military training
establishments undergo a period of instruction which lasts for four to five
years. The minimum age is seventeen, maximum twenty-four. Candidates must
have finished secondary education and be of normal mental and physical
development with a suitable ideological background. They sit an entrance
examination and are interviewed by a medical commission; they then take a
competitive examination. The vast majority of them have no idea of the true
character of the educational establishment they have chosen. In some cases,
the name of the school gives a reasonably exact idea of the subjects studied
in it. The Ulyanov Guards Higher Tank Command School leaves little to the
imagination. But what does a name like the Serpukhovski Higher Command
Engineering School tell us? If a candidate chooses it, he may be surprised
to find himself learning about strategic missile troops. Signals schools are
largely the same - the candidate has little idea of exactly what subjects
are studied there. He selects one of them, the Cherepovetski school, say,
and finds himself in strategic intelligence. The point is that there is no
Graduates of higher command schools receive the rank of lieutenant and
a university diploma on graduating. Graduates of higher military engineering
schools receive the rank of engineer lieutenant and an engineering diploma.
After graduation, the officer is posted to a unit on the instructions of the
General Staff, and from the first day of his service his fight with his
fellow officers for the right of entry to the academy begins. The academy is
the passport to the higher echelons of the Army. Without passing through the
academy, the officer may serve on until major or lieutenant-colonel level at
the most. Success in the academy opens wide horizons and speeds up progress
on the promotion ladder. The officer may submit his first application to the
academy after three years of service. The application is confirmed at every
level of command, beginning with his immediate superior. Any higher
commander may hold up the application under any pretext: that the officer is
too young; too old; too stupid; or too clever. In which case the officer
will put off his application until the next year ... and the next year, and
so on possibly for all his twenty-five years of service.
There are more than fifteen military academies in the Soviet Army, but
for most officers it does not matter which one he gets into. The important
thing is to get into one of them. If his commanders decide that an officer
is suitable, he must still pass examinations and undergo a rigorous entrance
competition. The period of study at all the academies is three years, and
they are all similar bar one, the General Staff Academy. To enter it there
is no competition and no examinations, nor are there applications for entry.
Candidates are selected by the Central Committee from the number of the most
successful and dedicated colonels and generals up to and including
colonel-general, who have already completed their study at one of the
military academies.
The General Staff Academy is the passport to the very highest levels of
Soviet military leadership. The colonel or general continues to serve and
never suspects that he may suddenly receive from the Central Committee an
invitation to attend yet a third spell of university education. The General
Staff Academy is the highest dream of the most eager careerists.
Let us examine the progress of an intelligence officer on the promotion
ladder. As a graduate of the intelligence faculty of the Kiev Higher Command
School, for example, he will be posted to the command of a reconnaissance
detachment of a regiment or division. Here begins the officer's gradual
upward movement on the service ladder, from platoon commander to company
commander to commander of regimental reconnaissance and deputy commander of
reconnaissance battalions. To secure further promotion, the officer must now
enter the reconnaissance faculty of the Frunze military academy. This same
faculty is also open to graduates of the Spetsnaz faculty of the Ryazan
Higher Parachute School. All officers study there together and then return
to their own units, only this time with a higher command.
So far all this is straightforward, provided that the officer's
superiors co- operate in signing the necessary documents. But one institute,
the Military Institute instructing in foreign languages, is rather peculiar.
This is a privileged establishment for the children of the highest echelons
of the Soviet Army. The Institute exists on the same basis as the Military
Academy, although young people enter it according to the rules laid down for
military schools. This means, in fact, that a candidate's father has only to
worry about placing his little son on the first rung of the military ladder
and the ladder itself will move upwards.
The period of study in the institute is from five to seven years
depending on the faculty. The student receives education to the level of
that of the military school and the rank of lieutenant; he then proceeds
with his training as he would in a normal military academy. That is to say,
these scions of the military aristocracy are spared the rigours of genuine
military service as well as the cruel competition between officers for the
right of entry to a military academy. Everything proceeds automatically.
The Institute is not only a stepping-stone to the highest Army ranks,
but to the highest ranks of the KGB too. The conditions of acceptance are
naturally graded according to rank: for the children of colonel-generals and
higher, there are no examinations; the children of lieutenant-generals
undergo a very cursory examination; and the children of major-generals
undergo the most rigorous examination. However, in order to soften this
clear class distinction, the Institute every year accepts a ten per cent
intake of 'non-aristocrats', sons of colonels and majors, sometimes even of
workers and kolkhozniks.
Discipline and competition are fearsome. Should any student commit the
slightest offence, he is speedily expelled from the Institute in disgrace.
But there is a deeply-entrenched set of privileges too. For the sons of
lieutenant-generals, and colonel-generals even more so, the special entrance
provides for the appointment of individual tutors and the taking of
examinations privately at home, so that the candidate does not get nervous.
For colonel-generals and above, there exists the privilege of being able to
send not only their sons to the Institute, but also their daughters, who
constitute a special little group. The girls are given instruction in French
for the sake of prestige and in English for obvious commercial reasons.
They, together with everybody else, receive officer's rank. They will find
their way into the Ministry of Defence.
After the Institute's final examinations, interested organisations
carry out their selection of the graduates. The first selection is carried
out by the KGB and the GRU according to the principle of 'one for you, one
for me'. There is no friction, firstly because the system has been laid down
for many years and secondly because KGB and GRU have different interests.
The KGB is quite happy to choose the sons of high-ranking, serving KGB
officers, but the GRU devotes its attentions largely to the proletarian ten
per cent. For two principal reasons the GRU has had a long-standing rule
that it will not admit the sons of high-placed parents into its
organisation, nor will it admit children of GRU officers whatever post they
occupy. Only after a father retires from the GRU can his son be considered
for admission. The reasoning goes that if a son is refused something the
father may refuse the same thing to all his subordinates. Secondly, there is
no father who really wants to risk his own career by linking it with that of
a son who is on agent work and to whom anything could happen. This principle
of the GRU's has to a very great extent eradicated corruption in the
selection of officers, although corruption flourishes in other GRU fields of
activity. (The KGB has adopted diametrically opposed principles. Everywhere
within it are the children of Tchekists, frequently under the direct
supervision of their fathers. This is justified by the false notion of
handing down traditions from father to son.)
x x x

The unclassified name of the institution is 'military unit 35576'. Its
secret designation is the Soviet Army Academy. Its top secret designation is
the Military-Diplomatic Academy of the Soviet Army. Regardless of the
abundance of names, none gives any idea of what is studied there. If
somebody wanted to convey an idea of its activities by means of a name, then
that name would most probably be something like the Military Academy of
Agent Intelligence. Very few people inside the Soviet Union know of the
existence of this academy, and should any officer ever hear a rumour about
it, and write an application to enter it, immediate enquiries would be made
to establish the source of the information. One may rest assured that a
culprit would be found and put in prison for spreading government secrets.
For spreading a secret like the existence of the Soviet Army Academy the
sentence is ten years in prison, perhaps fifteen, perhaps even the 'ultimate
sanction'. Those connected with the Academy understand this rule and obey it
The GRU seeks out candidates for the Academy and secretly suggests to
officers that they should enter. Before making this proposal to an officer,
the officer will of course have been very carefully checked out by the GRU,
who must not only be certain that he will agree but will also have obliged
him to sign a document about the divulging of military secrets. In this
document are described all the unpleasant things which await him, should he
decide to share his secrets with anybody else. However, they do not tell him
any secrets. They simply tell him that there exists a certain academy which
is keen to welcome him as a student. To his question as to what sort of
studies he will undergo, he receives the answer that the work is very
interesting. There will be no soldiers and no hierarchy of rank, and the
conditions of life are vastly better than those of any other organisation
known to him.
At the outset this is all they will entrust to him. The GRU holds
nobody against his will and is perfectly frank about future privileges. For
the GRU officer who completes the Academy, success is assured - unless he
makes a mistake, in which case retribution is equally swift. He may either
be deprived of overseas work and be sent instead to work in the central
organs of the GRU in Moscow; he may be deprived of work in the GRU and sent
back to the Army; and finally, he may be shot. All of these punishments, not
only the last, are regarded as harsh in the extreme. The first means the end
of overseas life, and GRU officers are envious even of dustmen overseas. The
second means an end to privilege and the sweet life within the GRU, and a
return to the grindstone of life as an ordinary Soviet officer. The third is
only marginally worse.
The Soviet Army Academy is located in Moscow on Narodnogo Opolchenia
Street, but many of its secret branches are scattered all over the place
disguised as innocent offices, flats or hotels. The central building reminds
one of an elegant museum with its Greek colonnade and richly carved
ornamentation. Around it are several large buildings, and the whole is
surrounded by a very high iron lattice-work fence. The area wallows in
greenery so that nothing can be seen. There are no name plates or number
plates on the building. From the outside there is little to indicate that it
is secret. Only sometimes on the upper storeys and in certain windows can
one see grilles and casements covered in cord nets, an indication that
within those rooms there is work on top secret documents being carried out.
The string nets are so that no pieces of paper can be blown out of the
windows by draughts.
The Academy is an integral part of the GRU. The chief of the Academy
has the military rank of colonel-general and is a deputy head of the GRU,
not of course first deputy head. The chief of the Academy has four deputies
who are lieutenant-generals beneath him. These are the first deputy and the
deputies for the political, administrative-technical and academic sections.
The first deputy is in charge of the graduate school, four faculties
and academic courses. The political deputy is responsible for the state of
political awareness and the morale of all officers of the Academy. The
administrative-technical deputy is responsible for the personnel department
and the security department (with the commandant's office and a company of
security guards) together with the finance, stores and transport
departments. Under him there are also the libraries, including collections
of secret and top secret literature. The deputy for the academic section has
under him the academic sub-faculties which are headed by major-generals.
These sub-faculties are strategic agent intelligence, operational agent
intelligence and Spetsnaz (dealing with the armed forces of likely enemies),
strategic and operational trade-craft of the Soviet Army, foreign languages
and study of countries, history of international relations and diplomatic
practice and, finally, Marxist-Leninist philosophy.
The first and second faculties prepare their students for the central
GRU apparatus. However, the first faculty is called the Special Services
Faculty and the second the Military-Diplomatic Faculty, and it is officially
considered that the first faculty prepares officers for civilian cover —
embassies, civil airlines, merchant navy, trade representations - while the
second faculty prepares its students for military cover. But we must again
remember that Soviet military attaches are the same GRU officers as those
who work under civil cover. They face the same tasks and use the same
methods as all other officers of the GRU. For this reason the instructional
programme in both faculties is absolutely identical. Furthermore, when
students have completed their studies, in whichever of the two faculties
that might be, the GRU will post them under whatever cover they consider
suitable. Many of the officers who have studied in the first faculty will
find themselves working in military organisations and vice- versa. The
artificial distinction exists in order to further the following aims: to
confuse Western intelligence services and to create the illusion that there
is some difference between military attaches and other GRU officers; to
segregate the students for security reasons (a defector will not know all
his fellow students, only half - with this in mind the first faculty is
isolated from the central block of the academy buildings); to simplify
control over individual students; and finally, since the academy is after
all designated as a military-diplomatic academy, it seems wise that not all
its faculties should bear names connected with espionage.
The third faculty deals with operational agent intelligence and
Spetsnaz intelligence, preparing officers for intelligence directorates of
military districts. There exists a deep enmity between officers of the first
two faculties and officers of the third. An officer of one of the two
strategic faculties, however newly arrived, feels the very deepest contempt
for all those studying in the third faculty. He will be going abroad but the
despised third faculty student will recruit agents from Soviet or satellite
territory only. But fate can be cruel - and kind. When the worst (usually
the most arrogant) officers have graduated from the strategic faculties,
they are sent to operational agent intelligence; in their place are taken
the best of the officers graduating from the third faculty.
The fourth faculty, like the first, is not located on the academy
premises. Moreover, its individual courses and groups are separated among
themselves in conditions of the strictest secrecy. The fourth faculty trains
foreigners - Poles, Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, Bulgars, Mongols and
Cubans. Naturally, not one of these has ever set foot in the academy
buildings and has no idea where the academy is located; equally naturally,
the Soviet trainees in the academy must not have even the slightest contact
with their 'brothers'.
For each of these students in the Soviet Army academy, a special
personal cover story will have been worked out. Frequently, many of them
will study for a year in some normal military academy concerned with tank or
artillery studies, for example, before spending their three to four years on
secret premises. And these students do not receive diplomas from the Soviet
Army Academy. Their diplomas come from, for example, the Tank Warfare
Academy. Only a handful of people will know what is hidden under this name.
The academic courses are something different. These are designed not to
provide a complete training, but only partial one, and the period of study
is only one year. They are attended principally by the most experienced
officers and those with the greatest future prospects, who were chosen for
entry to strategic faculties of the academy but then transferred by the GRU
into the diplomatic (civil) or overseas trade academy where they completed a
full course of study. They are considered on a par with the other civil
students and carry out their specialised training in their spare time and
receive the same diplomas as the graduates of the two strategic faculties,
having already received genuine diplomatic diplomas. This is the most secret
part of Soviet intelligence after illegals, for even genuine 'clean'
diplomats consider them their own kind and do not suspect their intelligence
connections. The academic courses are also attended by graduates of the
Military Foreign Languages Institute who have been chosen by the GRU for
work abroad. The GRU uses them in residencies mainly for duties with
technical and technical-operational services. After a first assignment
abroad these may, provided they have served successfully, enter the academy
in one of the strategic faculties. Lastly, the academy receives specialists
from other fields whom the GRU invites to work in technical services or on
information work.
There is a post-graduate school too, which prepares scientific
personnel for the GRU and also instructors for the academy itself. An
officer who has completed one of the strategic faculties, and has been
abroad on agent work and shown good results, is accepted by the
post-graduate school for a period of instruction of two to three years
during which he must prepare and defend a scientific dissertation on a
subject chosen by himself. The resulting qualification is a scientific
degree, Master of Military Science.
Who is eligible? This is a very complex problem. The candidate who
hopes to please the GRU must fulfil the following conditions: racial purity
- there must be no Jewish blood as far back as the fourth generation (the
KGB has no such restriction); ideological stability and purity; membership
of the communist party; the absence of any contact with overseas, excepting
the 'liberation' of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and the 'defence of socialism
in eastern Europe'. He must have a wife and children of complete ideological
and racial purity. He must have strong and reliable family connections, on
his own side and his wife's. There must be no compromising material on the
files of any of their relatives. None of his relatives may have been either
prisoners of war in Germany, nor on Soviet territory under the temporary
occupation of German forces. And there must be no signs whatsoever of
alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, family problems, corruption and so on, nor
must the officer have any prominent distinguishing features or speech
One of the most difficult things in selecting candidates is to find
people who understand the political situation in the world and can clearly
see possible future developments without being secret free-thinkers.
Obviously anyone who is politically inept is not acceptable to the GRU, but
if a man is moderately intelligent, there is always the danger that secret
doubts will begin to penetrate his head. Naturally, when this rare creature
is found he is instantly made to sit meaningless examinations and, from the
very first day, accorded appropriate honours.
In a classless society, everybody is equal and life is therefore happy
and free. All people are friends and brothers and nobody will try to do his
neighbour down. People may pursue their ambitions without let or hindrance.
Of course, if you live in the country, you cannot move to the city, still
less the capital Moscow, without the permission of the Central Committee.
Society may be classless, all right, but it is divided, for the good of the
people, into parts - you have the right to live in the city or you have not.
You may rightly say that you would prefer to live in the city, but you are
branded from birth - if you were born in the country, you must stay there
and so must your children and grandchildren - for their own good. Unless -
unless you do something like become a GRU officer. Immediately, you will
find yourself in Moscow, with a permanent residence permit. This is good
news for not only you, but your children and grandchildren and
great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren down to the fortieth
generation, who will all have Moscow residence permits and will legally
reside in Moscow.
It is as if you had moved onto a higher sphere, as if you and your
relations had suddenly been ennobled. You should draw your family tree on
the wall of your apartment so that future generations of your family will
know who it was who lifted them up to the heights.
In capitalist societies, where everybody is naturally out for each
other's blood, people move around chaotically, causing untold social
problems. These could all be eradicated with the introduction of residence
permits on the Soviet model. The Moscow residence permit, logically, is the
first privilege of a GRU officer. There are others, of course. For example,
an ordinary general staff officer is unable to buy a car during the whole of
his life unless of course he steals or is sent abroad. A GRU officer may in
three years buy not only a car, but also an apartment. Drawing another
distinction, it is often asked how much more a GRU officer abroad earns in
comparison with the same officer in Moscow. It is impossible to answer this
question sensibly, because in Moscow the officer spends money which is to
all practical purposes incapable of buying anything except food of rather
inferior quality and equally inferior clothes. He who is sent abroad,
however, receives foreign currency and can buy everything he needs both
while he is abroad and at home in the Soviet Union in the special foreign
currency shops. In possessing foreign currency a GRU officer becomes a man
of completely different class, very sharply distinguished from all those who
do not have it. Special shops and restaurants are open to him, where he can
buy anything he wants, without queueing. The ordinary Soviet citizen,
including the general staff officer or even the GRU officer who does not
serve abroad, may not even enter these shops.
So Soviet society is as racial as it can possibly be, only race is not
determined by the colour of your skin but by whether you have the right to
travel abroad or not. Imagine any country, France perhaps, putting up
outside shops the announcement that: 'Nobody of French nationality is
allowed to enter this shop. Only those on the list of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party are admitted.' But in the Soviet Union there are
everywhere shops, hotels, restaurants which Russians may not enter, because
they are Russian. Life for a GRU officer possessing foreign currency is on
an infinitely wider scale than for the 270 million who are deprived of the
right to hold foreign currency. And once he has become a representative of
the upper class, he becomes inordinately jealous of his right, fearing above
anything the loss of the privilege which allows him to travel abroad. This
is why he defends himself against any revelation about his own person,
against any, even the most insignificant, contacts with the police. This is
why he tries to hide from his superiors even the smallest shortcomings. This
is why he is capable of any dirty trick upon anybody, including his own
comrades, when what is at stake is whether he should remain another year in
a hot, humid, subtropical posting - or return early to Moscow.

For a GRU officer, there are countries in which he dreams of working.
There are also countries in which he would rather not work. There are cities
he dreams of, and cities he sees in nightmares.
The dream city for a GRU officer is Peking. Its infernal counterpart—
Tokyo. This might appear strange, because for the top brass of the GRU quite
the reverse is true: Tokyo is heaven, Peking hell. But the interests of a
GRU officer are directly opposed to the interests of the top brass. The top
brass desire high productivity, while the work force has rather different
Imagine that you are lucky and are posted to China. What awaits you? A
vast, splendid embassy behind high walls. Chit-chat with colleagues from
other embassies, gossip about the state of health of the Chinese leaders and
the Ambassador's wife. After five years your return home, obviously without
having recruited any agents. But nobody will bawl you out for it, you will
not have your epaulettes torn off, no one will call you lazy or a coward.
Everyone understands that you have been in hell, where serious work is
And now imagine that you are an unlucky spy and the GRU post you to
Tokyo. Both you and the GRU top brass know that there are no laws against
spying there, that conditions for spying are ideal. So what awaits you?
Exhausting stressful work, fifteen to seventeen hours a day, with no rest
days and no feast days. No matter how many secrets you manage to acquire it
will never be enough. No matter how many agents you recruit it will never be
enough. Your paradise will be snowed under with cipher cables from Moscow
addressed to the resident saying: 'You have seventy operational officers!
Where's your productivity? What you managed to get yesterday we have already
received from Hong Kong! From Berlin! From illegals! Where are the
secrets!!!???' You may rest assured that this question is put by the GRU
daily to the resident—who will in turn ask you the same question, pounding
the table with his enormous fist. He will fight for the kind of productivity
that can only be achieved through merciless competition. If your output is
not up to scratch you will simply be sent home and your career broken.
Personally I have never been to Tokyo, but I have had to work in a
country which was considered 'paradise' by the GRU top brass.
Understandably, for us it was 'hell'. A weak police system in that country
meant that the other residents continually used it as an intermediate base
for their operations, and it was a busy crossing point for GRU illegals,
too. All of them had to be taken care of and helped. Acting as a supply base
for agent network operations is rather like serving in a signals unit during
a war: as long as communication lines are maintained nobody remembers you,
but should communications be interrupted the signaller is sent to a penal
battalion forthwith, charged with the failure of the entire operation. The
difference between us and the signals boys lay in the fact that no matter
how well we maintained supplies, how successful our own work was, we also
had to recruit agents. After all, we were living in 'paradise', where the
police was weak and Soviet diplomats were never expelled.
I'd like to beg all who are responsible for the security of the West:
be human. Do expel Soviet spies occasionally. By expelling one you enable
others to reduce their frantic activity. A spy is a human being. He bears on
his shoulders the immense pressure of the gigantic GRU establishment, and he
has no excuse for any lapses. He needs one, so be human.
Who should be expelled first? The answer is obvious: the resident. The
expulsion of the resident is equivalent to clearing the King off the chess-
board: it spells checkmate to the 'residentura', no matter how aggressive
and successful it is. Usually the local police know who he is. He is easy to
identify. He has already served abroad for twelve to fifteen years, he has
been very active and, judging by the signs, successful. Now here he is
serving abroad again, in a senior diplomatic post, and hardly ever leaving
the embassy, but sitting there motionless, like a spider. Clearly it is
against him that all forces must be mobilised. This is not easy. He breaks
no laws, does not speed up and down the motorways day and night, carries no
stolen secrets in his car. But he is more dangerous than all his officers
put together.
There is a deep-seated and erroneous belief that known residents should
not be allowed into the country. Sometimes they aren't, sometimes they are
simply not granted entry visas. This is a mistake. I will try to explain,
using my own resident as an example. He was a man of unflinching will and
powerful intellect, a true ace of spies: careful, perfidious, calculating
and fearless. He was promoted to major-general at the age of thirty-six, and
he had a brilliant career in front of him in the upper echelons of the GRU.
But all he wanted was to be a resident, and as a result he remained a
major-general. Without any doubt the Security Services in the West knew him
well. Prior to one of his postings abroad the Soviet Ministry of Foreign
Affairs asked for a Belgian visa for him. It was refused. They asked for a
French one - again refused. Then a West German one - refused again. Finally
a small country with a soft, friendly government agreed to grant him entry.
The GRU gave the resident his final briefing, which of course included the
names and addresses of the members of the network run by the 'residentura'.
As soon as he arrived in the country he started extending the network
speedily and vigorously, until it was working successfully against the USA,
against Belgium, against France, against all the countries which had refused
him entry. In other words, barring a resident from a country does not mean
rendering his network ineffective (see Appendix C).
Now imagine another set of circumstances. Supposing the first country
approached, in this case Belgium, had issued the visa. The resident would be
briefed, let into all the 'residentura' secrets, and would arrive in the
country. However if, three to four months later, Belgium found some reason
or other to expel him, the results of this would be threefold:
1. The resident will have had time to disrupt the existing system of
work in the residency but not to build up a new system.
2. Having to leave the country suddenly, the resident will leave his
army without a commanding officer. Time will be needed for the successor's
visa application and more time to brief the new resident. In the interim the
residency will remain inactive.
3. The experienced resident, on returning to Moscow, will be completely
neutralised. For the following three to four years, visa applications cannot
be sent for him either to France or West Germany or any other country that
Belgium will have notified as an ally.
One experienced, authoritative, demanding and merciless resident
serving in a neutral country with ten officers under his command can
sometimes harm the West more than two hundred very active GRU officers
working in the USA, Great Britain, West Germany or France. This is not only
a matter of my opinion, it is also the opinion held by Moscow Centre, and it
was the opinion held by my first resident, who taught me unforgettable
lessons in concentration on target, persistence and mad risk. I am sincerely
sorry that he has stayed the other side of the barricade....
How should one go about the business of expulsion? The short answer is:
as noisily as possible. To expel a Soviet spy is of course a victory. But to
expel him noisily means that you are making as much capital out of the
victory as you can. The silent expulsion of a Soviet spy is an action
directed against one man. The noisy expulsion is a slap in the face for the
GRU, for the KGB; it is an action directed against all their spies, against
thousands of unstable people prepared to listen to the proposals of the
Soviet intelligence service. Here is another example encountered during my
I had a reasonably good relationship with a young man who agreed to
'lose' his passport. In return he agreed to 'find' some money. This was the
first step towards the morass. Further well-tried steps were planned which
would have pushed him deeper in each time; once in, he would never have been
able to get out. However, on the day scheduled for a meeting, an
insignificant local paper published an item stating that fifty per cent of
the Soviet Embassy staff were spies. So at our meeting, instead of losing
the money I had with me and finding his passport, I had to spend the time
proving to him that the news item was a lie. And it really was a barefaced
lie, as at that time not fifty but eighty per cent of the Embassy staff were
spies. I managed to convince the young man. We remained good friends ... but
nothing more. He did not take the crucial step. Should you, young man, be
reading my book, my greetings to you. I am glad for your sake, in spite of
the fact that at the time I felt my failure deeply. But what can a poor GRU
spy do in a situation when the powerful free Western press publishes such
items at the least suitable moment?
Finally the question arises as to how many Soviet spies should be
expelled. The only answer is: all. What do you need them for? Why keep them
in your country? They are professionals specially selected and trained to
destroy your country. If you have the evidence to prove that they are spies
- expel them. Sometimes the theory is put forward that it is better to
unearth a spy and keep him under surveillance than to expel him, as then a
new one will be sent in and we will not know whom to keep under
surveillance. That is correct. But every expelled spy represents a nightmare
to the new ones, who fear deeply being appointed as replacements. Secondly,
intelligence experience is much more valuable than any amount of education,
and one experienced spy is a hundred times more dangerous than a young,
green one. The more inexperienced spies you have in your country the more
mistakes will be made, the easier it will be to watch them.
But if we expel people, runs the argument, the Soviet Union will
retaliate and expel our innocent diplomats from Moscow. That is so. But to
that there is an antidote - you must expel large groups of diplomats
simultaneously. Look at these statistics: Holland expelled one - the Soviet
Union's reply : two. Turkey expelled one - the reply : two. But if you
increase the number to five the Soviet reply will be five or fewer. Canada
expelled thirteen - the reply : two. France expelled forty-seven - the
reply: nil.
Great Britain simultaneously expelled 105 (the entire staff of the GRU
and KGB residencies). There was no comeback. If you take similar action
against Soviet spies I guarantee that your diplomats in Moscow will be safe.
I guarantee that your diplomats will be greatly respected, and that the
Soviet leadership will look for opportunities to improve its relations with
you. The Soviet leadership understands and acknowledges strength. But only
strength and nothing else. The Soviet Union can respect the sovereignty of
any country, no matter how small it looks on the map. But the Soviet Union
respects the sovereignty only of those nations who respect their own
sovereignty and defend it.

For GRU Officers Only
I was condemned to death by the Military College of the Supreme Court
according to article 64a. My crime - betrayal of the homeland. I still plead
not guilty as charged. The betrayers of the homeland are those who are now
in the Kremlin. The betrayers of the homeland are those who shot millions of
the best Russian farmers. Russia has always grown wheat. Grain was its most
important export. Those who have made of Russia an importer of grain -they
are the betrayers who should be sentenced under article 64. On the eve of
war the communist leaders shot the best marshals and generals. They were
motivated not by the interests of the homeland, but by the desire to hold on
to their power. They should be tried in a court of law. For the deaths of
the marshals and generals, my people paid the price of tens of millions of
lives. Those who are guilty of that should be tried. Those in the Kremlin
who have brought my people to complete moral and physical degradation - they
are the traitors. These people are driving my comrades to their deaths in
Afghanistan, demanding the deaths of innocent people - they are the
If they at some future time should be judged and given their just
deserts, and if, then, my country then considered me to be a traitor also
for deserting it, then I am ready to take my punishment, but only after they
have taken theirs.
When I was in the GRU I could see two ways to protest: either I could
commit suicide; or I could escape to the West, explain my disagreement with
the communists and then commit suicide. I chose the second way, which is not
a whit easier than than the first. It is an agonising way. If any GRU
officer now finds himself in the same dilemma — to go or to stay — I advise
him to think over his decision a hundred times, and then again. If he is
thinking of fleeing to the West, then my advice to him is - don't do it.
Article 64 will be waiting for him, as will the shameful epithet 'traitor',
and an agonising death, maybe even on the frontier itself. My advice would
always be - don't go. He shouldn't go until such time as he is certain why
he is going. If you want an easy life -don't go. If you like long, luxurious
motorcars - don't go, it is not worth it for the sake of a car. If you are
attracted to Western women - don't go, theirs are really no better than
ours. If you think that in the West it is good, and at home in Russia bad,
then you are mistaken - ours is a beautiful country. Don't go for the sake
of foreign beauties and wonders.
Only if you know there is no other way for you, if you consider your
leaders as criminals, if you yourself do not wish to be a criminal - then
you should go. If you are prepared to risk your life for one minute of
freedom - then go. If you don't feel yourself a traitor by going - go. If,
by going, you can bring nearer the moment when the communists are judged by
the people of our country, if you can help your people, if you are then
ready to stand before the people and await their decision on your fate -
then you must go. You will dream of Mother Russia every night, but go for
the sake of her future and I promise you that you will be happy.

Appendix A
Leaders of Soviet Military Intelligence
I soon realised that a history of the GRU would be a very fraught
undertaking. It is clear that the very shortest history of the GRU would
fill several massive tomes and could only be written after the fall of
communist power. The history written in this book consists only of isolated
details, only vague outlines of a continent shrouded in the mists. The
picture may be made clearer by studying the destiny of those individuals who
have held the highest power in Soviet military intelligence. In their
destinies the whole history of the organisation is reflected.
ARALOV, Simon Ivanovich: 18.12.1880 - 22.5.1969.
He was born in Moscow to rich merchant parents and educated to follow
his father's profession. In 1905 he joined the Tsar's army and served in WWI
as a major in military intelligence. A participant in the October Revolution
he was one of the creators of the Tcheka. In January 1918 he became chief of
the Operational Department of the Moscow military district. Rapidly
promoted, in October 1918 he became the first chief of military intelligence
until July 1920. In 1920 he moved down to chief of intelligence, 12th Army,
and then regained ground commanding intelligence of the S.W. front. After
1921 he was a deputy of the chief of military intelligence, working in
Turkey, Latvia and Lithuania as undercover ambassador and later was
responsible for setting up residencies in the United States, Germany and
Japan. In 1937, dismissed from all posts, he was employed as a deputy
director of the Literature Museum. Arrested in 1938, he spent three years
under interrogation. In 1941 he was serving as a private in a penal
battalion. Four years later, he was a colonel, and when the war was over he
was taken back into the GRU. Then, arrested in 1946, he spent ten years in a
concentration camp. On his liberation he was immediately appointed deputy to
the chief of the GRU. In 1957 he was again dismissed in the Zhukov/
Shtemyenko purge, but lived quietly until his death.
STIGGA, Oskar Ansovich: 1894 - 29.7.38.
Born in Latvia, he served in WWI and became a communist after the
Revolution, and a leader of the Red Latvian Riflemen. He engaged in
suppressing counterrevolutionaries in Moscow and became a private bodyguard
of Lenin. In October 1918 he was a deputy of the chief of military
intelligence and immediately moved as an illegal into Poland, Lithuania and
Latvia. In 1919 he became chief of intelligence of the Western front, and in
August 1920 became chief of military intelligence. Reduced to deputy status
after 1922, he travelled extensively as an illegal to create new networks
until his recall to Moscow in 1938, when he was shot.
NIKONOV, A.M. (Nikonson): ? - 29.7.38.
It remains uncertain whether this was his real name or simply a party
pseudonym like Lenin, Stalin, Trotski, Zinoviev and others. His date of
birth is unknown. He was chief of military intelligence after Stigga, but it
is not known whether Berzin took over from him or from another, so far
unidentified, chief of military intelligence. He too was executed in the
great terror of 1938.
2nd Grade Army Commissar BERZIN, Yan Karlovich (real name Kyuzis
Peteris): 13.11.1889 - 29.7.38.
Born in Latvia, Berzin joined the Social-Democratic Party in 1904. He
was conscripted into the army in the First World War but deserted and went
underground. He took part in the October Revolution and afterwards he worked
in the central apparatus of the NKVD and in the NKVD in Latvia. One of the
main organisers of the 'Red Terror', he initiated the hostages system. He
was also a fervent supporter of the establishment of a communist
dictatorship in Latvia and one of the organisers and leaders of the Latvian
Red Army (subsequently the 15th Army). He was head of a special department
of this army and played a part in the suppression of the Russian sailors'
mutiny at Kronstadt. He particularly distinguished himself in the course of
the pursuit and liquidation of captured sailors. >From April 1921 he was
Deputy Head of Intelligence Directorate (GRU) but, from his first days in
military intelligence, he was, de facto, its head. With effect from March
1924 he became its head legally as well. He was one of the most talented,
industrious and successful heads of intelligence, the creator of the most
powerful and successful intelligence organisations in existence anywhere. He
personally recruited and ran the most outstanding intelligence officers -
Yakov Mrachkovski (Gorev), Moshe Milstein (Mikhail M), Ruth and Rolf Werner,
Richard Sorge, Lev Manevich, Sandor Rado, Karl Ramm, Aino Kuusinen, Ignati
Reis and the most eminent intelligence officer of the 20th century,
Konstantin Efremov. In 1936 Berzin transferred the Soviet military
intelligence command post from Moscow to Madrid, where he carried out his
most notable recruitments while he was working under cover, officially
designated as chief military adviser to the Republican Government. In order
to sustain this cover story his deputies Uritski and Unshlikht carried out
his duties in Moscow. On returning from Spain he continued to lead military
intelligence. On 13 May 1938 he was arrested and on 29 July he was shot.
UNSHLIKHT, losif Stanislavovich: 19.12.1879 - 29.7.1938. An hereditary
Polish nobleman and an active member of the Polish (left-wing) Social-
Democratic Party, he was one of the leaders of the October Revolution.
Immediately after the revolution he became a member of the NKVD college. He
began the policy of state terror before Dzerzhinsky, and at one time he was
considered by Soviet historians as the 'first founder of the Tcheka' at the
same time as Dzerzhinsky was considered the 'chief founder of the Tcheka'. A
fervent supporter of the establishment of communism in Poland, in 1920 he
was a member of the 'Polish Revolutionary Government'. From 1921-23 he was
deputy chairman of the All-Russian Tcheka and one of the fathers of the 'Red
Terror". From 1923 he was deputy head of the registration directorate (GRU).
In the interests of cover he constantly filled responsible posts in the
Soviet Government and the Red Army. He travelled abroad several times with
false documents to organise illegal work in Poland, Lithuania and Germany.
In 1935-36 during Berzin's absence he carried out the duties of chief of the
GRU although he remained in fact only deputy to Berzin. He was shot with
Berzin in the cellar of the 'Hotel Metropole' in Moscow.
Corps Commander URITSKI, Solomon Petrovich: 1895-1937 was chief of the
GRU during Berzin's absence. He was shot in the first wave of the Terror.
Commissar-General of State Security EZHOV, Nikolai Ivanovich: 1895-
1940. A petty official who only joined the Bolsheviks when it became clear
that they had won, he occupied insignificant party posts in the provinces,
but from 1927 Ezhov was in Stalin's personal secretariat. In 1930 he was in
charge of the Central Committee Personnel Department and in 1935 Party
Secretary, controller of NKVD work. In 1936 he became Peoples' Commissar for
Internal Affairs and Commissar-General for State Security. In 1937-38 there
began under his leadership the 'great purge' which started as a purge of the
NKVD and was then extended to the army, the party and the entire country. On
29 July 1938 there was a repeat purge of the GRU and, having liquidated the
whole of the leadership and the operational staff, he took over its control,
thus establishing a monopoly of secret activities in the state. From this
moment on it would be impossible for the activites of the GRU and NKVD to be
subject to reciprocal checking. However, the monopoly alarmed Stalin and 29
July saw the beginning of Ezhov's downfall. In October he was removed from
his post. He was arrested in January 1939 and liquidated after atrocious
torture. According to unconfirmed data, he was buried alive at the NKVD
sanatorium at Sukhanovo.
One of the bloodiest careers in the history of mankind. Ezhov was the
shortest serving Chief of the GRU and suffered the most painful death. The
date of his death has not been established with certainty; there are grounds
for thinking it could have been on 4 June 1940. There are also grounds for
believing that Ivan Serov, a future chief of the GRU, played a personal part
in Ezhov's death.
Lieut-General of Aviation PROSKUROV, Ivan losifovich: ? - 5.7.1940. An
outstanding Soviet intelligence officer and fighter pilot, he combined both
these professions simultaneously. In 1937-38 he served as a Soviet Military
Adviser in Spain. He took part in air battles and shot down several enemy
aircraft. At the same time he carried out a series of first-class
recruitments amongst internationalists of many countries and assured a
regular flow of military and military-technical intelligence. On his return
from Spain he became chief of the GRU, a post he occupied from the end of
1938 to July 1940. He openly came out against the pact with Hitler. On the 4
July 1940 he was arrested, and the following day shot without trial.
Marshal of the Soviet Union GOLIKDV, Filipp Ivanovich: 16.7.1900 -
29.6.1980. He entered the Red Army as a volunteer in 1918 and took an active
part in the suppression of anti-communist peasant riots on the staff of the
3rd Army Special Punitive Brigades. After the civil war he commanded a
regiment, brigade, division and corps. In September 1939 he fought in Poland
as commander of the 6th Army. In 1940 he became the chief of the GRU. After
Hitler's invasion and the loss of contact with the most important agent
network he transferred the GRU command point from Moscow to London under the
guise of the Soviet military mission. In October 1941 he returned to the
USSR. He commanded an army, then a front. From April 1943 he was deputy to
Stalin for Red Army cadres, and, at the same time, from 1944 directed
operations against the Russian Liberation Army and the search for, and
liquidation of, the leaders and those taking part in the Russian
anti-communist opposition. Golikov de facto directed the forcible
repatriation and destruction of more than a million people who did not want
to return to the USSR. Golikov directed the post-war purge of the Army. When
it was over he himself was removed from all his posts. He spent two years in
prison, but by 1950 he was commanding another army and, from 1956, he was
Academy Chief. >From 1958 he was head of the Chief Political Directorate of
the Soviet Army and, simultaneously, Director of a Party Central Committee
Department. Golikov agreed to be Army Controller on the side of the Party.
In 1961 he was made Marshal of the Soviet Union. In May 1962 he was removed
from office without much rumpus or scandal, however. Golikov may be said to
have had the most distinguished career in the whole Soviet Army.
>From July 1941 to July 1942 Aleksei Pavlovich PANFILOV was Chief of
the GRU. He was shot in 1942. In 1942-43 the GRU leadership was held by Ivan
Ivanovich ILICHEV. He was also shot.
Colonel-General KUZNETSOV, Fedor Fedotovich: 6.2.1904 - 1979. . A
country boy who came to Moscow and became a factory worker, he quickly
assessed the situation, joined the Party and embarked on an meteoric career.
By 1937 he was 1st Secretary of the Proletarski district of Moscow, and in
the heat of the great purge he showed exceptional cruelty. In 1938 he was
called up into the Army and appointed deputy head of the Chief Political
Directorate. He was an active participant in the army purge which included
the GRU, and from 1943 he was chief of the GRU. On his appointment Stalin
asked him whether he could be as good an intelligence officer as he had been
earlier Party Controller of the Army. Kuznetsov's reply—'Is there any great
difference?'—has become proverbial. Kuznetsov at work demonstrated that
there was no great difference between the cruel, bloody struggle within the
party and intelligence work. He was one of the cruellest but also one of the
most successful chiefs of the GRU. In 1943 he received the plans of
operation 'Citadel' (the German attack near Kursk) before General-Field
Marshal E. von Manstein, whose duty it was to implement those plans.
Kuznetsov had a special role to play in the organisation and carrying out of
the great powers' conference in Teheran and, as a reward for his success in
this, received the rank of Colonel-General. In 1945 he played an active part
in the preparations and implementation of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences
and also personally directed operations to steal American atomic technology.
In 1948, at the height of the post-war purges Stalin appointed
Kuznetsov supreme Party Controller of the Army - Head of the Chief Political
Directorate. He held this post right up to the time of Stalin's death,
mercilessly purging the Soviet Army of dissidents. After Stalin's death a
slow decline set in, first to the post of Head of the Chief Personnel
Directorate at the Ministry of Defence, then Academy Head and, finally, Head
of the Political Directorate of the Northern Group of Forces. He retired in
General of the Army SHTEMYENKO, Sergei Matveevich: 7.2.1907 -
23.4.1976. Shtemyenko joined the Red Army as a volunteer. He completed
military training and two academy courses, and from 1940 was on the General
Staff. His rise was swift. In 1943 he was head of the Operations Directorate
of the General Staff and one of the principal Soviet military planners and
the closest to Stalin. He accompanied Stalin to the Teheran conference. He
became chief of the GRU from April 1946, General of the Army and Chief of
the General Staff from November 1948. In June 1952, at the time of the
squabble between Stalin and the Politburo he came out on Stalin's side and
was, by Politburo decree, stripped of all his posts, demoted to
Lieut-General and despatched to command the Volga military district staff.
In 1956, at Marshal Zhukov's demand, he was returned to Moscow, reinstated
in his rank of General of the Army and re- appointed chief of the GRU. In
October 1957 during the conspiracy against Zhukov, he came out on Zhukov's
side. Once again he was stripped of his offices, demoted to Lieut-General
and sent off to command a military district staff. In June 1962 he was Chief
of Staff for Land Forces. In 1968 his rank of General of the Army was
restored and he was appointed First Deputy Chief of the General Staff -
Chief of Staff of the Warsaw Pact. He was still in favour when he died.
Shtemyenko's career was feverish as well as resilient. He was pat
forward three times for the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union, the first
time at the age of forty-one, but he never received the honour. He is
considered to have been the most energetic, erudite and merciless of all GRU
General of the Army KURASOV, Vladimir Vasilievich: 7.7.1897 - 29.11.73.
A Russian Army officer who went over to the side of the communists after the
revolution. He served on various staffs, and from 1940 was deputy head of
the General Staff Operations Directorate. During the war he was Chief of
Staff of the 4th Shock Army, and later a front. After the war he was
Commander-in-Chief of the Central group of forces in Austria. Promoted
General of the Army, he was made chief of the GRU in February 1949. In the
same year he was removed from this office and appointed Chief of the General
Staff Academy. From 1956-61 he was Deputy Chief of the General Staff. His
career ran smoothly. It has been said that, having accepted the GRU post and
learning of the fate of all his predecessors Kurasov, on a specious pretext,
declined the office and transferred to a less hazardous post. This story is
corroborated by several independent sources
Marshal of the Soviet Union ZAKHAROV, Matvei Vasilievich: 5.8.1898 -
Zakharov was in Petrograd in the First World War and avoided being
conscripted into the Army. He came out actively against the war, joined the
Red Guard in April 1917 and stormed the Winter Palace. He then took part in
the suppression of anti-communist manifestations and held unimportant posts
in the Red Army. By 1936 he had worked himself up to the command of a
regiment. The great purge opened up many vacancies, and in July 1937
Zakharov was Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Military District, and, from
May 1938, Deputy Chief of the General Staff. During the war he was Chief of
Staff of the 9th Army and later front, and, after the war, Head of the
General Staff Academy. He became chief of the GRU in January 1949. In June
1952 a fierce struggle broke out about convening the 19th Party Congress.
The Politburo insisted, Stalin objected. The Chief of the General Staff
Shtemyenko, and the Chief of the GRU Zakharov, supported Stalin and were
dismissed from their posts. After Stalin's death Zakharov's fall continued,
but in May 1953 he was appointed Commander of the Leningrad Military
District and was able to hold on to this post. In October 1957 a struggle
broke out between the Politburo and Marshal Zhukov. Zakharov was fully on
the side of the Politburo and for this he was immediately appointed
Commander-in-Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. In 1959 he was
made Marshal of the Soviet Union, and Chief of the General Staff in 1960. In
1963 he was dismissed. He took an active part in the conspiracy against
Khruschev and, after the successful coup d'etat was re-appointed Chief of
the General Staff where he served up to September 1971—practically up to the
time of his death.
Colonel-General SHALIN, Mikhail Alekseevich was chief of the GRU from
1951-56 and from November 1957 to December 1958.
General of the Army SEROV, Ivan Alekseevich.
An officer of military intelligence, at the time of the purges of the
GRU he managed not only to survive but also to transfer to work in the NKVD.
On 12 June 1937 he appeared in the capacity of executioner of Marshal
Tukhachevski and other leading figures of the Red Army. Amongst all the
protagonists of the terror he distinguished himself as the most fervent
exponent of 'scenes on a massive scale'. He took part in the pursuit and
liquidation of the inhabitants of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1940 and
in 1944-47. Data exists as to his personal involvement in the murder of the
Polish officers in Katyn. During the war Serov was one of the leaders of
Smersh, and in August 1946 he personally took part in the execution of the
command of the Russian Liberation Army under Lieut-General Vlasov.
Subsequently he betrayed his leaders in Smersh and the NKGB, going over in
time to the camp of the victorious groups. He deserted Abakumov's group for
that of Beria and betrayed him (as did General Ivashutin - the present GRU
leader). In 1953 he was deputy chief of the GRU and one of the conspirators
against Beria. After the fall of Beria, Serov became Chairman of the KGB.
Together with Ambassador Andropov he seized the leaders of the Hungarian
revolution by deceit and took part in their torture and execution. In
December 1958 Serov became chief of the GRU. As an ex-KGB and Smersh officer
he had many enemies in the GRU. Under Serov's leadership, corruption in GRU
attained unbelievable proportions. In 1962 he was dismissed and quietly
Serov's was the dirtiest career in the history of the GRU. He displayed
a high degree of personal sadism. The years when Serov was chief of the GRU
were also the most unproductive in its history. It was the only period when
GRU officers voluntarily made contact with Western services and gave them
much more valuable information than they took from them.
General of the Army IVASHUTIN, Peter Ivanovitch: 5.9.1909 –
A volunteer in the punitive formations of the Special Purpose Units,
Ivashutin came into Army counter-intelligence from 1931. During the war he
held leading posts in Smersh. Even at this time Ivashutin had powerful
enemies in the NKGB. In 1944-45 he was chief of Smersh on the 3rd Ukrainian
Front and in that capacity waged a ferocious struggle against the Ukrainian
insurgent army and played an active role in the establishment of communist
order in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Hungary. It was at this time that he first
met Brezhnev, and in all subsequent activities the two men always supported
each other. At the end of the war Ivashutin took part in the forcible
repatriation of Soviet citizens who did not want to return to the Soviet
Union. He also played a special part in the liquidation of soldiers and
officers of the Russian Liberation Army. After the disbandment of Smersh he
managed to outlive its other leaders by a timely transfer out of the
Abakumov faction into that of Beria. At Beria's downfall he went over to the
Serov faction and was appointed head of the KGB 3rd Chief Directorate. He
then took part in the arrest and liquidation of Serov. On Brezhnev's
recommendation in 1963, Ivashutin was appointed chief of the GRU. In this
position he had a number of very serious confrontations with the KGB and
personally with Andropov. However, Ivashutin defended the interests of the
Army with more vigour than any of his predecessors and, therefore, in spite
of his past ties with the KGB, enjoyed unlimited support from the first
deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, the chairman of the Military
Industrial Complex Smirnov as well as Marshals Ustinov and Ogarkov. After
Andropov's coming to power Ivashutin held on to his post in view of powerful
support within the Army.

Appendix B
The GRU High Command and Leading GRU Officers
The following list gives names of the most prominent senior GRU
officers with their official titles where possible. This is followed by an
alphabetical list of some of the known operational officers working under
cover around the world.
Army General IVASHUTIN, Petr Ivanovich: deputy chief of the General
Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces. Head of GRU. Official pseudonyms
'Tovarishch Mikhailov', 'Dyadya Petya'. The first pseudonym is also used in
connection with all military intelligence.
Col-General LEMZENKO, Kir Gavirlovich: GRU representative in the Party
Central Committee; 'Papa Rimski'.
Col-General PAVLOV, Aleksandr Grigorevich: first deputy chief of GRU.
Admiral BEKRENEV: deputy chief of GRU.
Col-General ZOTOV, Arkady Vasilievich: deputy chief of GRU, head of
Col-General MESHCHERYAKOV, V.V.: deputy chief of GRU, head of the
Military Diplomatic Academy.
Col-General IZOTOV, S.I.: head of GRU Personnel Directorate.
Col-General SIDOROV, Y.I.

Lieutenant-Generals and Vice Admirals (approximately 20)
Lt-General DOLIN, G.I.: head of GRU Political Department.
Lt-General GURENKO, Vyacheslav Tikhonovich: head of the Illegals
Training Centre.
Lt-General Aviation SHATALOV, Vladimir Aleksandrovich: GRU
representative at the Cosmonaut Training Centre.
Lt-General KOLODYAZHNY, Boris Gavrilovich: GRU deputy chief for
Internal Security.
Lt-General MILSTEIN, Moshe: GRU deputy chief for Disinformation. A
former illegal and author of top secret manual Honourable Service. Codename
'Tovarishch M', 'Mikhail M.'.
Lt-General KOSTIN P.T.: chief of GRU 3rd (?) Directorate.
Lt-General Engineer PALIY A.: chief of GRU 6th Directorate.
Lt-General GONTAR: chief of GRU 7th Directorate.
Lt-General DRACHEV I.M.
Lt-General KOZLOV M.: Chief of GRU llth (?) Directorate.
Lt-General BERKUTOV, S.: Information Service.
Vice Admiral ROZHKO, Gennadi Aleksandrovich.

Major-Generals and Rear Admirals (approximately 125)
Maj-General Aviation CHIZHOV, Mikhail Terentyevich.
Rear Admiral KALININ, Valeri Petrovich.
Maj-General Aviation KUCHUMOV, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.
Maj-General SHITOV.
Rear Admiral KLYUZOV, Serafim Timofeevich.
Maj-General BARANOV, Aleksandr Vasilievich.
Maj-General LYALIN, Mikhail Ammosovich.
Maj-General BEPPAEV S.U.: Chief of Intelligence of Group Soviet Forces
in Germany.
Maj-General Artillery LYUBIMOV, Viktor Andreevich.
Maj-General GONCHAROV, Gennadi Grigorevich.
Maj-General KHOMYAKOV, Aleksandr Sergeevich.
Rear Admiral KOZLOV, Andrei Nikolaevich.
Maj-General MIKHAILOV, Boris Nikolaevich.
Maj-General ZIMIN, Valentin Yakovlevich.
Maj-General ANDRYANOV, V.: Spetsnaz.
Maj-General Aviation MIKRYUKOV, L.
Maj-General GLAZUNOV, N.
Rear Admiral SMIRNOV, M.

Leading GRU Officers
ABRAMOV, Vladimir Mikhailovich
BAYLIN, Vladimir Ivanovich
BELOUSOV, Mikolai Mikhailovich
BELOUSOV, Konstantin Nikolaevich
BLINOV, Boris Afanasyevich

BORISOV, Gennadi Alekseevich
BORODIN, Viktor Mikhailovich

BOROVINSKI, Petr Fedorovich
BUBNOV, Nikolai Ivanovich
BUTAKOV, Ilya Petrovich
DEMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich

DORONKIN, Kirill Sergeevich
EGOROV, Anatoli Egorovich
ERMAKOV, Aleksandr Ivanovich
ERSHOV, Yuri Alekseevich
EVDOKIMOV, Sergei Vasilevich
FEKLENKO, Vladimir Nikolaevich
FILATOV, Anatoli
FILIPPOV, Anatoli Vasilevich
GENERALOV, Vsevolod Nikolaevich

KAPALKIN, Sergei Vasilevich
KASHEVAROV, Evgeni Mikhailovich
KOZYPITSKI, Gleb Sergeevich
LOVCHIKOV, Vasili Dmitrievich
LAVROV, Valeri Alecseevich
LEMEKHOV, Dmitri Aleksandrovich
LOBANOV, Vitali Ilich
LOGINOV, Igor Konstantinovich
MOROZOV, Ivan Yakovlevich
MYAKISHEV, Aleksei Nikolaevich
NEDOZOROV, Valentin Viktorovich
NOSKOV, Nikolai Stepanovich
OSIPOV, Oleg Aleksandrovich
PAVLENKO, Yuri Kuzmich
PETROV, Nikolai Kirillovich
PIVOBAROV, Oleg Ivanovich
POLYAKOV, Boris Alekseevich
POPOV, Gennadi Fedorovich
POTAPENKO, Leonid Terentyevich
POTSELUEV, Evgeni Aleksandrovich
PUTILIN, Mikhail Semenovich
RATNIKOV, Valentin Mikhailovich
RADIONOV, Aleksandr Sergeevich
ROMANOV, Anatoli Aleksandrovich
RUBANOV, Aleksandr Nikolaevich
SALEKHOV, Yuri Nikolaevich
SAVIN, Viktor Grigorevich
SELUNSKI, Valentin Ivanovich
SEMENOV, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich
SERGEEV, Yuri Pavlovich
SHEPELEV, Viktor Petrovich
SHIPOV, Vladilen Nikolaevich
SOKOLOV, Viktor Aleksandrovich
STRELBITSKI, Vladimir Vasilevich
STUDENIKIN, Ivan Yakovlevich
SUKHAREV, Georgi Nikolaevich
SUVOROV, Georgi Borisovich
UMNOV, Valentin Aleksandrovich
VETROV, Yuri Pavlovich
VILKOV, Boris Nikolaevich
VINOGRADOV, Feliks Vasilevich
VOLNOV, Vladimir Grigorevich
VOLOKITIN, Vladimir Ivanovich
VOTRIN, Sergei Ivanovich
VYBORNOV, Ivan Yakovlevich
YAKUSHEV, Ivan Ivanovich
YURASOV, Viktor Vladimirovich
ZHELANNOV, Vladimir Mikhailovich
ZHEREBTSON, Aleksandr Vasilevich
ZHERNOV, Leonid Andreevich
ZHURAVLEV, Ivan Mikhailovich
ZOTOV, Viktor Nikolaevich

Appendix C
Some Case Histories of GRU Activities
Rather than sprinkling the text with examples I have put together a
representative sample of GRU officers uncovered in the course of operations
abroad, as reported in the press. The number of GRU officers caught and
expelled and the nature of their activities is indicative of the power and
scale of the GRU.
Canada and the United States
In June 1980 the Canadians announced that they had requested the
withdrawal of three Soviet officials from the Embassy, Captain Igor A.
Bardeev, Colonel E.I. Aleksanjan and the chauffeur Sokolov. The case
involved an unnamed individual employed in a sensitive position in the USA,
who had been in contact with the Soviet Embassy and been given the task of
obtaining information. Soviet officials had maintained clandestine contact
with the American citizen over a period of some months.
In October 1979 the Naval and Air Attach6 of the Soviet Embassy in
France, Vladimir Kulik, was expelled from the country. He was an officer of
the GRU working in French military circles and had been in contact with
firms specialising in military supplies. In 1979, at a reception in another
embassy, he had met by chance a young Frenchman employed in the armaments
department of an important organisation who was carrying out studies on
behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Kulik sought to maintain contact with the
Frenchman, and in due course offered him a large sum of money for documents
from his place of work. He also sought to find out details about other staff
at the organisation where the Frenchman worked. Kulik was arrested at the
moment when he was about to receive from the Frenchman a document about a
French weapon.
In February 1980 the Soviet Consul and No. 2 in Marseilles was
withdrawn. He had been detained by the French authorities between Toulon and
Marseilles with plans of the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft in his briefcase.
They had just been handed to him by an agent.
Travkov had arrived in 1977. The area of Marseilles and the Bouches du
Rhone contains many installations and objects of defence interest. Travkov
was officially concerned with 'scientific subjects connected with the port
and airport', and these interests enabled him to meet people involved in the
aeronautical field and to visit firms and installations. Travkov obtained
copies of files on staff working on defence contracts and used the details
thus revealed to build up a network of informers. Four Frenchmen were taken
into custody at the time of Travkov's arrest. Travkov had also been
interested in the twin-jet Mirage 4000 which used the same engine as the
The Soviet Press Attache declared the French action a 'provocation by
the police' but the documents were, of course, genuine. A few days later
Frolov, himself a KGB officer, was required to leave France too. He had been
in Marseilles for two years and had earlier had a posting to Paris. His job,
like Travkov's, had given him opportunities to meet all sorts of people and
he had made the most of it. Both Travkov and Frolov were personable,
charming individuals who made many friends.
Great Britain
Anatoliy Pavlovich Zotov, the Soviet Naval Attache in London, was
expelled in December 1982 after trying to set up a network of agents to
gather information about weapons systems and electronic hardware used by the
Royal Navy during the Falklands campaign. His interests had also extended to
the Royal Navy's nuclear submarines.
A retired Japanese major-general, Yukihisa Miyanaga was arrested in
Tokyo in January 1980. He was a GRU agent whose case officer at the time of
his arrest was Colonel Yuriy N. Koslov, Military and Air Attache at the
Soviet Embassy. Miyanaga had been recruited as an agent in 1974 by one of
Koslov's predecessors. He was equipped with and instructed in various means
of clandestine communication, including particular ciphers for use with
radio. Miyanaga and two other officers of the Japanese Ground Self-Defence
Force were subsequently sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for passing
military secrets to the GRU.
Valeriy Moiseevich Mesropov served in Norway as an engineer with a
Russian firm in Drammen, as a representative of Stankoimport, from 1968 to
1970. Mesropov, who was not a diplomat, was arrested in 1970 on suspicion of
intelligence activity and finally expelled from Norway for security reasons
in September 1970.
Igor Ivanovich Zashchirinsky served in Norway from 1974 to 1977 as
representative at the Soviet Trade Delegation of a number of Soviet
import/export organisations. He was engaged on clandestine operations to
obtain information and products of a scientific/technical nature including
material classified as Top Secret. He too was declared persona non grata on
28 January 1977.
In June 1983 Lt-Colonel Zagrebnev was expelled from Norway. He was
Military Attache at the Embassy in Oslo, and had visited a military area in
the north of Norway, where he had attempted to bribe a Norwegian officer to
hand over secret information.
Oleg Churanov, Director of Aeroflot in Madrid, was arrested in February
1980, accused of espionage for the Soviet Union. His case was part of
another expulsion of six officials who had already left. It was alleged that
Churanov had bought plans of certain aviation electronic equipment. The
'seller' was a member of the Spanish Secret Services who purported to be a
member of a Spanish firm. Churanov was an engineer who had been Aeroflot
representative in Canada before coming to Spain. He was very popular with
staff and pilots at Madrid airport where he had shown interest in radio
frequencies and the security regulations at the airport. He had also tried,
on one occasion, to get a Spanish pilot to introduce him into the American
airport at Tarrejon. The Spanish security authorities themselves claimed
that Churanov was a member of the GRU.
In May 1982 the Aeroflot Director in Spain was again expelled for
spying, this time with another official. Vasiliy Fedorin and Vladimir
Tertishnikov were accused of trying to obtain information on the supply of
US military materials to Spain and on Spanish weapons manufacturers.
In March 1979 Stig Bergling, a Swedish police inspector and reserve
officer, was arrested in Israel. He had been an agent of the GRU for some
ten years. In January 1969 he had begun service with the Police Board, and
from 1971-75 was given leave of absence to serve in the Defence Ministry and
to do duty with the UN. Bergling had access to information about security
police personnel and counter-espionage organisations; and about defence
establishments and Swedish defence plans. He was equipped with radio to
receive messages from the GRU, and also made use of micro-dots. He kept in
touch with his case officers in a number of countries, particularly in the
Middle East, having been trained in East Berlin.

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