marți, 4 ianuarie 2011

Pavel Sudoplatov, spion și victimă a lui Beria

Vă rog să citiți acest text selectat de mine, în speranța că vă poate interesa. Fiul lui Sudopaltov a scris o carte foarte interesantă despre tatăl său, incluzând informații despre cuplul de evrei americani Rosenberg. Ca să mai aflăm câte ceva despre lumea prin care am trecut. Cu prietenie, Dan Culcer

Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks - Peter Myers. Date September 6, 2001; update June 30, 2006. My comments are shown  {thus}.
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Sudoplatov had a Jewish wife and was loyal to Beria, and was arrested when Beria was arrested, accused of Zionist sympathies, in connection with the Doctors Plot. Although Sudoplatov dismisses that plot as false, other authors present new evidence that Stalin was murdered.
The best coverage is the book  The Death of Stalin: An Investigation by 'MONITOR': death-of-stalin.html.
Edvard Radzinski's book Stalin is pro-Zionist, but also presents an interesting coverage, on pp. 539-556:
January 13, 1953: Tass announced the discovery of a terrorist group of poisoning doctors (Radzinsky, p. 539).
February 8, 1953: Pravda published the names of Jewish saboteurs etc.
February 11, 1953: the USSR severed diplomatic relations with Israel (Yosef Govrin, Israeli-Soviet Relations 1953-1967, published by Frank Cass, London 1998, pp. 3-4).
End of February, 1953: rumors went around Moscow that the Jews were to be deported to Siberia (Radzinsky, p. 542), with March 5 rumoured to be the date when this would happen (p. 546}. Radzinsky claims that Stalin was inviting war with America, the home of Zionism and world finance, over this issue, because America was dominated by Zionist financiers (p. 543).
March 5, 1953: Stalin declared dead.
Evidence That Stalin was murdered (Radzinsky, pp. 547-556): radzinsk.html. For a Jewish view on the Doctors' Plot see Louis Rapaport, Stalin's War Against the Jews. Lazar Kaganovich's account of the Murder of Stalin: kaganovich.html.
Pavel Sudoplatov and Anatoli Sudoplatov
with Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter
Foreword by Robert Conquest
{The 1995 paperback edition contains a new Foreword, pp. ix-xvii, defending Sudoplatov's account of the atomic spies, from critics: atomic-spies.html; but page numbers for the body of the text remain unchanged.
The footnotes at the bottom of pages in the text are by Robert Conquest; only selected footnotes are included here.}
{p. 3} My name is Pavel Anatolievich Sudoplatov, but I do not expect you to recognize it, because for fifty-eight years it was one of the best-kept secrets in the Soviet Union. You may think you know me by other names: the Center, the Director, or the head of SMERSH (the acronym for Death to Spies), names by which I have been misidentified in the West. My Administration for Special Tasks was responsible for sabotage, kidnapping, and assassination of our enemies beyond the country's borders. It was a special department working in the Soviet security service. I was responsible for Trotsky's assassination and, during World War II, I was in charge of guerrilla warfare and disinformation in Germany and German-occupied territories. After the war I continued to run illegal networks abroad whose purpose was to sabotage American and NATO installations in the event hostilities broke out. I was also in charge of the Soviet espionage effort to obtain the secrets of the atomic bomb from America and Great Britain. I set up a network of illegals who convinced Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, Bruno Pontecorvo, Alan Nunn May, Klaus Fuchs, and other scientists in America and Great Britain to share atomic secrets with us.
{p. 4} It is strange to look back fifty years and re-create the mentality that led us to take vengeance on our enemies with cold self-assurance. We did not believe there was any moral question involved in killing Trotsky or any other of our former comrades who had turned against us. We believed we were in a life-and-death struggle for the salvation of our grand experiment, the creation of a new social system that would protect and provide dignity for all workers and eliminate the greed and oppression of capitalist profit.
We believed that every Western country hated us and wished to see our doom. Therefore, anyone who was not for us was against us. In the Great Patriotic War against Hitler, the struggle between good and evil was simplified. All anti-Nazis knew that we were the only hope of destroying the fascist regime. Good men and women of every nationality became pro-Communist and gave their lives in this clear-cut cause for human freedom. There was no doubt in our minds that we had to learn how to build an atomic bomb before the Germans. We resented that the Americans moved ahead in this field without us, even though they were our wartime allies against Germany. Therefore, every theft of atomic secrets was a heroic act. Every scientist who handed over diagrams and formulas for building a bomb was counted a Soviet hero working for world peace.
After Hitler was defeated, it became less clear who was against us and who was merely critical of our methods. We had no time or patience for these distinctions. Good men who had risked their lives and suffered torture by the Nazis spent years in the cells of Lubyanka for merely doubting that we knew best. The result was that we created a weakness in ourselves that we never overcame. We never learned how to incorporate and deal with diversity. You in the West have your weaknesses as well. The diversity in America, the plethora of foreign-born immigrant communities within your population, are the pride of your melting pot. Yet within these communities we were able to enlist thousands of agents ready to destroy you in case war broke out between us.
During World War II, more than ninety percent of the lonely soldiers spread throughout Western Europe who sent us crucial information that enabled us to beat back the German invasion were Jews whose hatred of Hitler spurred them to risk their lives and families. Yet when the Western tide of sentiment turned against the Soviet Union after World War II and our own internal conflicts within the leadership weakened us, we turned against the Jews who had served us loyally.
{p. 5} My wife, Emma, a lieutenant colonel in the KGB, who was a Jew, had served proudly. She retired in 1949, just in time to avoid the new purge of Jews from the security forces that was a result not of any disloyalty, but merely of their identification as Jews in intelligence work.
I was a witness to the purges of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and saw how they affected the development and history of my country. The truth of the past fifty years is still being subordinated to politically self-serving interprerations of the events. Those claiming to write our history cannot whitewash the czarist empire and Lenin simply to expose Stalin as a criminal - that is too easy, given his intellect and vision. Victorious Russian rulers always combined the qualities of criminals and statesmen. In this regard it is overlooked that Stalin and Beria, who played tragic and criminal roles in our history, at the same time played a constructive one, turning the Soviet Union into an atomic superpower. It is that accomplishment which determined how events in the world would unfold. So we must ask, How did these individuals perform as statesmen? What were the rules of the game in the inner development of the Soviet superstate from the 1930s until Stalin's death in 1953, and afterward, under his heirs?
My conclusions are based on my own personal involvement with these people and events. Unfortunately, due to its political sensitivity, this book is being published first in the West in order to assure its access to Russian readers. I hope historians will find the events I recount and my explanations helpful. I am not going to whitewash anybody, and I do not intend to justify what I did as a member of the foreign intelligence service from the 1920s to the early 1950s. That was a different time, a different historical period. What is needed is to understand the mechanism of the power struggle and how this mechanism developed into present-day Russia.
{p. 17} I was overwhelmed by Paris and remain under its spell to this day. This was a city of history, and it occurred to me that the French Revolution lasted for a hundred years, until the Paris Commune of 1871. What the French went through in the nineteenth century, we Russians are enduring in the twentieth.
{p. 31} According to his NKVD personnel file, Naum Isakovich Eitingon was born on December 1, 1899, in the city of Sklov in the Mogilov district of Byelorussia, not far from Gomel, the big Jewish center where Emma was from. In the Lubyanka and among friends we always called him Leonid Aleksandrovich, because in the 1920s Jewish CHEKA officers adopted Russian names so as not to attract attention to their Jewish origins while working with Russian informers and officers.
{p. 88} disinformation ... convinced a suspicious Stalin and his defense minister, Kliment Y. Voroshilov, that the generals were maintaining secret contacts with German military commanders. This was the version repeated by Khrushchev in his address denouncing Stalin to the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956.
The German connection must be understood against the background of a close relationship between German and Soviet strategic thinkers. In 1933, Stalin ended a long period of cooperation between the military leadership of Germany and the Soviet Union under the fabricated pretext that the Germans were leaking information to the French about secret Soviet-German military contacts.1 A group of Soviet generals, led by Marshal Tukhachevsky, had wanted to continue it, hoping to utilize Germany's technological leadership. There was similar interest, but for different reasons, on the German side, especially among highranking East Prussian officers, followers of the Wehrmacht's founder, General Hans von Seeckt. After defeat in World War I, Von Seeckt spent years rebuilding German military strength and studying its strategic options. He demanded that the German leadership improve relations with the USSR to avoid the danger of war on two fronts.
The second version alleges that the victims were the intellectual superiors of Voroshilov and had a stronger, more professional military overview. They disagreed with Stalin and Voroshilov on issues of strategy and military reform, the theory goes, and therefore Stalin got rid of them, fearing they would become rivals to power.
The third version states that they were eliminated because of a long-simmering hostility between Tukhachevsky and Stalin over blame for military mistakes during the Civil War and the war against Poland in 1920. The Red Army was defeated on the outskirts of Warsaw because Stalin and Voroshilov blocked the transfer of cavalry troops to assist Tukhachevsky in the battle of the Vistula River. My own view differs from these three versions. I recall being startled
1. In a secret message to the German Embassy in Moscow in June 1933, Nikolai Krestinsky, deputy commissar of foreign affairs, falsely accused German vice chancellor Franz von Papen of disclosing the top-secret Soviet-German military contacts to French officials and canceled further cooperation. The Soviet note was unexpected because in May Voroshilov and Tukhachevsky had received a top-level German military delegation. Stalin's decision was dictated by his belief that the Germans had served their purpose, helping to lay the foundations for Soviet tank and aircraft production. N. Roshchin, writing in Voyennoi Istorischeski Zhurna/ (Journal of Militarv History), August 1993, p. 41.
{p. 89} when I examined the reports coming from Germany in August 1939 that revealed the German high command's rather high assessment of the Red Army's potential. I remember, as well, a document of the German high command intercepted by us that postulated the causes for Marshal Tukhachevsky's fall as his ambitions and basic disagreement with the quiet Marshal Voroshilov, who was wholly subservient to Stalin's views. Beria underlined one sentence in this document: "The fall of Tukhachevsky decisively shows that Stalin tightly controls the Red Army."
This statement was quoted by Beria in the summary of intelligence information he forwarded to Stalin, probably to please Stalin with fawning affirmation of his good judgment in getting rid of Tukhachevsky.
I remember Beria's comments on this case and especially those of Viktor Abakumov, who was in charge of military counterintelligence during the war, supervising the political and combat reliability of the armed forces. Both men remarked on the impudence of Tukhachevsky and his subordinates, who, they said, planned to demand that Stalin dismiss Voroshilov. This, Beria explained, clearly indicated that the highest military ranks were behaving contrary to party rules, daring to make proposals totally beyond their authority. The Politburo, according to Beria, was the only institution that could initiate any move to substitute or change a people's commissar of defense. Besides, Abakumov noted several times, Tukhachevsky and his crowd had behaved immodestly, in a manner not befitting senior officers. They had ordered the military orchestra to stage private concerts for them and to play for parties at Tukhachevsky's dacha.
I learned what was proper behavior from a conversation in October 1941 with Marshal Boris Mikhailovich Shaposhnikov, who succeeded Tukhachevsky. In the urgency of wartime, I had suggested that to speed up the general staff's reaction to information from highly placed agents, we should channel it directly to him. He replied in a self-effacing manner: "Golubchick [Little Pigeon, a common term of endearment among Russians], important military intelligence should always first be sent to the political leadership of the country. Most urgent messages should be sent simultaneously to Stalin, as people's commissar of defense, and to Beria as your direct superior, with a copy to me. Remember, these are the strict rules which we are in no way authorized to modify." The marshal was a seasoned bureaucrat.2
2. Shaposhnikov was forced to step down because of poor health in 1942, and he died in 1945. 94 Special Tasks
{p. 94} Shevardnadze, his former foreign minister. The use of the clippings was abandoned by Gorbachev only in November 1991, on the eve of his downfall. Vitaly Ignatenko, head of TASS and an ally of Gorbachev, put an end to this long-established procedure.
In the 1930s it seemed to me that anyone who was exposed as disloyal to the government or to party leaders, such as Stalin and Voroshilov, was undoubtedly an enemy of the state. Only later did I realize the cynicism of Beria's and Abakumov's comments on Tukhachevsky; the top leadership knew the accusations were fabricated. They preferred the story of a military plot because it would have been damaging to themselves and to the party to admit that the targets of their purges were in fact rivals for leadership.
What had been a grave crime in 1937, spreading critical remarks about Voroshilov, which indeed Tukhachevsky had done, suddenly in 1957, when he was rehabilitated, was no longer a crime. There was no change in the law and no apology. There were only vague references to "mistakes" in the official party documents.
On April 8, 1938, the NKVD rezident in Finland, Boris Rybkin, was summoned to the Kremlin, where Stalin and other members of the Politburo, in a formal way, entrusted him with the mission of acting as informal envoy of the Soviet government in Finland. Rybkin donated money, on Stalin's orders, to the formation of the Small Farmers party, which propagated a neutral stand for Finland. Rybkin was ordered to offer the Finnish government a secret deal, sharing interests in Scandinavia and economic cooperation with the Soviet Union, on the conditions of their signing a pact of mutual economic and military assistance in case of aggression by third parties. The pact was to guarantee Finland eternal safety from attack by European powers and mutual economic privileges for the two countries on a permanent basis. Included in the proposals was a division of spheres of military and economic influence over the Baltic areas that lay between Finland and the Soviet Union.
Rybkin expressed his doubts that the Finns would agree to a treaty contrary to their historic hostility toward their eastern neighbor, but Stalin stressed that these proposals should be offered orally, without the involvement of our ambassador. Rybkin did as he was told, and the proposals were turned down by the Finns; however, they caused a split in the Finnish leadership that we later exploited when we managed to sign a separate peace treaty with Finland in 1944, with the Swedish Wallenberg family acting as intermediaries.
{p. 95} While I have no knowledge whether or not similar proposals were made informally to the Germans, I believe that Marshal Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, chairman of Finland's defense council, informed Hitler about our overtures. Therefore, Hitler, when he sent his foreign minister, Joaquim von Ribbentrop, to Moscow in August 1939 to negotiate a nonaggression treaty, was not relying just on the spontaneous reaction of Molotov and Stalin. He knew that we were open to such suggestions because we had already sought a similar deal with Finland that had failed.
The Finns refused the deal in April 1938 because for them it was more important to remain allied with Britain, Sweden, and Germany. They saw no benefit in becoming the buffer zone between East and West. Later this role was forced on them by their defeat in the border war between us and then in the German-Soviet war. For attacking the Soviet Union jointly with the Germans, Finland reaped the war's bitter harvest. As a consequence, Finland had to live with a less advantageous form of the original plan offered by Rybkin in 1938.7
The intelligence traffic was intensive in August 1939. After Donald Maclean was transferred from London to Paris,8 we received reliable reports that the French and British governments were reluctant to commit support to the Soviet Union in case of war with Germany. This dove-tailed with information we had received three or four years before from the Cambridge ring - Philby, Maclean, and Burgess - that the British cabinet, namely Neville Chamberlain and Sir John Simon, were consid-
7. Formal negotiations with the Finns to move the Soviet-Finnish border on the Karelian isthmus farther away from Leningrad and, to protect the city from attack by sea, for the Soviet Union to take over all the islands in the Gulf of Finland, broke down as the Finns refused Stalin's demands. On November 30, 1939, the Winter War began as Soviet troops from the Leningrad military district attacked. What the Soviets thought would be an easy victory turned into a humiliating and costly little war, with heavy Soviet losses. The Finns in camouflage white on skis were better prepared for winter warfare, and it was not until February 17, after a massive artillery bombardment followed by 1,000 tanks and 140,000 troops, that the Mannerheim Line was breached and the Finns ran out of reserves. The Finns were forced to agree to tougher terms from Stalin and cede 22,000 square miles of their territory to end the war on March 11,1940. See Alan Bullock, Hitlerand Stalin: Parallel Lives (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), pp. 659-662.
8. After more than two years in a London posting, Donald Maclean had been routinely reassigned by the British Foreign Office and by late fall 1938 was in place as third secretary in the Paris embassy.
{p. 96} ering a secret agreement with Hitler to support him in a military confrontation with the Soviet Union. We also gave special attention to the information from three reliable sources in Germany. They said that the Wehrmacht generals strongly objected to any war on two fronts.
We received instructions to look quickly into possible options for nonaggression cooperation, not only with the British and French, with whom we were already cooperating, but also with Germany. In Germany only East Prussian aristocrats and influential military figures supported a peaceful settlement with the Soviet Union. These were the same ones who had given credence to cooperation between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army, encouraged by Tukhachevsky.
Having been ordered to look into the alternatives, either an agreement with the English and French or a settlement with Germany, it did not occur to me that a separate deal between Berlin and Moscow was already afoot. When I was informed of the imminent arrival of the German foreign minister in Moscow on August 23,1939, just hours before it took place, it came as a surprise to me. When Ribbentrop arrived and the nonaggression pact was signed in the Kremlin thirteen hours later, at 2:00 A.M. on August 24, it became evident that this was not a sudden decision. The strategic goal of the Soviet leadership was to avert war on two fronts, in the Far East and in Europe, at any cost. {i.e. to break up the Anti-Comintern Pact; at this time, Korea, Manchuria and other parts of China were under Japanese occupation} This pattern of diplomatic relations not governed by ideological considerations had already been established in the 1920s, when the Soviet Union carried on economic cooperation and normal relations with Italy after the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922. The Kremlin leadership was ready for a compromise with any regime, provided it guaranteed stability for the Soviet Union. The first priority of Stalin and his aides was the fulfillment of their geopolitical aspirations to transform the Soviet Union into the largest superpower of the world.
The country had developed more or less steadily only after the end of the collectivization drive in 1934. Up until then it had undergone civil war and chaos, turmoil, and upheavals. Only by the mid-thirties did industrialization begin to bear fruit. The growing might of the country was displayed in successful military confrontations with Japan in Mongolia and Manchuria. Although the country had established diplomatic relations with all the major powers and was thus seemingly accepted as a member of the international community, it was nevertheless kept in isolation when the world powers settled their interests among themselves. All cardinal agreements on the future of Europe and Asia were
{p. 97} undertaken by the Western powers and Japan with no concern for the interests of the Soviet Union. The Anglo-German agreement of 1935, accepting German naval rearmament, and the subsequent agreements between major powers in the naval arms race, did not include the Soviet Union.
The French and British delegations that arrived in Moscow in August 1939 to probe the possibility of an alliance against Hitler were headed by secondary figures. Stalin's policy of appeasing Hitler thus was based on the reasonable belief that hostility against Soviet communism by the Western world and Japan would forever keep the USSR in isolation from the international community.
Looking back, all three future allies - the Soviet, British, and French governments - were guilty of letting Hitler unleash World War II. Mutual suspicion ruled out compromise agreements between the British and French on one side and the Soviet Union on the other that could have halted Hitler's aggression against Poland. It is overlooked by historians of World War II that only President Franklin D. Roosevelt's initiative started British, French, and Soviet negotiations in May 1939 in an attempt to stop Hitler's aggression. Donald Maclean reported that Roosevelt had sent an envoy to Prime Minister Chamberlain warning that the domination of Germany in Western Europe would be detrimental to American and British interests. Roosevelt urged Chamberlain to enter into negotiations with Britain's European allies, including the Soviet Union, to contain Hitler. Our intelligence sources reported that the British government reacted reluctantly to this American initiative and had to be forced by Roosevelt to start negotiations with the Soviets on military measures to stop Hitler.
Nevertheless, the nonaggression treaty with Hitler came out of the blue for me, because only two days before it was signed I was receiving orders to look into options for peaceful settlement with Germany. We were still sending these strategic propositions to Stalin and Molotov when the treaty was signed. Stalin had handled the negotiations on his own in total secrecy.
I did not know about the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,9 but such protocols are a natural feature of diplomatic relations regarding sensitive issues. On the eve of outbreak of war, the
9. The secret protocols of the pact spelled out how Germany and the USSR would divide the territory of Poland and the Baltic states between them.
{p. 98} British government signed secret protocols with Poland concerning its obligations for military assistance to Poland if war broke out between Poland and Germany. Similarly, in 1993 the German weekly Wecht published secret protocols and minutes of confidential meetings between Gorbachev and Chancellor Helmut Kohl on the eve of the unification of Germany. When I look now at the Molotov - Ribbentrop secret protocols, I find nothing secret in them. The directives based on these agreements were definite and clear, and were known not only to the intelligence directorate but to the heads of military, diplomatic, economic, and border guards administrations.10 In fact, the famous map of the division of Poland, which was attached to the protocols in October 1939, was published a week later in Pravda, without Stalin's and Ribbentrop's signatures, for the whole world to see. By then, of course, Poland had fallen to Germany, and Britain and France had entered the war.
Chamberlain, far from being a mere "appeaser" as usually presented, was,  by freeing Hitler from worries about his Western frontier, giving him a  free hand in the East, and encouraging conflict between Germany & the  USSR, i.e. between Liberalism's two rivals.
However, Clamberlain was under pressure from Roosevelt, Churchill, Leo Amery, etc, and eventually changed course, committing Britain to war with Germany if the Polish border were violated.
The Soviet-German Pact was Stalin's masterstroke to break the  Anti-Comintern Pact. Yet it also indicates that Stalin did not want peace. If he had not made the pact with Hitler, he would have had a defacto pact with Britain against Germany.
Japan, in consequence of the Soviet-German Pact, decided to Strike South rather than Strike North  (ie attack the US rather than the USSR). But for the Soviet-German Pact,  Japan, already entrenched in Manchuria, would probably have joined in a  German attack on the USSR.
The struggle between the Strike North and Strike South factions in Japan is described in David Bergamini's book Japan's Imperial Conspiracy.
Sudoplatov wrote that Chamberlain changed his policy because of pressure from the Roosevelt administration.
Sudoplatov said that the Roosevelt pressure on Chamberlin came in May 1939. But Britain guaranteed the Polish border on March 31, 1939. David Thomson wrote in Europe Since Napoleon (2nd ed., Longmans, London, 1963):
"The British guarantee to Poland, given on March 31, 1939, was destined to become the formal reason for Britain's declaration of war on Germany five months later." (p. 713).
In April 1939 Roosevelt wrote to Hitler and Mussolini seeking assurances of non-aggression (Thomson, op. cit., p. 714). It would not be surprising, then, if his pressure on Britain had begun earlier than May.
As a result of Britain's guarantee to Poland, Thomson wrote, Hitler knew that if he attacked Poland he faced war on two fronts. But Stalin also knew that if Germany attacked the USSR, it would be at war with Britain too, and that Germany dreaded having to fight on two fronts:
{p. 713} He drew the contrary inference, that since he now controlled the balance of power in Europe, he could afford to make {p. 714} terms with Germany which would ensure ... a large share of Polish territory for himself ... a buffer ... between the Soviet Union and Germany, and encourage Hitler to direct his first main onslaught against the West. Stalin used his new-found immunity to buy both space and time, and to gamble on a long, mutually destructive war between central and western Europe from which the Soviet Union could derive both security and profit. The idea of the Nazi-Soviet pact was born of the Franco-British guarantee to Poland. {end}
Thomson thus holds a similar assessment of Stalin's strategy, to Viktor Suvorov's in his book Icebreaker. But Suvorov goes further, arguing that once Hitler was at war with Britain, Stalin planned to give him the second front he dreaded.
Thomson wrote that "Chamberlain ... on August 25 made a formal assistance pact with Poland" (p. 715).
Sudoplatov says that secret protocols within Britain's guarantee to Poland, the one of August 25, set the tripwire which committed Britain to war if Germany invaded Poland. Why did Britain keep them secret, if their purpose was to deter Germany?
The text of the Anglo-Polish Agreement of Mutual Assistance and the Secret Protocol, of London, 25 August 1939:
The Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939 also contained secret clauses, providing for the partition of Poland. Hitler attacked Poland on September 1.
Secret Additional Protocol to the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the USSR
Moscow, 23 August, 1939:
Did Stalin plan to attack Germany, as Victor Suvorov alleges?
Gabriel Gorodetsky, who teaches at Tel Aviv University, argues against Suvorov's claim that Stalin intended to attack Germany. The debate is reviewed here:
Raack, R.C., "Stalin's Role in the Coming of World War II," World Affairs, (vol. 158, no.4) Spring 1996:
Daniel Michaels, Revising the Twentieth Century's 'Perfect Storm': Russian and German Historians Debate Barbarossa and Its Aftermath:
end of excursus}
In October 1939, together with Pavel M. Fitin, director of intelligence, and Vsevolod Merkulov, Beria's deputy, I attended a meeting in Molotov's Kremlin office that included the director of the operational department of the general staff, Major General Aleksandr M. Vasilevsky (minister of defense in the 1950s); Deputy Commissar of Foreign Affairs V. P. Potemkin; Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Committee Borisov; the deputy chief of the navy, Admiral Ivan S. Isakov; the chief of the Border Troops, General Ivan 1. Maslennikov; and the chief of the GRU, Major General 1. V. Panfilov.
The agenda of the meeting was to put forward recommendations for defending our strategic interests in the Baltic states. Our troops were already deployed there under pacts with the governments of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Molotov, who opened the meeting, stated, "We have agreement with Germany that the Baltic zone is to be regarded as an area of most important geopolitical interest to the Soviet Union. It is clear, however," continued Molotov, "that although the German authorities accept that in principle, they would never agree to any 'cardinal social transformations' that would change the Baltic states into constituent republics of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, the Soviet leadership believes that the way to defend the geopolitical interests of the Soviet Union in the Baltic zone in the most lasting manner would be to help the proletarian internationalist movement in the area. That would change this region into a reliable frontier of the Soviet state." 10. The full texts were released from the Presidential Archives in 1992.
{p. 99} From that comment it was clear how we intended to interpret the terms of the agreement with Hitler. In the late autumn of 1939, however, there was a new impetus for activating our political, economic, military, and intelligence operations in the Baltic republics. From our rezidenturas in Sweden and in Berlin we received checked and reliable information that the Germans were planning to send top-level economic delegations to Riga and Tallinn to make long-term agreements with these regimes to include them under Germany's political and economic umbrella. The cables from Berlin and Sweden were each dispatched under two signatures, the rezident's and the ambassador's, which was unusual and meant high priority. On arrival the cables were countersigned by Molotov and then Beria, and then normally forwarded with Beria's orders to Fitin and me in the NKVD for action. Whenever top-level cables were signed by both ambassadors and rezidents, they were also channeled to several top members of the Politburo as well as to the minister of foreign affairs.
Fitin routed the cables to Gukasov, chief of the section dealing with nationalist and emigrant organizations settled in areas near our borders. It was Gukasov who had called for the Party Bureau to investigate me a year earlier. Now, still suspicious of my loyalty and probably holding a grudge, he didn't pass on Beria's instructions to me. On his own, Gukasov prepared inadequate recommendations to counter German intelligence in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and then routed them back to Fitin, bypassing me. His plan was to use only agent networks comprised of Russian and Jewish emigrants in the three Baltic republics. A scandal ensued.
Beria summoned Fitin and me to his office, and when Fitin reported Gukasov's recommendations Beria asked my opinion. I answered honestly that I had no opinion, never having received any instructions and being unaware of German intentions in Riga. I had been busy with other matters. He exploded with rage; the cables were once again brought into his office. He saw that my signature was missing; the standard rule was that any secret paper passing through the hands of an official in the intelligence bureau should be signed by that official. Gukasov was then called on the carpet and Beria threatened to take his head off for not complying with his order. Gukasov said he had not shown me the cables because - he dropped his voice in a confidential manner - he was informed by the chief of the Investigation Department, Sergienko, that there was incriminating evidence of my suspicious contacts with the former leadership of the intelligence bureau, exposed as dangerous enemies
{p. 102} The fate of the Baltic states, which was originally decided in the Kremlin and in Berlin, was similar to the fate of the East European states decided at Yalta. There are striking similarities: the preliminary agreement was to set up coalition governments friendly to both sides. We needed a buffer between us and the spheres of influence of the other world powers, and we were willing to face harsh confrontations in those areas where the Red Army remained in place at war's end. Once again, for the Kremlin, the mission of communism was primarily to consolidate the might of the Soviet state. Only military strength and domination of the countries on our borders could ensure us a superpower role. The idea of propagating world Communist revolution was an ideological screen to hide our desire for world domination. Although originally this concept was ideological in nature, it acquired the dimensions of realpolitik. This possibility arose for the Soviet Union only after the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact was signed. In the secret protocols the Soviet Union's geopolitical interests and natural desires for the enlargement of its frontiers were for the first time formally accepted by one of the leading powers in the world.
{p. 116} Much has been written about intelligence information that was gathered on the eve of the Great Patriotic War, showing the inevitability of the German attack upon us. Stalin's stupidity in waiting for the invasion before counterattacking is frequently offered as one of the reasons for the defeats and heavy losses suffered by the Red Army in 1941. In general I agree that the leadership of the country did not assess the intelligence information correctly, but we must look into the content of this intelligence information. We were in a state of alert from November 1940. By that time, Pavel Zhurovlev and Zoya Rybkina had initiated the operational file (liternoye delo) named Zateya (Venture), which gathered the most important information on German military moves against Soviet interests into one place. This file would make it easier to monitor events and inform the leadership about trends in German policy. Information from this file was regularly reported to Stalin and Molotov, and they tried to use it in their policy of both appeasing Hitler and cooperating with him. The Venture
{p. 117} file contained disturbing reports that caused the Soviet leadership to seriously suspect the sincerity of Hitler's proposals for a division of the world between Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Japan - a proposal he made to Molotov in Berlin in November 1940.
Although our intelligence disclosed Hitler's intentions to attack the Soviet Union, the reports were to a certain extent contradictory. They didn't contain assessments of the potential of the German tank force and air force units or their capability of breaking the defense lines of the Red Army units deployed on our borders. No one in the intelligence service examined the real balance of forces on the Soviet-German frontiers. Thus the strength of Hitler's strike came as a surprise to our military commanders, including Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the Red Army chief of staff at the time, who admits in his memoirs that we did not foresee an enemy able to unleash large-scale offensive operations by mass tank formations simultaneously in several directions.
What was overlooked in the intelligence information was the qualitative force of the German blitzkrieg tactics. We believed that if war broke out the Germans would first try to seize our Ukrainian regions which were rich in food supplies and raw materials. We knew from their military strategic games that a prolonged war would demand additional economic resources. This was a big mistake: GRU and NKVD intelligence did not warn the general staff that the aim of the German army in both Poland and France was not to seize the territory but rather to destroy the military might of the opposing army.
When Stalin learned that the German military games showed the German general staff the logistical problems of waging a prolonged war, he ordered that Hitler's military attache in Moscow be shown our industrial military might in Siberia. Sometime in April 1941 the German attache received a tour of new plants producing planes, engines, and the most advanced tanks. Through our rezidentura in Berlin we also tried to spread rumors in the Ministries of Aviation and Economics that the decision to wage war against the Soviet Union would be tragic for Hitler's leadership. Our rumors promised that it would be a prolonged war on two fronts; its outcome would be fatal to Germany and to its geopolitical interests.
In early 1941 there were contradictory signs concerning peace and war. On January 10, Molotov and Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg, the German ambassador in Moscow, signed a secret protocol on territorial issues in Lithuania. Germany gave up its interest in certain
{p. 118} areas of Lithuania in return for 7.5 million American dollars in gold. At the time, I didn't know about this protocol; I was only briefly informed that we had reached an agreement with the Germans on territorial issues in the Baltic area and on economic cooperation throughout 1941. From Britain we also received reliable messages that any German offensive against the Soviet Union depended on their rapprochement with the British government, because they could not risk fighting a war on two fronts.
From K. A. Umansky, our ambassador in Washington, and Ovakimian, our rezident in New York City, we received reports that Montgomery Hyde, an MI-6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) officer working for William Stephenson's British Security Coordination in the Empire State Building, had planted a choice bit of disinformation with the German Embassy in Washington. If Hitler invaded England, the Germans were told, the Russians planned to wage war on Hitler.
Analyzing the information that was received by both the NKVD and GRU from trusted sources, it becomes clear that half the data before May and even June 1941 contained confirmation that war was inevitable; but it also showed that a clash with us depended on whether or not Germany invaded England. Philby reported the plans of the British cabinet to stimulate tension and military conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union to distract the Germans and bring about their defeat. In the liternoye delo file Black Bertha,l6 in NKVD archives, there is a reference to information coming from either Philby or Cairncross that British agents through contacts in the United States were spreading rumors that war between Germany and the Soviet Union was imminent and would be started by the Soviet Union in a preemptive strike in southern Poland {Viktor Suvorov's book Icebreaker presents evidence that Stalin was indeed preparing to attack, when Hitler pre-empted him}. The thickness of this file grew day by day, as we received further reports of British activity to stimulate fear among the German leadership that the Soviet Union was coming into the war. There were also reports of increased serious contacts between British and German informal representatives in search of peaceful solutions to the European war.
Meanwhile, Stalin and Molotov, Beria told me, had decided to at least postpone the military conflict and better our situation by resorting to a scheme they had abandoned in 1938. This was the plan to
16. This file, says P. A. Sudoplatov, was called Black Bertha because that was Rudolph Hess's nickname among homosexual circles of Nazis in the 1920s in Munich. Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi party and Hitler's close confidant, fled to Scotland on May 10, 1941, on an unauthorized peace mission.
{p. 119} overthrow the Yugoslav government. In March 1941 GRU and NKVD rezidenturas actively supported a coup d'etat against the pro-German government in Belgrade. Molotov and Stalin hoped to strengthen the USSR's strategic position in the Balkans. A new anti-German government in Belgrade, they reasoned, could impede and prolong Italian and German operations against Greece.
Major General Solomon R. Milshtein, deputy director of the GRU, was sent to Belgrade to assist the military action in the overthrow of the pro-German government. We also sent two experienced illegals: Vassili Zarubin and A. M. Alakhverdov, an Armenian. By this time in Moscow, with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we formally recruited as our agent the Yugoslavian ambassador to the Soviet Union, Gavrilovich. Peter Fedotov, director of the Counterintelligence Department, and I ran him together. However, we suspected him of playing a double game in the interests of the British, because every week he contacted British representatives in Moscow.
A week after the coup, we signed a pact of mutual assistance with the new government in Belgrade. On April 6, the day after the signing, Hitler attacked, and in two weeks the Yugoslavian army ceased to exist. The reaction of Hitler to the coup was prompt and effective, and I admit we didn't expect such total and rapid military defeat of Yugoslavia. We were shocked.
Hitler clearly showed that he was not bound to official and confidential agreements, because the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact included prior consultation before any military move. Even though both sides were involved in active consultations on the division of spheres of influence from November 1940 until March 1941, mutual distrust was in the air. Hitler was surprised by the events in Belgrade, and we were surprised by his invasion of Yugoslavia.
Following these events, on April 18,1941, Isigned a directive to all rezidenturas in Europe ordering activation of our agent networks and lines of communication for conditions of war. The GRU sent similar warnings to its networks in Europe. We also planned to send to Switzerland a group of experienced operators, including the Bulgarian Boris Afanasiev, to act as links with reliable sources, using their cover from neutral Switzerland. There was no direct land travel to Switzerland; our agents had to take a train through Germany, changing in Berlin. It was decided to strengthen our rezidenturas in Berlin and in other German and Polish areas; some of our operatives were summoned to Berlin from F~rance and Italy. Belgium was already occupied. We did not cope fast
{p. 120} enough with the speedy developments; we did not get radio equipment, batteries, and spare parts to our German agents fast enough, and even worse, they had not been sufficiently trained either in intelligence tradecraft or in the art of clandestine radio communications.
We began to pay more attention to the possibility of using political refugees who had come to Moscow from the countries occupied by the Germans. Before escaping to Britain, Benes ordered young Lieutenant Colonel Ludvik Svoboda to Moscow to act as his secret military representative. Svoboda was given the status of a secret envoy and lived comfortably in a safe apartment and at my dacha in the outskirts of Moscow. In May and June, just before the war, we started discussing with him the idea of forming Czech units in the Soviet Union and parachuting them into the rear of the German army to wage guerrilla operations in Czechoslovakia. I vividly remember him, always polite, always dignified.17
At the same time, Stalin and Molotov transferred substantial numbers of army units from Siberia in April, May, and early June to protect our western borders {Suvorov claims, in his book Icebreaker, that these armies were intended to attack Germany; that Hitler learned of this; that many Soviet troops were in trains when Hitler attacked}. In May, on the eve of Eitingon's appearance in Moscow from China, together with Caridad Mercader, I signed a directive to prepare Russian and other national emigrant groups in Europe for their involvement in wartime intelligence operations.
We now know that secret consultations between Hitler, Ribbentrop, and Molotov, searching for a strategic alliance among Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union, led Stalin and Molotov to the illusion that they could come to terms with Hitler. They believed until the last moment that their authority, coupled with the military might displayed to German experts, would stave off the war for at least a year while Hitler searched for a peaceful formula to settle his disputes with Britain. Stalin and Molotov were annoyed with opinions that contradicted their strategic plans to avoid military conflict, which explains rude notes written by Stalin on the report sent by Merkulov on June 16, warning of signs
17. During World War II Svoboda led a Czech battalion against the Germans. After the war General Svoboda was the pro-Communist minister of defense under Benes and played an active part in the overthrow of parliamentary democracy in Czechoslovakia. He joined the Communist party in 1948 but was regarded with deep suspicion by Stalin, who had him demoted. After Stalin's death, Khrushchev, who had known Svoboda during World War II, helped to rehabilitate him. Svoboda hecame president of Czechoslovakia after Antonin Novotny's fall in 1968. He put up gallant resistance to Soviet bullying when the liberal regime was suppressed by the USSR. He died in 1979.
{p. 121} of imminent war. That Stalin relied on his personal contacts with Hitler and was confident he could convince Hitler not to launch the war is revealed by the fact that he appointed himself prime minister, the formal head of the government, in May 1941. The famous statement by TASS on June 14 indicated that he was ready for negotiations and that this time he would lead them directly. Although large-scale military preparations for war were under way in Germany for a long time, Stalin and Molotov knew that Hitler had still not made the final decision to attack, and that there was serious disagreement among German military leaders. The archives show that the TASS statement appeared on the day Hitler fixed the date of the invasion.
Two other little-known matters remain to be mentioned. In May 1941, a German Junkers 52 intruded into Soviet airspace undetected by Soviet air defense and landed safely at the central airfield in Moscow near Dynamo Stadium. This caused an uproar in the Kremlin and led to the purge of the military command; first came dismissals, then the arrest and execution of top figures in the administration of the air force and in the command of the Red Army. To Hitler, this spectacular landing signaled that combat readiness of the Red Army was low.
Second, the military leaders and Stalin's entourage were under the illusion that the Red Army's might was equal to the German units deployed along our western frontiers. Why the miscalculation? First, although the Red Army had tripled in numbers, this had happened only recently, because military conscription was not introduced until 1939. Given that more than thirty-five thousand officers had been purged in the 1930s, there was a lack of personnel experienced in even elementary military arts. The mobilization and a large network of military colleges and schools established in 1939 were impressive but in no way adequate. Even though some purged officers were returned from jail and the Gulag camps, they could not cope with the large numbers of recruits. Zhukov and Stalin overestimated the strength of our combat units; the inadequately trained army and air force cadre did not have a system for creating combat readiness. They had not yet perceived what modern warfare meant in terms of the coordination of air force, tank units, communication troops, and ground forces. They believed that their numbers were enough to halt any onslaught and to prevent significant German incursion onto Soviet soil. Contrary to the leadership, Admiral N. G. Kuznetsov, commander of the navy, correctly assessed the weakness of his forces.
{p. 172} The most vital information for developing the first Soviet atomic bomb came from scientists designing the American atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico - Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard.
{the 1995 paperback edition says on p. 172: The most vital information for developing the first Soviet atomic bomb came from scientists engaged in the Manhattan Project to build the American atomic bomb - Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard.}
Oppenheimer, Fermi, Szilard, and Szilard's secretary were often quoted in the NKVD files from 1942 to 1945 as sources for information on the development of the first American atomic bomb. It is in the record that on several occasions they agreed to share information on nuclear weapons with Soviet scientists. At first they were motivated by fear of Hitler; they believed that the Germans might produce the first atomic bomb. Then the Danish physicist Niels Bohr helped strengthen their own inclinations to share nuclear secrets with the world academic community. By sharing their knowledge with the Soviet Union, the chance of beating the Germans to the bomb would be increased.
As early as 1940, a commission of Soviet scientists, upon hearing rumors of a superweapon being built in the West, investigated the possibility of creating an atomic bomb from uranium, but concluded that such a weapon was a theoretical, not a practical, possibility. The same scientific commission recommended that the government instruct intelligence services to monitor Western scientific publications, but no gov-
{p. 173} ernment funds were allocated for research. However, Leonid Kvasnikov, chief of the NKVD scientific intelligence desk, sent an order to all stations in the United States, Great Britain, and Scandinavia to be on the lookout for information on the development of superweapons from uranium.
A major shift in our intelligence priorities occurred just as Vassili Zarubin, aka Zubilin, was posted to Washington, ostensibly as secretary of the Soviet Embassy but actually as our new NKVD rezident. Stalin met with Zarubin before his departure for Washington on October 12,1941, just as the Germans were on the outskirts of Moscow. Until then, our political intelligence collection in America had been minimal because we and the United States had no conflicting geopolitical areas of interest. Now we realized we needed to know American intentions because America's participation in the war against Hitler would be decisive. Stalin ordered Zarubin to set up an effective system not only to monitor events, but to be in a position to influence them through friends of the Soviet Union. Over the next year and a half, however, intelligence reports from Britain, America, Scandinavia, and Germany concerning the development of nuclear weapons would drastically alter our priorities once again.
Less than a month before Zarubin's departure, Donald Maclean, code-named Leaf, who was part of our Cambridge ring, reported from London that the British government was seriously interested in developing a bomb with unbelievable destructive force based on atomic energy.1 When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, Maclean, third secretary in the British Embassy in Paris, returned to the Foreign Office in London. He reported on September 16,1941, that the uranium bomb might be constructed within two years through the efforts of Imperial Chemical Industries (IcI) with support of the British government. The project to build a uranium bomb was called Tube Alloys, code-named Tube. Maclean sent us a sixty-page report, minutes of the British Cabinet Committee on the Uranium Bomb Project.2
1. In the archives of the NKVD/KGB file, number 13676, vol. 1, are Donald Maclean's messages reporting on the first British efforts to build an atomic bomb. According to Sudoplatov: "Maclean was under the operational control of Anatoli Veniaminovich Gorsky, our rezident in London. Gorsky used Vladimir Borisovich Barkovsky as the case officer for Maclean because as an engineer, Barkovsky was capable of dealing with the technical details."
2. The British cabinet report from Maclean and the .~ssessment of it by Igor Kurchatov, the physicist who headed Soviet atomic research, are on pages 20-38 of the operational file (liternoye delo) code-named Enormous. See Appendix Two, Document 2.
{p. 188} to our old moles all their confidential contacts with friendly sources around Oppenheimer in California. Vasilevsky took part in this operation. Under Beria's direct orders we forbade Kheifetz and Semyonov to tell anybody from the American section of the Foreign Directorate about this transfer of contacts. Later, in the purges of 1950, Kheifetz and Semyonov were accused of losing these contacts, which was untrue.
Meanwhile, there were multiple intelligence approaches, some of which worked and some of which did not. Our principal targets of penetration were Los Alamos and the research labs servicing it, and the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, plant. We also attempted to get into the companies doing the actual manufacturing work for the government.
In 1943 a world-famous actor of the Moscow Yiddish State Art Theater, Solomon Mikhoels, together with well-known Yiddish poet Itzik Feffer, toured the United States on behalf of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Before their departure, Beria instructed Mikhoels and Feffer to emphasize the great Jewish contribution to science and culture in the Soviet Union. Their assignment was to raise money and convince American public opinion that Soviet anti-Semitism had been crushed as a result of Stalin's policies. Kheifetz made sure that the message they brought was conveyed to Oppenheimer. Kheifetz said that Oppenheimer, the son of a German-Jewish immigrant, was deeply moved by the information that a secure place for Jews in the Soviet Union was guaranteed. They discussed Stalin's plans to set up a Jewish autonomous republic in the Crimea after the war was won against fascism.14
Although they were unaware of it, Oppenheimer and Fermi were assigned code names, Star and Editor, as sources of information. Star was used as the code name not only for Oppenheimer, but also for other physicists and scientists in the Manhattan Project with whom we had contact but who were not formally recruited agents. Code names were changed from time to time for security reasons; Oppenheimer and Fermi were also jointly known as Star.15
14. See Chapter Ten.
15. Anatoli Yatskov, in an interview in October 1992, before his death in March 1993, said the FBI uncovered "perhaps less than half" his network. He referred to Perseus as a code name for a major source still alive. Says Sudoplatov: "I do not recall that code name or such a source, but I remember a cable from New York reporting the date of the first nuclear blast which referred to information passed by three moles and friendly sources - Charles (Klaus Fuchs), Mlad (Pontecorvo), and Star (meaning Oppenheimer and Fermi). The three moles, whose names I do not remember, worked {footnote continued onm p. 189}
{p. 189} In developing Oppenheimer as a source, Vassili Zarubin's wife, Elizabeth, was essential. She hardly appeared foreign in the United States. Her manner was so natural and sociable that she immediately made friends. Slim, with dark eyes, she had a classic Semitic beauty that attracted men, and she was one of the most successful agent recruiters, establishing her own illegal network of Jewish refugees from Poland, and recruiting one of Szilard's secretaries, who provided technical data. She spoke excellent English, German, French, Romanian, and Hebrew. Usually she looked like a sophisticated, upper-class European, but she had the ability to change her appearance like a chameleon. She came from a family of revolutionaries related to Anna Pauker, the founder of the Romanian Communist party. Elizabeth's elder brother had been the head of the military terrorist section of the Romanian party. Twice he had escaped from a military court while being tried, but finally, in 1922, he was killed in a firefight.
Elizabeth became part of the intelligence system in 1919 as a junior case officer in Dzerzhinsky's secretariat. While working for Dzerzhinsky, Elizabeth met and fell in love with Yakov Blumkin, the assassin of Count Mirbach, the German ambassador in Moscow in 1918. Blumkin was a key figure in the plot of the Socialist Revolutionaries against Lenin in July 1918. When the plot failed, Blumkin was pardoned and continued to work for Dzerzhinsky and Trotsky.
In 1930 Elizabeth and Blumkin were posted as illegals in Turkey, where he was to sell prized Hasidic manuscripts from the Central Library in Moscow. The money was intended to support illegal operations in Turkey and the Middle East, but Blumkin gave part of the funds to Trotsky, who was then in exile in Turkey. Elizabeth was outraged, and exposed her husband. She contacted Eitingon and Pyotr Zubov, who were on a mission in Turkey, and they arranged for Blumkin to be recalled to Moscow via a Soviet ship. Blumkin was immediately arrested and executed by a firing squad. After Blumkin's execution, Zarubin promptly married Elizabeth, and they traveled and spied together for nearly seven years, using the cover of a Czechoslovakian business couple. One of their accomplishments was the recruitment of the deputy director of a Gestapo section,
{footnote continued from p. 188} in their laboratories. Vasilevsky knew the details, as he was the first intelligence of ficer to approach Pontecorvo directly in 1943. It should not he excluded that Perseus is a creation hy Yatskov or his colleagues to cover the real names of the sources."
{p. 195} use of hardware was needed. Vannikov was our equivalent of the American General Leslie Groves.
Not only were we informed of technical developments in the atomic program, but we heard in detail the human conflicts and rivalries among the members of the team at Los Alamos. A constant theme was tension with General Groves, director of the project. We were told of Groves's conflicts with Szilard. Groves was outraged by Szilard's iconoclastic style and his refusal to accept the strictures of military discipline. The "baiting of brass hats" was Szilard's self-professed hobby. Groves believed that Szilard was a security risk and tried to prevent him from working on the Manhattan Project despite Szilard's seminal contributions to the development of the first chain reaction with Fermi.
Kheifetz described Oppenheimer as a man who thought of problems on a global scale. Oppenheimer saw the threat and promise of the atomic age and understood the ramifications for both military and peaceful applications. We always stressed that contacts with him should be carefully planned to maintain security, and should not be used for acquiring routine information. We knew that Oppenheimer would remain an influential person in America after the war and therefore our relations with him should not take the form of running a controlled agent. We understood that he and other members of the scientific community were best approached as friends, not as agents. Since Oppenheimer, Bohr, and Fermi were fierce opponents of violence, they would seek to prevent a nuclear war, creating a balance of power through sharing the secrets of atomic energy. This would be a crucial factor in establishing the new world order after the war, and we took advantage of this.
The line between valuable connections and acquaintances, and confidential relations is very shaky. In traditional Russian espionage terminology, there is a special term, agenturnaya razvedka, which means that the material is received through a network of agents or case officers acting under cover. Occasionally the most valuable information comes from a contact who is not an agent in the true sense - that is, working for and paid by us - but who is still regarded in the archives as an agent source of information. Our problem was that the atomic espionage business required new approaches; we used every potential method to pen-
{p. 196} etrate into a unique area of activities that was intensively guarded by the American authorities.
I was pleased that the worldview of the Western scientists was strikingly similar to that of our own leading scientists - Kapitsa, Vernadsky, loffe - who were quite sincere in suggesting that our government approach the British and Americans to share with us information about atomic research. They suggested the organization of a joint team of Soviet, American, and British scientists to build the bomb. This was also the ideal of Bohr, who had greatly influenced Oppenheimer, both as a scientist and in his political worldviews. While Bohr was in no way our agent of influence, his personal views were that atomic secrets should be shared by the international scientific community. After meeting with Bohr, Oppenheimer suggested that Bohr visit President Roosevelt and try to convince him that the Manhattan Project should be shared with the Russians in the hope of speeding up its results. Our sources in England told us that Bohr not only made this suggestion to Roosevelt but allegedly, on the instructions of Roosevelt, returned to England to try to win British approval of the idea. Churchill, we were told, was horrified, and urged that all efforts be taken to prevent Bohr from contacting us.22 If the development of atomic weapons had been left totally to the scientists, they might have changed the course of history.
In the KGB files there is a report that the Swedish government received detailed information from its intelligence service on the technical design of the atomic bomb in 1945 or 1946. The Swedes rejected the idea of building their own nuclear weapons because of the huge resources required, but the fact that they knew enough to reach such a decision leads to the conclusion that Niels Bohr had the data after leaving Los Alamos.
The Zarubins, despite their success, did not stay long in Washington. It was not their fault or the prowess of the FBI. One of Vassili Zarubin's
22. Bohr saw Churchill on May 16, 1944, for thirty minutes at 10 Downing Street with his son Aage, who described the meeting as "terrible." "We did not speak the same language," Bohr said afterward. While he was in London waiting to see Churchill, Bohr was invited to the Russian Embassy to receive a letter from Pyotr Kapitsa inviting him to the Soviet Union, "where everything will be done to give you and your family a shelter and where we now have all the necessary conditions for carrying on scientific work." See Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 528-531.
{p. 197} subordinates who worked in the NKVD rezidentura in the Soviet Embassy, Lieutenant Colonel Mironov, sent a letter to Stalin denouncing Zarubin as a double agent. He had followed Zarubin to some of his clandestine meetings with American agents and in his letter to Stalin specified the dates and hours of these meetings, alleging that Zarubin was contacting the FBI. It was either in 1943 or 1944 when Mironov's letter caused Zarubin's recall to Moscow. The investigation against him and Elizabeth lasted six months and established that all his contacts were legitimate and valuable, and that he was not working with the FBI. Mironov was recalled from Washington and arrested on charges of slander, but when he was put on trial, it was discovered that he was schizophrenic. He was hospitalized and discharged from the service.
By 1943 it was agreed at the Center that all contacts with Oppenheimer would be through illegals only. Lev Vasilevsky, our rezident in Mexico City, was put in charge of running the illegal network after Zarubin left. But Vasilevsky was directed to control the network from Mexico City, not to move to Washington, where the FBI could more easily monitor our activities. Our facilities in Washington were to be used as little as possible.
Vasilevsky told me that on one occasion in 1944 he visited Washington in order to pass to the Center materials received from Fermi. To his dismay, the embassy radio operator, who was supposed to encode his message, was missing. The next day the clerk was brought to the embassy by the American police, who had picked him up dead drunk in a nearby bar. Vasilevsky decided on the spot not to use the Washington embassy to transmit any of his sensitive messages; he would rely on Mexico City.
In 1945, for his work in handling the Fermi line in the United States, Vasilevsky was appointed deputy director of Department S. For a short period in 1947 he was the director of the department of scientific and technological intelligence in the Committee of Information, which was the central intelligence-gathering agency from 1947 to 1951. Vasilevsky was ousted in the anti-Semitic purges of 1948 and permitted to retire on pension. He died in 1979.
A description of the design of the first atomic bomb was reported to us in January 1945. In February, although there was still uncertainty in the report, our rezidentura in America stated that it would take a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years to make a sizable bomb. The
{p. 206} of the Committee on Problem Number One because of his conflict with Beria, Voznesensky, and Kurchatov. Since Bohr had turned down Kapitsa's invitation to the Soviet Union in 1943, and because of the internal conflicts in the scientific community, we decided to rely on scientists already in the project who were also intelligence officers.
There was not a big choice. The scientists suggested Professor Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich, a member of the Kurchatov team with high professional skills. But Zeldovich was not aware of all the developments in the West because his access to the information we received was limited. We had only two officers who were both physicists and fluent in English. One was Arkady N. Rylov, who was less a physicist than an intelligence officer; the other was Yakov Petrovich Terletsky, who had a reputation as a real researcher. Most important, he was the man who had processed and edited all the scientific information that was gathered by our intelligence networks and reported personally to the closed sessions of the scientific technical committee for the project. With the exception of Kurchatov, he was the most knowledgeable, and would be able to hold his own with Bohr.
Terletsky made his own scientific analyses of intelligence materials we received. That sometimes created problems, because we received atomic information twice a day and sometimes Terletsky was late with his assessments. I would then be reprimanded for lack of discipline in my department, but I recognized that we were operating not with ordinary agent reports but with complex theoretical scientific formulations. Traditional discipline might be detrimental to the end result.
We decided that Terletsky should be sent to see Bohr in the guise of a young Soviet scientist working on a project supervised by Academicians loffe and Kapitsa. He was to explain the problems in activating the nuclear reactor to Bohr and to seek his advice. Terletsky could not be sent alone on such a critical assignment, so he was accompanied by Lev Vasilevsky, who had run the Fermi line from Mexico and now was my deputy director of Department S. He would lead the conversation with Bohr while Terletsky would handle the technical details. The meeting was arranged with the help of the Danish writer Martin Andersen Nexo, a friend of Zoya Rybkina.
I met with Terletsky in 1993, just before he died. He recalled that at first Bohr was nervous and his hands trembled, but he soon controlled his emotions. Bohr understood, perhaps for the first time, that the decision that he, Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Szilard had made to allow their trusted scientific proteges to share atomic secrets had led him to meet
{p. 207} agents of the Soviet government. Bohr had sent official confirmation to the Soviet Embassy that he would meet with a delegation and now he realized that the delegation contained both a scientist and an intelligence officer.
Thus, after this first contact with Vasilevsky, Bohr preferred to speak only to Terletsky, his scientific counterpart. There was no choice but to let Terletsky meet Bohr alone with our translator. Terletsky thanked Bohr in the name of loffe, Kapitsa, and other scientists in Russia known to him, for the support from and consultations with their Western colleagues. Bohr readily explained to Terletsky the problems Fermi had at the University of Chicago putting the first nuclear reactor into operation, and he made valuable suggestions that enabled us to overcome our failures. Bohr pointed to a place on a drawing Terletsky showed him and said, "That's the trouble spot." This meeting was essential to starting the Soviet reactor, and we accomplished that feat in December 1946.
My relations with Kurchatov, Alikhanov, and Kikoin became especially friendly when Terletsky returned from his meeting with Bohr in Denmark. Together with Emma we spent several weekends at a special rest house with the scientific troika and their wives. At my flat near Lubyanka I hosted lunches and cocktail parties in the Western style for them and their subordinates at the suggestion of Vasilevsky, who toyed with the idea of using Terletsky and other Soviet nuclear experts to lure Western scientists to the Soviet Union.
In Western Europe, Vasilevsky took advantage of the charms of Lubov Orlova, the famous film actress, and Gregory Alexander, her husband, a film producer, as the cover for meeting Bruno Pontecorvo, Frederic Joliot-Curie, and other well-known Western scientists. Vasilevsky also relied on professionals. He took with him three key figures: Vladimir Barkovsky, who handled Fuchs in Britain from 1944 to 1947; Anatoli Yatskov, who handled Fuchs in the United States and Britain; and Aleksandr Semyonovich Feklisov, who took over Fuchs in Britain from 1947 to 1950.
Vasilevsky's successful trips to Denmark, Switzerland, and Italy coincided with the start of the Cold War. Beria awarded him a choice apartment and $1,000 - a considerable sum at that time - for his expenses abroad. After our reactor was put into operation in 1946, Beria issued orders to stop all contacts with our American sources in the Manhattan Project; the FBI was getting close to uncovering some of our agents. Beria said we should think how to use Oppenheimer, Fermi, Szi-
{p. 208} lard, and others around them in the peace campaign against nuclear armament. Disarmament and the inability to impose nuclear blackmail would deprive the United States of its advantage. We began a worldwide political campaign against nuclear superiority, which kept up until we exploded our own nuclear bomb, in 1949. Our goal was to preempt American power politically before the Soviet Union had its own bomb. Beria warned us not to compromise Western scientists, but to use their political influence.
Through Fuchs we planted the idea that Fermi, Oppenheimer, and Szilard oppose the hydrogen bomb. They truly believed in their positions and did not know they were being used. They started as antifascists, and became political advocates of the Soviet Union.
Beria's directive was motivated by information from Fuchs in 1946 saying there was serious disagreement among leading American physicists on the development of a hydrogen bomb. In a panel that met in April 1946, Fermi objected to the development of the superbomb, and Oppenheimer was ambivalent. Their doubts were opposed by fellow physicist Edward Teller. Fuchs, who returned to England in 1946 and declined the offer of Oppenheimer to work with him at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, continued to supply us with valuable information. From the fall of 1947 to May of 1949, Fuchs gave to Colonel Feklisov, his case officer, the principal theoretical outline for creating a hydrogen bomb and initial drafts for its development, at the stage they were being worked on in England and America in 1948.
Most valuable for us was the information Fuchs provided on the results of the test explosions at Eniwetok atoll of uranium and plutonium bombs. Fuchs met with Feklisov six times, usually every three or four months, in London. Feklisov was assisted in preparations for these clandestine meetings by three experienced MGB officers who checked for hostile surveillance. Every meeting was carefully planned and usually lasted for no more than forty minutes. Fuchs's meetings with Feklisov remained undetected by British counterintelligence. It was only after Fuchs came under suspicion and he himself offered that he might become a security risk when his father was appointed to a professorship in theology at the University of Leipzig in East Germany that he was accused of giving secret information to the Soviet Union. When he was arrested in 1950, the indictment mentioned only one meeting in 1947, and this was based on his confession.
{p. 209} The information Fuchs gave us in 1948 coincided with Maclean's reports from Washington on America's limited nuclear potential, not sufficient to wage an all-out and prolonged war. Maclean had become first secretary and acting head of chancery at the British Embassy in 1944.
Looking back, one may say that in every scientific team, both in the Soviet Union and in the United States, there were politically motivated figures, Kurchatov in the Soviet Union, Edward Teller in America. Kurchatov always kept the interests of the state first in his mind. He was less stubborn and less independent than men like Kapitsa or loffe. Beria, Pervukhin, and Stalin immediately sensed that he was different from the scientists of the older generation; they saw that he was young, ambitious, and fully prepared to subordinate academic traditions to the interests of the state. When the government wanted to speed up the test of our first atomic bomb in 1949, Kurchatov went along with copying the American design. However, parallel work continued on the Soviet-designed bomb, which was exploded in 1951. In the United States, Edward Teller assumed a similar role later, when he was put in charge of the hydrogen bomb project.
Oppenheimer reminded me very much of our classic scientists who tried to maintain their own identity, their own world, and their total internal independence. It was a peculiar independence and an illusion, because both Kurchatov and Oppenheimer were destined to be not only scientists but also directors of huge government-sponsored projects. The conflict was inevitable; we cannot judge them, because the bomb marked the opening of a new era in science, when for the first time in history scientists were required to act as statesmen. Initially neither Oppenheimer nor Kurchatov was surrounded by the scientific bureaucracies that later emerged in the 1950s. In the 1940s, neither government was m a position to control and influence scientific progress, because there was no way to progress except to rely on a group of geniuses and adjust to their needs, demands, and extravagant behavior. Nowadays no new development in science can be compared to the breakthrough into atomic energy in the 1940s.
Atomic espionage was almost as valuable to us in the political and diplomatic spheres as it was in the military. When Fuchs reported the
{p. 210} unpublished design of the bomb, he also provided key data on the production of uranium 235. Fuchs revealed that American production was one hundred kilograms of U-235 a month and twenty kilos of plutonium per month. This was of the highest importance, because from this information we could calculate the number of atomic bombs possessed by the Americans. Thus, we were able to determine that the United States was not prepared for a nuclear war with us at the end of the 1940s or even in the early 1950s. This information might be compared with Colonel Oleg Penkovsky's information to the Americans during the early 1960s on the size of the Soviet ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) arsenal. Just as Fuchs enabled us to determine that the United States was not ready for nuclear war against the Soviet Union, Penkovsky told the United States that Khrushchev was not prepared for nuclear war against the United States.
Stalin pursued a tough policy of confrontation against the United States when the Cold War started; he knew he did not have to be afraid of the American nuclear threat, at least until the end of the 1940s. Only by 1955 did we estimate the stockpile of American and British nuclear weapons to be sufficient to destroy the Soviet Union.
That information helped to assure a Communist victory in China's civil war in 1947-1948. We were aware that President Harry Truman was seriously considering the use of nuclear weapons to prevent a Chinese Communist victory. Then Stalin initiated the Berlin crisis, blockading the Western-controlled sectors of the city in 1948. Western press reports indicated that Truman and Clement Attlee, the British prime minister, were prepared to use nuclear weapons to prevent Berlin's fall to communism, but we knew that the Americans did not have enough nuclear weapons to deal with both Berlin and China. The American government overestimated our threat in Berlin and lost the opportunity to use the nuclear threat to support the Chinese nationalists.
Stalin provoked the Berlin crisis deliberately to divert attention from the crucial struggle for power in China. In 1951, when we were discussing plans for military operations against American bases, Molotov told me that our position in Berlin helped the Chinese Communists. For Stalin, the Chinese Communist victory supported his policy of confrontation with America. He was preoccupied with the idea of a Sino-Soviet
{p. 211} axis against the Western world. Stalin's view of Mao Tse-tung, of course, was that he was a junior partner. I remember that when Mao came to Moscow in 1950 Stalin treated him with respect, but as a junior partner.
In August 1949 the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic device. This event, for which we had worked a decade, was not announced in the Soviet press; therefore, when the American media announced our explosion on September 23, Stalin and the Soviet security establishment were shocked. Our immediate reaction was that there had been an American agent penetration of our test; but in a week our scientists reported that nuclear explosions in the atmosphere could be easily detected by planes sampling air around Soviet borders. This scientific explanation relieved us of the burden of proving there was no mole among us.
Kurchatov and Beria were honored by the government for outstanding contrlbutions and services in strengthening the might of the country. They received medals, monetary awards, and certificates granting them lifetime status as honored citizens. Free travel, dachas, and the right of their children to enter higher education establishments without exams were granted for life to all key scientific personnel on the project.33
In assessing all the materials that were processed by Department S, we must take into account the views of Academician Yuli Khariton and Academician Anatoli P. Aleksandrov, president of the Academy of Sciences, who said that Kurchatov (1903-1960) was a genius who had made no major mistakes in the design of our first atomic bomb. They made their comments on the eighty-fifth anniversary of Kurchatov's birthday, in 1988. They noted that Kurchatov, having in his possession only several micrograms of artificially produced plutonium, was brave enough to suggest the immediate construction of major facilities to refine plutonium. The Soviet bomb was constructed in three years. Without the intelligence contribution, there could have been no Soviet atomic bomb that quickly. For me, Kurchatov remains a genius, the Russian Oppenheimer, but not a scientific giant like Bohr or Fermi. He was certainly helped by the intelligence we supplied, and his efforts would have been for naught without Beria's talent in mobilizing the nation's resources.
33. The children of illegal officers serving abroad were also admitted to universities without entry examinations. In 1960 Khrushchev canceled free travel for the scientists.
{p. 217} At the height of the so-called Zionist conspiracy in 1952 and 1953, we claimed that the Rosenberg case proved the United States had a consistent policy of anti-Semitism. At the same time, Soviet propaganda insisted there was nothing anti-Semitic in exposing the Zionist conspiracy, while actually a very real anti-Semitic campaign was gaining momentum in the Soviet Union.
In the United States the Rosenberg trial heightened anti-Semitism; the writer Howard Fast exposed it in his plays and stories, which were promptly translated and published in the Soviet Union. The case of the Rosenbergs became a major cause for the peace movement.
{p. 221} The conventional wisdom is that the Cold War started with Winston Churchill's "iron curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri, on March 6, 1946, but for us, confrontation with the Western allies had begun when the Red Army liberated Eastern Europe. The conflict of interest was evident. The principle agreed upon with Roosevelt at Yalta, providing for multiparty elections, was acceptable to us only for the transition period after the defeat of Germany, while the fate of Eastern Europe was in the balance. I remember the remarks of Foreign Minister Molotov and Beria, saying that coalition governments in Eastern Europe would not last long. Later, at the gatherings of the Committee of Information, which Molotov headed in 1947, these statements of Molotov's acquired new significance. From 1947 to 1951, the Committee of Information was the central decision-making group that collected all foreign intelligence and acted upon it.
The road to Yalta, strange as it may seem, was opened by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Without claiming any high-minded moral principles for that deal in 1939, it was clearly the first time the USSR was treated as a superpower. Following Yalta, Russia became one of the political power centers in determining the future of the world. Nowadays many analysts point to the similarity of Stalin's and Hitler's
{p. 222} approaches to dividing the world. Stalin is bitterly attacked for betraying principles of human morality in signing a pact with Hitler; it is overlooked that he also signed a secret deal to divide Europe with Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta, and later with Truman at Potsdam.
Principles of ideology are not always decisive in secret deals between superpowers; this is one of the rules of the game. I met Ambassador Konstantin Oumansky in Beria's office in December 1941, when he returned from Washington after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He told me that to defuse the opposition and give Roosevelt a stronger hand in providing us lend-lease aid, Harry Hopkins had insisted on the dissolution of the Comintern and on our rapprochement with the Orthodox church. These informal recommendations came from Roosevelt via Hopkins, his close friend and personal envoy on many important missions, and were accepted by Stalin. As the time neared for the Yalta Conference, all these requests had been met.
At the end of 1944, in preparation for the Yalta Conference in February 1945, there was a meeting of the intelligence services, chaired by Molotov. The goals of this meeting were to assess what strength Germany had left to continue the war and to analyze areas of future peace settlements with America and Britain. We were not informed of the dates of the Yalta meeting, but Molotov said that the summit would take place in the Crimea within two months.
After that meeting Beria appointed me the chief of the special team to set up a group to present information to Molotov and Stalin. Beria went to Yalta but did not take part in the conference. In preparation for what we could expect at Yalta from the Allied leaders and their aides, we provided him with psychological portraits of the American delegation. We knew that neither the American nor British delegation had a coherent program for postwar policy in the countries of Eastern Europe. There was no agreement between them and no organized program. They were just seeking to restore to power the Polish and Czechoslovakian leaders of governments-in-exile in London.
The reports from military intelligence and our directorate indicated that the Americans were ready for a compromise and that a flexible position on our part would ensure a fair division of influence in postwar Europe, and probably the world as a whole. To the Allies, this "flexibility" meant that the Polish government-in-exile should be given some important posts in the postwar government; but Churchill and Roosevelt's demands at Yalta were very naive, because from our point of view
{p. 223} the composition of the Polish government would be decided by the power structures that were receiving their support from the Red Army.
In the period before Yalta, the Red Army was fully engaged in combat operations against the Germans and had liberated large areas of Poland. The political turn of events in our favor in all the countries of Eastern Europe was easy to predict, especially in the areas where the Communist parties were active in national salvation committees, which were de facto provisional governments under our control.
We could be flexible and allow democratic voting because the governments-in-exile could not challenge our influence. Benes, for example, escaped from Czechoslovakia to Britain using NKVD money and was highly influenced by us. Ludvik Svoboda, who later became president of Czechoslovakia, was a supporter of the Soviet government and the Red Army. The head of Czech intelligence, Colonel Muravitz, was a fulltime NKVD agent, recruited by our rezident in London, Chichayev. In Romania, young King Michael relied on Communist combat troops to arrest General lon Antonescu and implement his anti-Hitler coup d'etat when he joined the antifascist coalition. The situation in Bulgaria was advantageous to us because of the strong presence and influence of the legendary Georgi M. Dimitrov, former chairman of the Comintern. At the time of the Yalta Conference, we were secretly taking uranium ore from the Rodopi Mountains in Bulgaria for our atomic project.
In 1945 I met Averell Harriman, the ambassador of the United States to the Soviet Union, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was introduced as Pavel Matveyev, an official from Molotov's secretariat in the Kremlin, in charge of preparations for the Yalta Conference. After the first formal meeting, I invited Harriman to lunch at the Aragvi, a restaurant famous for its Georgian cuisine. Harriman seemed pleased to accept the invitation. I brought with me to the lunch Prince Janusz Radziwill, to act as my mterpreter. He was introduced as a Polish patriot living in exile in Moscow, but at that time was, in fact, our controlled agent.
When Harriman and Radziwill met in the Aragvi, it was a reunion of old friends. Harriman owned a chemical plant, a porcelain factory,
{p. 224} two coal mines, and two zinc mines in Poland. More important, Radziwill and Harriman jointly owned Spulnata Intersuv, a coal mining and metallurgical enterprise that employed forty thousand workers. Janusz Radziwill was an important political figure in Poland. He was a senator and chairman of the commission on foreign affairs of the Sejm, the Polish parliament. In the 1930s he had assisted Harriman in acquiring shares of Polish businesses in fierce competition with French and Belgian entrepreneurs.
As I've previously related, we had kept our eye on Radziwill from the middle of the 1930s; and after we had seized him in 1939, following the invasion of Poland, Beria recruited him for use as an agent of influence. I then arranged for him to return to Berlin, where for a time our rezidentura reported on him. He was spotted at diplomatic functions there and in the company of his former hunting companion, Goring, who had been a guest at the Radziwill estate near Vilnius.
In late 1944 or early 1945 I was summoned to Beria's office and informed that Radziwill had been arrested by SMERSH, military counterintelligence, in Poland or Lithuania and would be transferred to Lubyanka in two days. At that time our relations with the Polish authorities were very tense. The pro-Communist Lublin Provisional Committee proclaimed itself the government of Poland in opposition to the Polish government-in-exile in London. We were prepared to use Radziwill in a very active manner to soothe the pro-British Poles. In the meantime, British and American authorities made inquiries into Radziwill's whereabouts.
A routine check of his prewar connections revealed Radziwill's business association with Harriman. On hearing this, Beria ordered Radziwill moved from Lubyanka, where he had spent a month, into a safe house in the outskirts of Moscow under house arrest. He was to be used as an intermediary with Harriman.
At the lunch with Harriman and Radziwill, I was ready to express our tolerance of Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox priests, even those who had collaborated with the Germans in the occupied territories during the war. (I myself received Archbishop Slipi, later the cardinal of the Ukrainian Catholic church; although he had collaborated with the Germans, he was allowed to return to Lvov. A year after Yalta, however, he was arrested and exiled to a labor camp on the orders of Khrushchev.) At lunch I was prepared to discuss the fate of Russian Orthodox priests and to assure Harriman that no leaders of the Orthodox church were being persecuted by the Soviet government.
{p. 225} When I raised this subject at the lunch, Harriman said that the recent meeting to elect a patriarch for the church had produced a favorable impression on American public opinion. That was as far as we got with my agenda. Harriman quickly sensed that Radziwill was serving as interpreter in an informal role and proceeded to discuss with him possible business ventures in the Soviet Union after the war. I was not prepared for that kind of overture. Harriman said that business opportunities were the logical outcome of the defeat of Germany. He was interested in mines and railways.
I told him that we were impressed by the information provided to us by Amerlcan agents in Switzerland who had contacts with the German underground, in particular with the Halder group and General Ludwig Beck's group, who had tried unsuccessfully to overthrow Hitler. I mentioned that we had informed the State Department about our clandestine meetings with the Finns to achieve a peace pact and the mediation role of the Wallenberg family.
Finally, I asked Harriman what the Americans hoped to accomplish at Yalta. My purpose was to prepare responses to the American positions on sensitive issues such as the future of Poland, the future boundaries of Europe, and the fate of Yugoslavia, Greece, and Austria. Harriman was not prepared to explore any of these problems. Clearly, he wanted to receive instructions on how to proceed. Harriman was interested to know how long Radziwill was planning to stay in Moscow. I assured him that Radziwill was free to travel to London, but he preferred to go directly to Poland as soon as it was liberated from the Germans.
Harriman was interested in problems relating to the involvement of Jewish capital. Informally, he assured full support by the American administration for plans to use Jewish funds for the restoration of the Gomel area in Byelorussia, which was totally destroyed by the Germans and was one of the primary areas for Jewish settlements in prewar Russia.
I tried to divert his attention from investments by taiking about a personal matter. In a very gentle manner, I advised Harriman to look closer at the adventures of his daughter in Moscow, because her relationships with certain Russian young men could lead her to trouble Moscow was full of hooligans and gangsters in this last year of the war
{p. 226} but Harriman did not respond to my warnings. He was concerned with assurances about the supply of vodka and caviar for the participants at the Yalta meeting. This warning about his daughter was very friendly; I emphasized that our government "in no way would permit any dubious actions of any of its institutions" against Harriman or his family, and stressed that he was highly respected by our leader. This meant that the warning was in no way a threat of blackmail; our purpose was to show that he was beyond any provocations by us. We showed by this that we could discuss any delicate matters, both personal and diplomatic.
Harriman pointed out to Radziwill that Yalta would give the green light for interesting business ventures in postwar Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. I said that the purpose of Radziwill's stay in Moscow in hiding was to rule out rumors that a friend of Goering's was about to appear in Sweden or Britain as a courier from Hitler for peace overtures. Radziwil! not only translated my remarks but supported them, confirming his desire to appear in Europe only after the end of the war. Since I was supposed to be a high official of the Council of Ministers, I presented Harriman with a tea service, a gift on behalf of our government.
My conversations with Harriman at the Aragvi restaurant and later at the Sovietskaya Hotel, which was once the residence for Western delegations, were taped. We listened to these conversations to pick up revealing remarks that would help develop our psychological profiles of American delegates, which were more important to Stalin than intelligence information. From this he knew that the personal deals and relations he would establish with Roosevelt and Churchill at the conference would be decisive. These personal relations would predetermine all the formal documents and agreements.
In November 1945, when Stalin was on leave in the Crimea, Harriman tried in vain to meet him personally to discuss plans for economic and political cooperation. I was told that he came to see Molotov, saying that he was a friend who for a number of years discussed very sensitive issues with various Soviet officials and with Stalin personally, but Molotov remained strictly official at that meeting. This signaled an end to Harriman's high-level access and thus his effectiveness as the ambassador.
In the summer of 1941 Harry Hopkins suggested to our ambassador in Washington, Oumansky, that they establish confidential relations.
{p. 230} Some eighty percent of intelligence information on political matters comes not from agents but from confidential contacts. Usually these contacts are detected by counterintelligence services, but it is always problematic to prove the case of espionage. Indeed, the policy of Soviet intelligence in 1942 was to cut off any connection hetween Communist party members and intelligence activities. If the source of information was important enough, he was ordered by us to publicly declare his severance from the party to show that he was disillusioned with communism.
It is interesting to observe shifts in the history of diplomatic contacts between American and Soviet representatives. Throughout the war Hopkins and Harriman maintained personal, informal, and diplomatic relations with Soviet leaders, and I believe they were fulfilling instructions of Roosevelt. Stalin resorted to informal diplomacy only in the first period of the war, using Oumansky and Litvinov. When he himself established relations with Roosevelt at Tehran, he no longer needed Litvinov, the skillful negotiator with fluent English, French, and German, in America. Andrei Gromyko's appointment as ambassador in 1943 was a clear sign of the establishment of a personal link between Stalin and Roosevelt. Stalin no longer needed a strong intermediary such as Litvinov or Oumansky.
Later Stalin got rid of all who engaged in informal contacts with Roosevelt's envoys. This explains why he dropped Litvinov. Our last effort to ensure friendly ties with Americans before Yalta was our disclosure to them that Roosevelt's interpreter was the son of one of the leaders of Oberleague, the White Russian terrorist organization. This happened just two days before the start of the Yalta Conference. The news was channeled to Beria, and on his instructions Sergei Kruglov, who chaired the guards for the conference, informed the chief of the American guards. The interpreter was immediately evacuated from Yalta to one of the American ships anchored near Crimea.
Originally, Soviet intentions were to participate in the Marshall Plan. I remember meeting Molotov's assistant, Mikhail Vetrov, on the eve of his
{p. 231} departure to Paris with Molotov to participate in talks about rebuilding Europe in June 1947. Vetrov was an old friend with whom I had worked in Riga in 1940. He told me that the directive was to cooperate with the Western allies in the implementation of the Marshall Plan, giving special attention to restoring the devastated industrial facilities in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Leningrad.
Then, in a sudden turn of policy, I was summoned to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky and Peter Fedotov, his deputy in the offices of the Committee of Information. VyshinskY explained that they had received a cable from an agent, code-named Orphan, who was Donald Maclean. As first secretary of the British Embassy in Washington and acting head of chancery, Maclean had access to all of the embassy's classified traffic. He stated that the goal of the Marshall Plan was to ensure American economic domination in Europe. The new international economic organization to restore European productivity would be under the control of American financial capital. The source for Maclean's report was British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin. This fateful report decided the future disparity between the economic levels of Eastern and Western Europe. Vyshinsky knew he must immediately report this message to Stalin. However, before doing that he wanted to double-check the credibility of Maclean and the agents in his group - Philby, Burgess, Cairncross, and Blunt.
Vyshinsky was frightened that Aleksandr Orlov, who had defected to the West, had been in contact with these agents and might have compromised them. Vyshinsky asked me and Fedotov to what extent Philby, Maclean, and Burgess might be engaged in a double game.
I was the one responsible for giving orders to resume contacts with Philby and Maclean in 1939 after Orlov's defection. Since my signature was on the formal order registered in Maclean's file, Vyshinsky created an awkward moment when he asked if I was still confident of Maclean's reliability. I told him that Iwas responsible for the orders I signed, but that I was unaware of Maclean's work only until 1939 and it had not been reported to me since 1942. At the same time I added, "Every important source of information should be subjected to regular checks and evaluation, with no exceptions for Philby, Burgess, and Maclean." Vyshinsky, clearly distressed, was relieved by my final remark: "But Comrade Stalin persollally ordered the NKVD not to track down Orlov or persecute members of his family." This convinced Vyshinsky that there was no reason to withhold the information from Stalin pending a new check on Maclean. If Maclean's information was tainted, Vyshinsky could wash
{p. 232} his hands with Stalin's own order to leave Orlov alone. Besides, I told all this to Vyshinsky in the presence of Fedotov, so he could use him as a witness against me in case the Maclean information was proven false.
The message revealed a crucial point: the Marshall Plan was intended to be a substitute for the payment of reparations by Germany. This was a serious concern for the Soviet leadership, because at that time war reparations were the sole source of foreign capital to restore our economy.
At Yalta and Potsdam it had been agreed that German reparations in the form of equipment, manufacturing machinery, cars, trucks, and building supplies would be sent to Russia regularly for five years. This was essential for modernizing our chemical and machine tool industries. It was not to be regulated by international control. That meant we could use these supplies for whatever purposes we found necessary.
The Marshall Plan was quite different, because all its economic projects would be under international or American control. The scheme would have been attractive if it were an additional element to the regular flow of reparations from Germany and Finland. However, the Maclean report indicated that the British and American governments wanted to replace reparations to the Soviet Union and East European countries with international aid, based not on bilateral agreements but on international control.
This was totally unacceptable because it would obstruct our consolidation of control in Eastern Europe. It meant that Communist parties already established in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary would be deprived of economic levers of power. Six months after the Marshall Plan was rejected by the Soviet Union, multiparty rule in Eastern Europe came to an end.
On instructions from Stalin, Vyshinsky sent a coded message to Molotov in Paris which summarized the Maclean report. Based on Maclean's information, Stalin instructed Molotov to obstruct the implementation of the Marshall Plan in Eastern Europe.
This was carried out in various ways. Vyshinsky personally conducted negotiations with King Michael of Romania for his abdication, guaranteeing part of his pension in Mexico.
In Bulgaria the situation was unique. During the war1 I met frequently with Georgi Dimitrov, the head of the Comintern until it was disbanded in 1943. For a year he was the first director of the interna-
{p. 233} tional department of the Central Committee of the CPSU. When Dimitrov returned home to Bulgaria in 1944, he allowed the czarina and her son, the heir apparent, to leave the country with their personal wealth and property. Sensing the danger that might come from monarchist emigres, Dimitrov decided to eliminate the entire political opposition; he purged and liquidated all key figures in the former parliament and government of czarist Bulgaria. As a result of this action, one which today would be considered a terrorist act, Dimitrov was the only Communist leader in Eastern Europe who did not face the existence of an emigre organization in the West. Dimitrov's followers exploited the absence of a political opposition for more than thirty years. The former minister of defense of Bulgaria, General Ivan Genarov, who worked under my command in the Fourth Directorate during the war years, told me later, when we met in Moscow in the 1970s, that Bulgaria "is the only socialist country without any dissidents in the West because we ourselves learned the lesson from you and wiped them out before they were able to escape to the West."
{p. 285; Chapter 10} THE JEWS: CALlFORNlA IN THE CRIMEA
From where I sat on the seventh floor of Lubyanka, many sensitive issues crossed my desk demanding action. Perhaps the most politically charged were those dealing with the Jewish question. Not only was my wife Jewish, but many of my most trusted colleagues were of Jewish origin, including my deputy, Leonid Eitingon. He was among the principal figures accused in the 1952-1953 Doctors' Plot and the so-called Zionist conspiracy. Contrary to widespread reports that anti-Semitism was Stalin's main reason for the persecution of Jews, I regard anti-Semitism as Stalin's weapon but not his determining strategy.
In 1944 and the first half of 1945, Stalin's strategic motivation was to use the Jewish issue as a bargaining chip to bring in international Jewish capital to rebuild the war-torn Soviet Union and to influence the postwar realignment of power in the Middle East. Stalin planned to use Jewish aspirations for a homeland to attract Western credits.
Intentions to form a Jewish republic really existed, based on a letter addressed to Stalin from the Jewish Antifascist Committee. The letter, which was to prove a fateful milestone in Jewish life in the Soviet Union, was written by Solomon Mikhoels, a beloved actor of the Yiddish State
{p. 286} Art Theater and a leading member of the committee; Shakhne Epshtein, the executive secretary of the committee; and Itzik Feffer, a popular poet and a member of the committee who accompanied Mikhoels on a speaking tour of the United States from June to December 1943.
This letter, addressed to Stalin and dated February 15, 1944, was later shown to Vyacheslav Molotov by Solomon Lozovsky, deputy foreign minister and supervisor of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Under Molotov's instructions, he edited the letter, redated it February 21, and readdressed it to Molotov. On February 24 the letter was registered in Molotov's secretariat under the number M-23314 and the same day, with Molotov's notation on it, the letter was redirected to Georgi Malenkov, secretary of the Communist party; Anastas Mikoyan, minister of foreign trade; A. S. Shcherbakov, secretary of the Moscow party committee and chief of the armed forces political directorate; and Aleksei Voznesensky, chairman of GOSPLAN, the State Planning Committee.
Part of the letter, published for the first time in 1993, stated:
The creation of a Jewish Soviet republic will once and forever, in a Bolshevik manner, within the spirit of Leninist-Stalinist national policy, settle the problem of the state legal position of the Jewish people and further development of their multicentury culture. This is a problem that no one has been capable of settling in the course of many centuries. It can be solved only in our great socialist country.1
The letter, whose existence is officially admitted in the journals of the Communist party,2 is still not declassified and was not shown with the archival material of the Jewish Antifascist Committee that was displayed in Washington, D.C., during President Yeltsin's visit in 1992. Gregory Kheifetz, our operative who had been successful in atomic espionage, told me that the letter was a proposal with details for a plan to make the Crimean Socialist Republic a homeland for Jewish people from all over the world. This would have required the resettlement of the population still living in the Crimea. In March and April 1944 the Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported from the area; 150,000 people
1. Literaturnaya Cazeta, July 7, 1933.
2. Izvestia CC CPSU, no. 12, 1989, p. 37.
{p. 287} were moved to Uzbekistan in Central Asia.3 That the letter and the order to move the Tatars bore virtually the same dates - February 14 and 15, 1944 - was completely coincidental. The order by Stalin to move the Tatars (they were accused of mass collaboration with the Germans) had been signed earlier, but it came to Beria for signature a day before the letter from the Jewish Antifascist Committee was received.
Coordination and execution of Stalin's plans to lure foreign Jewish capital was entrusted to Kheifetz, who orchestrated Mikhoels's trip to America in 1943, while Kheifetz was serving as vice consul in San Francisco. At the time, we were trying desperately to obtain as much aid as possible from America. Before his departure to the United States, Mikhoels was summoned to Beria's office in the Lubyanka and instructed to establish broad contacts in the American Jewish community. Our plan was for him to lay the groundwork for American investment in the metal and coal mining industries in the Soviet Union. It was rumored that Mikhoels might be offered the post of chairman of the Supreme Soviet in the proposed new Jewish republic. Apart from Molotov, Lozovsky, and other high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mikhoels was the only one aware of Stalin's plans to establish another puppet state in Palestine or the Crimea. Stalin hoped to receive $10 billion in credits for the restoration of the economy after the war.
I did not know the detailed contents of the Jewish Antifascist Committee letter to Stalin. I was informed by Beria that the initiative came from the American side, from American Jewish organizations. I regarded the discussions about an autonomous Jewish republic within the Soviet Union as a probe of Western intentions to give us substantial economic aid after the war. The letter remained in the file for four years, its contents the subject of rumors. Then, in 1948, Malenkov used it as a weapon in Stalin's purge of the Jewish Antifascist Committee and later the old guard in the leadership. Molotov, Mikoyan, Voroshilov, Voznesensky, and finally Beria - because of their Jewish relatives or
3. The idea of resettling Soviet Jews in the Crimea first arose in the 1920s. It became a lingering myth, a vast projected scheme that would involve a million acres and 400,000 people. It was to be an answer to the impoverishment of Jews caused by the end of petty trade, and a way of maintaining Jewish national cohesion. Thus even at thls early stage it posed the dilemma of whether or not it encouraged nationalism, in conflict with socialist goals. See Nora Levin, The Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917 (New York: New York University Press, 1990), vol. 1, pp. 147, 455-456.
{p. 288} their involvement in the discussions of a separate autonomous Jewish republic in the Crimea - were tainted with what had become an outrageous affront to Stalin's control.4
In the early 1920s, when the Bolshevik regime was first establishing itself, there was a preponderance of Jewish names in administrative positions at all levels because they had the education to fill these jobs. At this time there were no internal passports in Russia, so people were not officially identified as Jews or other nationalities. In 1922 and 1923 there was a rapid roundup of the leaders of all Jewish and other nationalist underground groups. The Police of Zion organization (Politzi Tzion) was extremely active, for example, and outmaneuvered GPU surveillance teams in Odessa; the Zionists led the secret service officers to a remote cemetery and then turned on them and beat them. Haganah had its origins in Zhitomir in the Ukraine, but the irony is that the Jews who worked in the Ukrainian GPU were put in charge of the operations against the Zionist underground groups. The crackdown included the Jewish Bund, a socialist organization that was a member of the Socialist International.
The Jewish Communist party, a splinter group from the Jewish Bund, was also dissolved. This was the Bolshevik policy, to eliminate any political national splinter group in or out of the Communist party. The separatist Ukrainian Communist party was also dissolved. The Communist Party of the Ukraine (Bolsheviks) was the established and approved political party. It was the only party with its own politburo. The Jewish leadership was either exiled or permitted to emigrate. Before 1928, there was no barrier to emigrating; the procedure for leaving the country was simpler than now. The effect of the loss of these leaders was that Jews no longer had any political organizations and lost their Jewish identity. The Jewish intelligentsia lost its political roots. In 1933 the internal passport system was introduced, and Jews were identified as a national group, even though they had no republic to be their homeland. In every major ministry at this time, Jews held top positions. I scarcely remember the directive of the Central Committee in 1939, after the Great Purge, to look into how many people of any one nation-
4. Molotov and Voroshilov had Jewish wives. Mikoyan and Voznesensky were involved in the discussions of establishing a Jewish homeland in the Crimea. Beria was instrumental in the establishment of the Jewish Antifascist Committee during the war and arranged for Mikhoels's trip to America in 1943.
{p. 289} ality were occupying key positions in sensitive ministries, but it was more potent than I perceived it to be. For the first time, an effective quota system came into being. Fortunately, most of my comrades-in-arms {Jewish?}, men and women who became distinguished fighters, agents, and officers during the war, were already in place and were not affected by this directive.
The establishment of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Birobidzhan in 1928 was ordered by Stalin only as an effort to strengthen the Far Eastern border region with an outpost, not as a favor to the Jews. The area was constantly penetrated by Chinese and White Russian terrorist groups, and the idea was to shield the territory by establishing a settlement whose inhabitants would be hostile to White Russian emigres, especially the Cossacks. The status of this region was defined shrewdly as an autonomous district, not an autonomous republic, which meant that no local legislature, high court, or government post of ministerial rank was permitted. It was an autonomous area, but a bare frontier, not a political center.
Before the war, Stalin's government toyed with the idea of using the leaders of the Jewish Socialist Bund, Henryk Ehrlich and Victor Alter, for pursuing Soviet policy goals abroad. General Raikhman, former deputy director of the Second Directorate in charge of counterintelligence, told me in 1970 that these leaders of the bund were arrested in Poland in September and October 1939. When the war with the Germans broke out, they were released in September 1941, summoned to Beria, and offered the opportunity to set up a Jewish anti-Hitler committee. At first it was planned that Ehrlich was to become the head of the committee and Mikhoels was to become his deputy; Alter was to be the executive secretary. This plan was abandoned because these people knew too much about Stalin's intentions to use them for raising money in the West. In December 1941, Alter and Ehrlich were rearrested. No charges were brought against them. Ehrlich wrote to President Kalinin on December 27, 1941, protesting that he was loyal to the Soviet government and eager to cooperate with the NKVD. In his letter he said:
The main task of the proposed Jewish Anti-Hitler Committee should be intensive propaganda among Jewish communities of the U.S.A. and Britain for rendering the fullest necessary aid to the USSR in its struggle against Hitler's invasion. All of our proposals were fully endorsed by the leadership,
{p. 290} and the NKVD was entrusted to find a suitable place for the committee's headquarters.5
Ehrlich never received an answer to his letter. The archives show that in December Beria ordered Ehrlich and Alter placed in solitary confinement and assigned prisoner numbers 41 and 42. It was forbidden to interrogate them or fill in their names on prison registration forms in the Kuibyshev NKVD jail, where they were transferred. General Raikhman later told me that there was a special order to conceal from the personnel of the jail the real names of prisoners 41 and 42. The orders came from Stalin, Molotov, and Beria, but they were strange orders, forbidding the interrogation of the prisoners.
In 1942 American politician Wendell Willkie and William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, inquired about the fate of Ehrlich and Alter through Soviet ambassador Maksim Litvinov. So did the Polish ambassador to Moscow, Stanislaw Kot. Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky hinted in his reply to Kot that Ehrlich and Alter were pardoned by mistake; it had been determined that they were secretly conspiring with the Germans. Willkie inquired in late 1942 but received no answer until February 1943. Litvinov was authorized by Molotov to say that on December 23, 1941, Ehrlich and Alter were sentenced to death because in October and November 1941 they "systematically were involved in treasonous activities in their efforts to spread hostile propaganda in the Soviet Union to halt the war and sign a peace treaty with fascist Germany."6
This reply was a deliberate lie. By the time it was sent, Ehrlich had committed suicide (May 14, 1942) by hanging himself in his cell. Alter remained in solitary confinement until February 17,1943, when he was secretly shot on orders from Beria. At the time, I was not aware of their fate. All this happened on the eve of Mikhoels's visit to the United States as head of the Jewish Antifascist Committee.
Only in September 1992 were the true facts of Ehrlich's and Alter's fate revealed from their files in the KGB'S weekly newspaper, Shait y Mech (Shield and Sword). The elimination of Ehrlich and Alter was the first stage in Stalin and Molotov's conspiracy to conceal clandestine informal contacts of the Soviet leadership with influential representatives of the foreign Jewish community. Ehrlich and Alter were removed because Stalin feared their independence and political influence. I believe
5. Shait y Mech (Shield and Sword), Septemher 3, 1992, p. 13.
6. Ibid.
{p. 291} they were eliminated because their popularity went beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union. Mikhoels faced the same fate. His successful trip to America immediately made him suspect in Stalin's eyes. He had become a cultural hero for Jews around the world.
The plan to lure American capital was associated with the idea of a Jewish state in the Crimea - what we called California in the Crimea. This idea was widely discussed in American Jewish circles, Kheifetz told me. In particular he mentioned the interest of Eric Johnston, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, who in June 1944 was received by Stalin with Ambassador Averell Harriman to discuss the reconstruction of areas that used to be major Jewish settlements in Byelorussia and resettlement of Jews in the Crimea. Johnston drew a rosy picture for Stalin that long-term American credits would be granted for this purpose to the Soviet Union after the war.
The idea of setting up a Jewish socialist republic in the Crimea was openly discussed in Moscow, not only in the Jewish community but at the administrative level of the government. I remember that in mid-1944 or 194S, at a meeting of the state committee on atomic energy, Borisov, deputy chairman of GOSPLAN, said, "Our resources are too scarce, Comrade Pervukhin. We have just received instruction to look into the financial requirements for creating the infrastructure for a future Jewish republic in the Crimea."
Mikhoels greatly relied on Feffer, a full-time controlled NKVD agent run personally by Commissar of State Security Leonid Raikhman. Occasionally even Beria met with Feffer in a safe apartment to review the Jewish question and encourage the project.
Until June 1945 this plan appeared to be operational and on the way to realization. In preparation for the Yalta Conference, Harriman inquired of me and Novikov, Molotov's aide, how much progress had been made in plans to establish a Jewish republic, in connection with future American credits for this project. I recall seeing reports that Stalin discussed the plan for setting up a Jewish republic in the Crimea and restoring the Gomel area of Byelorussia with American senators who visited the Soviet Union right after the war. He asked them not to confine possible Western credits and technical assistance to these two areas, but to make the aid unrestricted.
Then, in June 1945, after Yalta and after the victory over Hitler, Stalin issued a decree declaring the Crimea to be only an administrative district, not a republic. Before the war the Crimea had been an autono-
{p. 292} mous republic {within the Russian Republic} with strong Tatar representation at government levels. In November 1945, when Harriman tried to reach Stalin through Molotov to discuss economic cooperation, his request for a meeting was rebuffed on Stalin's orders.
Stalin apparently had abandoned the plan for a Jewish republic in the Crimea. "Stalin was of a different opinion on the solution to the problem of the Jewish people. He did not support the idea of a Jewish republic in the Crimea. Without any consequences the [Jewish Antifascist Committee] letter found its place in the archive. It was taken out four years later and was given the matching color of an indictment for dozens of innocent people," writes Arkady Vaksberg in Literaturnaya Gazeta,7 in answer to a reader's inquiry whether the idea of setting up a Jewish republic in the Crimea was Beria's provocation for a campaign against the Jews or whether a letter to Stalin actually existed and was seriously considered.
After the war, Stalin preferred to play another game, which was to penetrate the Zionist movement. Until 1948 Great Britain held a mandate from the League of Nations to administer the territory of Palestine. Stalin and Molotov hoped to assuage the fears of the British that they would be pushed out of Palestine by the founding of a Jewish state there; part of the impetus for a Jewish homeland in the Crimea was to help our British allies. It was held out as a diversion for world Jewish leaders, to confuse the focus on Palestine as a solution to the Jewish problem. When it became clear at the end of 1945 that Stalin was not going to fulfill his earlier hints of a Jewish republic in the Crimea, the British and Americans set up the Anglo-American Committee in Palestine, leaving out the Soviet Union. This was contrary to a previous understanding that there would be joint consultation of the three wartime allies.
Thus in April 1946, Dekanozov, deputy minister of foreign affairs, and Vyshinsky, also a deputy minister, wrote a memorandum to Stalin and Molotov stressing that the Soviet Union had been snubbed. The Palestinian issue would be settled without the Soviet Union. They suggested that the leadership formulate a public policy of looking favorably on a Jewish state in Palestine. Under an alias, with the consent of Molotov, Vyshinsky published an article in the magazine Novoye Vremya, affirming the necessity of creating a democratic Jewish state in the territory of the British mandate. Clearly the intention was to
7. July 7, 1993, p. 15.
{p. 293} strengthen the Soviet stand in the Middle East and to undermine British influence among Arab states, who objected to the Jewish state, by showing their inability to stop the Jews.8
Concurrent with this political move, I was ordered to send agents to Palestine through Romania in 1946. They were to set up an illegal network that might participate in combat and sabotage operations against the British. I assigned three officers, Josef Garbuz, Aleksandr Semyonov (real name Taubman; he was Grigulevich's assistant in the Lithuanian underground and had helped liquidate Rudolf Klement in Paris in 1938), and Julius Kolesnikov. Garbuz and Kolesnikov had experience in guerrilla warfare in the Ukraine and in Byelorussia, where they had carried out sabotage operations against the Germans.
Semyonov and Kolesnikov settled down in Haifa and built two networks, but they did not participate in any active sabotage operations against the British. Kolesnikov arranged for the shipment of small arms and antitank grenades seized from the Germans in Romania to Palestine. Semyonov attempted to renew contacts with an agent of Serebryansky, who had been planted in the Stern organization, an anti-British terrorist group, in 1937. Garbuz remained in Romania, gathering candidates for settlement in the future Israel.
When the order came to plant agents in Palestine and provide ammunition to the Jewish guerrilla organizations, it became clear to me that while we were ostensibly helping the Jews, the real purpose of our efforts was to set up our own network within the Zionist political and military structure. The Jews were seeking independence and were deeply involved with America. They would not be subject to our influence to the degree that Eastern Europe was, but we felt it important to plant our presence there. Kheifetz told me that as early as 1943 Litvinov, in a message to Molotov from Washington, stressed that Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state would become a major issue in the postwar international order.
It was in the second half of 1946, when Stalin had become disenchanted with Jewish alliances abroad and Jewish demands at home and was feeling isolated by the British-American joint stand in Palestine,
{could the Baruch-Lilienthal Plan for World Government have been a factor? The Lilienthal report of March 16, 1946, updated as the Baruch Plan of June 14, 1946, were put to Stalin, on behalf of the American Government; both authors were Jewish: baruch-plan.html}
that he began to stimulate an anti-Semitic campaign, which culminated in a purge of Jews from the party machinery, diplomatic service, military
8. Anatoli Sudoplatov conversation with a confidential source.
{p. 294} apparatus, and intelligence services. It developed into the infamous Doctors' Plot and Zionist conspiracy charges, in which every Jewish doctor was suspect. The anti-Semitic campaign was a repeat of the purges of the 1930s, another maneuver by Stalin to sweep out all established power centers in the bureaucracy in order to replace them with weaker men and women who would not threaten his supreme hold on the country's leadership.
In October 1946, for the first time, the specter of Jewish bourgeois nationalism as a threat to Communist ideology was raised, in a letter from Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov, newly appointed minister of state security, to Stalin. In the letter he accused leaders of the Jewish Antifascist Committee of engaging in nationalist propaganda, meaning they were putting Jewish concerns above Soviet interests. This was a heavy warning sign. Kheifetz, who had performed so brilliantly in obtaining atomic information for us and establishing high-level contacts in the American Jewish community, was suddenly out of favor. He continued to serve the Jewish Antifascist Committee as its secretary for foreign affairs, but he was forced to sever its contacts with the American Jewish community.
One of the complaints in Abakumov's letter was that the committee intervened on behalf of Jews reclaiming their homes at the end of the war. Thousands of Jews had fled from Kiev, Minsk, Riga, Leningrad, and Moscow during the war to escape annihilation by the Germans. The Nazis had arrived promising to liberate Ukrainians and the Baltic states from "Jewish leadership." This found fertile soil among the nationalists, who seized Jewish property, homes, and apartments. In 1945 the Jews began to return, only to find they had been dispossessed. The government issued instructions regulating the return of the population to their homes.
I remember when Khrushchev, then the secretary of the Ukrainian Communist party, telephoned Usman Usupov, the secretary of the Communist party of Uzbekistan, in 1947, complaining to him that Jews from Uzbekistan "are flying to the Ukraine like crows from Tashkent and Samarkand. I have no space to accommodate them because the city is destroyed. Stop the flow or pogroms will start." I was in Usupov's office at the time, and he told me the story because I had come to him with a request to accommodate three thousand Kurds, headed by Barzani, who had fled to Azerbaijan from Iran. It was dangerous to maintain them in the Caucasus, and we wanted to resettle them in Uzbekistan. To settle the Kurds was easy. Usupov ordered a new Kurdish collective farm to
{p. 295} be built, a lot simpler than finding new homes for the displaced Jewish intelligentsia returning to Kiev.
Mikhoels had tried to intervene on behalf of the Jews, acting as the head of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Abakumov's letter of complaint was meant to show that efforts to protect the rights of Jews to resettle in their former homes were a sign of Jewish bourgeois nationalism; it reflected the annoyance of party officials who were overwhelmed with problems of resettlement. Mikhoels's actions on behalf of displaced Jews not only annoyed Stalin, they made him deeply suspicious of Mikhoels. Imagine, in the Soviet system of discipline, suddenly a man with international reputation and authority begins to act on his own initiative. Mikhoels was doomed.
The situation deteriorated in 1947. I remember the oral instruction from A. Obruchnikov, the deputy minister of state security in charge of personnel, not to enlist Jews as officers in the organs of state security. I could not imagine that this direct anti-Semitic order came from Stalin. I thought it must be Abakumov's initiative. It became clear to me that the grand plan of using our Jewish intellectuals for international cooperation with the world Jewish community had been abandoned. Eitingon, who kept complaining about an anti-Semitic campaign against his relatives in the university and medical services, was convinced that anti-Semitism was an essential element of the government's policy. In hindsight I realize that he understood the situation better than I did.
Beria and Kobulov frequently told me that Stalin enjoyed anti-Muslim and anti-Azerbaijani jokes and anecdotes told to him in the presence of Bagirov, the first secretary of the Azerbaijani Communist party, who was disheartened by Kobulov's imitation of Azerbaijani pronunciation of Russian words. This makes me believe that humor directed at any nationalist group was pleasing to Stalin, and that he was neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Muslim, only opposed to any nationalist enclave of power.
Stalin and his close aides were interested in the Jewish issue mainly to exploit it politically, either for use in a power struggle or for consolidating their power. That's how the flirtation with anti-Semitism started in high party echelons. After Stalin opened an "anticosmopolitan" drive in 1946 and 1947, middle-level personnel and rank-and-file party bureaucracy took anti-Semitism for granted as the official party line. "Rootless cosmopolitans" became synonymous with Jews; it meant that Soviets of Jewish origin shared cultural values with Western Jews and therefore were less than completely loyal to the Soviet Union.
{p. 296} This anticosmopolitan drive coincided with a shift in the power balance around Stalin. Malenkov was demoted and Beria stripped of his position to supervise any activities in the sphere of state security. Rumors began to spread that he and Molotov surrounded themselves with Jews. Stalin's efforts after the war were focused on extending Soviet hegemony, first over the countries of Eastern Europe bordering the Soviet Union, and then everywhere he was in competition with British interests. He foresaw that the Arab states would turn to the Soviet Union when they were frustrated by British and American support for Israel. The Arabs would appreciate the anti-Zionist trends in Soviet foreign policy. I was told by Vetrov, Molotov's assistant, later ambassador to Denmark, what Stalin said: "Let's agree to the establishment of Israel. This will be a pain in the ass for the Arab states and will make them turn their backs on the British. In the long run it will totally undermine British influence in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq."
The Cold War began in earnest in 1946 and 1947, when the illusion of postwar cooperation with the West ended. The wartime policy of treating Britain and America as allies turned into confrontation. The civil war in China was intensifying and tensions were rising in Italy and France because of the political struggle by the Communists to come to power. With the onset of the Cold War, our hopes for obtaining Western Jewish money faded. It became clear to the leadership that it could not rely on the support of the Jewish business community to invest in the reconstruction of the Soviet Union.
The first victim was Mikhoels, who had been at the heart of the discussions to establish a Jewish Crimean republic. Stalin feared that Mikhoels would unleash forces that could not be controlled and would lead to unpredictable political consequences. Stalin feared a truly independent Jewish homeland. Mikhoels had the stature of a leader with world recognition, and Stalin could not risk his developing his own power base.
Mikhoels was murdered in January 1948, under the direct order of Stalin. Probably because Emma was Jewish, the assignment, fortunately, was not given to me. The assassination was carried out by Colonel Lebedev under the operational control of the minister of state security of Byelorussia, Lavrenti Tsanava, and Sergei Ogoltsov, Abakumov's deputy, first deputy minister of state security. Mikhoels was lured to Tsanava's dacha on the outskirts of Minsk, ostensibly to meet leading Byelorussian dramatic artists. There Mikhoels, together with his
{p. 297} secretary, V. Golubov, was jabbed with a poisoned needle. Golubov, unknown to Mikhoels, was an MGB informer who had become an unwanted witness because he had brought Mikhoels to the dacha. The two were thrown under the wheels of a truck to make it appear they had been killed on the street in a hit-and-run accident.
When I first heard of Mikhoels's death, I kept my suspicions to myself. I never imagined that Ogoltsov would personally go to Minsk to supervise arrangements for Mikhoels's assassination. I thought that probably Mikhoels was killed by an anti-Semitic gangster who had been told in advance where to find such a notorious defender of the Jewish cause. I could not imagine that such an act, using such poor intelligence tradecraft, could be committed by trained officers. Such a crude execution did not seem to be the work of professionals. (I learned the details only after Stalin's death, when I was appointed by Beria to an MVD commission assigned to investigate the Doctors' Plot and the mysterious death of Mikhoels.)
During most of 1948 I was preoccupied with the Berlin crisis and establishing a Kurdish guerrilla network in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey with the goal of overthrowing the government of Nuri Said and Faisal 11 in Iraq. This was the period when we were consolidating a Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, and I flew to Prague with Zubov to meet Benes, to neutralize his opposition to transferring power to Klement Gottwald.
Emma had become seriously ill in 1947 and retired on a pension from the service. She was wise enough to retire from all operational work in 1940 and was appointed a senior lecturer for training illegals in the NKVD (later MGB) school. Occasionally she was used for contacting important women agents by the leadership of the Second Directorate, but most of the time she tried to avoid attracting attention. It was a happy coincidence that her illness and retirement came at about the time the purge of Jews began in the MVD, MGB, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1949 and was listed in the records under her maiden name, Kaganova.
In 1949 and 1950, when I frequently had to leave Moscow for Prague, Western Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, Eitingon, my deputy, took command of Special Bureau Number One for Diversions and Intelligence. He visited Emma and told her that an anti-Semitic campaign was growing inharshness and scope. Eitingon's sister Sonia, a well-known cardiologist and the chief doctor at the polyclinic of the
{p. 298} Stalin Automobile Factory, was fired. Emma's younger sister Elizabeth was denied postgraduate training at a medical institute in Kiev because she was Jewish. I intervened in these cases through a good friend, Andrei Muzichenko, director of the Central Clinical Research Institute of Moscow. In the 1930s he had been an NKVD illegal in France and Austria, but after the purges in 1938 he decided to rely on his diploma as a doctor and left the intelligence business. He offered jobs to Sonia and to Elizabeth, who is still working there.
I was stunned when Gregory Kheifetz was arrested in 1948 or 1949, but neither I nor Eitingon could intervene. We attributed his arrest to Abakumov's anti-Semitic campaign. Almost all the members of the Jewish Antifascist Committee and leading Jewish intellectuals were arrested and tried for the conspiracy to separate the Crimea from the USSR.
{Might the creation of Israel, an an external magnet for Jewish loyalties, have been a factor? Given the prominence of Jews in creating the USSR - the atheistic faction - the state of Israel - a religious state - was potentially not just an external homeland, but a rival centre of World Order. I therefore argue that the USSR was opposed, during the Cold War, not just by Aryanism but by Zionism, in an uneasy alliance; since the end of the Cold War, this has broken down.}
An internal power struggle from 1948 to 1952 developed into the public anti-Semitic campaign known as the Doctors' Plot. Although it was known as an anti-Semitic campaign, the Doctors' Plot was not restricted to Jews. Rather it was part of a struggle to settle old scores in the leadership. On one side Stalin, with the help of Malenkov and Khrushchev, was trying to purge his own old guard and Beria. The scapegoats in the alleged Jewish "conspiracy" were to be Molotov, Voroshilov, and Mikoyan, the last of Stalin's Politburo old guard. The truth about the initiation of the Doctors' Plot has never been revealed, even during Gorbachev's glasnost, because it was a vicious power struggle in the Kremlin on the eve of Stalin's death that drew in the entire leadership.
It is generally believed that the Doctors' Plot began with a hysterical letter to Stalin accusing Jewish doctors of plans to murder the leadership by means of maltreatment and poisoning. The notorious letter of Lydia Timashuk, a doctor in the Kremlin Polyclinic, was written and sent to Stalin not in 1952, just prior to the arrest of the doctors, but in August 1948. To her letter, which charged that Academician V. N. Vinogradov was maltreating Zhdanov and others and caused Zhdanov's death, Stalin's reaction had been: "Chepukha" - "Absurd." Her letter remained on file for three years without action and was only dug up at the end of 1951 when it became useful as a weapon in the power struggle. All members of the Politburo knew of the letter and had heard Stalin's reaction to it. (Colonel Boris Ludvigov, Beria's chief assistant on matters relating to the Politburo and Council of Ministers, told me this in Vladimir prison.)
{p. 299} I always thought that Abakumov initiated the Doctors' Plot as a continuation of the anticosmopolitan drive. I learned differently in 1990, when the military prosecutor's office consulted me as a witness in the reinvestigation of Abakumov's postwar repressions. Instead of being the promulgator of the Doctors' Plot, he was a target of it. When he was arrested in 1951, he was accused of suppressing evidence of the plot to kill Stalin because he wanted to seize power and become the dictator of the Soviet Union. Abakumov was alleged to rely on Jewish doctors and Jewish sabotage experts in the Ministry of State Security (meaning Eitingon).
For Malenkov and Beria, the goal was to remove Abakumov, and they were prepared to use whatever means were at hand. Malenkov's chief assistant, Dmitri Sukhanov, in spring 1951 received in his office a rank-and-file investigator from the Investigation Department of the Security Ministry, Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Ryumin, known to be a primitive anti-Semite. This meeting was another fateful turning point for Soviet Jews. Ryumin feared expulsion from the security service because he had received a reprimand for leaving an investigation file on the bus from Lefortovo jail to Lubyanka headquarters. Additionally, he had concealed from the party and from the organs of state security the facts about the kulak (rich land-owning peasants) origin of his father, that his brother and sister had been convicted of thievery, and that his father-inlaw had served as an officer in the White Army of Admirial Aleksandr Kolchak.
To his credit, Abakumov knew that the earlier attempts of Ryumin to portray arrested Jewish doctors as terrorists was a prelude to the grand Doctors' Plot, and he curbed Ryumin's efforts for several months in 1950. To save his own career and to serve his anti-Semitic ambitions, Ryumin readily accommodated Sukhanov's demand that he write a letter to Stalin denouncing Abakumov.
Thirty years after these events, my former sister-in-law, Nina Sudoplatova, who worked as a typist-clerk in Malenkov's office - Sukhanov was her immediate boss - told me that Ryumin, a poorly educated man, had to rewrite his letter denouncing Abakumov eleven times. Sukhanov kept him waiting in the reception room for almost ten hours while he conferred with Malenkov on the contents of the letter. Only Sukhanov knows how Ryumin was chosen to denounce Abakumov, and he did not reveal this aspect of the story when he appeared on Russian television in July 1992 to discuss the origin of the Doctors' Plot.
In his denunciation, Ryumin, inspired by Malenkov, stated that
{p. 300} Abakumov instructed the Investigation Department to suppress evidence about a "Zionist conspiracy aimed against leaders of the Soviet government" in the form of terrorist acts.
By that time, a number of well-known Jewish doctors had been arrested for anti-Soviet Zionist propaganda. The most prominent of them, Dr. Yakob G. Etinger, tragically died in jail while being interrogated before Abakumov was arrested in July 1951. Ryumin charged Abakumov with being responsible for Etinger's death by placing him in a cold cell in Lefortovo; he charged Abakumov with attempting to kill the doctor to prevent his revealing other Zionist conspirators. Ryumin took advantage of this and other cases and inflated them into a full-scale Zionist terrorist conspiracy. Out of the files came Timashuk's accusations against Jewish doctors.
Abakumov, more experienced in such intrigues, had been afraid to inflate the Zionist conspiracy case with such gross fabrications. He sensed that Stalin would demand real evidence in such high-risk provocations. Besides, Abakumov knew well that the rule was not to take the initiative in situations created by the top leadership. Jewish doctors treated Stalin and had their own intimate and direct access to Politburo members by virtue of their professional doctor-patient relationships. Thus Abakumov was not enthusiastic about transforming the Jewish Antifascist Committee into a grand conspiracy that would cause tremors at the top and affect key members of the Politburo such as Voroshilov and Molotov, who had Jewish wives, and Kaganovich, who was Jewish. Abakumov's hesitancy contributed to his undoing.
Ryumin was first appointed chief of the MGB Investigation Department and then deputy minister of security; he was given a free hand to manipulate the evidence against Abakumov, and with him out of the way, to unleash the alleged doctors' conspiracy.
The new investigators demanded to know who the members of Abakumov's new government were to be once Stalin was overthrown. Abakumov was also charged with concealing the treacherous crimes of Molotov's wife, Polina Zhemchuzhina. He was accused of covering up her contacts with Israeli politician Golda Meir (then known as Golda Meyerson) .
Abakumov vigorously denied any guilt in either suppressing exposure of the doctor's conspiracy or being himself the leader and instigator of the Doctors' Plot through his Jewish subordinates in the Ministry of Security. Abakumov stood firm in his denial despite heavy torture. He became a dying invalid, but still he refused to "confess." The whole case
{p. 301} for a Jewish conspiracy in the Ministry of Security then rested on the confessions of Colonel Naum Shvartsman, a former journalist who had never conducted an interrogation but who acted as editor of falsified confessions extracted from prisoners. When Stalin ordered the arrest of the director and three deputy directors of the investigation section, one among them was Colonel Shvartsman, a Jew. He confessed to being Abakumov's deputy in the Jewish terrorist organization that comprised all senior Jewish security officers. Under interrogation Shvartsman confessed that he was instructed by Abakumov to set up a group of Jewish conspirators in the Ministry of State Security to plan terrorist actions against the government.
Shvartsman also "confessed" to having homosexual relations with Abakumov, his son, and the British ambassador. Shvartsman confessed that he had used homosexual contacts with the American double agents Gavrilov and Lavrentiev, who had been planted in the American Embassy compound, to pass orders for terrorist actions to Jewish conspirators.9
He knew the machinery of investigation; to escape being beaten he proved he was cooperating by accusing Jewish officials. At the same time he invented unbelievable stories, like being inspired in his terrorist activities by drinking Zionist soup prepared by his Jewish aunt, or sleeping with his stepdaughter, or having homosexual relations with his son. He wanted to be sent for psychiatric examination, and that was recommended by deputy military prosecutor Colonel Uspensky. However, when his testimony accusing thirty Jewish top officials of terrorism was reported to Stalin, Stalin told Ignatiev and Ryumin, "You are both fools. That scoundrel is playing for time. No need for any expert opinion. Arrest the whole group immediately." (Ludvigov told me this in jail.)
Stalin ordered the arrest of all Jewish colonels and generals in the Ministry of Security. A total of some fifty senior officers and generals were arrested, including Eitingon, Raikhman, and deputy minister of security Lieutenant General Belkin. Retired colonel Maklarsky, who had become a successful scriptwriter of popular espionage films, was also arrested because Shvartsman fingered him. Colonel Andrei Sverdlov, son of the first Soviet president, was arrested, along with two deputy ministers of state security suspected of Jewish connections, Lieutenant General Selivanovsky and Lieutenant General Pitovranov.
9. Shvartsman confirmed this in 1953, when the cases of the doctors and Jewish security officers were reopened. Kiril Stolyarov, Golgotha (Moscow: Krasnoye Proletari Izdatelzvo, 1991), pp. 14-15.
{p. 304} About one month later Ignatiev was appointed minister of state security, and on his direct order in October 1951 Eitingon was arrested at Moscow's Vnukovo airport when he returned from Lithuania. He had just succeeded in rounding up the leadership of the anti-Soviet underground there. His stepdaughter Zoya Zarubina phoned me at home to tell me that Eitingon had been detained in her presence when she went to meet him at the airport. I did not know how to respond this time. Emma suggested I remain silent. In my office the next morning, I asked Zoya to prepare her letter of resignation from the service. That Eitingon was her stepfather was not mentioned on her registration card. I immediately telephoned the rector of the Institute of Foreign Languages, Varvara Pivovarova, whose sister had worked under me as a translator in the MGB atomic intelligence bureau, to take on Zoya as an instructor on his staff. The important thing was to sever her contacts with the security system before anyone became aware of her relationship to Eitingon. Most people naturally knew her as the daughter of retired general Vassili Zarubin, who was divorced in 1925 from Zoya's mother before she married Eitingon.
In a few days I had the opportunity to meet Ignatiev at a staff meeting. He privately reproached me. "You were mistaken about Eitingon. What do you think of him now?" he asked me.
I still remember my prompt reply. "My assessment of people and their deeds is always in agreement with the party line," I said. The party would eventually vindicate me.
Here I must speak of my illusions. I always regarded the Doctors' Plot and the Zionist conspiracy as pure fabrications by scoundrels like Ryumin who were reporting to incompetent people like Ignatiev. Each time I met Ignatiev he appeared to be totally out of his depth in handling whatever was reported to him. His judgment was appalling. For him an agent report was a revelation, and he could be influenced by what he read without bothering to have it cross-checked for accuracy. He could be convinced of anything.
Ignatiev was absolutely unfit for the job. One morning, in the midst of an operational conference with more than ten people present in his office, he became hysterically annoyed by a telephone call from the commandant of the MGB, General Blokhin. I remember that he shouted into the phone: "You should act in accordance with the law. Don't bother me." Then he hung up and told us, "I can't stand these regular telephone calls from Blokhin demanding I sign the orders for carrying out death
{p. 305} sentences in accordance with internal MGB regulations. Why should I get involved in that? Why should I sign these orders? He should act in accordance with the law." Nobody answered. We sat in embarrassed silence.
Ignatiev could be easily manipulated to fabricate cases against innocent people. Only later did I realize he was fulfilling orders that came from the top - from Stalin, Molotov, Malenkov, and others.
When TASS announced that well-known doctors and academicians were accused of a Zionist conspiracy to kill Stalin and the Politburo by injurious medical treatment, I believed it was a provocation, a continuation of the anti-Semitic campaign which had begun earlier, combined with the criminal incompetence of Minister of State Security Ignatiev. I looked into the files accusing Eitingon of training the doctors to perform terrorist acts against Stalin and the government. For that purpose, the indictment charged, Eitingon kept in his office samples of mines and explosives disguised as electrical appliances. These were the usual equipment for his special field of expertise.
Moscow was flooded with rumors about attempts of Jewish doctors and pharmacists to poison ordinary citizens, and about coming pogroms. I was worried when our two children, then about nine and twelve, came home from school with these rumors. Emma and I were in a difficult position; it was dangerous to instruct children of high-ranking security officials to contradict brazen anti-Semitic remarks, because they would draw attention to themselves by inspiring debates. They would definitely be noticed by the local party administration, which monitored every sphere of public life. Add to this that they were going to school with Malenkov's and Kaganovich's sons, which meant that the school was under constant surveillance. Even as children they could not make political statements saying that Stalin and Lenin were always against anti-Semitism; this would be misinterpreted and would become twisted.
Emma and I told them to say that in conditions that demand absolute vigilance, it was bad to spread rumors because they inspire "provocations." We all had to stick to the version of events printed in Pravda, the party newspaper, where there were no hints of pogroms or eradication of the Jewish nation. Wrath over treacherous, monstrous crimes of individual terrorists was understandable, we told the children, but spreading rumors meant playing with fire, and playing into the hands of enemies of our country. I wondered how this would sound at Pioneer meetings at school. Then the director of the school telephoned Emma and thanked her for the children's proper upbringing. He was in a difficult position because there were many Jewish children and teachers in
{p. 306} his school, known for teaching subjects in English. He told Emma that the children's statement at the Pioneer meeting, that spreading rumors was a provocation, brought cheers and helped to calm the heated situation.
Later, in Vladimir jail, when I shared a cell with Colonel Ludvigov, he revealed to me things I could hardly believe. He told me that Stalin had written on the minutes of one doctor's interrogation: "Put them in handcuffs and beat them until they confess."
In the final period of the Zionist conspiracy in 1952, it ballooned out of its organizers' control. Ryumin and Ignatiev joined the minister of state security of Georgia, Nikolai M. Rukhadze, to accuse Beria of concealing his Jewish origin and fabricating a conspiracy against Stalin in Georgia. Beria was next on the list for elimination by Stalin. The Crimean conspiracy case, which had dragged on since 1948, was resolved in August 1952, with the execution of all arrested members of the Jewish Antifascist Committee and former deputy foreign minister Lozovsky. Kheifetz was kept alive to testify against Beria and Molotov when they would be accused of initiating the Crimean proposal and stimulating informal contacts with American Jewish communities.
My knowledge comes from the files on Abakumov's case that I read forty years later in the military prosecutor's office, forty volumes thick. I always believed that Ryumin was investigating the doctors' case to the day of Stalin's death, but Stalin was shrewd enough to realize that the plot portrayed by Ryumin was too primitive to be believed. He could not supply the details to make credible the story he was creating out of whole cloth. Ryumin was fired from his job by Stalin himself on November 12, 1952, for "being incapable of adequately fulfilling his duties." He was reappointed to the post he held before joining the security service, a rank-and-file accountant in the State Control Commission. He had earlier been a junior accountant in the Archangelsk cooperative union. At the peak of the anti-Semitic campaign, not Ryumin but Mesetsov, Konyakhin, and Ignatiev were in charge of the criminal interrogation and beating of the doctors. They were never prosecuted or charged with any crimes when the whole fabrication was exposed; they were promoted by Khrushchev and Malenkov to responsible Central Committee posts as a reward for faithfully following orders.
At the end of February 1953, on the eve of Stalin's death, I noticed a growing uncertainty in the behavior of Ignatiev, and my intuition told
{p. 307} me that the whole anti-Semitic drive was about to end. The time was coming for the investigators to become unwanted witnesses and be purged. After Stalin's death, Beria accused Ignatiev of deceiving the party and fired him.
One important element not revealed is that among those investigated in the MGB for allegedly taking part in the Jewish conspiracy was Maironovsky, head of the MGB toxicological laboratory. In 1951 he was arrested and named a principal figure in the Doctors' Plot because he knew all the accused academicians and worked closely with them. He was a notable personality in Moscow medical circles.
According to Ryumin, Maironovsky was acting under the direction of Eitingon in an effort to kill the leadership. Ryumin did not realize that he was treading on dangerous ground, since Maironovsky's work was top secret and carried out on Stalin's orders. Maironovsky confessed to everything he was asked, including that he was Emma's nephew, but then Ignatiev sensed that Ryumin had gone too far. Ignatiev decided that Maironovsky should be kept out of the main case against the doctors. On February 14, 1953, he was convicted by a special conference of the MGB and sentenced to ten years in prison for criminal possession of poisons.
Stalin's death brought the end of the Doctors' Plot, but anti-Semitism remained a potent force. Beria initiated the exposure of the fabrications that had gripped the country in a paranoic spasm of fear, and began to rehabilitate the arrested doctors, but truth did not bring him friends at the top. In May 1953, two months after Stalin's death, Zoya Zarubina, who had become a dean of the Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages and a party secretary, heard at a confidential party meeting that Beria was concealing his Jewish origins. He was arrested two months later.
The Doctors' Plot greatly damaged the general image of the medical profession in Russian society and created distrust toward doctors. After the exposure of the falsity of the plot, rival groups in the medical community found themselves in a difficult position. My friend Professor Andrei Muzichenko, director of the Moscow Central Clinical Research Institute, told me that the government stood in the middle of any conflict in the medical community because it was the only source of financial support in the whole system of medical care. The message to all bureaucrats was to avoid any professional controversy, because one could not predict where the chips would fall; they could be picked up by the lead-
{p. 308} ership and used politically in an unpredictable fashion that could bring Lubyanka into action. This created a dampening effect on creative controversy. It postponed government decisions on priority of resources for health care. The fear still persists that clashes of opinion on medical and other professional issues will cause Lubyanka people to investigate and report to the government their assessments of the arguments and the availability of incriminating materials against principal rival groups. No one knows how any argument will come out and what factors will decide it.
It is rumored now that a plan existed for deportation of Jews from Moscow on the eve of Stalin's death. I never heard of it; if such a plan existed it could be easily traced in the archives of state security and of the Moscow party committee, because it would have required large-scale preparations. Deportation operations are very difficult to carry out, especially if they are not concealed beforehand. There would have been some sort of top-secret directive, endorsed by the government at least one month before the start of such an operation. Therefore, I believe that it was only a rumor, probably based on comments by Stalin or Malenkov assessing the outrage of public opinion against Jews associated with the Doctors' Plot. When righteous remarks are made at a high level suggesting that "Soviet workers and peasants are justified in demanding deportation of Jewish criminals," a vicious tradition develops.
Even with this anti-Semitic atmosphere, started by Stalin and continued by Khrushchev, there remained the "selective" approach in which a closed group of Jewish intellectuals and highly qualified professionals were allowed to make their careers in the Soviet establishment; but the Zionist plot and the fall of Beria put an end to the employment of Jews in influential posts of the intelligence service or in the Central Committee. As far as I knew, the Committee for State Security (KGB) in the 1960s and 1970s employed only two Jewish rank-and-file case operators, for use against Zionist organizations. The presence of large numbers of Jews in the intelligence services, which had been the case from the Revolution to 1948, came to an end.
From the point of view of Soviet thought, the idea of establishing a Jewish republic with foreign support sounds ridiculous. It would constitute a basic interference in party and state affairs. Such a move would be regarded in Soviet terms as suspicious business because of the foreign involvement it would bring about in our closed society. In fact, that's what happened. For me at the time, sounding out Harriman on the idea
{p. 309} of a Jewish republic was part of my instructions from Beria to ascertain America's intentions and the seriousness of its commitment to the idea. I knew that probes of this nature often led nowhere but were standard intelligence operational procedure. I could not imagine at the time that to be associated with such discussions would turn into a kiss of death.
The tragedy was that in a closed society like the Soviet Union, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 made the Jews appear to be the only significant national group with a foreign-based homeland. This automatically placed the whole national group under suspicion of potential divided loyalties, especially after Israel defeated the Arabs in the 1948 war of independence. The pride that followed the Jewish military victory revitalized the cultural consciousness of Soviet Jews, which had been destroyed in the twenties. The Jews and the Germans, since they had foreign-based homelands, were not allowed to form their own constituent republics in the Soviet Union with their own legislatures. Discrimination against all ethnic groups was harsher if they had potential support from overseas. Greeks, for example, were deported from the Caucasus to Uzbekistan.
What had begun as another purge of the bureacracy and a sweeping away of failed policies had gotten out of hand. Stalin's use of anti-Semitism, antinationalism, and anti-bourgeois cosmopolitanism for his usual political juggling had turned into license for leaders who harbored old hatreds against Jews. For Stalin anti-Semitism was a tool, an opportunistic weapon; but in the hands of his subordinates it became a revival of an age-old tradition, pure hatred of Jews. Unfortunately, it was a legacy that remained and flourished after his death. The acceptance within the leadership of anti-Semitic policies finally stripped the government of an entire population of public servants who had supported the Revolution and worked for the establishment of Soviet power. When the country came upon hard times and disintegrated, the flower of this educated leadership and their children had emigrated to Israel and the West.
{p. 317} With these warring factions safely under Stalin's domination, he and Zhdanov initiated the anticosmopolitan campaign to wipe out Western ideological influence in the intelligentsia. Another of Stalin's purposes was to consolidate his newly acquired power in Eastern Europe and make his hold there equal to the repressive control he enjoyed internally.
Concurrently, Israel's victory in its war of independence greatly strengthened awareness among Soviet Jews of their cultural identity. Israel presented a new magnet for emigration. The anticosmopolitan campaign quickly turned anti-Semitic. Now the banner was against "rootless cosmopolitans," meaning Jews who had Western ties or ideas and might not hold the Soviet Union first in their hearts.
Finally, this campaign provided Stalin with an excuse to be rid of the leaders of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. They were pressing for the fulfillment of promises made during the war, promises that they had conveyed to Jewish leaders abroad. Their connections to influential people in the West were sufficient reason to make them targets for Stalin.
A year after Churchill's speech at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946, declaring confrontation and ideological war with communism, Stalin decided to tighten further ideological control of the party and the society, stamping out any sympathy, envy, or support for the West. The Cold War was on, and the immediate effect was a chill in all aspects of Soviet intellectual life. This set off a series of so-called scientific discussions in biology, philosophy, economic theory, literary criticism, and linguistics. Both Kremlin factions took advantage of the campaign for their own interests, trying to point out the ideological divergences of their rivals. This was not simply taking sides with Jews (cosmopolitans) against loyal Soviets; rather, the issue was a fundamental reshuffle of scientific and artistic personnel in the interests of the division of power at the top.
The case of biology is notorious. In the 1930s a smoldering argument in the field of genetic science broke out of the academy and into politics. On one side were world-known biologists pressuring the government to finance further research in plant and human genetics. Opposing them were the group led by Trofim Lysenko, who speculated on Marxist ideology, boldly asserting that plants, animals, and humans could be changed by factors in their material environment. He gave incredible examples to prove the impact of the external environment on the human race, claiming that Tatars had slanted eyes in response to their evolution under desert conditions facing centuries of sandstorms.
{p. 343} Beria ordered me and other top-ranking generals to check the falsified evidence of the Zionist conspiracy. What startled me most was that Zhemchuzhina, Molotov's wife, had maintained clandestine contacts through Mikhoels and Jewish activists with her brother in the United States. A letter to her brother dated October 5, 1946, before she was arrested, was purely Communist in outlook but otherwise nonpolitical. As an intelligence officer, I immediately understood that this letter was sanctioned by the top leadership with the purpose of establishing an informal confidential channel for future use. I couldn't imagine that Zhemchuzhina would write such a letter without permission. In her testimony she had denied that she had attended a synagogue service in Moscow in March 1945 devoted to Jews who had died in the war. Four independent witnesses placed her there. The diplomatic corps was also represented. Surely Molotov encouraged her to go because it was useful to have American observers see his wife there after the Yalta Conference, but as she was his wife, his instruction was oral, without record. Later, she did not want to implicate him so she denied the episode, but it was used against her and against him in the anti-Semitic campaign and in ousting him from power.
My contacts with Harriman on plans for a Jewish republic in the Crimea flashed through my mind; from the testimonies of Zhemchuzhina I realized that similar probes had been carried out simultaneously by her, by Mikhoels, and by an American journalist, Goldberg, a man close to the World Jewish Congress, who was editor of a New York daily newspaper.10 All of these were discussing the possibility of setting up "California in the Crimea."
10. Ben Zion Goldberg, of the New York Yiddish daily Der Tog, had visited the Soviet Union to report on the condition of Jews since the establishment of the Jewish autonomous region in Birobidzhan in 1928. He served as president of the American Committee of Jewish Writers, Artists, and Scientists, which hosted Mikhoels and Feffer's visit to the United States in 1943. He revisited the Soviet Union in 1946 and reported favorablv on the work of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. See Levin, The Jews in the Soviet Union Since 1917, vol. 1, pp. 457-4S8.
{p. 428} ... In 1985 the Central Committee said it "does not find it expedient to return to this matter."9 Beria and his enemies in the leadership had identical morals. I agree with the writer Kiril Stolyarov, who said that the only difference between Beria and his rivals was the amount of blood they spilled. However, we must give them all their due. Despite their crimes, Beria, Stalin, Molotov, and Pervukhin succeeded in transforming the Soviet Union from a backward agrarian hinterland into a superpower armed with sophisticated nuclear weapons. While committing equally monstrous crimes against their opponents and innocent bystanders, Khrushchev, Bulganin, and Malenkov contributed much less to the transformation of the USSR. Unlike Stalin, they greatly weakened the state through their own power struggles. Gorbachev and his aides, governed no less by personal ambition, caused the crumbling of the state. Gorbachev and Yakovlev behaved like traditional party bosses, exploiting the name of democracy to strengthen their own power base. They were naive as statesmen and under the illusion that they were capable of outmaneuvering their rivals and preserving their power. They accomplished nothing in domestic policy or in foreign affairs. In 1989 Gorbachev moved Erich Honecker out of power in East Germany, hoping to strengthen socialism, but it backfired. He and Shevardnadze were incapable of negotiating economic concessions from the West in return for the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe.
During this period Colonel General Dmitri Volkogonov, who was writing biographies of Stalin and Trotsky, called me.10 In June 1989 Volkogonov managed to reach me in Peredelkino at the dacha of Zoya Rybkina, where I was staying. I had been warned to be cautious in my revelations to Volkogonov, but I decided to meet him because he had
9. From the Archives of the Central Committee, Document 1502, Top Secret File. In Rodina, July 4, 1992, pp. 62-63. (Rodina magazine publishes materials and documents from party archives.) Archive documents reveal that Beria's case was so sensitive, so extraordinary, that his sentence was carried out not by a rank-and-file executioner, but by a three-star general of the Red Army, A. Batitsky. This was intended, says P. A. Sudoplatov, to prevent any revelation of the deliberations and decision making by Khrushchev and his leadership in eliminating Beria.
10. Volkogonov was deputy ehief of the Main Political Administration of the Soviet army, in charge of psychological warfare against the American armed forces in the 1970s and 1980s. He became director of the Institute of Military History of the Ministry of Defense in 1986.
{p. 429} access to the archives and could present the story of past atrocities and triumphs in a clear, unfiltered light. Cautiously, and with natural mistakes because of his official position and subordination to military authority, he opened a new chapter in Russian historical studies.
Volkogonov promised to support my rehabilitation in exchange for my cooperation. When we met on November 4, 1989, I suggested that Volkogonov correct his account of the Stamenov episode, which had just appeared in Oktyabr, a literary journal. He claimed in the article that Stalin had personally met Stamenov, which I knew was untrue. I myself had handled the probe to plant disinformation among Nazi diplomats, feeling out the Germans' desire for a peace settlement in 1941. When Volkogonov's book appeared, the episode was not corrected. He sticks to the version that Stalin and Molotov planned a separate Brest-Litovsk type peace treaty with Hitler, using as his source references to discussions in the Politburo.11
The Politburo might have discussed this intelligence operation. As I have already explained, my orders were to plant disinformation about a possible peace with Hitler, using Stamenov as the source for the rumor. Beria and Molotov assumed that Stamenov would actively use this false information to enhance his image with the czar of Bulgaria. However, he chose not to report it to Sofia. I had not ordered him to do so; had I insisted, he could not have refused, because he was a controlled NKVD agent. But my instructions were to suggest the rumor, not order him to transmit it.
I led Volkogonov straight to the Trotsky file in the KGB and Central Committee archives, a feat he could not have accomplished alone. Even if you are a top government official with the right to look at top-secret files, the whereabouts of any single piece of paper requires searching through a jungle. He could not know, for example, that Trotsky's own archives, stolen from Paris in 1937, were not where they should have been, but were actively used by the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU.
Since the August 1991 attempted coup, there has been an undisciplined rush to lay hands on secret Communist party archives with the intent to use and sell them for films, research projects, and popular books. Although Volkogonov acknowledged my help in the introduction of his book on Trotsky, it appeared without his showing me the manuscript. That is perhaps why, for the first time, my code name and identity
11. Volkogonov, Stalln: Triumph and Tragedy, pp. 412-413.
{p. 430} in the operation against Konovalets were revealed.12 The result, in 1992, was an indictment against me by the Ukrainian procurator's office. The Ukrainian indictment was dropped by the military procurator's office in June 1993 because it was established that Konovalets's terrorist organization had formally declared a state of war against the Soviet Union, which lasted from 1919 to 1991.
In printing my name publicly in his book on Trotsky and telling of my real role in World War II guerrilla operations and atomic espionage, Volkogonov's history, though faulty, at least restored my identity. For many years my name had been a blank space in Soviet history, missing from all the accounts of heroic deeds my colleagues accomplished in the war against Hitler, under my leadership. It was Volkogonov who planted with my son the idea of telling the story of my life, which gives me the chance to set the record straight.
In 1991 the military procurator's office came to the conclusion that Abakumov's case was fabricated and that although he was guilty of unlawful repressions he was not guilty of high treason or crimes against the party. They recommended that the indictment against him should be amended to change the basis on which he was prosecuted. Abuse of power and falsification of criminal evidence were his actual crimes and according to law warranted the same punishment. The implication of the procurator's recommendation was that those above him were equally guilty of these abuses.
The procurator took a new approach to Eitingon's and my cases. The record showed that we did not initiate liquidations or assassinations, nor did we fabricate false evidence against any victims. Thus, we had acted according to military discipline, taking our orders from legal directives of the government. The formal charges against us, abetting Beria in treason and planning terrorist acts against the government and Beria's personal enemies, were repudiated by the documents. Chief Military Procurator General Pavel Boriskin formally closed our cases and stated that if, before his retirement, he had not rehabilitated us, then the archives would show that he was another guilty participant in covering up the truth about the Kremlin power struggles in the 1950s. Four months after the August 1991 attempted coup, within days after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December, and two days before his
12. Volkogonov, Trotsky (Moscow: Novosti, 1992), vol. 2, pp. 303-305.
{p. 431} retirement, Boriskin made his peace with history. He endorsed the decision to rehabilitate Eitingon and me. He also dismissed the murder charge against Kalugin for Markov's liquidation in London, since Kalugin was fulfilling his military duty.
My rehabilitation was no longer a political matter, but only a minor event in the history of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The military procurator's office was no longer obliged to consult the highest authorities of the Communist party on how to handle my case. A new generation that had been raised to power by the old generation, but not implicated in the atrocities of Stalin's and Khrushchev's authoritarian rule, was now the leadership. The icon of Khrushchev, useful in the new reform religion of glasnost and perestroika, lost its glow. In the tense atmosphere of the former Soviet Union, brought about by the lack of a new political tradition and culture to replace the old, and by a gridlock in the economy, hatred toward me persists only among those who would prefer that all witnesses to the old order disappear. Then there would be no one who could correct the record or tell where the truth is hidden in the archives.
The Soviet Union - to which I devoted every fiber of my being and for which I was willing to die; for which I averted my eyes from every brutality, finding justification in its transformation from a backward nation into a superpower; for which I spent long months on duty away from Emma and the children; whose mistakes cost me fifteen years of my life as a husband and father - was unwilling to admit its failure and take me back as a citizen. Only when there was no more Soviet Union, no more proud empire, was I reinstated and my name returned to its rightful place.
Despite my rehabilitation, my medals have not been returned to me; let no one forget that I, too, have been a victim of political repression. {end of quotes}
Trotsky on a Jewish republic within the Soviet Union: nedava.html.
Nikita Khruschev on "Stalin's Anti-Semitism" and the proposal for a Jewish Crimea: death-of-stalin.html.
Lazar Kaganovich's account of the Death of Stalin: kaganovich.html.
The Death of Stalin, by Georges Bertoli, and The Death of Stalin: An Investigation by "Monitor" (this book shows that Stalin was overthrown by a coup d'etat): death-of-stalin.html.
Beria vs. Stalin: "Western" Marxism vs "Russian" Marxism: beria.html.
New evidence on Beria's downfall:
Sudoplatov on the Atomic Spies: atomic-spies.html.
To order Special Tasks new:
Write to me at contact.html.

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