It really is impossible to know exactly the number of Chekist agents
that operated in Paris during the 1920s. The number of persons
actually in the Cheka (an acronym for All-Russian Extraordinary
Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Speculation, Sabotage,
and Misuse of Authority, or in Russian Vserossykaya Chrezvychainaya
Komissiya) would have been small: their operatives (informants,
sources, couriers, etc.), however, would have been many. The head of
the Cheka/GPU in Paris would have been called "the resident" of the
Paris embassy after the recognition of the USSR, the equivalent of the
Chief of Station in a CIA office in an embassy of the USA. (Seemingly,
the Paris "resident" was subordinate, at least at one time, to the
Berlin "resident".) It can be assumed that the GPU (the Government
Political Administration, the successor of the Cheka, formed in 1922)
would have maintained a network throughout Europe of approximately the
same size as the former Imperial Secret Service, the OKHRANA, although
it probably would have required some time to attain that strength.
(The Paris files of the OKHRANA contained records of 450 agents in 12
LENIN ON THE ORGANISATION OF AN EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSION TO FIGHT
[Letter to Dzerzhinskii, December 19, 1917]
"The Commission is to be named the All-Russian Extraordinary
Commission and is to be attached to the Soviet of People's Commissars.
[This commission] is to make war on counter-revolution and sabotage
.... The duties of the Commission will be:
* 1. To persecute and break up all acts of counter-revolution and
sabotage all over Russia, no matter what their origin.
* 2. To bring before the Revolutionary Tribunal all
counter-revolutionaries and saboteurs and to work out a plan for
* 3. To make preliminary investigation only - enough to break up [the
counter-revolutionary act]. The Commission is to be divided into
(a) the information [section],
(b) the organisational section (in charge of organising the
fight against counter-revolution all over Russia) with branches, and
(c) the fighting section.
The Commission will be formed tomorrow..... The Commission is to watch
the press, saboteurs, strikers, and the Right Social-Revolutionaries.
Measures [to be taken against these counter-revolutionaries are]
confiscation, confinement, deprivation of [food] cards, publication of
the names of the enemies of the people, etc."
Russian Archives Online (A fascinating resource.)
"The tsarist secret police, known as the Okhrana, maintained an office
at the Imperial Russian Embassy in Paris to monitor the activities of
revolutionaries who were trying to topple the tsar. The files of this
organization are a unique source on the internal operations of the
revolution. Covering the period 1883 to 1917, the files include
transcripts of intercepted letters from suspected revolutionaries,
police photographs, code books, over 40,000 reports from 450 agents
and informers operating in twelve countries, and dossiers on all of
the major revolutionary figures."
Secret Victories of the KGB
Half a million people in the KGB were primarily spying on Russians.
If you put together the border guards and the regular second chief
directorate and the fifth directorate, and the surveillance
directorate, and the wire tap directorate, the numbers reach half a
million people; only 10,000 were on their foreign espionage network
(This would have been during the Cold War, and most of the people in
the network were likely to have been stationed in the USSR or other
Iron Curtain countries as analysts, as opposed to field agents.)
Glossary -- Estonia (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
Cheka (Vserossiyskaya chrezvychaynaya komissiya po bor'be s
kontrrevolyutsiyey i sabotazhem--VChK)
All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating
Counterrevolution and Sabotage. The political police created by the
Bolsheviks in 1917, the Cheka (also known as the Vecheka) was supposed
to be dissolved when the new regime, under Vladimir I. Lenin, had
defeated its enemies and secured power. But the Cheka continued until
1922, becoming the leading instrument of terror and oppression in the
Soviet Union, as well as the predecessor of other secret police
organizations. Members of successor security organizations continued
to be referred to as "Chekisty" in the late 1980s.
(Frederick S. Litten)
"The Communist International's bureau in Vienna, responsible for the
Balkans, in the 1920s has several times made an appearance in the
literature. It is often connected with a man variously called
Goldstajn oder Goldenstein. In fact, these are two different people,
only the latter of whom can safely be connected with the Comintern's
Vienna bureau. Solomon L. Goldstajn (1884-1968) was a well-known
Bulgarian communist, who had been quite close to Lenin in Paris and
Zurich, but later had problems with Stalin. Ephraim Goldenstein
(1882-?) had been born in Kishinev, studied medicine in Berlin and
Vienna, and received his doctorate (with a dissertation on
gynaecology) from Munich University in 1911. In 1923 he reappears in
Vienna, first as an envoy of the Russian Red Cross, then as second
secretary of the Soviet Union's embassy. In 1925 he left Vienna and
may have been in Constantinople for some time. He re-enters the
picture in Berlin in 1927, again as second secretary of the Soviet
Union's embassy there. Yet, his activities for the Comintern and,
presumably, for the GPU came to the notice of several diplomats, so he
left in early 1930, shortly before G. S. Agabekov's memoirs hit the
bookstores: there, Goldenstein is described as GPU "resident" in
Berlin, to whom the "resident" in Paris and the Soviet agents in Great
Britain were subordinated and who still continued to concern himself
with the Balkans and the Middle East. Nothing certain is known about
Goldenstein's life after 1930."
National Counterintelligence Center
The Corps of Intelligence Police
From 1917 to WWII
Aleksandr Orlov, whose true name was Leon Lazarevich Feldbin, was born
on 21 August 1985 in Bobruisk, Russia. He was drafted into the Russian
army and stationed in the Urals in 1916. The next year he joined the
Bolshevik Party and graduated as a second lieutenant from the Third
Moscow Military School.
By September 1920 he was with the 12^th Red Army on the Polish front
where he was in charge of guerrilla activity and counterintelligence.
The successes of his work on the Polish front brought him to the
attention of Feliks Dzerzhinskiy, chief of the Cheka, the Soviet State
Security Service at the time. A year later, during a brief assignment
to Archangel, Orlov was married.
With his wife, Orlov returned to Moscow in 1921 to become assistant
prosecutor to the Soviet Supreme Court. While in this position, he
worked on the formation of the Soviet criminal code and, at
Dzerzhinskiy's request, investigated Soviet citizens accused of
economic crimes. Soon thereafter Dzerzhinskiy brought Orlov into the
Cheka as deputy chief of the Economic Directorate. He served in this
position until 1925 when he became brigade commander of the border
guards in Armenia. The following year Orlov was reassigned to the
Foreign Department in a newly created headquarters unit that was to
oversee and control Soviet foreign trade. Shortly thereafter, under
the alias Leon Nikolayev, Orlov was transferred to the Paris
representation as chief of Soviet intelligence operations in France.
From 1928 until 1931 he served at the Soviet Trade Delegation in
Berlin where he again was concerned with economic intelligence. As
deputy chief of the headquarters economic control component from 1933
to early 1936, Orlov traveled frequently to Europe, directing illegals
in operations against Germany. While still assigned in Moscow, he
served a year as deputy chief of the Department of Railways and Sea
Transport in the Soviet State Security Service."
In addition, there were many communists from all over Europe and
Russia in France at one or another time, some of them working
underground or as provocateurs. Here is a list of delegates from
France to the Second Congress of the Communist International.
Minutes of the Second Congress of the Communist International
MINEFF, S. (Vanini) (1893-?) ? Committee for the Third International.
Born in Bulgaria, he was a member of the ?Narrow? faction of the
Bulgarian SDP. During the war, he studied in Switzerland and attended
the Zimmerwald Conference, supporting Lenin?s group. He worked for the
CI from its foundation. In 1920 he went to France. Under Stalin, he
remained an agent of the CI, and worked in Spain in 1936 under the
GUILBEAUX, Henri (1984-1938) ? Socialist Party. A journalist who
tended towards anarchism, he supported the Zimmerwald Left during the
war. In 1919, he was condemned to death in absentia for treason by a
Paris military tribunal. He became the Berlin correspondent of
/L'HumanitÈ /until returning to France in 1932, when he was tried and
acquitted. He broke with communism and became sympathetic to Nazism.
LEFEBVRE, Raymond (1895-1920) ? Committee for the Third International.
A poet and novelist. Returning home after the 2CCI, together with the
anarcho-syndicalists Lepetit and Vergeat, he was drowned when their
boat sank in the Arctic Sea.
ROSMER, Alfred (1887-1964) ? Committee for the Third International.
Born to French parents in New York, he became a revolutionary
syndicalist. A friend of Trotsky in Paris during the war, he rallied
to Zimmerwald and the Russian Revolution. In 1922, the CI appointed
him to the leadership of the French CP. In 1924, he openly disagreed
with Moscow?s line and supported the Opposition. Expelled from the
Party, he fought actively for the Left Opposition until 1930, still
maintaining support for Trotsky?s position after this. In 1939-40, he
lived in Trotsky?s house in Mexico.
SADOUL, Jacques-Socialist Party. A lawyer who accompanied the
right-wing social-patriot Albert Thomas to Russia in 1917, to persuade
the Provisional Government to stay in the war, and stayed to support
the Bolsheviks. For this he was condemned to death /in abstentia/.
Always a careerist, he later acted as an agent of Stalinism,
especially in whitewashing the Moscow Trials.
ABRAMOVICH, A.E. (1888-196?) (C) ? Born in Russia, he was a Bolshevik
from 1908. From 1911 to 1917, he worked with Lenin in Switzerland and
returned to Russia with him. He worked for the CI in Western Europe
and was arrested in France in 1921.
CACHIN, Marcel (1869-1958) (C) ? Socialist Party. A member of Jules
Guesde?s Workers? Party and founder-member of the Socialist Party in
1905, he was elected Deputy in 1914. During the war he was a
social-patriot. After the February Revolution in 1917, he was one of
the socialists on the side of the Allied imperialism At the end of the
war, he began to move leftwards, emerging as a centrist at the 1920
Party Congress. At the Tours Congress in December 1920 he fought for
affiliation to the CI. On the formation of the CP he became its
leader. A centrist in the CP in 1921-22, from then on he followed the
line of the Stalinized CI. A Stalinist until his death.
FROSSARD, Louis-Oscar (1989-1964) (C) ? Socialist Party. He joined the
Socialist Party on its formation in 1905. During the war he was a
centrist. In 1918 he became secretary of the Socialist Party. After
the 2CCI he supported affiliation to the CI and became secretary of
the CP when it was formed. During 1922 and 1923, he came increasingly
into conflict with the CI and resigned from the CP. Rejoining the
Socialist Party, he became a right-wing politician. In 1944 he was
charged with collaboration with the Nazis, but acquitted.
GOLDENBERG, M. (1897-) ? Revolutionary Student Group. Born in Rumania,
he studied in Paris and joined the ?Socialist Youth Federation. After
the October Revolution, he supported Bolshevism, tending to ?leftism?.
After the 2CCI, he worked in Moscow under Riazanov. In 1928 he left
Russia and abandoned communism.
(THAL is also listed as a youth delegate. Since this was a pseudonym
used by Goldenberg, this is probably an error.)"
First part of Answer. Continued in Clarifications.
Clarification of Answer by
20 Oct 2003 09:46 PDT
Here is Victor Serge's list of important French delegates to the Third
Communist International Congress in Russia.
Memoirs of a Revolutionary. Victor Serge
from Chapter 4.
On Third Congress of Comintern
"The French, more sophisticated and more sceptical characters, were
generally of a different stuff. Andre Morizet, the mayor of Boulogne,
paraded his admirably sound and practical face and his drinking-songs
for the benefit of us all. (Even now, at Suresnes, in occupied France,
he is still fighting to keep his office as Labour mayor; he has
returned, after a long interval, to traditional Socialism.) Andre
Julien was piling up countless annotations for a work so compendious
that he was never to write it. (In 1936 and 1937, he was to be one of
the Socialist stalwarts of the Popular Front.)
Paul Vaillant-Couturier, a tank officer during the war, a poet,
popular orator and ex-servicemen?s leader, was a tall, chubby young
man of extraordinary talents, but fated to become a great
disappointment to me. He understood everything that was going on; but
in the future he was to acquiesce in his own corruption, to become
increasingly entangled with all the villainies of Bolshevism?s
degeneration, and to die, in working-class Paris, enviably popular.
Boris Souvarine, a Russian Jew by origin but a naturalized Frenchman,
had no Socialist background; he came to us, at the age of twenty-five,
from the world of left-wing journalism rather than from the
working-class movement, with an amazing zest for knowledge and action.
Slight and short, his eyes masked by lenses of unusual thick ness,
speech lisping slightly, manner aggressive and often quick both to
offend and to take offence, he had a habit of coming out suddenly with
awkward questions; he would deliver mercilessly realistic verdicts on
French personalities and events, and amuse himself by deflating
swollen heads by smart pinpricks of his own devising. His stock was
then very high, even though his first request on arrival was for a
tour of the prisons. All the time he showed a magnificent facility for
analysis, a lively grasp of realities, and an aptitude for polemic
that was designed to leave a trail of indignation wherever he went. He
became one of the leaders of the International and a member of its
Executive Committee. Souvarine, despite his expulsion from the
Comintern in 1924, was for some ten years to be one of the most
trenchant and perceptive brains of European Communism.
I was on very close terms with both the French Communist groups in
Russia, and was more or less the leader of the one in Petrograd. These
groups formed striking instances of the law whereby mass-movements
transform individuals, impel them into unpredictable courses of
development, and mould their convictions. They also illustrated the
law that the ebb-tide of events carries men away just as surely as the
flood-tide brings them in. Although their ranks included several
former French Socialists (whose inclinations had been quite alien to
Bolshevism), these zealous Communists, who for the most part were
perfectly sincere, came from all points of the political horizon only
to make a speedy departure once again in equally variegated
directions. The Moscow group was a little nest of vipers, although it
was led by Pierre Pascal, a man of exemplary character. The quarrels,
grudges, denunciations, and counter-denunciations of its two leading
figures at the time, Henri Guilbeaux and Jacques Sadoul, completely
demoralized it and finally earned the attentions of the Cheka.
Guilbeaux?s whole life was a perfect example of the failure who,
despite all his efforts, skirts the edge of success without ever
managing to achieve it. He wrote cacophonous poetry, kept a card-index
full of gossip about his comrades, and plagued the Cheka with
confidential notes. He wore green shirts and pea-green ties with
greenish suits; everything about him, including his crooked face and
his eyes, seemed to have a touch of mould. (He died in Paris, about
1938, by then an anti-Semite, having published two books proving
Mussolini to be the only true successor of Lenin.)
Jacques Sadoul was quite different: a Paris lawyer, an army captain,
an information-officer in Russia on behalf of Albert Thomas, a member
of the Comintern Executive, a flatterer of Lenin and Trotsky, a great
charmer, a splendid raconteur, a sybarite, and a cool careerist to
boot. However, he had produced a volume of Letters on the Revolution
which is still a document of the first importance.
[Albert Thomas (1878-1932) was Minister of Munitions in the First
World War and visited Russia after the February Revolution of 1917 in
an attempt to arouse enthusiasm for the Allies.]
He had been condemned to death in France for crossing over to the
Bolshevik side, but was one day to return home, times having changed,
with an acquittal. After that he trailed alongside the full course of
Stalinism, both as a lawyer acting for Soviet interests and as an
agent in Parliamentary circles, though at heart he did not entertain
the slightest illusion about Russia. The bread of bitterness tasted by
revolutionaries held no temptations for him.
Rene Marchand, once the Petrograd correspondent for the
Catholic-reactionary Figaro, was a fresh convert troubled by perpetual
crises of conscience. He was soon to go off to Turkey, there to
renounce Bolshevism and become an apologist, doubtless a sincere one,
for Kemal Ataturk.
The outstanding figure in the Moscow French Communist group was Pierre
Pascal, probably a distant descendant of Blaise Pascal, of whom he
reminded me. I had met him in Moscow in 1919./ /There, his head shaven
Russian-style, sporting a big Cossack moustache and smiling
perpetually with his bright eyes, he would walk through the city
barefoot and clad in a peasant tunic to the Commissariat of Foreign
Affairs, where he used to draft messages for Chicherin. A loyal and
circumspect Catholic, he used St. Thomas's Summa to justify his
adherence to Bolshevism and even his approval of the Terror. (The
texts of the learned saint lent themselves admirably to this task.)
Pascal led an ascetic life, sympathizing with the Workers? Opposition
and hobnobbing with the anarchists. He had been a lieutenant with the
French Military Mission, in charge of coding; he had crossed over to
the Revolution in the middle of the intervention, to dedicate himself
to it body and soul. He discussed its mystical significance with
Berdyaev and translated Blok?s poems. He was to suffer terribly as the
birth of totalitarianism progressed. I met him again in Paris in 1936.
He was now a professor at the Sorbonne, the author of a solid
biography of the Archpriest Avvakum, and more or less a Conservative.
We, who had almost been brothers, could not talk together about the
battle of Madrid...."
In the 1930s, many of the German communists who had been expelled (or
who had fled after the NAZI party's ascension) gravitated to Paris.
Cadres Department memorandum on "Trotskyists and other hostile
in the emigre community of the German CP."
THE LEGACY OF AN ENGINEER NAMED KRASIN
By Victor Topolyansky
"During the 1920 and 1930 the governments of many European states
(Poland, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, Yugoslavia, Lithuania,
Finland, Romania) outlawed the Communist Party. Nonetheless, these
local parties maintained underground organizations, and the
governments used a variety of tactics to infiltrate them. Many people
who fled persecutions in those countries emigrated to the USSR, where
they were originally welcomed as political refugees. Several of these
outlawed parties (e.g., the German, Hungarian ,Bulgarian, and Yugoslav
parties) established headquarters in Moscow; others (e.g., the Italian
and Polish parties) established their headquarters in Paris. The
ability of the ECCI to directly influence the parties in Moscow was
considerable. Overall responsibility for the affairs of political
émigrés and refugees in the USSR was the responsibility of MOPR
(International Organization for Aid to Revolutionary Fighters), which
was responsible to the ECCI. Although some of these refugees were
Communist Party members,many were not. MOPRs responsibilities
included locating housing, work, schooling, and other types of aid for
Second part of Answer. Continued...
Clarification of Answer by
20 Oct 2003 09:47 PDT
SUBJECTS OF INTEREST TO THE GPU
As first Lenin and then Stalin began purging the Political Bureau of
one party after another (Anarchists, Mensheviks, Social
Revolutionaries, Trotskyites, etc.) many of those who survived the
purges went to Paris, Berlin, Prague, and other capitals. This influx
of enemies of the new Soviet state would naturally be of interest to
the GPU, and ironically it would give it an opportunity to plant
agents among those groups.
Ironically, because of the GPU's rules of spycraft, inherited from the
OKHRANA, an agent might be both a spy and a target of surveillance at
the same time. There were layers of surveillance, and the GPU ran both
"internal" and "external" operatives. Internal operatives would spy on
members of the organization itself (or other communist party
functionaries), while external operatives would spy on groups outside
the party and the GPU. Thus, it was possible, even desirable (from the
perspective of the GPU), to have an internal operative and and
external operative, unknown to one another, implanted in the same
group, spying on on another, as a means of verifying the information
provided by each.
Lenins's justification for the purges.
"LEFT-WING" COMMUNISM -- AN INFANTILE DISORDER"
by V.I. Lenin
The Moscow workers movement in 1921 and the role of non-partyism
"Where it was most organised, the non-partyist tendency appears to
have been a loose coalition of the egalitarian workerists mentioned
above, workers who had supported the Bolsheviks in October but become
disillusioned, and SRs (particularly lefts) and Mensheviks who valued
their links with other workers more highly than their participation in
party groupings which were the Chekas chief targets.31 The Bolsheviks
regularly claimed that the non-partyists were undercover
Menshevik-SRs, and some historians agree. D.B. Pavlov, quoting
Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik, the Menshevik newspaper published in
Paris, argues that the threat of repression (arrests, mass sackings,
interruption of supplies) dissuaded workers from voting for
Menshevik-SR candidates or resolutions, and that non-partyism was
essentially used [as] a cover."
The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists
Dielo Trouda (Workers' Cause) 1926
Nestor Mhakno, Ida Mett, Piotr Archinov, Valevsky, Linsky
NESTER MAKHNO and PIOTR ARSHINOV with other exiled Russian and
Ukrainian anarchists in Paris, launched the excellent bimonthly Dielo
Trouda in 1925. It was an anarchist communist theoretical review of a
high quality. Years before, when they had both been imprisoned in the
Butirky prison in Moscow, they had hatched the idea of such a review.
Now it was to be put into practice. Makhno wrote an article for nearly
every issue during the course of three years. In 1926 the group was
joined by IDA METT (author of the expose of Bolshevism, The Kronstadt
Commune), who had recently fled from Russia. That year also saw the
publication of the Organisational Platform."
"The, publication of the Platform was met with ferocity and
indignation by many in the international anarchist movement. First to
attack it was the Russian anarchist Voline, now also in France, and
founder with Sebastian Faure of the Synthesis which sought to
justify a mishmash of anarchistcommunism, anarchosyndicalism and
individualist anarchism. Together with Molly Steimer, Fleshin, and
others, he wrote a reply stating that to "maintain that anarchism is
only a theory of classes is to limit it to a single viewpoint". Not to
be deterred, the Dielo Trouda group issued, on 5 February 1927 an
invitation to an 'international conference' before which a preliminary
meeting was to be held on the 12th of the same month. Present at this
meeting, apart from the Dielo Trouda group, was a delegate from the
French Anarchist Youth, Odeon; a Bulgarian, Pavel, in an individual
capacity; a delegate of the Polish anarchist group, Ranko, and another
Pole in an individual capacity; several Spanish militants, among them
Orobon Fernandez, Carbo, and Gibanel; an Italian, Ugo Fedeli; a
Chinese, Chen; and a Frenchman, DauphlinMeunier; all in individual
capacities. This first meeting was held in the small backroom of a
Parisian cafe. A provisional Commission was set up, composed of
Makhno, Chen and Ranko. A circular was sent out to all anarchist
groups on 22 February. An international conference was called and
took place on 20 April 1927, at Hay les Roses near Paris, in the
cinema Les Roses. As well as those who attended the first meeting was
one Italian delegate who supported the 'Platform', Bifolchi, and
another Italian delegation from the magazine 'Pensiero e Volonta',
Luigi Fabbri, Camillo Berneri, and Ugo Fedeli. The French had two
delegations, one of Odeon, favourable to the 'Platform' and another
with Severin Ferandel."
Trotsky and Trotskyites became the favorite persons of interest to the
GPU after his expulsion from the Party and exile (first in Asia, later
in Europe and America). See the section on Ignace Reiss, below.
Third part of the Answer. Continued...
Clarification of Answer by
20 Oct 2003 09:48 PDT
It is interesting that the Cheka took the example of the Imperial
Secret Police a step further in the employment of women as agents.
Whereas the OKHRANA made full use of women as field agents,
informants, and moles but never in any supervisory capacity, the Cheka
from the first placed women as supervisors in important posts. Indeed,
even before the revolution and the foundation of the USSR, Krupskaya,
the wife of Lenin, controlled much of the security apparatus of the
exiled revolutionary Bolsheviks. After the revolution and the
formation of the Cheka, women assumed places in its hierarchy, both in
Moscow and elsewhere in the Soviet Union and abroad.
Ladies 1st - E
"Eugenie Mikhailovna Shakhovskaya - Princess ..... the FIRST Russian
woman to serve as a military pilot and probably the first in the
world. She gained her certificate at Johannisthal, Germany, on 16th
August 1911 and at the outbreak of WW1 made a personal request to the
Tsar that she be allowed to serve as a military pilot. In November
1914 she was posted to the 1st Field Air Squadron as a reconnaissance
pilot. She survived both the war and the Revolution and subsequently
served in the Cheka ( Bolshevik secret police) at Kiev, in the post of
chief executioner - unusual work for a young woman of noble birth."
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK "ACE OF SPIES" BIOGRAPHY OF SIDNEY REILLY
"Some success he may have had but it was a far cry to Moscow and the
overthrow of the Bolsheviks and he received a severe jolt when an old
friend of his, Maria Shovalosky, was lured back to Russia and never
heard of again. She had defected from the Soviet Embassy in Paris and
it had been Reilly who had helped her escape in a packing case. With
her hair cut short and disguised as a man she had eventually reached
America. As a reprisal, the Russians had arrested her father, but it
was not long before she received letters from him begging her to
return to assist in an escape plan he had. The letters seemed
absolutely genuine but in reality were the work of G.P.U. forgers;
their manufactured documents and letters were works of art and had
lured countless victims back to Russia to face torture and death at
the hands of Adamson, the secret policeÔøΩs Latvian chief
executioner, and his assistants.
Adamson, who was the epitome of all that was base in human nature, had
the unpleasant habit of taking his female victims from the J.O.K.(the
solitary confinement wing for women prisoners) and raping them
immediately prior to execution. He was almost as vicious as " mad
Dora", the Cheka female executioner, who, in a fit of blood lust,
personally shot 700 prisoners in the space of a few nights before
putting the hangman's noose round her own neck. After her mass murder,
the prison cellars were filled with corpses. Torn off fingers and
other parts of the human body scattered on the ground bore silent
witness to hideous
The Paris Operations of the Russian Imperial Police
"The women were at least as colorful as the men--maybe more so. One
example was "Francesco," the wife of a respected Moscow physician.
While a student at Moscow University, she made three vows: to love her
husband, to help kill the tsar, and to work for the Okhrana. Only the
last promise was kept.
Another interesting female operative was known only as La Petite. As a
13-year-old milkmaid, she spied for Polish nationalists while
delivering milk to the Okhrana office in Warsaw. Her target: office
trash cans that sometimes contained copies of secret messages and
names of informants in Poland. During World War I she worked for the
Russians against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, posing as an Austrian
citizen. After the war she retired to Monte Carlo, where she was known
Ignace Reiss (real name Poretsky) was a Pole (like Felix Dzerzhinsky),
an undercover agent of the GPU in Europe. His main claim to fame
appears to be his sympathy with Trotsky, whom he warned of an
assassination plot in 1937. Reiss was incensed by the "Show Trials" in
Moscow, which had been staged by Stalin to discredit Trotsky and to
purge all the remaining Old Bolsheviks. Reiss broke his own cover, and
sent an open letter to Stalin protesting the trials and the
persecution of Trotsky. As a result of this public break with Moscow,
Reiss himself was assassinated in Switzerland by an agent of the GPU.
Reiss used the code name Ludwig. Trotsky himself was assassinated in
Mexico in 1940. His son, Leon Sedov, had been killed in Paris earlier.
From Guardians to Executioners
"The "Cheka"----the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating
Counter-Revolution, Speculation, Sabotage, and Misuse of
Authority----was the agency that carried out the directives of the
Council of Peoples Commissars. Established in December 1917, the
Cheka grew out of the Petrograd Soviets "Military Revolutionary
Committee," which, under Trotsky, had organized the October uprising.
The Cheka was instructed, as its name implies, to suppress crime,
bureaucratic abuse and counterrevolution."
"The first head of the Cheka (which in 1922 was reorganized as the
"State Political Administration" or GPU) was Felix Dzerzhinsky..."
"Yezhov also supervised the hunting down and murder of many members of
the Trotskyist movement in Europe. A GPU agent, Mark Zborowski,
managed to infiltrate the inner circle of the fledgling Fourth
International in Paris. He arranged the murder of Trotskys son,
Sedov, and also of Rudolf Klement, who was in charge of organizing the
Internationals founding conference. Zborowski was also probably
responsible for the assassination in 1937 in Switzerland of former
Soviet intelligence agent Ignace Reiss (Poretsky), who only a few
weeks earlier had broken with the counterrevolutionary Stalinist
murder machine and declared his solidarity with the Fourth
The House in Coyoacan - Reflections on Trotsky's last years
"All this was intended as a preparation and a cover for murder. Early
in 1935, Soviet intelligence agent Mikhail Shpigelglas received verbal
instructions from Yagoda, who had in turn received them from Stalin,
to "speed up the liquidation of Trotsky." Shpigelglas mobilised the
entire agency in France, including a Polish Communist called Ignace
Reiss, who had worked for the GPU from 1925. But Reiss was not a
typical GPU mercenary. He was a genuine Communist who was sickened by
Showing great courage, Ignace Reiss came out in favour of Trotsky and
wrote to the Central Committee of the CPSU: "I have come thus far with
you, but I will not go one step further [Ö] Whoever remains silent now
becomes an accomplice of Stalin and a traitor to the cause of the
working class and socialism." He returned his Order of the Red Banner
that he had received as "a heroic fighter for Communism," commenting
that "to wear it while the executors of the best representatives of
the working class are also wearing it is beneath my dignity." Six
weeks later, on September 4, 1937, Reiss was found murdered in Zurich.
Trotsky was warned of Stalin's plans by Ignace Reiss before his
assassination, and left France before Stalin could have him killed."
ICL Decrees: No More Reiss Factions
"Ignace Reiss (Poretsky) was a long-time member of Soviet military
intelligence who broke with Stalin in 1937 and heroically declared
himself a supporter of the Fourth International. Shortly afterward he
was murdered by Stalinist assassins. Trotsky saw Reiss as a
representative of a potential revolutionary section within the
bureaucracy, as opposed to openly pro-capitalist elements symbolized
by one Fyodor Butenko, a Soviet diplomat who defected to fascist
Italy. In the words of the 1938 Transitional Program, the founding
document of the Fourth International, ?all shades of political thought
are to be found among the bureaucracy: from genuine Bolshevism (Ignace
Reiss) to complete fascism (F. Butenko)."
The May 24th Attempt to Assassinate Trotsky
"It is first of all necessary to affirm that the attempted
assassination could only be instigated by the Kremlin; by Stalin
through the agency of the GPU abroad. During the last few years,
Stalin has shot hundreds of real or supposed friends of mine. He
actually exterminated my entire family, except me, my wife and one of
my grandchildren. Through his agents abroad he assassinated one of the
old leaders of the GPU, Ignace Reiss, who had publicly declared
himself a partisan of mine. This fact has been established by the
French police and the Swiss judiciary. The same GPU agents who killed
Reiss trailed my son in Paris. On the night of November 7, 1936 GPU
agents broke into the Scientific Institute of Paris and stole part of
my archives. Two of my secretaries, Erwin Wolff and Rudolf Kiement,
were assassinated by the GPU; the first in Spain, the second in Paris.
All the theatrical Moscow trials during 1936-37 had as their aim to
get me into the hands of the GPU."
It should be noted that assassinations were carried out by a special
organization with the GPU, the almost legendary SMERSH, immortalized
by Ian Fleming in his 007 novels. SMERSH was a real organ of state
terror, not at all like the fictional caricature.
Soviet Assassination Division of KGB (1917 - )
"Ever since the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, a division of Soviet
intelligence has been responsible for seeking out and blackmailing,
kidnapping, or killing anyone who opposed the Communist regime,
especially defecting Russians or Russians opposing the regime who live
abroad. Non-Russians who have proved to be particularly antagonistic
to the Soviets have also been selected for action by SMERSH, a phrase
meaning "Death to Spies!" (Smert Shpionam.) This slogan is said to
have been coined by Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin and certainly
reflected his own murderous character.
SMERSH is actually the Ninth Division of the KGB, which is dedicated
to Terror and Diversion, led and staffed by the most fanatical
Communist killers. Its sophisticated murder techniques were found in
the novels of Ian Fleming and others but they grimly existed in
reality. Though the title SMERSH ceased to be used by the KGB after
1948, the organization continues to exist.
SMERSH was originally created into five separate sections. The first
section works inside the Red Army, ferreting out dissident soldiers
and summarily executing them. The second section of SMERSH collects
information and, during wartime, is responsible for dropping agents
behind enemy lines. The third section is responsible for collating and
disseminating information and issuing orders. The fourth section
investigates suspects and has the authority to make arrests. The fifth
section is made up of three-man tribunals of high-ranking soviet
officers who hear cases and pass judgment. All sentences by the
tribunals are final and, if execution is ordered, it is carried out
"Throughout the 1930's, SMERSH agents roamed throughout Western
Europe, seeking out fallen-away Communists. They tracked down and shot
Ignace Reiss, who had been the resident director of the KGB in France
and who had denounced Stalin for his blood bath purges in Russia.
Reiss' close friend, Walter G. Krivitsky, the first ranking GRU
officer to defect, testified as to the ruthlessness of SMERSH and was
himself tracked down to a Washington hotel room and murdered. The most
celebrated SMERSH assassination was that of Leon Trotsky, who had led
the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 in Russia with Vladimir Ilich
Ulyanov Lenin. He had been exiled from Russia in 1929 by his nemesis,
Joseph Stalin, but had conducted an intense propaganda campaign
against the Russian dictator. Stalin had ordered Trotsky murdered."
Pavel Sudoplatov, Special Tasks - Peter Myers
IGNACE REISS and THE SHOW TRIALS
The Diary of Victor Serge
The Moscow Trials
1937: Stalin's Year of Terror
Fourth part of the Answer. Continued...
Clarification of Answer by
20 Oct 2003 09:52 PDT
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
The Cheka/GPU used traditional spycraft to infiltrate the exile
community. It has been documented that the Soviet secret police
adopted almost wholesale the techniques of the Imperialist Secret
Police, only varying in the ruthless with which they operated. Soviet
defectors have revealed that the Cheka and its successors down to the
KGB used the actual operational and training manuals that had been
written by the Imperial OKHRANA. Victor Serge gives an account of the
OKHRANA's methods and his recommendations that the revolutionaries
adopt its methods of spycraft. Nearly everybody had acquaintances on
the "other side", and nearly everybody had changed sides (numerous
times, for some), and it was thus plausible to refer to another time
as representing one's "true" allegiance.
What everyone should know about repression
The May 24th Attempt to Assassinate Trotsky
"How the GPU Is Organized
The general scheme of the GPU organization abroad is the following: in
the Central Committee of each section of the Coinintern there is
placed a responsible director of the GPU for that country./ His status
is known only to the secretary of the party and one or two trustworthy
members. The other members of the Central Committee have but a slight
inkling of the special status of this member.
As a member of the Central Committee the country?s GPU representative
has the possibility of approaching with full legality all members of
the party, study their characters, entrust them with commissions, and
little by little draw them into the work of espionage and terrorism,
appealing to their sense of party loyalty as much as to bribery.
This whole mechanism was discovered in France and Switzerland in
connection with the murder of Reiss and the later moves against my
dead son and other persons. As for the United States. Krivitskv
established that the sister of Browder. general secretary of the
party, became a GPU agent through her brother?s recommendation. This
example proves the rule rather than an exception.
Agents of the GPU upon coming to a foreign country for a specific task
always work through the local head of the GPU, the above mentioned
member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; without this
they could not orient themselves in the local situation and select the
indispensable executors of their mission. The emissary from abroad and
the local resident and their trustworthy aides work out the general
plan of their undertaking, study the list of possible collaborators
and draw them into the conspiracy step by step."
The Comintern and the GPU
"Here is the explanation. In 1928 when I was expelled from the party
and exiled to Central Asia it was still impossible to talk not only of
execution but even of arrest. The generation with which I had gone
through the October revolution and the Civil War was still alive. The
Political Bureau felt itself besieged from all sides. From Central
Asia I had the opportunity of maintaining unbroken connections with
the opposition which was growing. In these conditions Stalin, after
vacillating for a year, decided to apply exile abroad as the lesser
evil. His arguments were: Isolated from the USSR, deprived of an
apparatus and material resources Trotsky will be impotent to undertake
anything. Stalin calculated moreover that after he had succeeded in
discrediting me utterly in the eyes of the country, he could without
difficulty obtain my return to Moscow from the friendly Turkish
government for the final reckoning."
"In recent years the GPU has destroyed several hundred of my friends
in the USSR, including members of my family. In Spain the GPU killed
my former secretary Erwin Wolfe and a number of my political
co-thinkers; in Paris they killed my son Leon Sedov who was hunted by
Stalin's professional murderers for two years. In Lausanne,
Switzerland, the GPU killed Ignace Reiss who came over from the ranks
of the GPU to the side of the Fourth International. In Paris Stalin's
agents killed another of my former secretaries, Rudolph Klement whose
body was found in the Seine. This list could be continued
Mirrors Of Moscow
by Louise Bryant
Jacob Peters, Fedore S. Dzerzhinsky and the Extraordinary Commission
In general, the ability to infiltrate groups and organizations depends
upon a variation of the "confidence" game. It relies upon knowledge of
the needs, desires, and aspirations of individuals and groups. An
agent will approach an individual and offer a confidence, some secret,
some message from home, some appeal, which will place the agent in
peril if it is disclosed. Seemingly, the target of the agent's
attention will have the agent in his power. In fact, the agent has
gained the advantage. The target will gradually be convinced that the
agent is genuine, and then the betrayal will begin.
Interview with Vladimir Semichastny
"*Interviewer:* The Soviet intelligence service is almost unique in
its use of illegals. How were they trained? How did they actual
prepare an illegal for an assignment abroad?
*Vladimir Semichastny:* I cannot say that it was the most important
issue on our agenda. Let's put it this way, it was not a mass
production. The illegals were used with what you call, may call,
conventional intelligence procedures. The idea was to train them
properly to do this or that country, to put down the roots, open
business, to establish certain relations, friendships. To get to the
institutions or the companies we were interested in and thus to obtain
necessary information. There were not so many of them, because it's
unique. Yeah, you're correct in saying not every intelligence in the
world are using the illegals. As for the process itself, I cannot
disclose it, because I would not be surprised that this work is still
continuing. So I do not want to give any hints regarding it. One of
our generals in his book -- he touched upon this issue to a certain
extent and that gave the possibility for the United States counter
intelligence to find some of our guys there. So, if it is a useful
work let them continue it. In any case, I would like to stress that it
is a very difficult and very intense work. You do not train illegals
in auditory room or in the classes. It's a piecemeal operation. You
work with an individual, one on one, and only in such a way, we can
make them look like an Englishman or a Spaniard or a German."
Interview with Igor Prelin KGB Colonel
"*Interviewer:* A number of the top revolutionaries had worked under
cover abroad hadn't they? How did that influence the tone of the
*Igor Prelin:* Top Soviet leaders are the first ears of the Soviet
power, such as Lenin, Trotsky, Dzerzhinsky, and many others had a very
wide experience living as illegals and as political immigrants in the
foreign countries--in a number of the foreign countries. And over
there, they've established various kind of contacts with different
people and their experience, when the Soviet External Intelligence
were established, it, their experience influenced greatly the forms
and methods of work of the Soviet Intelligence. Thus illegals became
of a certain house dish of the Soviet intelligence in the future
*Igor Prelin:* Ah, in the twenties and in the thirties, when the
Soviet intelligence officers were playing, planning to go abroad. The
superiors of the Soviet Intelligence. They were sending them to the
old Bolsheviks, who were still living here, and they were providing
them with the names and the addresses of their former colleagues, or
the former contacts in these or that country. So when a person was
coming there he would just passing around these people, renewing the
contacts, and was practically getting complete agent network at hand.
*Interviewer:* That's lovely. Next question is, why was the Cheka
formed? For what purpose was the Cheka formed?
*Igor Prelin:* The Cheka, which is an abbreviation for the old Russian
Extraordinary Commission for Fight against Counter Revolution and
Sabotage, was formed under Lenin's decree on December 20^th , 1917.
And this was the first Russian Secret Service. Then the name was
changed at a later stage. New functions appeared, such as in 1918, the
special depart?so-called departments in the army were formed in
December of 1920. The Soviet External Intelligence was organized.
*Interviewer:* Is it true that one of the early roles of Soviet
Intelligence was to eliminate, liquidate, or assassinate enemies
*Igor Prelin:* In 1922, when the Civil War was over, the fight against
the counter-revolution hasn't ended. Hasn't finished. The majority of
the White Guard, Monarchists, and all other enemies of the Soviet
power, they went abroad. And so they keep on fighting against the
Soviet power from there. So we can put it this way, that the first ten
years of the Soviet State, the main task of the Soviet External
Intelligence was struggle against the counter-revolutionary forces in
the countries of their residence at this time. That means abroad. And,
for us the civil war hasn't ended then. It was just moved on somebody
*Interviewer:* So the question will be did that involve assassinating
*Igor Prelin:* So, the fighting against their counter-revolutionaries,
include first of all search and destroy for their terrorist and the
sabotage groups which was sent to the territory of the Soviet Union
from abroad. Secondly, the actual termination or liquidation of the
heads of these organizations in the country of their domicile, and
also different attempts to undermine the--these organisations, or the
relations and the unity of these organisations by providing various
explicit information, etc.
*Interviewer:* What exactly is an illegal?
*Igor Prelin:* So, in our definition an illegal is a--a Soviet
citizen, Intelligence Officer, who was specially trained and who can
pose himself as a foreigner and who does to some foreign country,
presenting himself as a citizen of some third country. That means that
if he were trying to be a French man he would be going to Germany or
to England. If he was trying to be a--a German maybe he would go to
England, but the United States. He would to be an American citizen; he
would go most probably to Latin America. We have our joke, when he was
asked what is his profession; the answer was he's a foreigner.
*Interviewer:* Why did Soviet Intelligence need to use illegals so
*Igor Prelin:* There are three main reasons for which the Soviet
External Intelligence and Military Intelligence use illegals so
widely. First of all it took many years till the Soviet State was
recognized by other countries. And at this time there was no
possibility, as there were no representative officers, or no
embassies, to send an Intelligence Officer abroad. Secondly, even when
the context had been established, there were not so many of Soviet
citizens there, and they were able to work abroad, officially, only at
the embassy, trade represented, or may be as--um--a journalist of some
Party newspaper. And this person had to carry their Soviet passport.
They were living in the house with a red flag on top of it, and every
counter intelligence of the police knew they--they'd better have close
look at them. And the third thing which I have mentioned, we have
mentioned earlier is that the--all the top leaders of the Soviet State
has a very wide illegal experience of their pre-revolutionary past.
And these Bolshevik traditions have influenced greatly, different
spheres of the Soviet Society in the first decades including the
The Basis of the Story
Fifth part of Answer. Continued...
Clarification of Answer by
20 Oct 2003 09:53 PDT
Conclusion of the Answer.
The Eremin Letter (controversial letter alleging that Stalin was an
informant for the OKHRANA)
"In 1923 several monarchist emigres (General Pyotr Krasnov, Duke Georg
Leuchtenberg) joined to form the "Brotherhood of Russian Truth," which
intended to carry terror to the Soviet Union. They may actually have
sent off agents or they may have just collected money from foolish
sponsors to support their bar-bills, but branches were alleged to
exist in Paris, Berlin, Belgrade, and Harbin."
"After the death of Wrangel in 1927 General Kutepov took over as head
of the ROVS, the veterans associations. In 1930 Kutepov was
kidnapped--presumably by the Soviet secret police--and was never heard
from again. Kutepov was succeeded as head of the ROVS by General
Miller. During 1932 Miller and his colleague, Nicholas Skoblin,
organized networks of agents to penetrate the Soviet Union. This
enterprise ended disastrously, both for the spy-masters "manque" who
were unable to raise the money to send off the full complement of
agents and still more so for the handful of agents who were sent off
with cut-rate forged passports. Skoblin was subsequently accused of
being a Soviet agent himself, but was cleared by a "court of honor."
From there he went on to command the White counter-intelligence
service known as the "inner line." Apparently Skoblin preferred to use
this organization as a means to gather information on other emigres.
Surrounded with men like this, Miller failed to command the same sort
of general support among the emigres as had his two predecessors.
Moreover, by those on the far right of the emigration (admittedly an
expression that boggles the mind) he was regarded as too soft and too
hesitant as he negotiated with Franco over Russian volunteers for the
Nationalist army's revolt against the Spanish Republic. In 1937
General Miller went to a meeting arranged by General Skoblin. Like
Kutepov, Miller disappeared forever in what was taken to be a Soviet
secret police kidnapping. Skoblin was soon implicated in the
disappearance, but succeeded in making his escape. His wife was not
so fortunate: arrested and convicted of complicity in the abduction,
she received a twenty year sentence in a widely publicized trial in
1938. In the wake of Miller's kidnapping, one French police official
dismissed the suggestion that the disappearance originated from within
the émigré community. He described the emigres as "lacking cohesion,
self-devouring, scraping by from day to day, and ethnically incapable,
unless they have leaders, of conceiving and especially of executing a
plot of this scope."
"One unnerving aspect of the Thirties in France was the polarization
of the political system toward extremes, neither of which could really
be regarded as sympathetic to the needs of the White Russian
community. During the Twenties, the refugees were able to find
friends in French politics on the nationalist right. Senators Gustave
Gautherot and Henry Lemery and Andre Tardieu were particularly strong
supporters of the emigres. However, the Socialist deputy Marius
Moutet earned the highest honors among the refugees for his constant
efforts on their behalf with the government."
SOME ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Operations of the OHKRANA; its use of female agents.
3. The Sherlock Holmes of the Revolution (counter-intelligence
techniques of one of the pre-revolution Bolshevik spy catchers,
Burtzev, who operated in Paris)
5. The Okhrana's Female Agents
6. The Okhrana's Female Agents Part II: Indigenous Recruits
A Biographical Sketch
The Moscow Trials (A polemical look at the trials by a Trotskist.)
Part One: The Moscow Frame-Up Trials: 'Shoot the mad dogs!'
The Diary of Victor Serge II (Serge's account of the Ignace Reiss
Communist Secret Police: NKVD (Peoples Commissariat for Internal
TL's History of the Ch.K.-OGPU-NKVD-KGB (history of the movement of
the secret police organ within the Soviet bureaucracy and its
1937: Stalin's Year of Terror
By Vadim Z. Rogovin
Nicolai Yezhov (Google cache)
AKA: The Bloody Dwarf
The Unhappy Elitist: Victor Serge's Early Bolshevism
Symon Petliura: An Introduction (Ukranian apology for Petliura)
Life of a Soviet Spy (story of Samuel Ginsburg, friend of Ignace
REILLY, SIDNEY GEORGE b 1874 d 1925
Index of Declassified Studies in Intelligence Articles
From the Okhrana to the KGB : Andrew, Christopher : Fall 1989
Letter to the Editor: A Comment on A Note on KGB Style : Monkiewicz,
John W. : Special Edition 1972
Note on KGB Style, A : Lambridge, Wayne : Winter 1971
The Strange Case of Helen Demidenko
"This latter controversy is particularly bitter because of the fact
that in 1926, in Paris a Ukrainian Jew, Shalom Schwarzband,
assassinated Petlyura, handed himself over to the police, and used his
trial to provide evidence to the world of the massacres of the Jews
and of Petlyura's political and personal responsibility for them.
After the trial most historically minded Jews were convinced that
Petlyura was a pogromist; their Ukrainian counterparts that
Schwarzband was a Cheka agent. Nor was this controversy of merely
historical interest. When, in 1941, the SS arrived in Western Ukraine
they provided for the police formations they licensed to kill the Jews
the following slogan: "Revenge for the assassination of ataman