Military Review

Soviet history of poisoning

As early as the second half of 30, a special toxicology laboratory was established in the NKVD, which from 1940 was headed by a brigade doctor and later by Colonel of State Security Professor Grigory Mayranovsky (until 1937, he headed a group on poisons in the Institute of Biochemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences, also working under patronage of the state security organs; in the NKVD for the same purposes there was also a bacteriological laboratory, headed by the colonel of the medical service, Professor Sergey Muromtsev). In 1951, Mayranovsky was arrested as part of a campaign to combat cosmopolitanism, sentenced to 10-year imprisonment, and in 1960, shortly after being released from prison, died under unexplained circumstances. Most likely, he himself became a victim of poison - he knew too much, and he even tried to bother about rehabilitation.

From prison, Mayranovsky proudly wrote to Beria: "With my hand, more than a dozen of the sworn enemies of the Soviet government, including all nationalists, were destroyed." During the investigation and trial of Beria, he and his subordinate, General Pavel Sudoplatov, were charged with poisoning four people. These cases are described in Sudoplatov’s memoirs "Special Operations. Lubyanka and the Kremlin". Incidentally, the sentence in the case of Sudoplatov, passed by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court in the year 1958 (Pavel Anatolyevich was given 15 years), states:

"Beria and his accomplices, committing serious crimes against humanity, experienced deadly, painful poisons on living people. Similar criminal experiments occurred in relation to a large number of people sentenced to capital punishment, and against persons who are undesirable to Beria and his accomplices. Special the laboratory, established to conduct experiments to test the effect of poison on a living person, worked under the supervision of Sudoplatov and his deputy Eitingon from 1942 to 1946 a year, which were required from laboratory workers tested on humans. "

In 1946, one of the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists, Shumsky, who was in exile in Saratov, was thus destroyed; in 1947, the Greek Catholic archbishop of Transcarpathia Romza was destroyed in the same way. Both of them died from acute heart failure, which was actually the result of the introduction of curare poison. Shumsky made a mortal injection on the train personally to Mayranovsky in the presence of Sudoplatov, and Romzh was poisoned in this way after a car accident arranged by the Chekists.

A Jewish engineer from Poland, Samet, who was engaged in secret work on submarines in Ulyanovsk, became a victim of poisons from Mayranovsky. When the "organs" became aware that Samet was going to leave for Palestine, the KGB grabbed him, took him out of the city, made a lethal injection of curare, and then imitated death from acute heart failure. Another unfortunate is the American Oggins, who worked closely with the Comintern and was arrested in 1946. During the war years, his wife turned to the American authorities with a request to get her husband out of the USSR. The American representative in 1938 met with Oggins in Butyrka prison. The MGB did not want to let him go so that he could not tell the truth about the Gulag in the West. In 1943, Oggins was given a lethal injection at the prison hospital.

According to Sudoplatov’s very thorough suggestion, in the same year 1947, with the help of poison, a Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was killed in the Lubyanka prison, according to the official Soviet-Russian version, who died of acute heart failure. The motive for the murder could be the same as in the case of Oggins: the Swedish Foreign Ministry was interested in the fate of Wallenberg.

Let us name a number of other cases in which, as might be supposed, poisons from the special laboratory of the KGB were used. So, in 1956, the nephew of the former Japanese prime minister Prince Konoe, an officer in the Japanese army, who was involved in rather delicate negotiations, was repatriated to Japan from the USSR. On the way, he died of transient typhus. The last commandant of Berlin, Helmut Weidling, died in November of 1955 in a Vladimir prison from acute heart failure after the decision was made to repatriate him. Perhaps Khrushchev did not want him to tell the public about Hitler’s last days and the circumstances of his suicide. It is not excluded that German field marshal Ewald von Kleist, who died in October 1954 of acute heart failure, was killed in a similar manner in the same Vladimir prison. The Soviet leadership probably did not want such an experienced military leader to find himself in the Federal Republic of Germany sooner or later, and could also take revenge on him, since it was Kleist who was one of the initiators of the formation of Cossack units of the Wehrmacht from former Soviet citizens. By the way, in those years when Kleist and Weidling died, Mayranovsky was also kept in Vladimirka. Was it a twist of fate, or did Grigory Moiseevich decide to use it in a major specialty?

All sanctions against poisoning were given by the top political leadership — Stalin or Khrushchev. It is possible that earlier, back in 1934, the well-known Ukrainian historian Mikhail Hrushevsky, the former head of the Central Rada, was poisoned. He died shortly after an injection in a Moscow clinic.

Finally, in 1957 and 1959. KGB killer Bogdan Stashinsky killed the leaders of Ukrainian nationalists Lev Rebeta and Stepan Bandera (for some reason, the Ukrainians are especially lucky for “KGB” poisoning, at least with those that became known), about which repented and left 1961 year in Germany Stashinsky honestly told the West German court. In 1958, with the help of radioactive talc, they tried to kill the Soviet defector Nikolai Khokhlov, who was ordered by the KGB to kill the head of the NTS, Grigory Okulovich, and the chairman of the Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky. Khokhlova with great difficulty was rescued by American doctors, he spent a whole year in the hospital.

The last known poisoning to which the KGB was involved belongs to the 1980 year, when in London, with the help of a poisoned umbrella, the Bulgarian dissident Georgy Markov, who worked for the BBC, was fatally injured. This operation was carried out by the state security organs of Bulgaria, but the poison was conveyed to them by the KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who frankly admitted this in the years of perestroika.

However, just in the case of Viktor Yushchenko, the secret service hardly had a powerful toxicology laboratory: it would most likely have chosen a more suitable poison for poisoning, which would be lethal and leave no persistent marks in the body, unlike dioxins. Most likely, the people who poisoned Yushchenko used the first poisons they came across that could be used to mix it in advance with food. For this purpose poisons based on hydrocyanic acid, which decompose in the open air or react with sugar and some other food substances, are not suitable. (Therefore, for example, it was not possible to poison Gangey Rasputin with potassium cyanide: the poison was placed in cakes and in sweet Madeira, and it decomposed from interaction with sugar.) But persistent dioxins can be easily dissolved in any fatty food.

Soviet history of poisoning

"Active events" of the Soviet special services

The legal basis for carrying out "active operations" abroad was a decree dictated by Stalin and adopted by the CEC of the USSR 21 November 1927, which read: "Persons who refuse to return to the USSR are outlawed. Declaring outlaws entails: a) confiscation of all property convict, b) shooting a convict after 24 hours after his identity was certified. This law is retroactive. " This decree was also applied against those immigrants from the later-annexed territories to the USSR, which themselves were never subjects of the Russian Empire or citizens of the Soviet Union. The Soviet agents destroyed such prominent security officers as Ignatius Reuss, Walter Krivitsky and Georgy Agabekov. At the same time, at the end of the 20s, a special group of Comintern and intelligence officers was created under the head of the OGPU, Vyacheslav Menzhinsky, whose main task was to destroy the political opponents of the USSR, primarily from among the Russian emigrants and defectors. The most famous "active actions" of the Soviet secret services were the abductions of generals Alexander Kutepov and Yevgeny Miller, the killing of the leaders of Ukrainian nationalists Yevgeny Konovalets, Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera, the main political opponent of Stalin Lev Trotsky and President of Afghanistan Hafizulla Amin.

Abduction of General Kutepov

The head of the Russian All-Union Union, General Alexander Kutepov, was abducted by Soviet agents in Paris 26 in January 1930, with the assistance of one of the ROVS leaders, General Nikolai Skoblin. The officers of the OGPU, one of whom was in the form of a French police officer, shoved Kutepov into a car, put him to death with the help of an injection and took the general to the port of Marseille. There, Kutepov was loaded onto a Soviet motor ship under the guise of a senior mechanic who was walking the line. In protest against the abduction of thousands of Paris taxi drivers by 6, mostly Russian immigrants went on strike. Prominent representatives of the Russian emigration demanded that the French authorities intervene and release the general, but by that time the ship with Kutepov had already left the territorial waters of France. According to the version coming from the KGB, General Kutepov died of a heart attack shortly after the ship passed the Black Sea straits, in 100 miles from Novorossiysk.

The reason for the abduction and, possibly, the killing of Kutepov was his active struggle against Soviet power, which he continued in exile, in particular by sending terrorist groups to Russia to destroy the party leaders and OGPU officers.

Abduction of General Miller

Kutepov’s successor as chairman of the ROVS, General Yevgeny Miller, was abducted in Paris on September 22, 1937 by officers of the NKVD with the assistance of their long-standing agents, General Nikolai Skoblin and the former Minister of the Provisional Government, Sergei Tretyakov (the headquarters of the ROVS was located in the house on Koliz Street belonging to Tretyakov). ) Skoblin lured Miller into a trap, inviting him to a meeting with representatives of German intelligence. Evgeny Karlovich suspected something was amiss and left a note where he warned that he was leaving for a meeting with Skoblin and if he didn’t return, it means that Skoblin is a traitor. Miller was taken aboard the Soviet ship "Maria Ulyanova" in a closed wooden box under the guise of a particularly valuable cargo. Deputy Miller General Peter Kusonsky delayed opening the note, which enabled Skoblin to escape from Paris to republican Spain. There he was soon killed by the NKVD. According to the version published by the late General of State Security Pavel Sudoplatov, Skoblin died in a Franco aviation to Barcelona. His last letter from Spain to an unknown NKVD officer named Stakh is dated November 11, 1937. Tretyakov, who helped Skoblin escape after being exposed, was executed in 1943 by the Germans as a Soviet spy. Skoblin's wife, singer Nadezhda Plevitskaya, was convicted by a French court as an accomplice to the abduction of Miller and died in a French prison in 1941.

After Miller’s announcement of the note, the French authorities protested to the Soviet embassy against the abduction of the general and threatened to send the destroyer to intercept the Soviet ship Maria Ulyanova that had just left Gavr. Ambassador Jacob Suritz stated that the French side would bear full responsibility for the detention of a foreign ship in international waters, and warned that Miller would not be found on the ship anyway. The French retreated, probably realizing that the KGB would not give up their live prey. Miller was taken to Leningrad and on September 29 was on the Lubyanka. There he was kept as a "secret prisoner" under the name of Peter Vasilyevich Ivanov. 11 May 1939, on the personal order of Commissar of Internal Affairs Lawrence Beria, undoubtedly sanctioned by Stalin, was shot by NKVD commandant Vasily Blokhin.

The murder of Eugene Konovalets

The leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), Yevgeny Konovalets, a former ensign of the Austrian army and former commander of the Siege Corps of the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1918-1919, was killed in Rotterdam on 23 in May 1938, by a bomb blast. The bomb was handed over to him under the guise of a box of Lviv chocolates by a personnel officer of the NKVD and the future lieutenant-general of state security Pavel Sudoplatov, who had infiltrated the OUN and became a confidant of Konovalets. The NKVD dismissed rumors that Konovalets fell victim to fights among the Ukrainian emigration. Sudoplatov in his memoirs justified the murder of Konovalets by the fact that "the fascist terrorist OUN of Konovalets-Bandera officially proclaimed a state of war with Soviet Russia and the USSR, which continued from 1919 to 1991 year." In fact, the OUN, as an organization, was not engaged in terror at that time, but only tried to introduce its agents in the USSR, which was to lead the future popular uprising. The supporter of terror was the main rival Konovalets Stepan Bandera. In 1934, he, without the knowledge of Konovalets, organized the murder of Polish Interior Minister General Casimir Peracki, for which he was sentenced to death, commuted to life imprisonment because of demonstrations of Ukrainians in Poland. He was released from prison by the Germans in 1939. The death of Konovalets only accelerated the transition of the OUN to terrorist methods of struggle, widely used by the nationalists in the 1941-1953 years in Ukraine and in the eastern provinces of Poland. It is possible that in the case of Chechnya, the elimination of Maskhadov will only strengthen the positions of the "irreconcilable".

The Killing of Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky was mortally wounded by an Alpenstock (ice ax) blow to the head at his residence in Coyoacan, on the outskirts of Mexico City 20 August 1940. Lev Davydovich managed to shout and grab his killer, biting his hand. This made it impossible for the attempted to escape. The guards tried to kill him on the spot, but Trotsky stopped the reprisal, saying that he had to force this man to say who he was and who he sent. Beaten begged: "I had to do it! They hold my mother! I had to! Kill immediately or stop beating!"

Trotsky died in the hospital of August 21. The blow was struck by an NKVD agent, Spanish Republican Ramon Mercader. He entered the residence of Trotsky under the name of Canadian journalist Frank Jackson - a fan of the ideas of the "exiled prophet." When arrested, he also found a passport in the name of the Belgian Jacques Mornar. At trial, Mercader claimed he acted alone. The driving motive, he called the disappointment in Trotsky, allegedly offered him to go to the USSR and kill Stalin. This motive is dismissed as fantastic. For the murder, Mercader was sentenced to 20-year imprisonment - capital punishment under Mexican law.

From day one, no one in the whole world doubted that Stalin was behind the killer. This was directly written in the newspapers. The identity of Mercader was established only after World War II, when the police file of Ramon Mercader with fingerprints was discovered in Spain that matched the fingerprints of Trotsky’s murderer. In the 1960 year, after serving his sentence, Mercader was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. The actions of Mercader in Mexico were led by a personnel officer of the NKVD, later Major General of State Security Naum Eitingon. His accomplice and mistress was Ramona’s mother, Caridad Mercader. In Moscow, the operation was prepared and supervised by the deputy head of the department at the Main Directorate of State Security, Pavel Sudoplatov.

The order for the murder of Trotsky was given by Stalin and the head of the NKVD, Laurenti Beria. In 1931, to the letter of Trotsky, who proposed to create a united front in Spain, where revolution was brewing, Stalin imposed a resolution: "I think that Mr. Trotsky, this plowman and Menshevik charlatan, should have been hit on the head via the ECCI (Comintern Executive Committee. - B.C. .). Let him know his place. " In fact, it was a signal to the beginning of the hunt for Trotsky. By some estimates, it cost the NKVD about 5 million dollars.

The murder of Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera

Leaders of Ukrainian nationalists Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera were killed by KGB agent Bogdan Stashinsky in Munich, respectively, 12 October, 1957, and 15, October, 1959, respectively. The murder weapon was a specially designed device that fired vials of potassium cyanide. The victim was dying of poisoning, the poison quickly decomposed, and doctors stated death from sudden cardiac arrest. Initially, in the cases of Rebet and Bandera, the police, along with the versions of the murder, considered the possibility of suicide or death from natural causes.

For successful attempts Stashinsky was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and Lenin, but under the influence of his wife repented of what he did and 12 of August 1961 of the year, on the very eve of the construction of the Berlin Wall, he confessed to the authorities of West Germany. October 19 1962, the year Stashinsky was sentenced by the court to several years in prison, but was soon released and received asylum in the West under an assumed name. As the then head of the Federal Intelligence Service, General Reinhard Gehlen, wrote in his memoirs, "the terrorist has already served his time with the grace of Shelepin and now lives as a free man in the free world."

The court made a private determination in which the main blame for the preparation of the attempts was laid on the leaders of the Soviet state security organs - Ivan Serov (in 1957) and Alexander Shelepin (in 1959).

It is believed that due to the noise raised during the Stashinsky process, the KGB later refused to take "active measures", at least in Western states. Since then, there has not been a single high-profile murder in which the KGB would have been implicated (unless, however, counting assistance to the Bulgarian special services in eliminating the dissident writer George Markov, as reported by former KGB general Oleg Kalugin). Either the Soviet special services began to work thinner, or they switched to the elimination of people of relatively little known, whose death could not make a lot of noise, or they really refrained from carrying out terrorist acts abroad. The only known exception so far is the assassination of Afghan President Hafizullah Amin on the first day of the Soviet invasion of this country.

The assassination of Afghan President Hafizullah Amin

The President of Afghanistan and the leader of the pro-Communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, Hafizullah Amin, was killed on the night of December 27, 1979, at the very beginning of the Soviet military intervention in that country. His palace on the outskirts of Kabul was taken by assault by a special group of the KGB "Alpha" together with special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate. Fighters "Alpha" freely arrived in the Afghan capital, allegedly to protect Amin. The decision to destroy the Afghan president was taken by the Soviet Politburo 12 December. KGB agents poured Amin poison into food. The unsuspecting Soviet doctor pulled the dictator literally from the dead. After that, the Alpha group and GRU special forces had to be involved. Amin was shot along with his family and several dozen guard soldiers. In the official report, the dubious honor of this assassination was attributed to the "healthy forces of the Afghan revolution," although in reality Amin was killed by Alpha officers. Participants in the storming of the palace and the assassination of the Afghan president began to recall this event only at the end of the 80s, with the advent of glasnost.

The reasons for the murder of Amin lay in the fact that Moscow had previously decided to bet on its predecessor as the president of the founder of the PDPA, Nur-Mohammed Taraki, and advised him to eliminate such a serious rival as Amin, who was influential in the Afghan army. 8 September 1978 in the presidential palace Taraki’s guard tried to kill Amin, but only his bodyguard was killed. Amin survived, raised the loyal parts of the Kabul garrison and displaced Taraki. Soon Taraki strangled. Amin increased terror against the Muslim rebels, but did not reach the goal. The Soviet leadership did not like that Amin came to power without his sanction. They decided to remove him, although Amin, like Taraki, repeatedly asked for the entry of Soviet troops into the country in order to cope with the ever-increasing rebel movement.

The “active operation” to eliminate Amin most closely resembles those that Nikolai Patrushev promises to carry out against Maskhadov, Basayev, Khattab and other leaders of Chechen resistance. After all, Afghanistan was a traditional sphere of Soviet influence, and with the introduction of troops, Moscow was going to make this country its obedient satellite. For this, it was necessary to eliminate the suspect in the will of the Afghan ruler, in order to replace him with a puppet - Babrak Karmal, who did not have any influence.

Amin was killed on the territory of an independent country. It is not entirely clear from Patrushev’s speech whether he intends to destroy Maskhadov and others in Chechnya itself, which is formally the remaining part of Russian territory, or also on the territory of other states. In the latter case, an international scandal cannot be avoided, as was the case with Bandera, Rebet and after other “active actions” of the Soviet special services.

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  1. smershspy
    smershspy April 30 2013 10: 20
    It feels like it’s written according to the rumors of my grandmother! Yes! There are no words!
    1. albanech
      albanech 6 June 2013 16: 55
      I agree! I have read enough information and books about it! I know a lot laughing
  2. carabiner sks
    carabiner sks 30 May 2014 21: 39
    An article of a dissident spirit that is consistent with the perestroika fashion for recognizing runaway GB-schnicks
  3. Monarchist
    Monarchist 5 November 2016 10: 38
    Yes, there was such a laboratory, but this is the practice of all special services.
    The author mixed everything up to the heap: real and not real stories.
    The version of poisoning: Grushevsky is doubtful, what prevented the NKVD from arresting him and shooting him? Weidling's poisoning, so as not to talk about the last days of the Reich Chancellery, is utter nonsense. What is so dangerous for N.S. Khrushchev?