Was born Nikolai Ivanovich Zheleznikov 22 March 1906, in the Tambov region, in the village of Bolshaya Lipovitsa, in a family of rural teachers. Like other rural children, he learned early peasant labor. He graduated from a vocational school in Tambov in 1925, grew from a mechanic at a car repair shop to an instructor of automotive and tractor business. In 1928, he joined the Communist Party, and in October, 1929 began his studies at the Voronezh Agricultural Institute.
But Zheleznikov was waiting for a sharp turn in fate. A crucial role was played by his attachment to technology, the experience of the tractor business, his love of military uniform. Apparently, therefore, he became a cadet in the Oryol armored school, the oldest military school, in April 1932. The school command immediately drew attention to the competent, diligent and intelligent cadet. In May, just a month after admission, Zheleznikov was appointed senior instructor, and later sent to advanced training courses for commanders of the Moscow Military District. Thus began the military service of Nikolai Ivanovich in the capital.
Then there was a study at the Military Academy of mechanization and motorization of the Red Army, which he graduated in 1939 year. At that time, the state security agencies needed to be updated, the dramatic events of the mid-1930's led to a depletion of personnel potential.
IN FEBRUARY 1939, Zheleznikov has a new twist in fate. He became a Chekist, and not just an ordinary worker, but immediately the head of a special department of the NKVD of the USSR of the Central Asian Military District (Tashkent). The profession was completely new for him, but as they say, “soldiers are not born, they become soldiers”.
High appointment became possible due to the internal qualities of Zheleznikov, his organizational abilities, diligence, and also an analytical mindset, coupled with prudence and internal discipline. A positive role was played, possibly, by the experience of previous work in Uzbekistan, knowledge of the way of life of the Central Asian population. Indeed, in July 1927, he, as part of the tractor unit No. 4, spent a whole year in the village of Syrdarya, Mirzagulsky district of the Tashkent region.
All these qualities allowed Nikolai Ivanovich to master a new profession in a short time, organize the work of the unit of the security agencies entrusted to him and achieve high results in difficult times for the country. Having begun work in counterintelligence as a major of state security, in just four years Nikolai Ivanovich reached the rank of divisional state security commissar.
In June 1941, the senior state security major Zheleznikov, being the head of the special departments of the NKVD of the USSR in the Central Asian Military District, organized a meeting of special and intelligence departments of border detachments in border Termez and set them a number of tasks arising from the operational environment.
At that time, Nikolai Ivanovich drew the attention of the border guards to the fact that the enemy would take part in attempts to transfer the state border from the territory of Afghanistan for the transfer of agents with espionage and sabotage objectives to the rear regions of the USSR. He continued his close contacts with the KGB border guards later, being already the head of the military counterintelligence department at the KGB Higher School.
He had a chance to prepare the ground for KGB work in the Middle East. It was he who carried out the basic advance preparation aimed at ensuring the safety of the participants of the Tehran Conference. In the book “SMERSH in Tehran”, dedicated to the centenary of military counterintelligence Major General N.G. Kravchenko, says about this work. Initially, organizational measures were carried out by Nikolai Ivanovich, including he selected the candidacy of Kravchenko to directly ensure the security of the “Big Three”.
With the creation of the legendary "Smersh" in 1943, Zheleznikov was appointed head of the Directorate for the SADC of the Smersh NGO of the Bryansk Front. Like all real security officers, Nikolai Ivanovich did not like to brag about the results of his work, considering it to be his usual performance of official duties.
IN 2006 YEAR Domestic film distribution has replenished with the sensational film “Bastards”, filmed on the Feinberg-Kunin story. Stormy discussions by the public of this picture, which is, in fact, a leisurely fiction, unfortunately, did not reveal the true work of the Soviet counterintelligence to counter the insidious plans of the German special services.
Investigations conducted by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the Committee for National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and also by Moscow journalists showed that there were no special schools for training teenagers-saboteurs in the Soviet Union.
At the same time, the intelligence agencies of Nazi Germany did not neglect the fate of Soviet children, teaching them the profession of a saboteur. The state security agencies, primarily the Smersh counterintelligence, had to resist such tricks by the enemy special services.
It happened and Zheleznikova deal with this issue. He played a key role in the fate of a considerable number of these unfortunate children abandoned in our territory. At present, almost all documents relating to child saboteurs are declassified, including special communication by Zheleznikov in the State Defense Committee on the voluntary surrender of two teenagers. Therefore, interested in this history can easily find reliable information in print or electronic sources.
The first meeting with the young saboteurs N.V. Governors (Governors N.V. SMERSH v. Bussard (report from the archive of the secret war). - M .: Kuchkovo Pole. 2005). The first thing that was done in relation to two teenagers who appeared after landing in the nearest Soviet military unit was the order to send them ... to the dining room! There, in addition to traditional porridge, they were treated to trophy sweets.
It was in this very dining room that Major General Zheleznikov got acquainted with 15-year-old Mikhail Kruglikov and 13-year-old Peter Marenkov. Present at the same time his deputy - Vasily Stepanovich Shilin - Nikolai Ivanovich asked to take the guys under his "patronage". The boys were given a bath, the new uniforms were fitted, they were put up for allowances and staged at the nearest school (this is on the issue of the "atrocities" and "heartlessness" of military counterintelligence of the wartime).
The reaction of Stalin, to whom L.Z. Mehlis reported on these two teenagers: “So, they arrested! Whom? Children! They need to learn, and not to sit in prison ... "
After that, Stalin ordered to gather all such teenagers and send them to the rear ... in a vocational school. Only Petr Marenkov remained at the front with the counterintelligence officer V.S. Shilin, who became his father.
AUTUMN The 1944 of the year during the Riga offensive operation under the leadership of Zheleznikov by the military chekists carried out a very significant event - the seizure of a large unit of the German intelligence agency Abverstellle-Ostland stationed in Riga. As Nikolai Ivanovich himself recalled, for the operation a group was formed headed by the experienced military counterintelligence captain M.A. Pospelovym.
On the eve of the beginning of the Soviet offensive in Riga, Pospelov’s task force secretly sneaked into the city and, taking the enemy evacuating unawares, seized and kept the building with the archives and documentation in it until the main forces approached. The result of this bold operation, as Zheleznikov recalled, was the exposure of dozens of German agents and a considerable number of accomplices of the nazis according to the captured card index.
But in war as in war. Not without loss. In the course of the operation to liberate the Baltics, a car in which Shilin and his son Peter were hitting a mine exploded. They buried them in a mass grave.
Differently it is possible to evaluate the work of counterintelligence. And the main assessment is not in orders, although Nikolai Ivanovich has six of them. The main thing for the counterintelligence officer is the trust placed in him by the people and the leadership. Zheleznikov after the end of World War II was entrusted to lead the counterintelligence of the Northern Group of Forces, and in 1950– 1953 - the Counterintelligence Directorate of the USSR Ministry of State Security in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.
His activities in these post-war positions are successfully illustrated in the film “Fight after Victory” from the famous trilogy about the fight of military counterintelligence with the Abwehr’s “Saturn” and a special service organized under the American patronage of Reinhard Gehlen. Georgy Zhzhyonov, a national artist and friend of Zheleznikov, very successfully managed to convey the features of counterintelligence work during that period.
DEATH Stalin in March 1953, gave rise to personnel changes in the entire vertical of government. Not without reorganization of state security bodies. Zheleznikov continued his service as head of a special department in the Transcaucasian Military District. The service in Tbilisi was perceived by Nikolai Ivanovich not as a reference to the Caucasus, but as the need to improve counterintelligence work in this multinational part of the USSR.
Here once again he was helped by the experience of his activities in Central Asia. When solving various official tasks, Nikolai Ivanovich had to be creatively sharp, which made it possible to eradicate stereotyped work.
In 1961, Zheleznikov left the hospitable Caucasus and continued to serve in the KGB High School under the USSR Council of Ministers. He was entrusted with the creation of a military counterintelligence department, of which he was appointed head. Along with the administrative work, Nikolai Ivanovich began scientific and educational activities, which, due to his rich life experience, turned out to be very productive.
Many pupils of Nikolai Ivanovich still remember with reverence the years of study at the faculty under his supervision. They appreciated the human qualities in his boss, his accessibility, responsiveness, high professionalism and of course energy. From a good and sensible idea, whether it is a scientific activity, sports or leisure activities, Zheleznikov, as they say, started with a half-turn, dragging along like-minded people. And his expression “A Chekist should think more than do” is still a kind of axiom.
In the memoirs of the veterans of the Higher School of the KGB, the successor of which was the Academy of the FSB of Russia, Nikolai Ivanovich appears to be a man of duty, to whom posturing and ostentatious discipline were alien. In discipline, and in any other business, he loved content more than form. This was often manifested in the features of the party events. Zheleznikov never endeavored to punish a person for minor violations and considered the situations on the merits at the meetings, at the same time making sometimes extraordinary decisions.
SPECIAL PLACE in the life of Nikolai Ivanovich has always been a sport. According to his daughter Lyudmila Nikolaevna, he was able to organize sports competitions, especially football and volleyball, in any conditions. For sports mass work, he was repeatedly encouraged by the leadership of the school. A remarkable episode in the life of Zheleznikov is the organization of a football match in the liberated Orel.
This case recalled in detail the 21-year-old at that distant time, the signalist, Dynamo Orest Gaigarov. And another participant of this event - K. Kulinkovich - described him in the Futbol weekly in the middle of the 1960s. In his duffel bag, in addition to uncomplicated army belongings, Kulinkovich wore a soccer ball throughout the war ... to play football with his fellow co-workers in rare free time.
When Zheleznikov was accidentally told about this, the administration of which was also located in Orel, he immediately summoned the owner of the ball to himself and, meeting him with a smile, said:
- Well done! Well invented - and rest, and hardening. Let's show another example - create a team, we will play.
And then he organized the clearing of mines and other ammunition Orlovsky city stadium and its arrangement. They were also sent subordinates to Tula (at that time, a large rear center) for receiving some sports equipment and, most importantly, to Moscow with a request to send one of the football teams from the capital.
On the day of the match, the city seemed to come to life. There were colorful posters, a military band played, and people were drawn to the stadium. The impression was that the war was already somewhere very far away. Orlovtsy-old-timers still remember with delight how much happiness this spectacle brought them ...
AFTER retirement in 1966, Nikolai Ivanovich, as an experienced manager, was invited to work at the Research Institute of Technical and Economic Research and headed the scientific and statistical division. Despite the new occupation for him, he with his usual zeal engaged in his development. For the first time, his unit, based on scientific statistics, managed to develop an effective development plan for the Zhdanovsky district of Moscow, which was not practiced until then. The election of Nikolai Ivanovich to the deputy of the Zhdanov district council was taken by the public as a matter of course.
Energetic Nikolai Ivanovich did not leave his activity even in the hospital, in which he ended up in the 1974 year. Despite the bans of doctors, he continued to work, to receive in his chamber of visitors.
... He was gone suddenly. At the Vvedensky cemetery in Moscow, a modest monument with Chekist symbols was erected. And the inscription: "Lieutenant-General Nikolai Ivanovich Zheleznikov". But the human memory will store much more warm memories of this admirable person.