Military Review

The art of choosing friends and enemies

Yakov Khristoforovich Davydov (Davtyan).
The art of choosing friends and enemiesThe victory of the October Revolution and the possible withdrawal of Russia from the First World War met with hostility in the Entente camp. From the first days of the triumphal march through the country of Soviet power, the leading powers of the accord bloc - England, France, Italy, Japan and the USA - organized a conspiracy against Soviet Russia, providing, in particular, for the arrest of the Soviet government and the murder of Lenin. The “conspiracy of ambassadors” was successfully eliminated by the Chekists, thanks to the energetic measures taken by Dzerzhinsky. The Entente countries organized armed intervention against their former ally. The civil war began. Soviet Russia was able to crush the invaders and drive them out of the country.

However, no one could guarantee that the external conspiracies against the Land of the Soviets would stop there, so the All-Russian Emergency Commission, which was created on December 20 of the year 1917, paid constant attention to obtaining intelligence information from abroad. At the beginning of 1918, Dzerzhinsky, with a special reconnaissance mission, dispatched an employee of the All-Russian Extraordinary Command Commission Filippov to Finland. Later, on the instructions of Dzerzhinsky, a special agent of the Cheka Cheka Sultanov leaves for Turkey with a reconnaissance mission. On instructions from the special divisions created in December 1918, the staff and agents of the Cheka are sent to the rear units of the German troops in Ukraine, the Baltic states and Belarus to conduct reconnaissance and organize partisan detachments.

At the same time, Moscow understood that it was impossible to solve issues related to conducting offensive intelligence in the enemy’s camp only by sending agents behind the front line. Therefore, in the autumn of 1920, after analyzing the reasons for the defeat of the Red Army in the war with Pansy Poland, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) Came to the conclusion that it was necessary for the country to have reliable intelligence. It was decided to establish an independent intelligence service within the bodies of the Cheka. Proceeding from this decision of the party, 20 December 1920 of the year Dzerzhinsky signed the order No. 169 “On the creation of the Foreign Department (INO) VChK”. Yakov Khristoforovich Davydov became the acting head of the INO (his real name is Davtyan).


Yakov Davtyan was born on 10 on October 1888 of the year in the village of Verkhny Akulis of the Nakhichevan Territory in a peasant family engaged in petty trading and gardening. The boy's father died when he was only two years old, and the mother with two children in her arms was left without livelihoods. Soon the mother’s brother who served in Tiflis took Jacob to his house for upbringing. Jacob entered the best in the city 1-th Tiflis gymnasium. It is interesting to note that at the same time with Yakov Davtyan, the future wonderful Russian poet Nikolai Gumilyov studied in this gymnasium in 1900 – 1903.

In 1905, 17-year-old Yakov joined the Bolshevik Party. He worked in student and working circles, was under secret police surveillance.

In 1907, Davtyan graduated from high school and came to St. Petersburg to enter the university. At the same time he took an active part in the activities of the Petersburg organization of the RSDLP (B): he was a member of the bureau of the district committee, and then a member of the city committee of the party. He worked in her military organization, in the editorial office of the newspaper "Voice of the barracks", led the campaign among the soldiers.

At the end of 1907, Jacob Davtyan was arrested by the police “for revolutionary activities”. In May, 1908 was released from prison on bail and emigrated from Russia to Belgium, where he continued his studies at the Polytechnic University and received an engineering education. He was a member of the Belgian Socialist Party and collaborated with its print publications. Together with a prominent revolutionary Maxim Litvinov, he participated in the work of Russian emigre organizations. In Belgium, he became friends with the famous revolutionary Inessa Armand, who lived there in exile.

Inessa Armand. 1918 Photo of the Year
1 August 1914, the First World War began. The German army treacherously invaded the territory of neutral Belgium and soon occupied it. In 1915, Yakov Davtyan was arrested by the German occupation authorities for “anti-German agitation” and imprisoned in the city of Aachen. Spent eight months in solitary confinement, then was transferred to an internment camp located in Germany. For repeated attempts to escape, he was sent to the penalty camp.

In August 1918, five months after Russia signed the Brest Peace Treaty with Germany, Jacob Davtyan, at the request of the first Soviet plenipotentiary in Berlin, A.A. Ioffe was freed by the Germans from a prisoner of war camp and returned to Russia. In September of the same year, he became Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Regional Economic Council, which was headed by Inessa Fedorovna Armand, and in fact leads his work. This period also includes his collaboration with the newspaper Pravda, in which Yakov Khristoforovich published articles on economic and political topics.

In February, the party sent Davtyan as part of the mission of the Russian Red Cross to France to resolve the issue of returning soldiers and officers of the 1919-thousandth Russian Expeditionary Corps to Russia. The mission, led by a prominent revolutionary Dmitry Manuilsky, also included Inessa Armand, who had lived in this country for many years. At first, the French met with hostility from the envoys of revolutionary Russia, but then were forced to agree to release the Russian soldiers who had fallen into exile.

In May, 1919, Jacob Davtyan and Inessa Armand left the French steamer at the port of Novorossiysk. Having taken seat in the flying carriage, they were about to set off, but suddenly a bearded soldier fled from the ramp of the steamer and, grabbing the trotter under the knot, loudly shouted: “Comrades! Do not leave! One minute! ”The Sedoki turned in the direction of the steamer, and from the deck of the ship, like peals of thunder, came a triple“ Hooray! ”. These are Russian soldiers who returned to their homeland, thanked Davtyan and Armand for their rescue.

After returning to Moscow, Davtyan appealed to the Central Committee of the party with a request to provide him with a job, taking into account the acquired foreign experience. In June 1919, he was sent to Ukraine as a specially authorized Defense Council to inspect the political departments of military institutions. In connection with the retreat of the Red Army from Kiev in August 1919, he was given the following mandate:

“Comrade. Davtyan is charged with restoring order in the area of ​​the Kiev railway junction, stopping the atrocities of military echelons, detaining deserters, evicting all persons from state wagons who are not supposed to use them. Tov. Davtyan has the right to arrest with the subsequent bringing to court of the Revolutionary Tribunal with him all who do not obey his orders, the right to use direct wires, telephone, telegraph, the right to travel in any train and use a separate locomotive. ”

In September 1919, Yakov Davtyan was sent to the Southern Front by the head of the political department of the 1 Caucasian Cavalry Division. At the beginning of 1920, Davtyan was again recalled to Moscow, now to work at the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. A few days later he is appointed to the post of first secretary of the Soviet embassy in Revel (Tallinn) and sent there on a business trip. Then, from Revel, he was transferred to London by the secretary of the delegation, headed by a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) Lev Kamenev.

After returning from London in October 1920, Yakov Khristoforovich works in the central office of the NKID as head of the department of the Baltic countries and Poland and at the same time is a member of the board of the people's commissariat.

"Otkommandovat in the order of the cheka"

On the recommendation of Inessa Armand, Felix Dzerzhinsky drew attention to a young diplomat. At his request, the Organizing Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) At the November 12 meeting, 1920 of the year, decides to “command Davtyan Y. Kh. to VCH ”, where, as expected, he was supposed to head the Foreign Department being created (foreign intelligence).

It was a new business, connected with numerous difficulties. There were not enough competent employees who possessed the secrets of KGB skills, the skills of conducting intelligence work abroad and were fluent in foreign languages. The foreign intelligence budget was also scanty, and the tasks it faced were large. Yakov Davtyan himself, however, had some experience working abroad, mainly on the NCID line, but the intelligence that he was supposed to lead was terra incognita for him. In addition, the first organizer of the INO Cheka at that time was just 32 year.

Since Yakov Khristoforovich was listed immediately behind the two departments, it was decided that he would work under the last name Davydov for conspiracy at the INO Cheka.

The order of Dzerzhinsky on the establishment of the Foreign Department of the Cheka, in particular, stated:

“1. Foreign department of the Special Department of the VCh to disband and organize the Foreign Department of the VChK.

2. All employees, equipment and affairs of the Foreign Department of the PA Cheka transfer to the disposal of the newly organized Foreign Department of the Cheka.

3. The foreign department of the Cheka is subordinated to the head of the department of Comrade. Menzhinsky.

4. Vrid chief of the Foreign Department of the Cheka, appointed comrade. Davydov, who, within a week, shall submit to the Presidium for approval the staffs of the Foreign Department.

5. With the publication of this order, all relations with foreign countries, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade, Centroevac and the Bureau of the Comintern all the departments of the Cheka, only through the Foreign Department. ”

Jacob Davtyan was actively involved in the process of developing the Regulations on the Foreign Department of the Cheka, determining its structure and staffing. But if in the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, where Davtyan simultaneously continued to work, he was officially approved as the head of the department and a member of the collegium, then his status in the Institute of Foreign Relations as an acting head was less certain. Dzerzhinsky, whom Inessa Armand recommended to Jacob Davtyan, of course, knew about their friendly relations. He also knew about the warm relationship of the revolutionary with Lenin. However, with the official appointment of Davtyan to such an important post, Dzerzhinsky was in no hurry, wishing, obviously, to study his personal and business qualities in more detail.

This situation apparently did not suit Davtyan. After a month of official work as acting head of foreign intelligence of state security organs, he writes a service note to the Cheka Administration: “In view of my duties as Chief of the Foreign Department from 30 in November 1920, I am listed as a reserve for the Administration Department, please hold me order on the post. "

However, his request was not granted. Today it is difficult to say what caused this. Dzerzhinsky may have looked closely at the acting foreign intelligence chief, but it is possible that the reason was his uneven nature and the “Caucasian temperament”, which will be discussed further.

Then Davtyan submits a report with a request to transfer him to diplomatic work abroad.

January 20 1921, the leadership of the Cheka released Davtyan from his position in the Institute. He returned to the NKID, which at that time was headed by George Chicherin, and was appointed advisor to the plenipotentiary representative of the RSFSR to the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Simultaneously with Davtyan, it was agreed that abroad he would also carry out the orders of Dzerzhinsky. Davtyan's successor as head of the INO Cheka became Ruben Katanyan.

Ruben Pavlovich Katanyan was born in 1881 year in Tiflis in the family of an employee. His father was a gymnasium teacher, his mother a housewife. After graduating from the 1 Tiflis Gymnasium, he entered the law faculty of Moscow University. In 1903, he joined the Moscow student group of the RSDLP. An active participant in the 1905 revolution of the year in Moscow. In 1906, he graduated from Moscow University and began practicing law. Collaborated in the newspapers of the Social Democratic movement. In 1907, he was sent to conduct party work in Transcaucasia. From 1912, he was under secret police surveillance.

In 1917, he was a member of the organization of the united social democrats-internationalists. He was a member of the editorial board of the newspaper "Izvestia". After the victory of the October Revolution, he edited the newspaper “Red Warrior” of the 11 Army in Astrakhan. Participated in the creation of the Moscow Cheka. From July 1919 to June 1920 - Deputy Head of Political Department of the Republic’s Revolutionary Military Council. Then he was the head of the agitation and propaganda department of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.). January 20 1921 was appointed Head of the Foreign Department of the Cheka.

As foreign intelligence chief, Ruben Katanyan did not work long — until April 10 — and, at his own request, switched to prosecutorial work. Later he worked in the Prosecutor's Office of the RSFSR, the Supreme Court of the USSR and the Prosecutor's Office of the USSR. Supervised the activities of state security bodies. He was awarded the Order of Lenin and the badge "Honorary Chekist." He was a professor at Moscow University.

In 1938, Ruben Katanyan was repressed. From 1938 to 1948 the year and from 1950 to 1955 the year was imprisoned, and from 1948 to 1950 the year was in the link. Fully rehabilitated in 1955 year. Died in Moscow 6 on June 1966 of the year.


From 10 on April 1921, the Foreign Department of the Cheka was again headed, but now in the position of the official chief, Yakov Davtyan. It was explained simply: while the personnel department of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs designed Davtyan to work in the Hungarian Soviet Republic, the revolution was suppressed in it, and the question of his diplomatic service behind the cordon was dropped.

But Davtyan did not lead the Foreign Department for long. Already in August 1921, he was again transferred to diplomatic work and appointed by the plenipotentiary of the RSFSR in Lithuania. After staying in Kovno until September of the same year, he returns to Moscow and is appointed temporary charge d'affaires of the RSFSR in China in the rank of adviser. At the same time, Davtyan, as previously agreed, is simultaneously approved by the main resident of the INO Cheka in China, where at that time about a dozen reconnaissance teams were working.

Some time after arriving in Beijing in an official letter addressed to his successor as Chief of the Foreign Department, Mikhail Trilisser, Jacob Davtyan writes: “I consider our work here to be extremely important and I believe that much can be done here.”

Yakov Khristoforovich vigorously set to work. Six months later, he reports to the Center: “The work here is very interesting, exciting, but very difficult, extremely responsible. Remoteness from Moscow, poor communication, mutual misunderstanding further complicate our work ... I have never (even at INO) worked as much as here, and it has never cost me such nerves. ”

This was explained by the fact that Yakov Khristoforovich did not have a relationship with the head of the INO station in Beijing, Aristarchus of Rila, who believed that Davtyan was duplicating his work. It should also be borne in mind that in those years the state security bodies were still in the making: the discipline was bad, many security officers voted for the opposition platform headed by Trotsky, the principles of unity of command and subordination needed to be strengthened. Elementary ordering in the work was required, and Davtyan takes energetic measures. This, undoubtedly, has borne fruit. 9 December 1922 of the year in an official letter addressed to the chief of intelligence Trilisser he describes Rylsky as follows: “I can’t say anything bad about Rylsky, but I’m not going to praise either. He strongly pulled himself up with my arrival, and there is hope that he will be useful. We'll see".

But with the next post, a new letter from the main resident went to the Center: “I will ask you to replace Rylsky. He is absolutely unable to cope with his tasks, as he is lazy and lethargic. ”

And a month later, on January 9 of 1923, a new message was sent to the head of intelligence: “Contrary to my previous opinion, Rylsky turned out to be prettier than I expected. He has some lethargy in his work, but in general, he works well and behaves very well. I am almost satisfied with them and ask him not to replace him, he worked well with me. ”

However, the Center had a different opinion regarding Rylsky. Realizing that the main reason for Davtyan’s uneven attitude towards him is the character of the latter, the Center decided to withdraw Rylsky to Moscow, because his difficult relationship with the main resident could jeopardize all the work of Soviet intelligence in China.

It should be emphasized that this review did not reflect on the position of Rylsky in intelligence. Soon he was sent by a resident of the OGPU to Denmark. Then he was assigned to Paris. Later he worked as the head of other residencies both in legal and illegal intelligence lines. Yakov Khristoforovich met with him more than once, working abroad, but as a “pure” diplomat.

The Kremlin attached great importance to strengthening all-round ties with China, which was the largest neighboring country. In addition, after the October Revolution, numerous White Guard armed organizations took refuge in Manchuria. There was also a significant - up to several tens of thousands of people - Russian colony, which worked mainly on the Chinese-Eastern railroad belonging to the USSR. It was important for the center to know the true state of affairs in the neighboring country, especially the plans of the White Guard armed emigration.

A year after arriving in Beijing, Davtyan reported to the head of foreign intelligence: “A few words about our special work. She is going well. If you follow the materials sent, then, obviously, you see that I managed to cover all of China, nothing substantial escapes me. Our ties are expanding. In general, I can safely say that not one white step in the whole Far East remains unknown to me. I learn everything quickly and in advance. ”

What was the basis for such assessments of the main OGPU resident in China? Davtyan really managed to intensify the work of intelligence in this country, especially for white emigration. In particular, the Mukden residency, through its agents in the Japanese special services, produced a unique archive of White Guard counterintelligence concerning the entire Far East. Davtyan sent the received documents to the Center by a special courier. In a cover letter addressed to Trilisser’s intelligence chief, he wrote, not without pride: “Dear Mikhail Abramovich! With today's courier, I am sending you the entire archive of the White Guard counterintelligence received in Mukden. Please take measures so that this archive is not “marinated” and used. ”

In the middle of 1923, Davtyan reported in a report on the work done to the Center: “I have developed a lot of work. Already now there is a decent agency in Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, Mukden. I put a serious machine in Harbin. There is hope to penetrate Japanese intelligence. We have established a very large agent in Changchun. Two persons who will work for us are associated with the Japanese and the White Guard. I expect a lot of interesting things. ”

Despite the emotional tinge of official letters, Davtyan as a whole did not exaggerate the achievements of his employees. By the end of the 1920s, the Harbin residency will become the leading work against Japan and the White Guard emigration. It is in Harbin that the resident officer Vasily Pudin will receive the plan of the Japanese military against the USSR, which will then be included in history called the "Tanaka Memorandum". He will also extract over 20 Japanese ciphers. During the Great Patriotic War, very important political information about Japan will be received from China. And the foundations of this brilliant work of the Soviet foreign intelligence in this region were laid at the time when Jacob Davtyan was the main resident of the Foreign Department of the GPU-OGPU in China.


It was not easy to combine two posts at once - Charge d'affaires of the RSFSR in China and the chief resident of the INO GPU-OGPU - Davtyan. And he puts before the Center the question of his being released from one of his posts, however, due to his “Caucasian temperament”, he does this too emotionally. In response to the Center’s instructions regarding further improvement of the Soviet intelligence work in China, Davtyan 6 of September 1923 wrote to Trilisser: “I believe that in Beijing you can see better the situation than from Moscow. If you do not agree with this, then please release me from work completely. "

Of course, the resident was absolutely wrong. After all, intelligence data on China flowed into the Center not only from the residencies it runs in this country, but also from many other foreign intelligence apparatus, including those operating in Europe, Asia and America. Therefore, it was the Center that possessed more information regarding the internal situation in China than Davtyan.

In another letter to the head of intelligence Davtyan, in response to some friendly remarks, Trilisser shares the following thoughts with him: “I think it would be advisable for me to refuse to work in the Institute of Foreign Languages, since I absolutely cannot agree with your methods of action.”

Not everything went smoothly with him and with the NKID. China, as already noted, was prominent in the foreign policy plans of the Soviet leadership, and this required hard work from Davtyan for the Commissariat. Moscow expressed its wishes to improve the work of the embassy, ​​which also caused him a painful reaction. In his personal letters to the Lubyanka, he complained about the NKID and noted that "Beijing will apparently be my last job in this lovely institution."

However, in Moscow decided differently. In April, the 1924 of the year Davtyan is replaced as chief resident in China and is being recalled from Beijing. In Moscow, it is finally transferred to the USSR NKID, where there is still an acute shortage of qualified personnel. In the summer of 1924, Yakov Khristoforovich is appointed the plenipotentiary of the USSR in the Republic of Tuva and at the same time becomes the chairman of the authorized commission of the Central Election Commission of the USSR to settle bilateral relations and inspect the Soviet institutions. Having solved the tasks assigned to him in Kyzyl, in the autumn of the same year, Davtyan returns to Moscow.

Soon Davtyan receives a new appointment: the plenipotentiary of the USSR in Hungary. However, the regime of Admiral Horthy did not ratify the signed Soviet-Hungarian treaty on the settlement of controversial issues, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were never established.

In 1924 – 1925, Davtyan was in the party and economic work in Moscow. For two months he worked as deputy chairman of the Chaepravlik Trust, then he was engaged in party work at the Bolshevichka factory, to the party cell of which he was attached.

At the beginning of 1925, Davtyan returned to the NKID and in May he was appointed advisor to the USSR embassy in France, which at that time was headed by the famous revolutionary and active supporter of Trotsky Christian Rakovsky. In Paris, Davtyan takes part in various international conferences, repeatedly replaces the plenipotentiary, who was not trusted in Moscow because of his proximity to Trotsky, and still assists the residency of the OGPU.

In the fall of 1927, Davtyan is appointed Plenipotentiary Representative of the USSR in Persia (Iran) and works in this position until December of 1929.

Upon his return to the USSR, Yakov Khristoforovich was transferred to administrative work. From February 3 to June 30 1930, he was the director of the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute and reorganized it. Under his leadership, the LPI was divided into a number of specialized institutions. 1 July of the same year Davtyan was appointed director of the Leningrad Machine-Building Institute of the Supreme Council of National Economy (VSNH). January 23 1931 of the year is transferred to work in the Supreme Economic Council of the USSR - the head of the sector for verification of execution.

In the 1932 year, Davtyan again returns to the NKID and is appointed the plenipotentiary of the USSR in Greece, and in April 1934 of the year - the plenipotentiary of the USSR in Poland. At the VII Congress of the Soviets of the USSR in 1935, he was elected a member of the USSR CEC.

However, a close acquaintance with one of the prominent Trotskyists Rakovsky during his work in France did not pass for Davtyan in vain. 21 November 1937, Yakov Khristoforovich was arrested in Moscow on charges of belonging to an "anti-Soviet terrorist organization." Soon he was convicted by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR to the death penalty and 28 July 1938 was shot.

25 April 1957, Jacob Davtyan was fully rehabilitated by the Military Collegium of the USSR Supreme Court due to the absence of corpus delicti. The name of Yakov Khristoforovich Davydov (Davtyan) as one of the direct organizers of the foreign intelligence of our country is listed on the memorial plaque of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.
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  1. aszzz888
    aszzz888 8 November 2013 08: 30 New
    How many real scouts that regime ruined!
    Bright memory to all the dead!
    1. Versed
      Versed 9 November 2013 06: 01 New
      From the first days of the triumphal procession in the country of Soviet power

      Yes, the triumphal procession from the first days - treacherous "Peace of Brest-Litovsk" concluded by the commies with Germany (with the enemy in the First World War)

      Robberies, bloody massacre, civil war, hunger, poverty, devastation, concentration camps are a triumphal procession of Soviet / gang power in Russia.
  2. Crrusader40
    Crrusader40 8 November 2013 17: 21 New
    The truth about what happened then, we will never know
    1. studentmati
      studentmati 8 November 2013 20: 50 New
      Quote: Crusader40
      The truth about what happened then, we will never know

      The article is good! drinks There is a time for everything, there are no eternal secrets.
  3. tank 34
    tank 34 8 November 2013 17: 29 New
    It is a pity that sometimes ends with dermocrats.
  4. Ols76
    Ols76 8 November 2013 21: 02 New
    Many good scouts ruined in the 30s.
  5. faraon
    faraon 10 November 2013 17: 36 New
    Yes, an interesting article against the background where we discussed the October Revolution. Who, how, and for what purpose carried out this bloody coup. And what followed. What price did the entire Soviet people pay for this adventure.
    Now the opposite article has appeared, proclaiming the knights of the cloak and dagger of the revolution. And what followed in the 30s of the last century. It was the Stalinist purges that began with the NKVD and ending with the army.
    Well, then this is natural, the revolution began to devour their children, who selflessly gave all their strength, energy, and sometimes life to the cause of the revolution.
    But in fact, if you look at all the former Chekists, one way or another took part in the bacchanalia that the Bolsheviks made, plunging a prosperous power into revolutionary chaos of plundering national wealth, hunger, ruin, unemployment.
    Someone has to rally for this, but the forest was cut, the little leaves flew, and deserving people who did not participate in this chaos fell into a hot hand who believed the promises of the Bolsheviks, who believed in a bright future and the dawn of the Russian state. But it turned out and got what we have. And what came at a much higher price, the ocean of human blood, the forest of victims was not saved. And these are not the last victims of the revolution, the next ones ahead.