Military Review

From Harbin to Stockholm: a life full of dangers

From Harbin to Stockholm: a life full of dangersIn July 1932, a new operative arrived at the Berlin residency. His real name was Yakov Fedorovich Tishchenko. However, he came to Germany and later became known as one of the active and efficient foreign intelligence officers who faithfully served the Motherland under the name of Vasily Petrovich Roshchina. Despite his youth (he was only 29-th year), the intelligence officer already had extensive operational experience.


Jacob Tischenko was born on August 22 of 1903 in the village of Zharikovo in the Khanka parish of the Nikolo-Ussuri district of Primorsky Krai in a peasant family. In addition to his family was still 11 brothers and sisters. After graduating from the local five-year school, Jacob's parents were assigned to the state-owned board at the Spasskaya teacher's seminary. Seminary studies coincided with the February Revolution. Revolutionaries of various stripes haunted the students, but Jacob became close with the Bolsheviks. And when the Civil War broke out in Russia, he went along with them to the partisan detachment, having all the 16 years old.

The partisan detachment was commanded by Nikolai Konstantinovich Tumanov. He was from a family of hereditary sailors, a student participated in the strike struggle, spent seven years in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In the first months of the Civil War, Nikolai Tumanov, on the instructions of the party, created a partisan detachment in Primorye. Yakov Tishchenko fought under his command. The young partisan conducted reconnaissance of Kolchak units. On the instructions of the commander penetrated into the rear of the enemy, led the observation of the location of his troops.

After the intervention of the Japanese invaders against the partisans in April 1920, the Tumanov detachment was defeated. The guerrillas retreated deep into the taiga. On the stretchers, they carried the wounded, among whom was Sasha Bulyga - the future famous Soviet writer Alexander Fadeyev, who fought in the partisan detachment along with Tishchenko. In 1920, Jacob joined the VKP (b). He took part in battles with the Japanese invaders in the areas of Spassk and Khabarovsk. In July, 1920, the partisan detachment in which Tishchenko fought, joined the regular people's revolutionary army of the Far Eastern Republic. Jacob became a regular army fighter.

After the expulsion of the Japanese invaders from Primorye and the Far East, Yakov Tishchenko demobilized from the army and switched to Komsomol work. In 1922, he becomes the secretary of the Komsomol organization of the city of Svobodny in the Amur Region. 19-year-old Jacob is also elected a member of the bureau of the city party organization. Then he heads the city Komsomol organizations Rukhlova and Blagoveshchensk. He is elected a delegate to the IV and V congresses of the Komsomol. At the beginning of 1925, he moved to Vladivostok and transferred to party work - he became an instructor of the Primorsky Provincial Committee of the CPSU (b).

In November 1925, Yakov Tishchenko, at the recommendation of the Primorsky Provincial Committee, was placed at the disposal of the intelligence division of the headquarters of the Siberian Military District. And at the end of the same year, Jacob, who became Vasily Petrovich Roshchin, was sent to work as a residency for the Red Army Intelligence Agency in China. The change of name and surname was caused primarily by the active participation of the young intelligence officer in the armed struggle for a new power in the Far East, as well as by fears for the safety of his friends and relatives. New name and surname remained with him until the end of life.

During the year, Vasily Roshchin worked in Harbin through the Soviet military intelligence, being a member of the Soviet consulate general under cover. He obtained information on the activities of the White Guard armed formations that had settled after the end of the Civil War in Manchuria. In December 1926, Roshchin was transferred from the Red Army Intelligence Directorate to the Foreign Department (foreign intelligence) of the OGPU, to his Harbin residency. There he had the opportunity to work with two later prominent Soviet intelligence officers - Vasily Pudin and Vasily Zarubin.

From pre-revolutionary times, the board of the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) was located in Harbin. The city had a large Russian colony numbering tens of thousands of people, newspapers were published in Russian, the theater worked. After the end of the Civil War, the Russian colony was replenished by the White Guards who had taken refuge in Manchuria and were carrying out plans for a new campaign against the USSR. But the residency of INO OGPU in Harbin was actively working not only on the White Guard armed formations and the Russian emigration. Through the efforts of intelligence intelligence officers, headed by Fyodor Karin, a working agent was created, which also successfully solved the tasks of identifying the true plans and intentions of the Japanese towards China, Korea and the USSR. Roshchin himself was engaged in covering the activities of the armed White Guard emigration in Manchuria and was in contact with reliable agents from these circles.

In the 1929 year, during the Soviet-Chinese military conflict on the CER, Roschin was recalled from a business trip and worked for some time in the representative office of the OGPU for Far Eastern countries in Vladivostok. After the elimination of the conflict, he returned to Harbin, but already as a resident of foreign intelligence, and managed the residency until November 1930.


In November 1930, Roshchin and his family arrived in Moscow. He was assigned to the OGPU foreign intelligence headquarters, which at that time was led by the legendary security officer Arthur Artuzov. As Vasily Petrovich later recalled, on November 10 he arrived at a new duty station. The first was received by the head of the department, Casimir Baransky. Soon he presented the new employee to the head of foreign intelligence, Artuzov. After a brief acquaintance, Artuzov said: “We are thinking of turning you from East to West. You will be engaged in European countries. "

In 1931, Roshchin listened to Artuzov’s famous series of lectures on the work of the Soviet state security agencies. The head of the INO told the audience about the liquidation of the “Lockcart conspiracy” by the KGB agents, Savinkov’s organization, Union for the Defense of the Motherland and Freedom, and an operation to bring Sydney Reilly to our territory and arrest him in Moscow. He did not mention the names of the operations (“Trust” and “Syndicate-2”), which ended with the defeat of the White Guard and monarchist anti-Soviet organizations, since they were still going on and limited people knew about them in Lubyanka. However, even some of the details that were communicated to young security officers made a deep impression on them.

Remembering his meetings with Artuzov, Roshchin noted that Arthur Hristianovich was surprisingly simple and modest. When lecturing, he did not use any records, recounting from memory a multitude of facts, names, giving vivid characteristics of the political and business qualities of the persons who participated in these unique operations both on one side and on the other. For Roshchina, it was completely obvious that Artuzov had invested so much heart and mind in these operations that the details settled in his memory forever. These lectures significantly enlarged the operational baggage of the students, including Roshchina himself, who did not finish any special intelligence schools, because at that time they simply did not exist. Young Chekists had to master operational skills directly in practice.

So, at the beginning of 1931, Roshchin set to work at the headquarters of the INO OGPU. By assignment of duties, he oversaw foreign intelligence residencies in Romania and Austria. At that time we did not have diplomatic relations with Romania, and only illegal residency was operating there. In the spring of 1932, Roshchin was appointed deputy head of the department. The foreign intelligence leadership decided to send him to work in the residency in Germany.

“On July 1, 1932, I drove into Berlin,” wrote Vasily Petrovich later in his memoirs. - He was a seething cauldron, bursting with thirst for revenge. The power shifted further and further to the right. Revanchist literature was widely distributed. Bloody battles between the Nazis and the Communists took place throughout Germany. ”

In Berlin, the scout arrived through the trade mission. The resident in the capital of Germany at that time was Boris Berman. Roshchin’s task was to maintain contact with illegal resident foreign intelligence stations in the United States (due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the USSR and the United States, foreign intelligence work in this country was built through Germany), receiving mail from them and sending it to Moscow.

In Berlin, Roshchin had a chance to meet Vasily Zarubin, with whom fate had brought him back in Harbin. At that time, Vasily Mikhailovich was preparing to work in the area of ​​illegal intelligence in France, and Roshchin took an active part in organizing his withdrawal under the guise of a Czech businessman. In Berlin, Roshchin met another subsequently famous intelligence agent, Alexander Korotkov, who, under the name of a Czech student Rayonetsky, traveled through the German capital to work illegally in Paris.

Working in Berlin, Roshchin had a lot of agents in touch. Among his assistants were representatives of the White Guard emigration, journalists, and engineers who worked at large German enterprises. The scout obtained political and scientific-technical information of interest to the Center.

During the inspection of sources, Roshchin found that one of the agents, a journalist, was showing insincerity in work. Being a Jew by nationality, an agent who had previously been recruited by the deputy chief of the INO, Mikhail Gorb, claimed that he had “good personal connections among some of the leaders of the Nazi party” and therefore was aware of “very important secrets”. The inspection carried out by Roshchin showed that the source after the Nazis came to power was dismissed from an information agency where he had previously worked, does not meet with persons referred to as sources of information, and essentially deceives the residency. At the suggestion of Roshchina, work with this agent was discontinued.


In May 1935, Vasily Roshchin was transferred from Germany to the post of resident of the NKVD in Austria. Working in Vienna, he established contact with the leader of the “German Party of People’s Freedom” (NNRP), Reinhold Woolle. A meeting with him took place in the summer of 1935, in the small resort town of Teplice in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. In conversation, the German noted that he had known Hitler for a very long time, ever since when he began his national socialist movement. At that time they were friends, but Hitler stole some ideas from him. Now Woollet was convinced that Hitler was leading Germany to a catastrophe. He stressed that the representatives of highly influential Austrian circles hold the same opinion. They believe that Hitler must be eliminated. Wolla and his like-minded friends are ready to resort to violent means to end Hitler physically. To this end, they have support among major industrialists, bankers, financiers, generals, representatives of the church. His supporters have already probed the ground in influential British circles. According to Vulla, he would like to enlist the support of the Soviet Union and receive from him 750 thousands of marks.

The building of the OGPU. Photo of the beginning of the 30's. From the book "Lubyanka-2. Of stories domestic counterintelligence "

Since Roshchin had no authority to discuss such issues with the German, he did not give him any promises, limiting himself to the remark that he would report on the content of the conversation to "competent people." Vulle treated the words of the Soviet representative with understanding. They agreed on ways to communicate. The operator reported to the Center about the conversation and asked for instructions. However, he never received a response to the telegram: there were loud trials of the “right opposition” in Moscow. Subsequently, Roshchin learned that Vulle was arrested by the Gestapo and placed in a concentration camp, from which he left after the surrender of Germany. After the war, he re-established his party, which, however, did not enjoy great influence in the Federal Republic of Germany.

In Austria, Roshchina was given the task of conducting active agent work on Germany, in which the agent-operational situation became much more complicated. He also had to create illegal residency intelligence in case of war with Germany or extreme complications of the political situation in the country. In Vienna, Roshchin was under the guise of an employee of the permanent mission.

The agent network of the Vienna NKVD residency by the end of the business trip Roshchina increased significantly. Among the sources of residency who supplied it with important political and other intelligence information were persons who had reliable connections with the Austrian political police, nationalist Ukrainian emigration circles, representatives of the local aristocracy who hated Nazism, employees of the Chancellor’s Office, special services, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Roshchin personally attracted five valuable sources to cooperation. Through his undercover capabilities, he was able to establish regular receipt of verbatim reports on the testing of new types of aircraft produced at Junkers factories.


In February, 1938, due to the occupation of Austria by Austria, Roshchin was forced to leave the country. As a scout later recalled, in the middle of 1937, he established an agent relationship with an Austrian aristocrat. Before leaving Vienna, he agreed with the agent to hold meetings and a password, according to which the representative of the Soviet intelligence would be able to restore contact with him. However, the messenger of the Center was able to meet with the agent only after the end of the war. The foreigner was very surprised at such a late meeting, and in conversation with the operative he said literally the following: “My dear, where have you been for the whole war? After all, I was a field marshal's aide (he called his last name) during all wartime and was waiting for you. ”

In fairness, it should be said that during the years of the war, Soviet foreign intelligence made attempts to renew contact with its valuable source in Austria. However, due to the deep penetration of Nazi troops deep into the territory of the Soviet Union, our aviation lost the opportunity to throw trained paratroopers in Austrian territory. The foreign intelligence leadership turned to the British intelligence services, with whom operational contact was maintained during the war, with a request to drop paratroopers to Austria from a British airfield. The British agreed. Two liaison agents prepared by Roshchin, Austrians by nationality, were transferred to the British. The operation was carried out at night. The British threw paratroopers - erroneously or intentionally, no one will know - into the water of one of the Austrian lakes, and they died.

At the beginning of 1938, Roshchin returned to Moscow. Here "purges" of the central apparatus of foreign intelligence were in full swing. Vasily Petrovich remembered the words of illegal intelligence officer Carl Sealy, whom they met in 1937 in Vienna: “How I envy you that you can work quietly. Here in the Center, it’s happening that you live in constant alarm because of the slander caused by one another. ” In Moscow, Roshchin learned that Sealy was arrested in the same year and soon shot. To the very Roshina fate was more supportive. He survived, but was dismissed from foreign intelligence. Vasily Petrovich began working in the national economy. In 1940, he graduated from the evening Institute of Marxism-Leninism at the CIM party.

At the beginning of 1941, Roshchin was reinstated in the NKVD ranks and again sent to work in reconnaissance. He oversaw the activities of illegal agents in the territory occupied by the Germans in Austria.

After the start of World War II, the intelligence officer was appointed head of the Special Group department, and later 4 (reconnaissance and sabotage) of the NKVD of the USSR, engaged in reconnaissance in the rear of the Nazi troops. While working in the 4 administration, Roshchin did a great job of preparing and launching operational combat and reconnaissance and sabotage groups into the territory of occupied Belarus. From the standpoint of the Center, he personally supervised 18 combat groups operating in the rear of the enemy. In the summer of 1942, Roshchin spent several months in besieged Leningrad, and after the Battle of Stalingrad he actively worked with captured generals and colonels of Paulus’s army.


In the 1943 year, Vasily Petrovich returned to work in foreign intelligence and was soon sent under a diplomatic cover as a resident in Stockholm.

During the Second World War, Sweden, while remaining formally neutral, actually helped Nazi Germany by supplying it with strategic raw materials. So, only in 1943, 10,8 million tons were exported to Germany from 10,3 million tons of high-quality iron ore mined in Sweden. Thanks to the supply of Swedish ore, Germany fully provided itself with military equipment. Sweden supplied Germany's military industry with ball bearings needed for production tanks, cars, planes. At the Swedish-Finnish border for the needs of the Wehrmacht, a complex of large fuel, food, and forage stores was created. Finally, she sent Swedish “volunteers” to the Soviet front and let Nazi troops through her territory in transit from Norway to Finland.

During the war years, the activities of the "legal" residency in Stockholm became extremely important. From the territory of Sweden, reconnaissance work was carried out on Nazi Germany, Finland, and Scandinavian countries. The residency headed by Roshchina managed to obtain during the war years a number of valuable materials that were reported to the Kremlin. His predecessor as a resident of foreign intelligence in Stockholm, Boris Rybkin, also 12 in May, 1942 informed Moscow that an employee of the German embassy had flown incognito from the Swedish capital to London. On behalf of the opposition group "Germany without Hitler," he tried to probe the attitude of the British to the possible conclusion of a separate peace with Germany. The problem of separate negotiations between Germany and the allies of the USSR on the anti-Hitler coalition was in the center of attention of Roshchina and his residency until the end of the war.

An important place in the activities of the resident was also occupied by issues related to the withdrawal of Finland from the war with the Soviet Union. Already in 1943, Roshchin sent information to Moscow that the US and British governments were conducting negotiations with Finnish representatives about the cessation of hostilities by the Finns in secret from the USSR in Portugal. During the talks, the question of possible assistance from the Finnish authorities in the event of the landing of American troops in Northern Norway was also discussed.

At the beginning of 1944, Elisha Sinitsyn arrived at the Stockholm residency as deputy resident, who was a resident of Soviet intelligence in Helsinki before the war. Alexander Kollontai, Ambassador of the Soviet Union in Sweden, was informed that the purpose of Sinitsyn's visit to Stockholm is to highlight the situation in Finland, in particular, to clarify the issue of its possible withdrawal from the war on the side of Germany. 16 February of the same year, in an atmosphere of strict secrecy in the Swedish capital, Kollontai and Sinitsyna met with the representative of Finland Paasikivi who arrived in Stockholm. Finn was given the conditions of the Soviet Union, which were not burdensome for his country. However, on March 17, the Finnish parliament rejected the Soviet proposals. In September of the same year, truce negotiations resumed in Helsinki and ended with Finland’s withdrawal from the war against the USSR.

The Stockholm residency took an active part in the release from the Swedish prison and the withdrawal to the Soviet Union of the prominent German anti-fascist Ernst Wollweber, who actively cooperated with Soviet intelligence. During the war years, on the instructions of the Center, he organized in Denmark an illegal agent group of anti-fascists from various European countries who committed acts of sabotage against German ships and their satellites in the Baltic and North Seas (more than 25 ships were sunk, damaged or incapacitated). After the capture of Denmark by German troops, the Wollweber group relocated to the Swedish city of Gothenburg and continued sabotage activities. In particular, the Marion military transport ship was sunk with 2 thousand Wehrmacht soldiers aboard a dynamite explosion on the high seas. In May 1940, Wollweber was arrested by the Swedish authorities and put in jail. In November, 1944, thanks to the intervention of the USSR Embassy, ​​Ernst Wollweber received Soviet citizenship and was able to fly to Moscow. In 1953, he became Minister of State Security of the GDR.


In 1945, Vasily Roshchin is appointed a resident of foreign intelligence in Finland and moves from Stockholm to Helsinki. In Finland, he works up to 1947. The “legal” residency in Helsinki was recreated immediately after the conclusion of a truce between the Soviet Union and Finland on September 19 of the year 1944. She was quite numerous in composition. At that time, on the agenda was the question of the post-war settlement of Soviet-Finnish relations and the future status of Finland as a neutral, independent state.

In Helsinki, Roshchin and his staff were active in covering the foreign and domestic policies of the Finnish leadership, the plans of Britain and the United States, who wanted to turn this country into a springboard of aggression against the USSR. The residency closely followed the actions of the Finnish reaction, which dreamed of restoring the pre-war order and turning Finland into an outpost of the West on the border with the USSR, revealed secret fascist organizations. The work carried out by the residency largely contributed to the establishment of relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The leadership of foreign intelligence has positively evaluated the activities of Roshchina as a resident in Finland.

At the beginning of 1947, Vasily Petrovich returned to Moscow and worked for some time in the central intelligence apparatus. In October of the same year, he was sent by a resident of the Information Committee at the Council of Ministers of the USSR (political and military intelligence) to Germany. In Berlin, Roshchin worked until July 1950. These were the years of the beginning of the Cold War, when, after the infamous Fulton speech of the retired British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he delivered 5 in March 1946, the West fenced off the Iron Curtain from its former ally in the anti-Hitler coalition and popular democracy and began to openly prepare for a new World War, relying on the US monopoly in the field of nuclear weapons. The United States and its European allies unilaterally imposed restrictions on the movement of Soviet representatives abroad, drastically reduced interstate contacts, organized persecution of democratic forces, and unleashed a “witch hunt,” from which only 100 thousand people were injured in the United States.

In 1950, the Information Committee, which brought together military and political intelligence under its roof, decided to intensify work on the United States. The United States was considered then as the main adversary capable of unleashing an atomic war against the USSR. Contributed to the work of the United States and the residency, led by Roshchin. In post-war Germany, foreign intelligence worked from legal and illegal positions, actively using recruiting agents and liaison officers. Liaison agents were involved in legal Berlin residency to maintain contact with agents recruited in West Germany: until May 1955, there were no diplomatic relations between the USSR and the FRG. Led by Roshchina, the residency recruited 27 agents from whom important intelligence information came. Somewhat later, the residency brought to cooperation on an ideological basis the head of the Soviet department of the West German intelligence service BND, Heinz Völfe, and a number of other valuable sources of information.

Returning to Moscow, Roshchin worked from the 1950 to 1953 for a year in the central office of foreign intelligence in senior positions. In 1953, at the age of fifty, he retired for health reasons.

For fruitful reconnaissance work, Colonel Roshchin was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Red Banner, World War 1 degree, the Red Star and many medals.

Vasily Petrovich Roshchin died in 1988 year.
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  1. makarov
    makarov 12 November 2013 08: 44
    A lot can be said about the Hero, but one single evaluative word is torn from the soul HUMAN !!!!
  2. Gamdlislyam
    Gamdlislyam 12 November 2013 11: 01
    I liked the article. It was written with great respect to Colonel Roshchin (Tishchenko) Vasily Petrovich. Thanks to the author for a competent and realistic presentation of events in those difficult years in which the fate of Vasily Petrovich and his heroic service to the Motherland were clearly traced.
  3. denson06
    denson06 12 November 2013 11: 23
    Eternal memory ... work all my life for the good of the Motherland! Hero!