After “acclimatization”, she flew to a neighboring country, where her fiance was waiting for her. Four months later they registered the marriage. The newlyweds gradually moved closer to Japan, in which they were to work during the Cold War. In the Land of flowering chrysanthemums, Bir and Halef (such were the operational pseudonyms of the illegal intelligence officers) spent almost 14 years.
She was preparing to become an actress. Turkmen girlfriend Bibiaran (Irina) Alimova, who was born 18 on June 1920, in the city of Mary, studied in the second year of work in Ashgabat, when she was unexpectedly offered to act in films. And not just to act in crowd scenes, but to become a professional film actress.
Irina's father, Karim Alimov, fought on the fronts of the Civil War. After its completion, he settled in the hometown of Mary, in a wattle and daub mortar, left over from her parents. Soon he got a family, he had three children. Karim-aga became a watchmaker and at the same time engaged in the manufacture of jewelry. The fame of his skill went far beyond the city limits. Later, Karim and his family moved to Ashgabat, where Irina went to school. A beautiful girl willingly participated in amateur art activities and from school years thought of devoting herself to the stage.
But after graduating from school, Irina entered the work school at the Agricultural Institute, deciding to become a veterinary surgeon. It was here that the employees of the Turkmenfilm studio drew attention to it and invited to act in the Umbar movie. This film was released a few years before the war. Irina played the role of beloved Umbar in him. Fame came to her: the young actress was recognized on the street, numerous fans wrote letters to her.
After a successful film debut, Alimov was sent to study acting in Leningrad, in the studio of the famous director Grigory Kozintsev.
Later, Irina Karimovna recalled:
“In Leningrad, I met many famous Soviet artists: Tamara Makarova, Yanina Zheymo, Zoya Fyodorova, Yakov Sverdlin, Peter Aleynikov, and prominent directors Iosif Kheyfits, Alexander Zarkhi, Leonid Trauberg, Mikhail Romm, Sergey Gerasimov. They praised and approved me, they said that I have good prospects for becoming a real actress. ”
In the middle of 1940, Alimova completed her studies and was sent to Tashkent, to the Uzbekfilm film studio, where she was immediately offered the main role in the new Uzbek film. Before Irina opened a brilliant career movie actress. However, fate decreed otherwise.
The Great Patriotic War broke out, and Irina, like thousands of other young people, went to the military registration and enlistment office with a request to send her to the front. This request was granted. True, Irina was sent not to the front, but to military censorship. So in the fall of 1941, she became an employee of state security agencies. In military censorship, Irina served the entire war, along with the active army, marched along the military roads of Ukraine and Poland. In Krakow she met Victory, then served in Czechoslovakia and Austria. After demobilization, she returned to Ashgabat, but she did not have to continue the pre-war film actress’s career. Irina was sent to work in the local counterintelligence, in the department of external surveillance. There, she gained experience in conspiracy monitoring of objects, identifying surveillance and leaving her, which was useful later in her work abroad as an illegal scout.
At the beginning of 1947, Irina was suddenly summoned to Moscow, to the Lubyanka. In Ashgabat, she was warned not to say a word about this call to anyone. On the way to the gray building on Dzerzhinsky Square, known to all of Moscow, Irina thought about the reasons for such an unusual challenge. She was taken to a spacious office. The owner of the office, the head of the Soviet illegal intelligence, Alexander Korotkov, invited her to sit down and after talking on general topics he said:
- How do you look at going to work in foreign intelligence? I mean that you have to carry out reconnaissance abroad from illegal positions, under an assumed name and as a foreigner. We understand that this is not a women's business, and the fulfillment of the Center’s tasks is sometimes associated with a considerable risk to life. According to your data, you are suitable for work in illegal intelligence. However, you can refuse our offer, this business is purely voluntary. Think about it all, you have time.
Irina agreed without hesitation.
PREPARATION FOR ILLEGAL WORK
After a conversation with Irina, the chief of illegal intelligence began painstaking preparation for work abroad: learning foreign languages with personal teachers, getting used to the image of an emigrant, working out a legend-biography. Suffice it to say that during her years of study she mastered the Turkish, Uygur, Farsi, English and German languages. All these languages were very useful to her in her future illegal work.
The choice of Irina Alimova as an illegal scout was, of course, not accidental. A big role in this has played ... her profession is an actress.
A well-known American intelligence officer and counterintelligence officer, Charles Rossel, speaking at a lecture course in the distant 1924 year in New York to US Army reserve officers - special forces, stressed at that time: “A good intelligence officer must be an excellent actor. How you play your role depends not only on the success of your business, but also on the lives of many comrades. You should not only own your feelings, but also facial expressions. Never allow the tongue to speak one thing and the eyes another. Be careful not to forget about your role. ”
These instructions are still relevant today. It is well known that any intelligence officer, especially an illegal one, has many roles to play in life. Irina's preparation lasted for several years. The personal teachers assigned to her — the speakers of the languages she was to master, “dragged” the future scout on 10 – 12 hours a day. But Irina learned not only languages. She needed to get used to the role, learn how people communicate in the country from which she allegedly came, what they eat and how they behave at the table, what the representatives of her circle wear, what relationships exist in different social strata. Only after the preparation of Irina was fully completed, it was decided to send her to Japan.
Such a decision was not spontaneous. The lack of diplomatic relations of the USSR with Japan in 1953 did not allow for the creation of a “legal” residency there. And the Soviet leadership needed reliable information about the processes taking place in it, about Japan’s relations with other countries. The center decided to work in Japan from illegal positions.
Shamil Khamzin and Irina Alimova were to become one of these illegal immigrants.
THE SCIENTIST-ILLEGAL CHALEF
Shamil Abdullazyanovich Khamzin (operational pseudonym - Halef) was born in 1915, in Arkhangelsk, in a Tatar family. In 1923, the family moved to Kazan, where Khamzin attended high school. After graduation, he entered the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute named after VI. Ulyanova (Lenin) at the Faculty of Instrument Engineering. Theme of the thesis: "Control from an airplane by torpedo boats on the radio."
Just before the start of World War II, Khamzin received a degree in electrical engineering. He worked at a military factory in Moscow, where he was admitted to the party. In 1946, he was offered a job at the NKGB, in one of the foreign intelligence units. He graduated from a special intelligence school. He was fluent in Uygur, Turkish, Arabic, English and Romanian, not counting his native Tatar and Russian.
A professional intelligence officer, a Tatar by nationality, Halef could easily impersonate an Arab. In addition, he was fluent in Arabic. That is why, immediately after appropriate preparation, he began to work actively from illegal positions in the Middle East. However, the Center soon decided to gradually withdraw the intelligence officer to Japan, where he was to organize and lead the work of the illegal residency.
In 1952, Halef, under the guise of Uigur Enver Sadiq, arrived in the Chinese province of Tianjin. He quickly entered the local Muslim community, became one of its leaders and even an assistant to the mullah. In the future, Halef in China was supposed to join Irina Alimov, who was to impersonate his bride. And only then, in Japan, they needed to settle as a respectable married couple of immigrants.
ROAD TO “COUNTRY YAMATO”
The road to the Land of flowering chrysanthemums began for Irina Alimova in 1953, with a trip to Europe. Intelligence assignments in front of her during that trip were not given: Irina had only to check the reliability of her documents and get used to the appearance of a foreigner. Then, at the very beginning of 1955, the scout, who was assigned the operational pseudonym Beer, went on her main business trip. She had to go to the east of China under the legend of meeting with her fiancé, a native of her hometown, Enver Sadiq, with whom she was allegedly engaged and who, while living there, was engaged in a small business in neighboring Mongolia. After registration of marriage, the young intended to emigrate from the country.
Bir traveled by train to the bridegroom, whom she knew only from photographs. Their meeting took place at the station of the Chinese port city of Tianjin, which was the “sea gate” of the Chinese capital Beijing. Four months later, Bir and Halef had a wedding.
It should be emphasized that already at the first meeting, Bir and Halef liked each other. Looking ahead, we note that they, who created a married couple at the behest of the Center, lived together happily throughout their long stay in Japan. Their family union continued after retirement.
Now the scouts were facing the most difficult stage of the assignment - they had to move to Japan, where they had to work. However, after the war, Japan was actually under US occupation, and it was extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain a permanent residence permit.
Newly-married couple proved to be welcoming and hospitable hosts. Their big house in the Dutch set of Tianjin has always been full of Muslim immigrants (let's not forget that Halef was a helper of the mullah in his time). Hospitality and benevolence have created an excellent reputation for the couple. One good friend who owned a small piece of land in Japan offered Sadiki to buy it. This circumstance greatly simplified the scouts moving to Japan. Helped in advance letters of recommendation also helped - from a number of Japanese public figures with whom they managed to get acquainted, and from religious organizations. The acquisition of land in Japan took place, and the couple left for Hong Kong, which was at that time a British colony. There, they appealed to the American mission of the Red Cross and to the consulate general of Japan with a request to help them move to this country. Waiting for a response, the couple settled in Hong Kong. They rented a two-story house and opened a haberdashery shop in it. To make useful contacts, illegal intelligence officers regularly visited a local American club.
Everything went pretty well. In the fall of 1954, Beer and Halef disguised as foodstuff dealers left Hong Kong for Japan. They arrived in the “country of Yamato” through the port of Kobe, located on its west coast.
Before leaving for the place of their intelligence activities, illegals met with a representative of the Center, who gave them the latest instructions and instructions. He stressed: “We lost contact with all agents in Japan. Information on the problems of this country has not been coming to Moscow for several years. For a while, you will be the only source of information there. You have high hopes. ”
Spouses Enver (Halef) and Hatycha (Beer) Sadik. Photo courtesy of the author
FACE OF COMBAT WORK
Arriving in Japan, the couple Sadiq settled for some time in the port city of Kobe. They sold for a decent amount of land belonging to them and with the money they got acquired a small two-story house. They occupied the first floor themselves, and the second floor was handed over to two Americans.
Having passed the “acclimatization period”, Halef and Beer moved to Tokyo, where they became partners in one of the export-import firms. They bought a two-story house and opened their own store on the ground floor. The company and the store were for spouses a reliable cover in their intelligence activities.
The following basic intelligence tasks were assigned to illegal immigrants: to collect information regarding the rearmament of Japan, to observe the process of the formation of the Japanese self-defense forces and the development of bilateral ties with the United States in the military field. In one of the Center’s encryption, these tasks were specified as follows:
“The following issues should be of particular interest in the near future:
1. Japan’s relations with the United States: how close they are, how they will continue to develop;
2. Japan’s policy towards the USSR;
3. How strong are the tendencies of militarization of the economy and the re-establishment of the army: its structure, financing, weapons, possible plans for joint exercises and combat operations with the United States. ”
Soon the scouts began to fulfill the tasks of the Center.
Considering that Moscow was primarily interested in US plans to remilitarize Japan and draw it into military blocs, they focused on this issue. Thus, Bir reported to the Center that in Japan, under the guise of creating self-defense forces, an intensive increase in the army began:
“Under the guise of creating new police units in Japan, an intensive increase in the army began. The militarization plans of Japan are kept in deep secrecy, for this is a serious violation of Tokyo’s obligations to demilitarize the country during an international conference in San Francisco. In the coming years, it is planned to double the number of the Japanese army in this way. The government of the country has concluded secret contracts for the development of the military industry. The local press is forbidden to publish any information on this issue. ”
Such reports were extremely important, since very little was known about the militarization of Japan at that time.
Beer performed primarily the duties of the radio cipher operator of the illegal residency. However, this rather voluminous work did not relieve her from the need to periodically solve specific intelligence tasks of the Center. At the same time, Bir led an active study of promising candidates for recruitment, maintained contact with agents — sources of information, processed intelligence information received by the residency, and prepared operational letters to the Center.
In 1955, she radioed to the Center:
"It became known that a new-type submarine equipped with the latest equipment was launched into the atmosphere of secrecy."
The intelligence officers were able to obtain this information thanks to their acquaintance with an American soldier of Turkish origin. At the same time, the “trading company” of the spouses Sadyk became the second home for the Turkish soldiers who arrived in Japan on vacation. During the Korean War, a contingent of Turkish troops was under the UN flag on the Korean Peninsula. After the signing of the armistice agreement in Korea in 1953, these troops entered the UN peacekeeping contingent. Bir and Khalef were fluent in Turkish, so it is not surprising that the Turkish soldiers showed interest in them.
DON'T RELAX NEVER
By inviting Turkish officers to visit, the illegal intelligence officers received information of interest to Moscow from them. To establish useful contacts and obtain important information about the actions of US troops in South Korea, Bir also used a public women’s club, where wives of foreign diplomats and officers gathered for a cup of tea.
Obtained in this way verbal information, the scouts in most cases were re-checked visually. Once they were returning home at night in heavy rain along a rural road that ran through mountainous terrain. Suddenly around the corner they saw that the road was blurred. Halef tried to slow down, but it was too late. The car did not obey the brakes and slowly crawled down the slope.
- Jump! - ordered Khalef.
- Jump yourself, you need! - Beer objected.
- Jump! - Halef shouted with all his might, trying to cope with the naughty wheel.
Bir opened the car door and, putting both feet on the threshold, pushed off sharply. Following her out of the car, lost control, managed to jump out and her husband. Fortunately, the scouts got off with light bruises, and the car was held back by a tree just below it.
The couple spent the night in the nearest village, and in the morning of the next day the truck pulled out of the ravine caused by them. Leaving the car for repair in the nearest workshop, the couple rented another car and got to Tokyo on it. The task of the Center was completed on time and without serious losses.
One day, an important telegram signed by the resident pseudonym left for the Center:
“A well-informed source reports on plans to create a new, closed-wing military-political grouping by the Americans, which can include Japan, South Korea, South Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia. Negotiations may take place in Seoul or Bangkok. The creation of such a group will be a serious destabilizing factor in Southeast Asia. ”
This was information, as they say, ahead of the curve. Subsequent developments fully confirmed intelligence. At the founding conference, which was held on 14 – 16 on June 1966, in Seoul (South Korea) and was attended by the foreign ministers of the countries listed in the telegram, a new military-political group, closely related to the US, was created (Asia-Pacific) AZPAK).
On the account, Beer and Halef had many successful intelligence operations. It is enough to say that their operational business consists of 22 volumes with a total volume of over 7 thousand pages! It focuses reports of intelligence officers, who arrived at the Lubyanka for 30 with more than years of their illegal work in Japan.
From the documents of the correspondence between Beer and Halef with the Center, it follows that one of the major achievements of the intelligence officers was the acquisition by them of airborne photographs of US military bases in Japan, locations of Japanese self-defense forces and their military airfields. All this information, transmitted to illegal immigrants by a reliable source, received the highest marks from the Center, because at that time Moscow did not have a clear idea of the military programs of Tokyo and the degree of their threat to the Soviet Union.
There were also other cases when intelligence officers received extremely important documentary information that counted more than a dozen pages. Documents were urgently photographed and transferred to the Center's communications officer. Later, Bir recalled how her husband fell ill, and she had to meet with a binder in the imperial park area late at night. It was dark, it was scary to go there, and I had to get to the meeting on foot.
On the way to the meeting place, Beer was disturbed by only one question: what to do with the material if something unforeseen happens? For example, the police will stop and check the documents. However, everything went well: Beer did not find himself tracking, the attendant arrived at the meeting place at exactly the appointed time. He took the documents and thanked the scouts for the successfully completed task.
During their entire stay in Japan, Bir and Halef were only once on holiday at home. This journey to Moscow took a lot of time. In order to bring the enemy’s special services off the track, the reconnaissance tourists traveled to Europe, visited France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland. Since the people of Japan are world leaders in the field of tourism and love to travel all over the world, such a trip of illegal intelligence officers did not attract the attention of the secret services. They arrived in the Soviet Union in secret, through a neutral country. And they flew from Moscow to their native Ashgabat quite legally, with Soviet documents.
Scouts thought that the vacation flew like one day. They traveled to Japan again through Western Europe. Then they told friends and acquaintances for a long time about the beauties of Venice, the cathedrals of Rome, the sights of the “capital of the world” Paris.
Daily laborious work began again. Even at home, left alone, they could not relax and only spoke Uigur.
“Once, together with friends, we went to the cinema for a Soviet film,” Irina Karimovna later recalled. “It was only in the middle of the film that I noticed that, knowing the Russian language well, I still conscientiously read the captions in Japanese and perceive it in these captions.”
Although surveillance of the scouts was not noted, they were constantly on the alert. Once on a trip to Japan, they stopped at a hotel and decided to conduct a small experiment. They put the phone on the sofa and, as it were, accidentally covered it with a pillow. After some time, a politely knocked at the door of the room, a young man entered, introduced himself as a telephonist and, apologizing, said he wanted to check how the telephone worked.
RETURN TO MOSCOW
Work on wear has affected the health of the Bir. And after a long stay in the Country of blooming chrysanthemums, the intelligence officers finally received a long-awaited telegram from the Center, in which it was reported that they could soon return to their homeland.
The path of the spouses to Moscow again lay through Europe. Bir and Halef left quietly, with one suitcase. For acquaintances, it was an ordinary business trip related to the affairs of their trading house. In the hot summer of 1966, at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, they were greeted by a representative of illegal intelligence, who congratulated the spouses on the successful completion of a business trip.
In 1967, Major Alimov retired. Her husband, Colonel Khamzin, has repeatedly traveled to business trips abroad to perform special tasks of the Center, including to restore communication with valuable sources in countries with difficult operational situations. From him, the Center received critical information about the creation in NATO countriesweapons first strike. " He also received information about the secret work on the development of atomic weapons in those countries that previously did not have it. In total, Shamil Khamzin spent more than 20 years in illegal work in various countries. In 1980, he retired.
For successful fulfillment of special tasks, illegal intelligence officers were awarded with many military orders and medals.
Upon his retirement, the scouts did not cease active social work. They met with young foreign intelligence officers, journalists, and writers. So, Irina Karimovna became the hero of the documentary television film “Voices from Silence”, in which she shared her memories of working in Japan.
During one of the conversations with General Vitaly Pavlov, who was at one time their immediate supervisor at the Center, Irina Alimov underlined:
“I have played a very difficult role all my life, only without dubbing and prompters. It was impossible to make a mistake - there was a huge country behind us, which should not have suffered because of our failures. Halef and I selflessly surrendered to our work of intelligence. As for difficulties and nervous tension, there were a lot of them. But after all, in any other profession, their difficulties, more than enough. And now I can say with confidence that if I had to live again, I would have chosen the same path again. ”
Shamil Abdullazyanovich Khamzin died in the year 1991. His wife and comrade Irina Karimovna Alimova - December 30 2011 of the year.