Vladimir Bustrem - revolutionary, convict, resident

The contribution of the Berlin residency in the formation of the Soviet foreign intelligence
After the end of the First World War, the balance of forces in Europe and the world changed somewhat. Germany was defeated. However, the revanchist sentiments in it were preserved and skillfully fueled by the Entente, in whose political circles there was a growing conviction that without German militarism it would be difficult for it to part with Soviet Russia.

The Soviet foreign intelligence service, established in 1920, was tasked with collecting reliable information about the anti-Soviet intentions of the main capitalist states and disrupting their plans to diplomatically isolate the young republic.

16 April 1922 in the suburb of Genoa - Rapallo, Soviet Russia signed an agreement with Germany on the restoration of diplomatic relations. For Germany, he meant a way out of foreign policy isolation imposed by the Versailles system. For Soviet Russia, this is the first official recognition from a major Western power.
The opening of an official diplomatic mission in Berlin allowed the Foreign Department of the GPU (foreign intelligence) to create a “legal” residence there already in 1922. In a short time, the Berlin residency became the stronghold of the GPU in-cord intelligence in Europe.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Bustrem, a professional revolutionary, arrived at the Berlin residency as an operational worker (in illegal party work until 1917 and later in foreign work on foreign intelligence, he used documents in the name of Alexey Loginov).

Vladimir Bustrem was born on January 5, 1883, in the city of Kem, Arkhangelsk Province, in a large family of a forester. His father, Vladimir Petrovich Bustrem, a Lutheran German, served in the 1 Kem forestry.
In his autobiography, written 13 February 1925, Vladimir noted:
“Father died in 1886 year. There are six children and a mother left. The source of the family's existence is the pension 29 rubles with kopeks and the labor of the mother who earned money from sewing. After graduating from the parochial school, he studied at the Arkhangelsk Province Male Classical Gymnasium at public expense. From the age of fifteen, he began to earn money through tutoring and correspondence with a lawyer. ”
In parallel with his studies at the gymnasium, the young man actively attended illegal circles of political education. He was a member of the student literary circle associated with the local colony of political exiles. In 1902, he was expelled from high school graduation class for political unreliability. But this did not prevent the formation of a future revolutionary. He graduated from the gymnasium with his graduation, having passed all exams as an excellent exam, and in the autumn 1903 left for the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he entered the mechanical department of the local Technological Institute in the same year. But he had not long to learn, and the reason for this was political activity.
During his studies, Bustrem joined the student movement, joined the Social Democratic circle. However, in the second year he had to part with the institute: for participating in the student strike, Boustrem was brought to a professorial disciplinary court and was expelled from the institute. It was noted that the political unreliability of the student was accompanied by his active participation in the revolutionary activities.
At the end of 1904, Bustrem returned to Arkhangelsk, in December he was called up for military service and sent to Novgorod. He served as a private in the 1 th battery of the 22 artillery brigade. Conducted active party work, organizing social democratic circles and rallies at the gunners. Vladimir acted as the organizer of the revolutionary Mayday of the servicemen, initiated a strike in his art battery against the arbitrariness of the officers.
In July, a large rally was held in Novgorod 1905, which brought together representatives of all parts of the garrison, workers and intellectuals. After this rally, Bustrem, as one of its organizers, was forced to hide and go into hiding without waiting for his arrest. He lived illegally in Vologda, worked as a trainee at a local brewery and maintained close contact with local revolutionary circles. After a serious skirmish with the Black Hundreds, Bustrem was forced to leave Vologda and move to St. Petersburg, where he combined his labor activity with work in the district Social Democratic organization, traveled with party tasks to Kronstadt, conducted propaganda work in the troops.
At this time, he met with Eugene Leizinger, the daughter of the famous Arkhangelsk photographer and public figure Yakov Leizinger, who was repeatedly elected the mayor of Arkhangelsk. At the beginning of the century, she left for St. Petersburg without the permission of her father, and, having become acquainted with Bustrem and having fallen in love with him, Eugene in the following years always followed him.

In January, 1906, 22-year-old Bustrem becomes a professional revolutionary, takes the name of the Loginov and goes on to illegal party work. To avoid arrest in Petersburg, the Central Committee of the RSDLP is sending him to Sevastopol.
In the party documents of the time, in particular, it was noted that “comrade Alexey (the party pseudonym of Bustrem) was distinguished by seriousness, Bolshevik perseverance and good Marxist preparation. He worked mainly among naval sailors. ”
Vladimir Bustrem took an active part in the activities of the military-combat organizations of the RSDLP of Sevastopol, Libava, Riga. In November 1906, as a representative from Sevastopol, participated in the 1 conference of the military and combat organizations of the RSDLP in Tammerfors (Tampere). After graduation, he remained in Finland and was elected a member of the Central Group of the military social democratic (Bolshevik) organization. He was also a member of the Baltic Bureau of the military and combat organizations of the RSDLP. He led the work first in Vyborg, and then in Helsingfors (Helsinki) among the soldiers of the local garrison.
Since 1907, Bustrem has lived illegally in Libau. In May-June of the same year, he participated in the 5th Congress of the RSDLP in London as a delegate from the Libava military organization. Upon its completion at the congress of the Latvian Social Democracy, Bustrem gave a report on the goals and objectives of the military organizations and their position in the general party work.
Upon returning to Russia in July 1907, Vladimir Bustrem was arrested in St. Petersburg on the denunciation of the provocateur. He spent almost one and a half years in prison in the notorious Kresty Prison. November 13 1908 of the year on the “Case of the Military Organization of the RSDLP” Boustrem was sentenced to six years in prison. In the St. Petersburg transit prison he was with Michael Trilisser, Yemelyan Yaroslavsky and other Bolsheviks.
Then Bustrema was transferred to the Vologda convict prison. After a clash with the guards that took place there, he was sent "for re-education" to the Yaroslavl "central". In both of these prisons, he sat alone. After being released from prison, Bustrem was sent into exile in Eastern Siberia, in the village of Kochenga, Kirensk district of the Irkutsk province. The last two years of exile lived in Irkutsk, worked in the society of employees and workers of the Trans-Baikal Railway.
At the end of March 1917, Bustrem moved to live in Arkhangelsk, was co-opted to the local Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies and was elected to his executive committee. From June 1917 of the year - Chairman of the Arkhangelsk Council of Workers 'and Peasants' Deputies. In 1918 – 1920, during the capture of the city by the White Guards and interventionists, Bustrem was in the Bolshevik underground. He worked in the “white” Arkhangelsk in the field of statistics. Being the head of the statistics department of the provincial zemstvos, Bustrem gave very valuable information in red.
After the liberation of Arkhangelsk, Bustrem was the head of the Arkhangelsk provincial statistical bureau. In June, at the 4th Arkhangelsk Provincial Congress of Soviets of Workers ', Peasants' and Red Army Deputies, 1920 was elected a member of the executive committee.

In 1921, the fate of Vladimir Bustrema makes a sharp turn. He was summoned to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in Moscow and appointed to the post of head of the accounting subdivision of the Accounting and Distribution Section of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the RCP (B).
Soon the experience of illegal party work Bustrema, a good knowledge of German, French and English, his personal and business qualities were required in the new responsible area of ​​activity. In March 1922, he was appointed authorized by the Foreign Department of the GPU.
The recommendations for admission to work in foreign intelligence to Vladimir Bustrem were given by S.I. Syrtsov, a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the RCP (b), and the head of the INO GPU, M.A. The recommendation of the latter, in particular, stated: “I know Bustrem in joint work with 1906 of the year in the military organization of the party in St. Petersburg, in a joint“ sidka ”in penal servitude from 1909 to 1910, in reference to Siberia from 1914 to 1917.
It should be emphasized that professional revolutionary and party worker Mikhail Trilisser was sent to work at the central office of the Cheka in August 1921, at the personal suggestion of Felix Dzerzhinsky. He was appointed head of the foreign part of the Cheka, which operated abroad. Already in December of the same year, Trilisser became the second person in the Foreign Department — his deputy chief, S. Mogilevsky.
February 6 1922 decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the RSFSR abolished Cheka. On its basis, the State Political Administration (GPU) under the NKVD of the RSFSR is created. And March 13 Trilisser becomes head of the Foreign Department of the GPU. He replaced on this post Mogilev, who led the Transcaucasian GPU.
Trilisser has been working as the Head of the Foreign Department for almost 8 years, which in those times was quite rare. He happened to lead the work of the foreign intelligence agencies of the state security of our country in one of the most difficult periods in the struggle of the Soviet republic with internal and external counterrevolution. He personally established many valuable operational links, conducted interesting recruitments. With Trilisser coming to the leadership of the foreign intelligence of a young state, in essence, a new professional period of its activity began. Intelligence began to work in full force: the experience of the intelligence work of its new leader.
To solve the tasks facing the foreign intelligence service, Trilisser invited a large group of his associates to work in the Foreign Department for underground work in the military organization of the party, as well as work in the Far East during the Civil War. Two of them - Sergey Velezhev, with whom Trilisser worked in Siberia in 1917 – 1918, as well as his associate in the pre-revolutionary underground and penal servitude, Vladimir Bustrem, became his deputies. Responsible posts in the Foreign Department were occupied by Yakov Minsker, Yakov Bodesko and other experienced Chekists, whom Trilisser knew well and trusted.
Under Trilisser, the states of foreign intelligence were expanded. In the corordon part of the INO there were six geographical divisions. Employees of foreign residencies of the Institute of Foreign Literature were given greater freedom in recruiting agents, and residents had the right to include them in an agent network without the consent of the Center. Forming the staff of the Institute of Foreign Languages, Trilisser paid special attention to the professional training of employees, their knowledge of foreign languages, the ability to work with agents, to adapt to rapidly changing conditions.
In order to fulfill the tasks assigned to foreign intelligence, Trilisser created new zakordon apparatus and staffed them with competent operational staff. Under his leadership, the residency of the INO was formed in Berlin, London, Paris, Vienna, Rome. In the East - in Tokyo, Beijing, Harbin, Seoul - were created illegal residency.
In all these endeavors had to be directly involved, and Vladimir Bustrem. The relations of the foreign intelligence chief Trilisser with Bustrem were comradely. They often met, talked with each other. Mikhail Abramovich believed that the professional revolutionary Bustrem, tempted in conspiracy and tempered by hard labor, would be able to quickly master the wisdom of intelligence work. And it should be noted that his hopes were fully justified in the future.
Turning to work at the state security organs, Bustrem continued to fulfill his duties for a while at the Central Committee of the RCP (b). This, in particular, is evidenced by an extract from the minutes of the meeting of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the RKP (b) from 2 March 1922, signed by the secretary of the Central Committee Vyacheslav Molotov, which says about the resolution “after 10 March comrade. Bustremu in combination with the work in the Central Committee to work in the department of the Cheka. ”
24 March, March 1922, V.V. Bustrem was enlisted as an authorized Zakordonnaya part of foreign intelligence. The certification for this period noted: "... sensible, conscientious worker, old revolutionary, convict."

Vladimir Bustrem - revolutionary, convict, resident

Felix Dzerzhinsky personally formed the staff of foreign intelligence.

At the end of August 1922, V.V. Busström is sent to the Berlin "legal" residency as an operational worker. The activities of the Berlin residency in the area of ​​political intelligence were determined by the fact that it had very valuable sources that enabled them to obtain information on Germany and other countries. For example, monthly reports of the German Ministry of State Economy on the economic situation of the country, reports of the Berlin Police Headquarters on the domestic political situation in Germany and the situation in various political parties were sent to the Center.
Very valuable information was obtained about Poland, important information about the position of France in relation to Soviet Russia. Moscow highly appreciated the efforts of the Berlin residency. “Diplomatic materials are very interesting, most of them deserve attention,” the documents of the Center at that time emphasized. A great contribution to the activities of the Berlin residency was made by intelligence officer Boostrem.
In the middle of 1924, Vladimir Bustrem was appointed the new head of the “legal” Berlin residency in place of the resident of the Soviet foreign intelligence in Berlin, Bronislav Bortnovsky, who had returned to Moscow. The center has set a task for the station to step up its political intelligence work.
In the operational letter addressed to the new resident, in particular, it was stated: “Political intelligence assumes the presence of solid whistleblowers in the agent's periphery, whose recruitment should be 90 percent of the whole work point ... In necessary cases, you can not skimp on money. If you need reinforcement by workers, let us know ... ”.
The new head of the residency managed to significantly intensify work on the political line. The staff of the residency had sources of information in the German Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Military Affairs of France, in the Polish mission in Berlin and in other important sites. The residency regularly covered issues of German policy in the East, foreign policy of the Balkan countries, foreign policy of Poland and Czechoslovakia, relations of Germany with France, England and Turkey.
In addition to political intelligence, the Berlin residency, under the leadership of Bustrem, achieved tangible results in other areas of work. So, in 1925, the residency brought together the director of the private detective bureau Kovalchyk. The basis for this was the initiative presentation by the foreigner to the Soviet plenipotentiary of materials exposing the falsifier of the so-called documents of the Comintern Druzhilovsky. It should be emphasized that the case of using a private detective bureau in the work of the Berlin residency, in fact, is unique to the activities of Soviet intelligence in the initial period of its stories. Let us briefly on it.

He was born the future private detective in Ukraine in 1878, in the family of a German colonist and wore a German name Schmidt. He studied at the agronomist in Kiev, Danzig and Brussels. Before the First World War he was engaged in farming in Ukraine, owned a mill and a creamery.
In 1914, as a German, he was deported from Kiev to Odessa. But with the arrival of the German troops in Ukraine, they mobilized the field police and sent them to serve as an interpreter for the head of the Kiev Criminal Investigation Department. Then Schmidt served on detective work in the Odessa criminal wanted list. Having acquired the experience of a detective, he left for Poland.
In a statement to the representative of the League of Nations in Warsaw, he wrote on November 20 1921 of the year: “I have certificates of the Odessa and Kiev Criminal Investigations, as well as the defensive section of the 2 of the Polish Army, from which they were dismissed due to the liquidation of the institution. Paying attention to my knowledge of languages ​​(Polish, Ukrainian, French, German and Russian), I would ask for a position in one of the private bureau of detectives in the West, because there are no such institutions in Poland, but they do not allow private practice. ”
At the beginning of the 1920-ies, Schmidt, who became pan Kovalchik, settled in Berlin, where he opened a private investigative and detective bureau. Soon, he started a steady relationship in the police department, police stations and consulates.
The work of the Berlin residency with an agent successfully continued until August 1937. From the detective on a regular basis received important information of a counter-intelligence nature. In particular, lists of Russian émigrés who actively cooperated with the Gestapo were obtained from him. Kovalchik's capabilities were also widely used for “installations” (collecting basic information on persons interested in exploration, including biographical data, marital status, characteristics at work, etc.) and inspections of persons leaving for work in the USSR.
Ban Kowalczyk and his detective bureau performed tasks not only for the Berlin residency, but also for the Center, and not only in Germany, but also in neighboring countries. Given the active work of Kovalchik with Soviet intelligence and the importance of the tasks that he performed, at the end of 1934, the Center suggested transferring an agent for communication to illegal residency.
Suddenly, on January 21, 1935, one of the detectives of the Kovalchik bureau was detained by the police while completing a task to install an officer of the Anti-Comintern Bureau. During interrogation, he said that he was interested in this man on the instructions of his boss. On the same day, Kovalchik was also arrested. He testified during the interrogation that the installation was requested by a Schröder. Why does he need it? Detective bureau - private, such questions are not asked to clients. Kovalchyk does not know who Schroeder is and where he lives.
After sitting in the police for about a month, Kovalchik was released, giving a subscription that he would try to find this Schroeder and this, in part, at least, make amends.
The arrest of Kovalchik alerted the Berlin residency and the Center. This concern was fully justified, considering that through a detective, practically all the agents of the Berlin residency were checked before recruiting. Kovalchik's careful check, carried out by the station through his abilities, showed that he was sincere and conscientious in his relations with Soviet intelligence agents. Soon the active work with the foreigner was continued.
In the 1941 year, before the war with Germany, Pavel Zhuravlev, head of the German branch of the INO, compiled a detailed report on Kovalchik, in which his work on Soviet intelligence was evaluated. In particular, it said: "Kovalchik performs our tasks with great skill, and his work with us is very much appreciated at the Center." The document also noted that there was not a single failure of the agents, to which Kovalchyk would have been more or less related. However, further work with a foreigner prevented the war. Only in June, 1945, was able to reconnect with him. But the age of Kovalchik was approaching seventy. His health was undermined, although he made far-reaching plans ...

One of the important activities of the Berlin residency, which was led by Bustrem, was the penetration of local special services, including the German Army intelligence service - the Abwehr.
The purposeful work of the residency on this issue has borne fruit: the responsible officer of the counter-intelligence unit of the Abwehr “Janissar” turned out to be in her field of view. The results of his study through the residency capabilities exceeded all expectations. "Janissary", as it turned out, was a major in rank and served in a specially created unit, designed to work on countries of interest to the Abwehr. A reliable and experienced Estonian resident agent was involved in the development of the Janissary. However, at almost the same time, the “Janissary” leadership offered “Estonian” to cooperate with the Abwehr.
An interesting situation has arisen: our residency has led its agent to the “Yanychar” in the hope of developing it and penetrating the Abwehr agent network. And the leadership of the Abwehr decided to use the "Estonian" that appeared in his field of vision. The interests of the two intelligence agencies are facing. The advantage of our residency was that it owned the initiative and knew who it was dealing with in the person of “Janissary” and its management, while in the Abwehr they did not know that they had entered the agent of the Berlin Soviet intelligence station. In the end, the Janissaries were attracted to cooperate with the Berlin residency. Communication with him was maintained until the middle of 1937.
Bustrem traveled from Berlin to other European countries, for example, to Czechoslovakia. In Prague, there were many Russian émigrés, and the city itself was considered one of the leading European centers of Russian foreign students. Among the students there were many former officers, some of whom were part of General Kutepov’s combat organizations and were periodically sent to carry out assignments in the USSR. General VG Kharzhevsky led this activity in Prague. The “throwings” in the USSR of militants trained here were conducted, as a rule, through Poland on the basis of cooperation with the 2 bureau of the Polish General Staff. But this activity in Czechoslovakia was attempted to actively counteract the intelligence officers of the KGB, working among Russian students. Among the most successful was, for example, the recruitment of Dmitry Bystroletov, who had studied in Prague, who later became one of the famous Soviet intelligence agents and illegal immigrants.

The foreign intelligence archives contain a document on the work of the Berlin residency as of 1 in January of 1928, which gives some idea of ​​the scale of its activities, including during the period when it was supervised by Bustrem. The staff of the residency - 8 people. The number of sources in Berlin is 39, in Paris - 7. In 1927, 4947 information materials arrived in Moscow from Berlin. Over a thousand of the most important resident informational messages were sent to the leadership of the country, of which 147 was personally to Stalin.
For the skillful management of the residency in February 1925, Vladimir Bustrem was promoted. He was also awarded the badge "Honorary Worker of the Cheka –GPU" (No. 362) and Honorary Combat weapons (Diploma No. 66 of December 18 1927 of the year).
At the end of December 1925, on the orders of Trilisser, V.V. Bustrem returned from a business trip to Moscow and was appointed deputy head of the OGPU. Trilisser needed a trusted, highly qualified and competent assistant in conditions when Soviet intelligence expanded its activities in the world, mastering new countries and continents, directions and areas of activity. Trilisser himself often traveled abroad, where he met with agents. Therefore, he needed a reliable deputy, who remained at that time in Moscow, who could solve all everyday issues. He chose V.V. Bustrem for this position.
For five years he worked as Bustrem in the central apparatus of foreign intelligence, and in January 1931 was seconded from the organs of the OGPU to the Central Committee of the CPSU (b). It was decided to use his rich experience in other areas. He participated in the organization of grain procurements in the North Caucasus and Voronezh, in the construction of factories in Kuzbass, worked in the executive committee of the Comintern, held senior positions in the Supreme Economic Council of the USSR and in the publishing houses Katorga and Link and the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, was deputy director of the Research Institute of the North under Glavsevmorput.
Vladimir Vladimirovich escaped the fate of his comrades-in-arms and intelligence associates (head of foreign intelligence MA Trilisser, his first resident B. B. Bortnovsky and many others) who died during the mass repressions of 1937 – 1939, when the best pre-war ones were exterminated foreign intelligence cadres.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Bustrem died in Moscow on 13 February 1943 of the year.
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