Intelligence is full of secrets. And these secrets become public knowledge sometimes in many years, and even decades. At the end of 60 - the beginning of 70 - a small island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean was a hot spot on the map of the planet. The protege of the junior "black colonels" General Grivas tried to overthrow the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. Perhaps it would have him. But Grivas was unlucky. An experienced resident of the Soviet military intelligence, Colonel Viktor Bochkarev, stood in his way.
... The plane was landing. The pilot laid a roll on the left side of the board, in the porthole, like a wreath on a wave, a blooming island swung. The green of the marvelous coast was so unusually bright that in the first second of surprise, Viktor Bochkarev closed his eyes: “What are you, Cyprus! Live here now, serve here ... "
“Grivas described in detail how the Soviet ambassador, some embassy officials, and their families should be subjected to torture after the coup”
He leaned back in his chair, opened his weary eyelids. In the airplane round window, through the narrow strip of the glittering sea, one more shore appeared. “Turkey,” Bochkarev understood. For some reason, I remembered the song: “I don’t need a Turkish coast, I don’t need a foreign land ...” It turns out that I need it.
Before a business trip, as it should be, he studied materials on Cyprus, Turkey - regional studies, economics, military groups, geography. I knew: not far from the Turkish coast, but I didn’t expect it to be like this, just a few steps away. Although colleagues warned ... In one of the reports, one of his predecessors wrote: "On clear days, Turkey is visible from the castle of St. Hilarion."
The stewardess babbled something into the microphone, but Bochkarev was busy with his thoughts. I heard only the last sentence: “The air temperature in Nicosia plus 27 degrees”.
“It’s not bad at all for February,” he decided, recalling the searing icy rump that the north wind had driven across the airfield in Moscow. "But people live ..." And then he returned himself to reality. In the analytical reports of his native Main Intelligence Directorate, the situation in Cyprus was interpreted as very far from paradise. The confrontation between President Makarios and the Greek “black colonels” led by their protege on the island, General Grivas, continued, and the incessant hostility between the Greek and Turkish communities pushed the people to the brink of war.
On the eve of his departure, the immediate superior and a short meeting with the GRU chief, General Peter Ivashutin, said that service would not seem like honey. Although on top of the beautiful island was serene and quiet.
President Makarios meeting at Nicosia airport after returning from Moscow. Fourth right - Victor Bochkarev. Photo from the archive of the author
Tasks Bochkareva sketched a lot. And one of them is to actively resist the overthrow of the legitimate government and the President of the Republic of Cyprus.
GRU Colonel Viktor Bochkarev was officially appointed military, naval and air attache of the Soviet Union in Cyprus at the beginning of 1970. He is a resident of the Soviet military intelligence.
The choice fell on him not by chance. By that time, Colonel Bochkarev was an experienced military intelligence officer. He came to the Red Army Intelligence Directorate even before the war, in 1939. He then served as an ordinary Red Army man in the regiment of communication. Being a duty officer on the radio division, he met a delegation from the district headquarters. The commander spoke with a brave fighter and was surprised to learn that he is essentially a polyglot, speaks six languages. Soon the polyglot was in the district intelligence department, and then in Moscow.
I met the war as an operational officer at the Kaunas frontier intelligence point. Then he worked with German prisoners of war. He was able to decipher the verbatim records of the German U-88 aircraft commander, Captain Luftwaffe Messerschmidt. They had the cherished start date of the general offensive against Moscow. Messerschmidt was amazed; he refused to believe that these wild hares had a knack for German shorthand.
In the following years, Bochkarev was preparing reconnaissance groups to be transferred to the rear of the enemy. During the war he visited ten fronts - from Karelian to 1-th Ukrainian and on the territory of five countries - Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany. Raised dozens of agents.
In 1945, Captain Bochkarev worked as part of a special group that was looking for traces of Nazi leaders - Hitler, Bormann, Goebbels ...
After the war, Viktor Viktorovich studied at the Diplomatic Academy, served as a senior assistant, and then as a military attaché of the Soviet Union in Austria.
1956 - the year of the bloody events in Hungary, he met in the Vienna residency. On those troubled days, Soviet intelligence paid special attention to the Austro-Hungarian border. Bochkarev led route reconnaissance, met with agents, traveled to the Hungarian territory, controlled by the rebel forces, to collect intelligence information and analyze the situation.
During the Austrian period of work, Bochkarev, on the instructions of the command, managed to find the grave of the illegal intelligence officer of the Hero of the Soviet Union Lev Manevich, who worked in Austria and Italy in the 30s.
After returning from a long business trip, Viktor Viktorovich devoted ten years to training illegal intelligence officers. He visited Thailand, the Philippines, South Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
And now he has received a new appointment. No, not to prosperous Germany or quiet Austria, but to the restless island of Aphrodite - Cyprus, where the Greek junta of the “black colonels” sought to overthrow the country's president Makarios.
With President Makarios. Left: USSR Ambassador to Cyprus Barkovsky. Photo from the archive of the author
And now Viktor Viktorovich has a goal. The plane is already running along the runway, slowing down, lazily shaking the planes, like a giant bird with tired wings. Winged ladder. Passengers hurried, the salon was filled with a multilingual hubbub. Stood and Bochkarev.
Already on the ramp he sensed what plus 27 meant in February. An unusual, tart, spicy smell hit his nose. The air of Nicosia stupefied.
He was met by an embassy car. When they left the airfield, Bochkarev was surprised a lot: the road to the capital of Cyprus ran through lifeless, bare terrain. Left and right is a dull landscape, layers of frozen volcanic lava, on which almost nothing grew. Is that stuck rare bushes of some white tall flowers. It was they who filled the air with a sharp, spicy smell.
However, Nicosia itself looked fresh and young at the entrance: white, well-kept houses with flat roofs, church bell-stands, sinking in gardens, and in the distance — dark green spurs of the Kyrenia and Troodos mountain ranges.
I could not even believe that this land remembers Alexander the Great and Roman Emperor Claudius, the Byzantine Emperor Roman II and the English King Richard the Lionheart.
... New military attache of the Soviet Union was settled in a representative apartment on Zeveris Avenue. On the contrary - the presidential palace. From the window you can see the gate, the main entrance.
Soon the new attache will be received by Makarios and will present him with credentials. The second time they officially shake hands when the President of Cyprus returns from Moscow. Only two meetings. But the activities of the Soviet resident in Cyprus will largely be subordinated to the preservation of the life of President Makarios.
Bochkarev quickly figured out the situation. And the situation in Cyprus at that time was truly front-line. Greco-Turkish confrontation grew. Not a week passed without any incidents. Three years ago, the Turks captured an important tactical area in one night, the mountain of Saint Hilarion, completely defeating the superior forces of the Greek Cypriots.
Turks behaved extremely militant. They set up military detachments in all villages and localities, equipped observation posts on the outskirts of the villages, carried out combat duty, and organized training exercises.
In addition to the Turkish and Greek troops in Cyprus, 25 thousands of English soldiers and officers were stationed. In accordance with the UN decision, there were also “blue helmets” - Austrians, Australians, Danes, Swedes, Finns, Canadians. The posts of the "blue helmets" were located on the "green line" that divided the Greek and Turkish areas.
In short, people with weapons on a small island, more than enough, "blue helmets" were on high alert for several months in a row.
At the head of Cyprus was Archbishop Makarios. He is the president of the republic, the prime minister, the commander-in-chief and the head of the Orthodox Church. This is what a resident of military intelligence, Colonel Bochkarev (Borin), reported to Moscow at that time.
"Moscow. Centre. Top secret.
Makarios was born 13.08.1913 in the family of a poor shepherd in Troodos in the province of Paphos. Educated at the monastic school, at the theological faculties of Athens and Boston (USA) universities.
In 1950, he was elected Bishop and Ethnarch. He is the leader of the national liberation movement of the Cypriot people. In 1956, the British sent to the Seychelles.
Makarios is a flexible, clever bourgeois politician, using the whole arsenal of tricks of the Byzantine church, skillfully using to the full the contradictions of the countries interested in Cyprus. He is characterized by the underestimation of the forces of the enemy and the exaggeration of their capabilities. In a complex situation dramatizes events and panics.
For several years, the local reaction, the Greek black junta, has been trying to physically eliminate Makarios. However, these attempts failed.
Indeed, Makarios poured poison into the food. Failure. After that, his brother becomes the president’s personal chef.
Conducted intensive handling of the driver. It was supposed to commit an accident. The driver was replaced, the driver appointed a relative of Makarios.
President of Cyprus tried to destroy on the way to his destination, as well as in the church during the sermons.
8 March 1970, Makarios was going to fly a helicopter to the monastery of Machheras. There he had to serve the service. When the helicopter rose from the takeoff site of the Archbishop's Palace, a machine gun struck from the roof of the nearest gymnasium. The president remained unharmed, but the pilot was badly wounded in the stomach. Blooding, he still managed to land the car on one of the narrow streets of Nicosia.
Makarios himself took the pilot to the hospital, was with him all the time while the operation was underway. Making sure that the life of the pilot does not threaten anything, he drove to Macheras by car. Despite the threats of terrorists, he delivered a sermon, telling the congregation about the tragedy.
After this failed attempt, Makarios received anonymous letters, the authors of which promised to kill him if he did not leave the presidency.
Behind the numerous terrorist attacks was the main enemy of the Cypriot leader - General Georgios Grivas.
"Moscow. Centre. Top secret.
Grivas was born 23.05.1898, in the village of Trikomo, in the family of a wealthy land merchant. Claims the role of a Cypriot leader. Vain, capricious, touchy, vindictive. In the fight is ready to go to any of the most cruel, inhuman measures.
Master of terrorist attacks and conspiracy.
At the beginning of a career, pro-English was set up. Participant of the Greek-Turkish war 1919 – 1922, the Albanian campaign 1940 of the year.
During the period of the Nazi occupation of Greece, he joined the organization of the far-right Greek officers.
In the 1944 year, after the English landed in Greece, he created the terrorist organization Hitos. He killed the communists. In 1952, he became close to secret organizations in Cyprus, which began to fight against the British. He acted under the pseudonym Digenis.
1 May 1955, Grivas and his associates blew up an English radio station in Nicosia. The British assigned 10 thousands of pounds to his head, but despite their best efforts, they never managed to arrest Grivas.
The general is a great conspirator. Cleverly transformed into a woman, a man of any age and social status, can take the form of a hunchbacked, sick, crippled. If necessary, can quickly lose weight, lose up to 15 pounds of its weight.
After the creation of the Cypriot state, Grivas went to Greece. After the Greek-Turkish clashes in December 1964, he returned to Cyprus again. Three years later he was recalled to Athens.
In 1971, Gryvas illegally sneaks into Cyprus with the task of organizing a conspiracy against Makarios.
Such was the cunning and cunning enemy of the President of Cyprus. He became the enemy of the Soviet military intelligence. Did Grivas know who opposes him? Sure. This is evidenced by the coup plan that fell into the hands of our 1 intelligence agents in February, 1972. Then, before the start of the coup, there were several hours left. But ... the plan became known to Makarios, and the terrorists did not dare to speak.
What was the amazement of the embassy employees when they found their names in a detailed document. Grivas described in detail how the ambassador, some embassy officials, and their families should be subjected to torture after the coup. Among the first to the torture chamber, Grivas was about to send the Soviet military attache, Colonel Bochkarev.
Immediate precautions are taken. The ambassador leaves the country for half a year, diplomatic and technical personnel leave for the city only in groups. But the scouts do not have the opportunity to sit behind the walls of the representation. Operational work should not stop for a day. And it does not stop.
Its result is the failure of the terrorist act at the Lidra Hotel at a diplomatic reception in honor of the Day of the Soviet Army and the Naval fleet. The bomb was laid in the table for the dishes of the waiters. On the same evening, the Grivas militants tried to bring an automatic rifle into the hall under the guise of a photographic tripod and shoot the guests.
The agency worked well. In time, there was a message about the preparation of the murder of Makarios at the Christmas sermon in the cathedral. Having taken security measures, the archbishop nevertheless did not cancel the service. He began his conversion by saying that in the church of God on the eve of a bright Orthodox holiday, the servants of the devil want to take his life. The Lord will not allow this. The situation in the temple was such that the terrorists did not dare to use weapons, they fled from the cathedral.
Of course, in this crowded electrified hall there were also two Soviet military intelligence officers - the resident Viktor Bochkarev and his deputy.
Sometimes, Borin’s agents, risking their lives, made their way into the resident’s house at night to warn of a coup.
There were other very interesting moments in the work of the GRU Cyprus residency. Employees closely followed the local press, as well as newspapers and magazines, radio broadcasts in Greece, where at that time the regime was "black colonels."
Thus, Officer Suntsov, who is fluent in Greek, based on analysis of the press and stationary documents, suggested that the government of Cyprus would soon be overthrown. The information was brought to the attention of Makarios. Subsequent events proved the accuracy of the analytical calculations of the residency.
Grivas, being an experienced military specialist, was well aware of the reason for his failures. And so, once again, the attempt was made on the Soviet resident, military attache Viktor Bochkarev and his family. They were saved by a miracle. The gunfire took place over the heads of Bochkarev, his wife and two children, when on Saturday evening they rested on the balcony of their villa. The wall was riddled with bullets. I had to change the apartment.
Fate brought opponents - the Soviet military intelligence officer and General Grigas - face to face only once. This meeting could be fatal. Our officers conducted route reconnaissance just in those deserted wild gorges of western Troodos, where the terrorist-general was hiding and where he was training his militants.
Already at dusk, on the road that ran along the stony bed of the stream, two cars met - Bochkarev and Grivas. They met and dispersed in different directions. Why then did not attack the unarmed employees of the Atlas Gryvas? Did not expect this meeting, was not ready, did not dare? Who knows…
More they have not met. Colonel Bochkarev’s business trip ended, and he departed to the Soviet Union.
And in 1974, the world found out about a coup in Cyprus. Fortunately, President Makarios managed to escape, change into a dress of a simple shepherd and get to the location of the English Expeditionary Force. The British brought the head of Cyprus to London.
The resident of the Soviet military intelligence in Cyprus, Colonel Viktor Bochkarev admitted later that the coup could have been prevented. But, alas, life had its own way.