Khrushchev's guard could not save him only from the resignation
9-e KGB Management: 1953 – 1964
Immediately after the death of Joseph Stalin, serious changes took place in the protection of the top officials of the state and in general in the structure of the special services of the Soviet Union. Guard leader was disbanded the very next day after his funeral.
Already 5 March 1953, the year Lavrenti Beria united the MGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs into one ministry called the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and headed it himself. 24 March of the same year, the staff of the 9 Office was approved in the ministry.
But already 13 March 1954, after the death of Beria, by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the State Security Committee (KGB) was created. Thus, the state security service was again separated from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At 9, the KGB Directorate of the USSR Council of Ministers (and in the new structure of all of them were 10) were entrusted with the task of protecting the leaders of the party and the government. The changes not only affected the organizational structure of the state security service, but also, of course, affected the very conditions of its work. It was during this period that specialists of the Stalinist generation of security officers prepared unique orders and instructions, and also formed the fundamental system documents of the legendary "nine".
“I am not told to go there!”
In 50-s of the last century, the main forge of personnel for state security received the status of a higher educational institution — the Higher School of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. It was not only prestigious, but necessary. Dzerzhinsky’s covenants were remembered and followed them faithfully. The system of selection and education of the personnel reserve was improved, all the necessary conditions were created for the training of competent specialists. At the same time, only officers with at least three years of practical work in the KGB were trained at the Higher School. "Entrants" from the street did not take. It was possible to get to the Higher School (the “tower”, as the Chekists themselves respectfully called it) only on the recommendation of the management of the departments and after the candidature was approved by the party organization registered in the candidate for the examination session.
According to long-standing KGB traditions, the best specialists have always been selected to ensure the security of the country's leader. Worked on this and personnel services, and heads of departments at all levels, nominating candidates, not once tested in practical work. One of the brightest personalities in stories Mikhail Petrovich Soldatov (1926 – 1997) became the guard of the Soviet leaders. For many years he worked in the security groups of Semen Mikhailovich Budyonny, Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev and Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. And Joseph Stalin blessed his service. But first things first.
Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev with bodyguard, lieutenant colonel of the ninth headquarters of the KGB, Mikhail Soldatov. Photo: historicaldis.ru
Here is what Mikhail Petrovich’s son Alexander Soldatov, a retired KGB major, and now mentor of the Academy of the National Association of Bodyguards of Russia (NAST) told us:
“My father graduated from a vocational school and was sent to work as a turner at the Moscow Electric Lamp Factory. There he found the war. He led the Komsomol brigade, which carried out military orders. But that was not enough for him, he wanted more and either in 1942, or in 1943, he went to his aunt in Leningrad to go to the front from there. Had arrived. Aunt met him, quickly pressed the cuffs, watered-fed and ... sent back. When his father returned, he was met by the head of the workshop and said: "Misha, what are we going to do? Or I will inform you" upstairs ", and then you yourself know what awaits you. Or give a plan to fulfill it." My father did not have to think long: "I will overfulfill the plan."
They worked at that time, like many, in three shifts. Probably, from the time when dad, being still quite a boy, he assumed serious obligations, and his character began to take shape. Then these guys were little heroes of the labor, but still the front. On such paid special attention. Therefore, after the war, he was among the Komsomol members who had been asked to go to work for the state security organs, at that time, the MGB. Naturally, a Komsomol member replied to such a proposal: "Yes!" Passed the KGB school of a young fighter, was enrolled in the appropriate unit. Just like everyone else. He carried the service in good faith, as they say, “as taught,” and once, at the direction of the management, he turned up at the government dacha, Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny, to replace the ill employee.
At the site, the security chief told him: "Here is your station of the post, without my team not to let anyone in and out." Simple and clear. Nobody means no one! You see, security is a unit where everyone clearly performs his duties and the tasks assigned to him. This is called the KGB school.
That's how my father understood it. He was not asked, he was precisely ordered - so that no one could walk along this particular path. The rest does not concern him. At the same time, the boss brings to his attention: only I and those people whom I will carry with me can go there. What is there to understand?
This is a simple-looking assignment, we call it “keep the perimeter.”
From this all started. Who "kept the perimeter," who held the "paths", "sections of the route," who "carried out admission to government agencies." The school was arranged in such a way that every young employee, without exception, himself began to perform his first task, and then gradually he came to understand what a regime is, what discipline is, what else is required of him, besides “letting him in — not letting him in”, and so on as you gain experience. The elders always followed, but they did not always prompt in time. Not kindergarten. In a word, young people are growing up in posts. And the posts are changing both by year and by experience. It was possible to work all my life in one post ...
And when his father "kept the perimeter," the legendary commander Semyon Budyonny decided to walk along his favorite path and suddenly met a new young employee. My father later told me: “Such a face is familiar, like a native. And I don’t know who I am. I say:“ I am not told to go there. ”
- How not ordered?
- Not ordered. The head of security said no.
- And if I'm the boss here?
“I have only one boss here.”
Then, of course, the head ran and ordered to skip Budyonny. And he says to him: "Listen, you boy is so good, even he was not scared." As time went on, the employee, whom the father replaced, recovered and returned to the unit, and the shift officer, in theory, it was time to send back. Budyonny became aware of this, and he, apparently, well remembering the oddity "with one boss," said: "Listen, this is a good guy, he correctly performs his duties, disciplined, he should be left." So my father got into the group of personal protection of Semen Mikhailovich Budyonny. ”
It so happened that the young Mikhail Soldatov received a “professional blessing” from Stalin himself. Here is the legendary story from the archive of NAST Russia, which was transmitted in the corridors of the “nine” from generation to generation:
“For the first time, young lieutenant Mikhail Soldatov was on duty near the special entrance of the first Kremlin building, whose stairs led to the main office of the country. This is very serious work, and, of course, officers were trained for it, but everything always happens for the first time.
As usual, a well-known car drove up to the building. Budyonny and Stalin got out of the car. The field guard remained where she was supposed to be. However, instead of immediately entering the building, Joseph Vissarionovich unexpectedly turned to a young officer who met him at the top of the door. Giving honor at the post during the passage of the Generalissimo, Mikhail Soldatov, “as taught,” literally froze, not forgetting to stick his hand clearly to the cap. Something in this episode to Stalin seemed unusual, and the Generalissimo, looking straight into the eyes of the officer who had given him the honor, slyly, as he could, asked:
- What is your name, comrade lieutenant?
What to do? It would seem that there is nothing easier than to answer a simple question, especially since he is obliged to do this. But the Soldiers ... was silent. The “Father of the Nations” looks at him point-blank and is waiting for an answer, and the lieutenant cannot utter a word! So, according to the officers of the field guards on duty shift of Stalin, lasted for half a minute. The pause was clearly delayed, and the situation became more uncertain with every moment. In the theater, this is called a silent scene. Finally, Stalin relented.
“Well, let's not embarrass Comrade Lieutenant,” he said to Budyonny and, half-embracing the marshal, entered the pre-open door himself.
However, the silence of the young officer, apparently, did not give rest to the leader. When Stalin, leaving, passed through the porch, he again turned to Soldatov:
- Nevertheless, comrade lieutenant, what is your name?
- Soldiers Mikhail.
- You have a great Russian surname. Do not be shy. I am sure that everything with your service will go well.
And indeed, Stalin looked into the water. Mikhail Petrovich Soldat, already in 30 years, became a KGB major, and from 1956 he was entrusted with a position in a security group that worked with the country's leader Nikita Khrushchev. ”
“The experience gained by his father in working with Budyonny was very useful here,” said Alexander Soldatov. - Dad knew how visits are being prepared, how escorts are organized, how tasks and functions are distributed among employees, who is responsible for what, etc. He was naturally endowed with an amazing sense of responsibility and accuracy in relation to his duties. "
Task Force, on departure!
The work of the Nine was based on the forms and methods developed by the Chekists in the difficult times of ensuring the security of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. For over 30, the security officers have developed a clear scheme of work organization, methods for the distribution of forces and means have become obvious, professional traditions have been formed. And traditions are the basis of any school, including ensuring the personal safety of the country's leaders.
According to the president of the National Association of Bodyguards (NAST) of Russia, Dmitry Fonarev, there is a very beautiful legend that even the Office received its 9 number in connection with the Stalinist past. The fact is that every day Stalin was guarded by a group of nine officers. Because of this, the professional use of not only the NKVD, but also other departments, and most importantly, the name "nine" entered the minds of the country's leadership.
So, when in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 1954 began to prepare documents for the formation of the KGB, and it was the turn of the distribution of the order numbers of the departments, they decided to assign a number to the personal security department, which became a professional synonym in the minds of people. Recall that this is only a legend, but there are no facts that can refute it ...
According to the order of the KGB of the USSR No. 00157 and the internal instructions of the Nine, all the following years, entire generations of Chekists worked. It is necessary to understand that this is the very continuity that is most necessary in security business, which many specialists are talking about.
Naturally, in the new conditions of public administration, it was not without serious improvements in the structure, methods and forms of work of the personal protection system. First of all, innovations in security technologies were related to the fact that the country's leadership changed its foreign policy. Business trips around the country became commonplace, while foreign visits demanded from the Nine that awareness of the current reality and serious improvement of the existing approach to providing such events.
In the Stalin years, for obvious reasons, the contacts of the first person and his entourage with the outside world were minimized. Joseph Stalin himself traveled outside the USSR only twice: in 1943, in Tehran and in 1945, in Potsdam. When Khrushchev came to power, top officials began to lead a much more fluid lifestyle, which required an increase in security measures.
At the same time, it is necessary to make a special reservation that, despite the official condemnation of the “personality cult of Stalin”, this in no way affected the systemic ideology of the personal protection of the country's leaders. That is, if the "royal heritage" of the Bolsheviks simply did not accept because of ideological differences, the "Stalinist legacy" in the field of state security in general, and in the field of personal protection in particular was very much in demand by his successors. Of course, with the exception of individuals. If Stalin’s security was disbanded by Beria on one day (note that it was not repressed, but it was disbanded: this story is in the NAST archives of Russia as presented by Vladimir Dmitrievich Vinokurov, security officer of Joseph Stalin), then Beria’s security was also disbanded after his arrest .
And reliable, proven by Stalin's time, security officers made up the “gold reserve” of the 9 Directorate of the KGB of the USSR under the Council of Ministers. The USSR, the winner in the Second World War, was a powerful state, which the whole world was forced to reckon with. Everyone understood this. The new world order required the establishment of official dialogues. And the concern for ensuring the safety of foreign visits of the country's leaders, by definition, fell on the shoulders of the Nine leadership.
“At that time, rarely anyone traveled outside the country,” said Alexander Soldatov, “abroad was like a dark well for us. I remember how, when preparing foreign trips, at home to his father, his friends-colleagues in the division gathered and exchanged experiences. That is where, what and how anyone had. It was very interesting to listen to them, but then I still did not understand much. These officers themselves, on the basis of their experience, came to certain thoughts, accurately conveyed them to the management team, as if they were the thoughts of the leadership, and this worked. Those looked, interpreted, pretended and wrote orders - yes, it is reasonable, let's act. So slowly grew the base of professional experience, advanced and on-site security groups attached ".
The first official visit of the head of the Soviet government Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev to the United States. Photo: War Historical Museum
As soon as the leadership of the service received instructions to prepare the upcoming visit of the first persons of the USSR to another country, a group of four to five people was sent in advance according to the security plan. The group, which historically received the name "advanced", carefully studied the situation, set the tasks for the local embassy of the USSR, and established contacts with local special services.
Together with all the involved structures, the “advanced group” developed a plan for ensuring the security of the event, including the routes for vehicles to move, paying particular attention to the methods of evacuating protected persons in the event of a complication of the operational situation. It was important to take into account the protocol requirements of the receiving party, not only for the leadership of the USSR delegation, but also for the security service that worked with it. In the framework established by the visit’s protocol, the collective efforts of the special services addressed issues of general and private interaction, carrying weapons, admission, maintenance, use of technical equipment and many other routine security issues.
Two or three days before the visit, a transport plane delivered cars and drivers from a special purpose garage from Moscow, which traditionally had been an integral part of the state guards since Lenin’s time. During this time, the drivers of the main cars had to study the established routes of the upcoming trips, access roads, parking places and, of course, the order of night car guards.
February 18 The 1960 of the 1 Division of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the USSR was established in the 9 Division of the 18 Division of the USSR KGB and became the “legend in life” 1991 Division. At the time of education, it received the unofficial status of "reserve". In the new management structure, which was preserved until the end of 1, the XNUMX division was directly involved in ensuring the personal safety of protected persons.
According to the logic of events, at the time of the creation of the 18 branch, the status of protected persons from among the leaders of the party and the government of the USSR had 17 people. Each protected person had its own security department, which was regularly formed on the basis of its status.
Each branch was headed by a chief in the position of a senior attached officer. The security department included both attached and the commandant of the security department. At the direction of the country's leadership, the 18-th branch carried out operational tasks related to the strengthening of security functions at social and party events, on business trips and other conditions that required reliable security of protected persons.
The security numbers remained only until the protected person was in his position. But the 18-nd department retained its number and status, despite the fact that the number of departments of protected persons at the end of 80-s exceeded this figure.
Questions related to travel, visits, work with foreign delegations arriving in the country, were directly assigned to the 18-th branch. The staff of the branch consisted of 180 – 200 employees, which at various times constituted up to 10 operational teams. It is this legendary unit in the structure of the “nine” during its existence that was the personnel reserve for the direct maintenance of the personal safety of protected persons.
Divers are not a game
If necessary, not only the employees of the 9 Office of the KGB were involved in the protection of the first persons of the USSR, but also specialists from any other services whose resources and skills could be in demand in a particular situation. Including divisions of combat swimmers, whose foundations in the Soviet Union as early as the 20s were laid by EPRON divers (Expeditions of special purpose underwater work). One episode with the participation of combat scuba divers went down in history as a vivid example of the professionalism and systemic reliability of the national school of personal protection.
It was in the middle of April 1956, during a representative visit to the UK, when the situation in the world was more than a turbulent and cold war was gaining momentum. By order of the Politburo, it was decided to sail in the seaside Portsmouth with three ships. The state squadron was headed by the newest cruiser Ordzhonikidze with guarded members of the delegation on board, including Nikita Khrushchev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Nikolai Bulganin, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. The cruiser was accompanied by the destroyers “Looking” and “Perfect”, on which the other members of the delegation were stationed, who were responsible for organizing and conducting the visit. The delegation also included the Chairman of the USSR KGB, Ivan Serov, and the head of the 9 Department, Vladimir Ustinov.
Guard flotilla special attention was paid, since six months earlier, the battleship Novorossiysk exploded in the Sevastopol raid, and more than 600 sailors died in the explosion. Therefore, the sea voyage of the first persons of the state was prepared very seriously. On board one of the destroyers was a group of combat swimmers. As already noted, these highly qualified specialists did not belong to the 9th Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, but directly entered into the system for ensuring the safety of ships during parking.
At two o'clock in the morning, a sailor who was serving on the deck of a cruiser, noticed bubbles of air coming to the surface, and reported back on command. The acoustic of the cruiser Ordzhonikidze confirmed that he hears suspicious noises on the starboard. A combat swimmer Edward Koltsov descended from the left side into the water and was ordered to find out the cause of the noise. Immersed, Koltsov saw the silhouette of a swimmer just opposite the place where the powder cruisers' cellars are located. According to Koltsov himself, he saw a diver attach a magnetic mine to the side of the cruiser. So that the mine was attached more tightly, the saboteur with a knife cleaned the bottom of the ship from the shells sticking to it, and this produced the noises that the Soviet acoustics caught.
Going up to the diver, Edward Koltsov cut his throat along with the breathing tubes. Only then from the English press it became known that this diver was Lionel Crabbe, famous in England, her best combat diver, commander of the Royal Navy. In some versions, he participated in the explosion of the battleship Novorossiysk.
In the middle of the 2000-s, after the 50-year term expired, the Soviet special services declassified this story. Only then did Eduard Koltsov tell what happened on April 1956 of the year and for which he was awarded the Order of the Red Star. Even after this incident, combat swimmers were not yet included in the 9 Office of the KGB of the USSR. Such a unit in the "nine" will be created only under Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.
Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy. Photo: AR
On earth, in the heavens and in the country
Without any exaggeration, the security system of the Soviet leaders was universal and comprehensive. Immediately after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev settled next to Malenkov in adjacent mansions in the Metrostroevskaya street (now Ostozhenka), and a gate for constant communication was pierced in the brick fence between them. But soon such separation from all the others did not seem to Khrushchev incompatible with collectivist ideology. He ordered each member of the presidium to be built in a mansion, exactly as Beria had suggested at the time. And on the Lenin (now Sparrow) mountains a suite of luxurious mansions appeared. C 1955 (year of construction of the house) on 1964 year in one of them lived the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee N.S. Khrushchev and his family.
These serious changes required the management of 9-th Department to create in its structure a whole unit responsible for ensuring the security and maintenance of the places of residence of protected persons. Employees of the "nine" guarded the Moscow apartments of party leaders and state houses on the modern Kosygin street on the Sparrow Hills, which housed the high foreign guests. Including the Reception House, where a sports and fitness center for protected persons was equipped. Specially trained officers worked with them, who, among other things, had to be skillful partners in pair sports games.
State dachas were protected - in the Moscow suburbs, in Valdai, in the Crimea, in the Caucasus, in the “Zavidovo” hunting farm, as well as the routes between objects. To all these objects, in addition to security groups, maids, cooks, plumbers, electricians and representatives of other civilian specialties were attached. All of them, of course, were employees of the "nine".
The local departments of the 9 Directorate of the KGB created in Valdai, in the Caucasus and the Crimea, there were such departments in the Union republics - there were few members of it, literally several people. After the collapse of the USSR, all documents on their activities and, accordingly, all the invaluable experience remained in Russia. Therefore, it is not necessary to speak about the presence in the post-Soviet states of any strong traditions in personal protection.
By order of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the officers of the 18 division of the 1 division of the 9 Administration of the KGB worked with the first cosmonaut detachment. Attached to Valentina Ivanovna Tereshkova was the legendary woman - Nina Ivanovna Zhabina. In addition to the state dachas, the N-9 also protected other objects, for example, the 1-th cosmonaut detachment (by the way, this practice existed under Beria, when the MGB officers ensured the safety of physicists employed in the nuclear project).
Special areas of work were supervised by specially designated officers of the 18 division of the 1 division of the 9 division of the KGB. So, there was a group for working with objects “Theater”, which was responsible for the security of the country's leaders in theaters (special boxes) and other cultural institutions. It was led by Mikhail Nikolayevich Arakcheev.
There was such an influential service as “KFT” (cinema, photo, television) in the “nine”. In the department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the same "Kremlin pool" of film and photo correspondents was formed. It was with this contingent, including admitted to the events of foreign “shooting” journalists, that a special group of three or four people worked (depending on the number of “shooting” press). The group could be quantitatively strengthened during parades and demonstrations in Red Square.
At the same time, the KFT group had no relation to the control over the content of journalistic material. Her task included the usual functions: admission control of shooting and writing journalists, checking the equipment being inserted and observing the protocol order of the event by the wards. A group led by Valentin Vasilievich Kurnosov worked.
Nikita Khrushchev meets with collective farmers during a trip around the country. Photo: TASS archive
The direction “Sport”, which was headed by Oleg Ivanovich Kurandikov, provided for the control of special boxes of sports facilities where security measures were held. A group of 9 officer sports officers participated in the Olympic torch relay in 1980.
It must be said that athletes have always been the basis of personnel reserve for personal protection. Thus, the duty officer of one of the units of "nine" was the famous football goalkeeper Alexei Khomich. The life of Alexey Kosygin, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, during the incident with his canoe on the Moscow River was saved by Nikolai Kalashnikov, a midfielder of the USSR Olympic water polo team, a bronze medalist of the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad, an officer of the 1 section of the 9 Division of the KGB. He had to swim to the protected from the river bank. In the 18 division of the 1 division, the participant in the final relay race in swimming of the same USSR Tokyo Olympic team, Viktor Semchenkov, also worked.
In addition, in 50-e structures were created, not included in the "nine", but an integral part of the security system.
Initially, the USSR Ministry of Defense was responsible for the air transportation of the country's leaders, and they flew on military aircraft piloted by Air Force officers. That was until April 13, 1956, when by order of the Council of Ministers in the structure of Aeroflot was created aviation Special Forces Unit (UNU) based at Vnukovo Airport. Soon, the UNO was renamed Separate Aviation Unit No. 235. This unit had its own special crews, crews and mechanics. His responsibilities included transporting statesmen not only of the USSR, but also of friendly countries. At any moment, the readiness of any side was several hours.
The squad commander from 1957 of the year was Boris Pavlovich Bugaev, the legend of the “government fliers”, who for many years also served as the personal pilot of Brezhnev. It was he 9 February 1961, was at the helm of the IL-18, at which the Soviet delegation led by the Secretary General flew to Guinea. In 130 km from Algeria, over the Mediterranean Sea, the plane was unexpectedly attacked by a French jet fighter. The French approached the Soviet plane three times at a dangerously close distance and fired at it twice, then crossing its course. But Boris Bugaev both times managed to bring the IL-18 out of the shelling zone. In 1970, Boris Pavlovich was appointed Minister of Civil Aviation of the USSR and worked in this position for 17 years, was twice awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor and many other honorary awards.
23 June 1959 was created by the Department of Government Communications (OPS) of the KGB of the USSR under the Council of Ministers. Ten years later, by order of the KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov of 13 in March of 1969, the OPS was reorganized into the Office of Government Communications (OOPS). Without this unit, the work of the Nines would have been unthinkable. It provided with closed communications all the activities of the Politburo and the KGB. UPS specialists always flew abroad with the advanced group of nine.
“I have my own concerns”
From the above, it is quite obvious that in ensuring the security of the country's leadership in the USSR, they adhered to a strict systems approach. But bodyguards, as our expert says, in the past, the senior staff officer of the 9 Office of the KGB of the USSR Dmitry Fonarev, is a noble cause, and not a thankful one. Because no systematic approach of the special services can force a protected person to take this work seriously (and equally systematically). So it was in tsarist times, it was the same in the Soviet Union, here the revolution did not change anything.
The security service is responsible for the security of the protected, but he is not obliged to listen to her recommendations, she is not his superiors, so very much depends on the degree of his consciousness. Or unconsciousness, as was the case with Nikita Khrushchev, who delivered a lot of trouble to the staff of his security group. He didn’t like it when there were a lot of them around him - just like Alexander II, Nikolay II and V.I. Lenin.
In his book, "Attempts and Staging: From Lenin to Yeltsin," Nikolai Zenkovich quotes the words of the former head of the Nines, KGB General Nikolai Zakharov, that Nikita Sergeevich never got into the details of their service. Even with the preparation of his first visit to the US in September 1959, he refused to get acquainted with the plan of measures to ensure his safety:
“You are entrusted with ensuring my safety,” he said to Zakharov, whom he had held for a long time at the reception desk and accepted only at midnight. - It’s good that you made an action plan. Follow it. I have nothing to do with this. I have my own concerns.
There was nothing left for the general, except to greet and leave the high office. Although, as Nikolai Stepanovich recalls, they then worked thoroughly. We have foreseen a lot: the actions of the guard in the event of a plane crash and a car breakdown, terrorist attacks and anti-Soviet demonstrations, a traffic accident and many other unforeseen situations. The plan was developed under the personal guidance of the KGB Chairman Shelepin, who gathered developers three or four times a week.
And here is the result of their efforts: "I have my own concerns."
Well, still, if Nikita Sergeevich could quietly be engaged in “his own concerns,” but he constantly threw extra cares at the protection. Like again the Russian tsars and Lenin, Khrushchev loved to communicate with the people, without warning anyone in advance. Most of all, the security was unnerving that he made “going to the people” not only at home, but also abroad. One of these cases, the battered KGB chairman, Serov, recalled: “In my lifetime there have been many difficult cases. But none of them can be compared with what I had to endure during the trip of Khrushchev and Bulganin to India in November of 55 ... ”.
And this is what happened there. At one of the squares of Calcutta, Khrushchev, touched by the warm welcome, ordered the car to stop and resolutely headed into the crowd. "Hindi - Rus, bhai-bhai!", How can you sit in the car. The crowd happily rushed to meet, there was a crush, a police cordon immediately crushed, appeared and the first victims. But the security officers did not lose their head, picked up Khrushchev and Bulganin in their arms and carried them over the crowd.
Khrushchev during his official visit to the UAR takes part in celebrations on the occasion of the overlap of the Nile. Photo: Valery Shustov / RIA News
Once the Secretary General surpassed himself and ordered to remove the guard around the perimeter of his summer cottage in Livadia. Posts remained only at the main entrance and from the sea. However, such liberties were soon abandoned. In 1961, a couple climbed to the dacha. At night, a man and a woman climbed over the fence, waited in the bushes and early in the morning suddenly appeared before Khrushchev on the beach to hand him a letter complaining to the local authorities. A small group of bodyguards at this time went to bathe, which the guarded seemed not to object to.
After an unexpected meeting with the petitioners, the flimsy general secretary became angry, called from Moscow and the KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny, and the head of the “nine” Nikolay Zakharov, gave them a lot of dressing. Guilty officers were fired not only from the personal security of the secretary-general, but also from the KGB system. Khrushchev wanted to disperse everyone else, but his daughter Rada Nikitichna saved them, often speaking in conflict situations as a conciliator. In addition, the security service still managed to prove to Nikita Sergeevich that if the dacha were guarded around the perimeter, the uninvited guests would not have been able to get there. Perimeter security, it was decided to resume.
1961 year for Khrushchev in general was rich in all kinds of dangerous situations. This, however, was not about organized assassinations: they were riots or some ridiculous cases.
In Tbilisi, outraged by the decision of Khrushchev about the demolition of Stalin’s monuments, the townspeople broke windows in the Khrushchev motorcade, and only clear, skillful guard actions saved the Soviet leader from reprisal. Similar incidents happened in other cities of the Soviet Union.
At the end of the year in Kiev, during a large meeting of agricultural workers, the guard intercepted a woman who was trying to break through to Khrushchev with a knife. At the very least, the security officers claimed that they had seen a knife with this woman. Why did she take him with her and what she wanted from Nikita Sergeevich, she could not be established.
“My son will not be ashamed of me”
The impression is involuntarily created that the secretary general was lordly on the staff of his guards. There is even a legend that he allegedly fired several people because, due to their oversight, his cat’s grandson's favorite pigeons were eaten by a cat ... Let's leave speculation to skeptics.
But what’s for sure is that Khrushchev had a special relationship with Mikhail Soldatov. And the matter was not at all in a special official position of Soldatov: he did not head the group of the General Secretary’s guard, but was merely one of its officers.
The reason is different: being still very young and working for Budyonny, Mikhail Petrovich understood that the attached one had to put his behavior in the most rigid framework. Keep a certain distance with the protected person. You can only speak with the “grandfather” (as the Soviet bodyguards called their wards) only if he addresses you. And then it is not only possible, but necessary.
“If the" grandfather "decides to talk with you," says Alexander Soldatov, "even inviting me to smoke, for example, you cannot refuse him. If you don't smoke, that's your problem. But this is a sign that he has some kind of sympathy for you, and this should be appreciated.
The work of the guard should not be noticeable. But the guarded must feel that this "invisible front" is present next to it. When you work with people of this level, there simply cannot be any unresolved problems. If you have been asked something, you have no right to answer "I do not know." From where you take the necessary information, the protected does not interest. And he can ask about anything: “Is that what?”, “When was the fence painted?”, “What fish swims there?”, “Where are my glasses?”.
When I myself began to work in security, comrades told me: “If you go with a guarded walk, take glasses, grab a fresh newspaper, prepare water,” etc. Here we go for a walk, and the guard asks:
- What did they write in the press today?
- They wrote this.
- Who signed the articles?
“Such and such.”
- And, I know, good journalists. Sorry, I did not have time to review the newspaper today ...
- You are welcome!
- Oh, and I have no points!
- Here you are!
- It's hot today, to drink would be ...
- Please, some water!
This is how a security officer should work ... One day my father went for a walk with Khrushchev. Prepared, as expected. And Khrushchev had the habit of grumbling at bodyguards: "Oh, you young people don't know anything, you can't do anything." But my father was warned that Khrushchev could sometimes suddenly sit on a stump and start singing a song, and at the same time he would surely say: “You don’t know the songs, you don’t know the words” ... He especially loved the Ukrainian folk song “Ridna Mother My. And now Khrushchev began to sing it, and his father picked it up. The general secretary was surprised, his mood was up. Some sympathy ensued, and after a trip to Austria in 1961, the relationship with them became very warm. ”
And this is not surprising. In Austria, during a meeting at the Vienna railway station, a small object was thrown at Khrushchev’s feet. Mikhail Soldatov responded instantly - he rushed and covered the object with his body. It was a metal cylinder, similar to an infantry grenade. As it turned out later, the cylinder contained a letter from a Russian émigré with a request to help him return to his homeland. After that, the Austrian Chancellor dismissed his guards, and Khrushchev personally thanked his bodyguard for his dedication. This is a professional fact.
The visit, when Mikhail Petrovich Soldatov (to the left of Khrushchev) covered himself with a metal cylinder thrown in front of the protected persons. Photo: wikipedia.org
“I asked my father many times about this case,” said Alexander Soldatov. - He clearly realized that this is the minute for which everything was. An object flies under the feet of the head of state, whom he guards. Even if it is a dummy, it is still an object flying towards the protected person. Realizing that he is fully aware of what he is doing, his father covered the object with his body. He understood that he could do nothing more. Of course, the brain worked at lightning speed ... He managed to say goodbye to everyone in his mind. Many years later, when he was already aged, he told me that his last thought was: “My son will not be ashamed of me”. ”
In its materials NAST also leads such an interesting fact. Once in Belarus, at a solemn event with the participation of members of the government, Mikhail Soldatov prevented an attempt to transfer the envelope to Nikita Khrushchev. One artist was on the stage and suddenly began to get something from the neckline of her dress. Mikhail Petrovich responded instantly and intercepted her hand, which was a letter. As a result of “decisive and precise actions of the security officer,” as it was written in the report addressed to the management of the department, which was obliged to report on any incident with the protected persons, “the elegant dress was badly damaged”. The fact that "everything that was in it," fell out, in the report did not write. Nine officers and their Belarusian colleagues from the local KGB who worked at the event told each other about this. But there's nothing you can do, the main thing is that the guarded has not suffered. Khrushchev later recalled this incident for a long time as an example of the decisive actions of his bodyguard.
"Bomb" disguised as a doll
In 1959, Khrushchev's famous trip to America took place: for the first time the Soviet leader set foot on US land. As Mikhail Soldatov told his son, the work there was going to the limit, sometimes without food or sleep. At first, the Soviet leader was met unfriendly, but his relaxed and energetic way of holding himself soon fell to the Americans to taste. After visiting the first two or three cities, he was already greeted by whole crowds. The Americans even forgot about their president, they were so interested in Khrushchev. The business trip ended, and the whole world was shocked by this visit.
On the way back with Mikhail Petrovich a curious incident occurred.
“When dad was on this trip,” recalls Alexander Soldatov, “my sister Lena was born. The embassy and security guards dropped, gave him a doll. In the USSR, these dolls were not yet: she was like a real child - with crystal eyes, real hair, a complete set of clothes. Everyone took this doll in their hands and were surprised. To nothing happened to her, her father took her on the plane. Not traveling, of course ...
In fact, his colleague, an American secret service agent, does not allow him to board the plane. Father on his fingers and, of course, with the help of truly Russian idiomatic expressions, explains to him: “My daughter was born. A doll is a gift. ” The American shows him that there is no, it is impossible, they say, in the doll certainly a bomb. The senior approached, but at first did not interfere. An experienced colleague, what could be here ...
But when the father had already specifically and firmly put it, the elder instructed his subordinate to let him go aboard with the doll, arguing his decision exclusively in an American way. In the translation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs colleagues, it sounded like this: "This is such a juicy and precise word that you will not be mistaken. And if the Russian began to swear like that, then there definitely is no bomb."
In October 1964, as a result of a “party coup”, Nikita Khrushchev was removed from his post as general secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and retired. This is perhaps the only case when the security could not help him. But the career of his bodyguard Mikhail Soldatov successfully continued under Brezhnev. But in the Brezhnev era, we will talk about the everyday life of personal guards in the next publication of this series.