Military Review

From the legendary cohort

From the legendary cohortWe continue to publish materials on stories the creation and activities of our country's foreign intelligence service (INO-PGU-SVR), celebrating its 20 anniversary on December 95 this year. Today we will talk about foreign intelligence operations aimed at rescuing intelligence officers from difficult situations in which they found themselves as a result of betrayal.


Most often, legendary in a narrow circle of professionals, intelligence officers, especially illegal immigrants, become known against their will, since they, as a rule, are destined to appear before the public except in case of failure following the betrayal. This, for example, happened almost 60 years ago with William G. Fisher (Rudolf Ivanovich Abel), who was arrested in the United States as a result of the betrayal of an employee of his illegal residency.

Motherland never abandoned her scouts in a difficult time for them. They always knew that Moscow would come to their aid. This confidence is vividly demonstrated by an episode from the operational activities of prominent Soviet intelligence officers Konon Young and George Blake.

3 May 1961 in London, in the famous criminal court of the highest instance of Old Bailey, began the hearing of a criminal case of spying for the Soviet Union by the British intelligence officer MI-6 George Blake. The process was of a closed nature.

George Blake, who was betrayed by one of the leaders of Polish intelligence, was convicted on five counts and sentenced to 42 years in prison - the longest sentence in the history of British justice.

Literally a month and a half before that, 23 March 1961 of the year, in the same court ended a loud trial of the “Portland case”, in which the main person involved was Canadian businessman Gordon Lonsdale, sentenced by the British Themis to 25 years of imprisonment. Under this name in the UK worked as a cadre illegal Soviet intelligence officer, Colonel Konon Trofimovich Molody.

Both convicts were held for some time in Wormwood-Scrubs Prison in London. During one of the walks in the prison yard between Young and Blake, a conversation took place, which the latter remembered for the rest of his life. In his usual optimistic manner, Young said to Blake: “I don’t know what will happen next, but I’m sure of one thing: we will be in Moscow in 1967 at the parade in honor of the October Revolution 50 anniversary.”

It sounded fantastic at a time when the scouts were just beginning to serve long prison sentences. But it turned out that Young was right.


One of the Comintern activists, Isidor Milgram, in March 1921 was sent to work in the Foreign Department of the Cheka. In his 25 years, he was already an experienced underground worker, acquired significant skills in illegal work. Milgram was fluent in German, Dutch, English and Polish. The first responsible intelligence assignment for a young employee of the INO VChK was participation in the Soviet delegation, headed by Maxim Maximovich Litvinov, in the Hague Conference 1922 of the year. The scout successfully coped with the tasks assigned to him by Moscow.

In 1923 – 1924, Milgram was illegally employed in Germany. His work has received the highest rating from the Center.

Since December 1924, the intelligence officer has been an assistant to the “legal” OGPU resident in Greece. The country was under the name of Oscar Miller and under the guise of the post of employee of the embassy of the USSR. Achieved specific recruiting results.

29 December 1925 of the year Milgram was captured by officers from Asfalia - the Greek security service - during a meeting with a source that was issued to the counterintelligence provocateur - a changed member of the Central Committee of the Greek Communist Party. A thorough search was conducted at Milgram’s apartment in the presence of his wife and young son.

Here is what the local newspaper Estia wrote about this: “The head of the gendarmerie’s special task force police group, Mr. Ginu, began investigating the case of the arrested communist agent Oscar Miller ... The arrested person has an official Russian passport. However, he will not be released. Since Oscar Miller did not plead guilty, he will be judged ... On the instructions of his Center, he supervised the activities of agents in Greece and, in particular, entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from where he received copies of important international documents. ”

Milgram spent three months in prison, where he was subjected to intensive interrogation. And all this time, the Center was actively engaged in solving the issue of his release.

Soon Milgram was exchanged for the second secretary of the Greek embassy, ​​“on time” arrested in Moscow. In fact, it was the first exchange of a Soviet intelligence officer arrested abroad for his foreign colleague, arrested in the USSR, in the history of Soviet foreign intelligence that had just begun to count down the time.

The behavior of the intelligence officer in detention was recognized by the Center as “courageous and exceptionally worthy.”


October 14 The 1957 of the year in the Federal Court of the Eastern District of New York began a tumultuous trial on spy charges of Soviet citizen Rudolf Ivanovich Abel. He was facing the death penalty or life imprisonment. During the investigation, Abel categorically denied his affiliation with Soviet foreign intelligence, refused to give any evidence at the trial and rejected all attempts by US intelligence officials to persuade him to cooperate. A month later, the judge read out the sentence: 30 years of a convict prison, which for him in the 54 year was equivalent to a life sentence.

Only at the beginning of 1990-s, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service officially announced that the real name of a Soviet intelligence officer arrested in June 1957 in the United States was William Fricher.

Why, during the arrest, William Fisher, who lived in New York according to the documents addressed to the free artist, American Emile Robert Goldfus, identified himself as Rudolf Abel? Now, after the passage of time, it is safe to say that, by posing as his friend and colleague in the state security bodies who had died by that time, the Soviet intelligence officer did not illegally thereby let the Center know that he was in prison. In foreign intelligence pretty quickly figured out what's what. After all, the real Abel and his friendship with Fisher at the Center were well known.

After the announcement of the sentence, Fisher was first held in the solitary confinement cell of the investigation prison in New York, and then transferred to the federal correctional prison in Atlanta.

Konon Trofimovich Young (Gordon Lonsdale).Motherland did not leave her scout in trouble. Immediately after the verdict, the Soviet intelligence launched an operation to release him.

10 February 1962 on the bridge of Glínicke, through which the border between West Berlin and the GDR passed, Rudolf Ivanovich Abel was exchanged for American pilot Francis Garry Power, convicted in the Soviet Union, who carried out a reconnaissance flight over Soviet territory and shot down under Soviet Union in May Sverdlovsk (now - Yekaterinburg).

The founder and permanent leader of the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA for many years - Allen Dulles - in his book “The Art of Intelligence” wrote: “I would like us to have three or four people like Abel in Moscow”.

Returning to his homeland, William G. Fisher continued to work in the central apparatus of foreign intelligence.

The merits of Colonel Fischer were awarded the Order of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor, Orders of the Patriotic War of I degree, the Red Star, many medals, and the badge "Honorary Officer of State Security".


The above-mentioned illegal Soviet intelligence officer Konon Trofimovich Young, who lived in London under the name of Canadian businessman Gordon Lonsdale, was arrested by British intelligence services as a result of the betrayal of January 7 of 1961.

For six years, the illegal residency of Molodoye successfully obtained in large quantities highly valuable secret documentary information from the Admiralty of the United Kingdom and the NATO Navy, concerning, inter alia, British weapons development programs, including weapons.

Foreign intelligence veteran Major General Vasily Dozhdalev, who personally maintained periodic contact with Molody and worked with one of his sources in England, noted in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper: “I think Moscow knew about the underwater navy Great Britain is no less than Queen Elizabeth herself.

In addition to the fact that we were completely in control of the situation, we also took some new developments into service. The obtained data were sent to the institutes, to the design bureaus, actively implemented. Let's say a whole series of our echo sounders was made on the basis of English ones. The interest in these materials was enormous. ”

And in archival documents of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia on this issue, in particular, it states:

"It was one of the most effective foreign intelligence units that successfully obtained secret political, scientific, technical, and military-strategic information in the most important institutions of England and the US military bases located on its territory."

Later at the trial, the conclusion of the Royal Lonsdale Commission, which emphasized that as a result of the activities of the intelligence officers, "there were no longer any important secrets in the British Admiralty," was made public.

At the time of the arrest, the Young held out expressly calmly. At the trial, he supervised himself, did not allow himself to relax for a minute, watching his gestures, facial expressions, feeling how carefully the audience was watching him.

Alexey Mikhailovich Kozlov. Photos provided by the authorThe London newspaper Observer, assessing the behavior of the Young in the process, wrote: “In Lonsdale there was something so professional that there was only a feeling of admiration. And if at least one person was a patriot and lived for the sake of his duty, then this is him. ” A senior MI-5 employee Peter Wright later emphasized: “Lonsdale, with all his professionalism, was some very“ human spy. ” He was not a traitor, he did his job - like us. ”

Young was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During the arrest, the investigation and the trial, he behaved steadfastly and courageously, without giving the enemy any secrets. With the exception of two sources, which became known to the British counterintelligence, the residency of the Young remained uncovered by the British.

Publicists J. Bullock and G. Miller in their book “The Ring of Spies” noted: “The verdict (25 years) forced the audience to choke, filling the court room. Even the most extreme predictions that were made in full over several days did not exceed 14 years of imprisonment.

Lonsdale, on the other hand, took the sentence with a half-smile and, turning round clearly, quickly descended the steps to the cells located on the floor below ... "

In November 1962, London newspapers reported on an arrest in the USSR on charges of spying an English merchant Greville Wynn. This news gave rise to Young's well-founded hopes for a possible exchange. His colleagues at the Center were actively working in this direction.

In 1964, the British authorities agreed to exchange the Soviet intelligence officer for British intelligence officer Greville Wynn who was arrested in Moscow.

After returning to his homeland, Young worked in the central apparatus of foreign intelligence.

In one of his interviews with Soviet journalists, Konon Young stressed: "I did not steal English secrets, and I tried to fight against the military threat to my country using methods and means at my disposal."

For courage and perseverance shown in the performance of special tasks, Colonel Young was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Labor Red Banner, as well as the breastplate "Honorary Officer of State Security."

The work of the illegal intelligence officer Young was the basis for the feature film “The Dead Season”, in which he became the prototype of intelligence officer Ladeynikov.


American Morris Cohen has collaborated with Soviet intelligence since 1938, and his wife, Leonty, since 1941. They were active members of the illegal New York NKVD residency. During the Second World War, Morris participated in hostilities against the Germans in Europe. Leontina was directly involved in the operation to obtain secret documents relating to the development of atomic weapons in the United States.

At the beginning of 1949, the Cohen spouses were included in the residency of illegal intelligence officer William Fisher. In 1951 – 1954, they were located in Moscow, where they underwent special reconnaissance training.

In 1955, the couple left for England as officers of the residency intelligence station illegal Konon Young. In England, lived under the guise of New Zealand businessmen Helen and Peter Kroger. In the house they bought in the area of ​​the Air Force base in the Northholt suburb of London, the couple organized a radio apartment to communicate with the Center.

In January, 1961, because of the betrayal of the Polish intelligence officer, Mikhail Golenevsky, recruited by the CIA, the Kroger-Cohen couple were arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

As a result of the operation conducted by the Center to rescue its employees in August 1969, the spouses were exchanged for British intelligence agents Gerald Bruk arrested in the USSR and two drug dealers - British nationals.

15 June 1996 by decree of the President of the Russian Federation for the successful implementation of special tasks to ensure the state security of our country in conditions associated with the risk to life, the heroism and courage shown at the same time, Leontine Cohen was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Russia. Somewhat earlier, on July 20, 1995, the same high rank was posthumously awarded to Morris Cohen, a husband and comrade Leontiny.

In the gallery of intelligence glory of our country, which became their second homeland, Morris and Leontine Cohen have a prominent place. Convinced internationalists, the Coens made a significant contribution to the establishment of nuclear parity and did everything possible so that the Cold War did not turn into a hot one.


On a winter night 17 in February 1969 of the year near the Herleshausen checkpoint on the state border between the two Germany, an event occurred that was not covered in the domestic and foreign media of that time: an exchange of the Soviet intelligence agent Heinz Völfe immediately took place on the 21 intelligence agent of Germany and the USA For their delivery to the place of exchange, the special services of the German Democratic Republic needed a whole bus. Among them, 18 people were agents of West German intelligence who were serving sentences in GDR prisons, and three other West Germans were caught red-handed in the USSR and convicted of spying for the United States.

Morris and Leontine Coens. Return to Moscow. October 1969 of the year. Photo courtesy of the authorHeinz Völfe was arrested on November 6 of the year 1961 and sentenced by the West German court to 15 years in prison. By the way, not a single agent of a foreign special service received such a severe punishment in the Federal Republic of Germany.

It is safe to say that for Soviet foreign intelligence Heinz Völfe in West Germany was the same as the famous intelligence officer Kim Philby in the UK. Thanks to Völfe, for over 10 years all the secrets of intelligence of the FRG led by Reinhard Gehlen became known to the Lubyanka.

As coordinator of the work of the Federal Intelligence Service of Germany (BND) against official representative offices and intelligence services of the USSR on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, Völfe simultaneously coordinated its actions with other special services of the Federal Republic, as well as with colleagues from NATO countries. Thanks to these contacts, Völfe in advance became known many operations being started by Western intelligence services against the Soviet missions and their employees in Europe. Information from the source about upcoming provocations against Soviet citizens allowed Moscow to successfully disrupt them.

The arrests of Heinz Völfe and other members of his intelligence group who had worked for BND for many years caused a major political scandal in the FRG. Stern magazine wrote then: “Thanks to Völfe, the Soviet Union knew everything that was happening in the BND. In total, Völfe handed over to the Soviet Union over 15 thousands of photocopies of secret documents. The intelligence center in Pullach was completely disorganized. ”

Soviet intelligence did everything possible to rescue Völfe. 16 February 1969, he was invited to the director of the prison, who said that the next day he would be exchanged for a group of West Germans serving a sentence in East Germany ...

Later in his memoirs, Heinz Völfe emphasized: “The concept of“ betrayal ”is always associated with the disgrace of a person and makes him vile. This label would stick to my name. But I did not betray anything, on the contrary, I remained true to my views, which I found so difficult, namely, understanding the need to use all my knowledge and all my skills, my old connections to help the USSR in its difficult struggle against unleashing a third (in this case atomic) world war.

I purposefully took steps to penetrate the BND, being convinced that it was there that I would bring more benefit to the side I chose, again because of my convictions. When I entered the Gelena organization, which later became the BND, I was a Soviet intelligence officer a long time ago and carried out the task set for me. So what kind of betrayal was that? ”


On November 2, the legendary Soviet and Russian illegal intelligence agent Alexei Mikhailovich Kozlov passed away on 81 in the current year.

He was born December 21 1934, in the village of Oparino, Oparinsky District, Kirov Region. From the age of one and a half he lived in Vologda, brought up by his grandmother and grandfather, since his father and mother had three other children besides him. Alexey's mother worked as an accountant on the collective farm. Father was the director of MTS.

In 1941, Alexey’s father voluntarily joined the army. During the Great Patriotic War, he was Commissioner of the tank battalion in the 5 Guards Army, participated in the Battle of Kursk.

In 1953, Alexey graduated from Vologda secondary school with a silver medal and entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. From the first days of his studies, he struck the teachers with a brilliant knowledge of the German language, for which his schoolteacher imparted his love for him. During his college years, Alexei improved the German language “to the native” and mastered Danish. In the last year was in language practice in Denmark. In the future, could also speak fluently in English, French and Italian.

In 1959, Kozlov was offered to work in the foreign intelligence services of the state security organs and to become an illegal intelligence officer. After intensive training, at the end of 1962, he left for combat work abroad. The scout had to work in a number of countries in Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the first half of 1970, Kozlov began working at crisis points: settling in one of the Western European countries, he traveled to gather information in countries with which the USSR had no diplomatic relations or where crisis situations arose. Later, Alexey Mikhailovich noted that during the time of illegal work abroad he had the opportunity to visit 86 countries on various continents. He repeatedly visited South Africa, fulfilling the Center’s extremely important tasks.

The official certificate concerning the work of Kozlov abroad and published by the writer Maria Arbatova in the book “Death Test or Iron Philatelist”, in particular, states: “Alexei Mikhailovich Kozlov is a Soviet intelligence officer who found documentary evidence of South Africa’s testing of its own atomic bomb in 1976 jointly with Israel and the development of enriched industrial uranium in occupied Namibia. These data made it possible for the USSR to persuade the United States and a number of Western European countries to strengthen the regime of international sanctions against South Africa. The result of the work of Alexei Kozlov was the announcement of the embargo of South Africa by all countries, which led to a change of government and renunciation of nuclear weapons.

Thanks to the work of Alexei Kozlov, South Africa became the first state to voluntarily renounce nuclear weapons. ”

In 1980, as a result of the betrayal of the Soviet foreign intelligence officer Oleg Gordievsky, who was already working for Western intelligence services, and in 1985, who escaped to London, Alexei Kozlov was arrested in Johannesburg. He was immediately informed that he was accused of terrorism, which means that he has no right to a lawyer, to contact the outside world, and to receive any information.

Kozlov spent the month in South Africa’s internal counterintelligence prison in Pretoria, being subjected to constant torture. He was tortured both day and night: he was beaten, he was not allowed to sleep, and every hour he was taken to a test, he was subjected to powerful psychological pressure. In the chamber under the ceiling, the speaker was constantly working, from which came the cries and groans of people. A small, puny investigator, importantly seated at a desk against the backdrop of a huge portrait of Hitler attached to the wall, during daily interrogations demanded that the scout "confess everything." Kozlov stood his ground: he is German and does not understand what he is accused of.

This was followed by six months on death row in Pretoria’s central prison. Every week on Fridays at five in the morning in the prison were executed. Withdrawn to death and Kozlov. “Together with two other convicts, they put me with loops around their necks above the hatches,” Alexey Mikhailovich told the author. - Suddenly, two hatches dropped, and my "neighbors" fell down. And there was a prison doctor who was giving a control shot in the heart. I stood with a rope around my neck above and saw it all. But my hatch could drop at any time. Then they took me to a cell, and after a while along the corridor past my door, in which a decent hole gaped in the place of a torn flap of the viewing eye, the corpses of the executed were carried. And so it was repeated several times. They were fed on death row so badly and so little that the food was dreamed at night. True, as they say, with the black sheep even wool shred. Before execution, convicts were given a decent piece of grilled chicken. I got this chicken before the alleged execution. But apartheid is also an apartheid in prison: the black convict was given exactly half the portion of white. All this time I was completely isolated from the outside world. ”

Half a year has passed, and the guards brought the arrested person to the prison director's office. At the big side table sat the master of the office and two men in well-tailored civilian suits. There was a newspaper on the table. The strangers introduced themselves to the CIA and offered Kozlov to lift the newspaper. Under it was a photograph of the scout. On the back there was an inscription in Russian “A.M. Kozlov.

“Yes, I am a Soviet officer, intelligence officer. But you won't hear anything from me anymore, ”the scout said calmly but firmly, turning the photo in his hands.

December 1 Kozlov's 1981 was transferred from death row to solitary confinement cell in the prison. It was as tiny and as dirty, but it had a barred window through which the sun shone. And past the cell door on Fridays no longer dragged the corpses of the executed.

On the same day, the head of the prison informed the prisoner that the day before, South African Prime Minister Peter Willem Botha had officially announced on local television and radio that Soviet intelligence officer Kozlov was under arrest in Pretoria Central Prison. It was good news - means, the Center will know that he is alive. Indeed, the Center immediately found out about this and began preparing an operation to rescue a scout. Kozlov was also given daily 20-minute walks around the inner prison yard and ... allowed to smoke. Any communication with other prisoners was strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, the news about the transfer of a Russian prisoner to the penal department quickly spread through the prison word-of-mouth radio, and the inhabitants of the cells, past whom he was taken for a walk, supported him in every way with shouts and even reported some news from his will.

In 1982, Alexei Mikhailovich Kozlov was exchanged for 11 people - 10 of Western Germans who had served their sentences for espionage activities in GDR prisons, and one general of the South African army captured by Cubans in Angola.

After four years in the Center, Kozlov again left for combat work abroad, which lasted 10 years. Returned to Moscow in 1997 year. Until the last days, a remarkable professional intelligence officer actively met with young foreign intelligence officers, transferring to them his rich life and operational experience.

In June 1999, the decree of the President of Russia Alexei Mikhailovich Kozlov was awarded the honorary title “Honored Employee of the Foreign Intelligence Agencies of the Russian Federation”.

For courage and heroism shown in the performance of special tasks, Colonel Alexei Mikhailovich Kozlov was awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation in 2000. He was awarded the Order for Services to the Fatherland IV degree and the Red Star, many battle medals, and the badges "Honorary Officer of State Security" and "For service in intelligence."
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  1. aszzz888
    aszzz888 12 December 2015 07: 38
    One more page of the life of illegal intelligence agents is revealed.
    Only a low bow to them!
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 12 December 2015 07: 50
    Courageous fighters of the invisible front ... These are those about whom you can write .. and how many more those whose names can not be revealed ..
  3. Baloo
    Baloo 12 December 2015 10: 59
    Thanks to the author.
    I applaud the heroes of the publication standing. These people should be the heroes of our time, role models of young people. We don’t have any streets: transversely bazaar, longitudinally bazaar, 7 transversely highway, 2nd southwestern ... These people need to be perpetuated in the names of streets and squares with memorial plaques.
    It will be correct if the Moscow Region, the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs think about how to use veterans for unobtrusive propaganda and counter-propaganda in educational institutions. hi
    1. g1v2
      g1v2 12 December 2015 19: 20
      THE PROBLEM IS ONLY ONE. Most uncovered illegal immigrants became victims of betrayal. There were a lot of traitors, and there were also relocators, and this was in the post-Soviet training. And how now, when the generations of the 80s and 90s grew up in a country where money is the priority? There not so long ago illegals in the United States again a traitor zdal. It is necessary to somehow insure yourself against this, but somehow - xs. It’s difficult to peer into a person’s soul. request
  4. python2a
    python2a 12 December 2015 16: 16
    Yes, there were great people!
  5. da Vinci
    da Vinci 12 December 2015 19: 22
    Photos do not match articles. wink
  6. Radikal
    Radikal 12 December 2015 20: 48
    Quote: da Vinci
    Photos do not match articles. wink

    Absolutely right! In the chapter on V. Fisher, a photo of K. Molodoy was used, and in the chapter on K. Molodom, a photo of the Hero of Russia Kozlov. The Coen photo appeared in the chapter on H. Völf! More readable, however!
  7. rskrn
    rskrn 12 December 2015 22: 34
    And I also want to remember Colonel Vartanyan Gevork Andreevich. It was thanks to the work he carried out that the safety of the leaders of the Big Three was ensured at a conference in Tehran in 1943. He has worked in many countries. While working in Italy in the 70s, they established contact with the country's President Leone, the commander-in-chief of the NATO armed forces. In addition, a young businessman, Silvio Berlusconi, came to their attention.
    1. SlavaP
      SlavaP 15 December 2015 22: 37
      But I would like to learn more about Berlusconi!
    2. duhmorey
      duhmorey 17 June 2016 01: 02
      And in general - you need to remember that the Armenians made a decisive contribution to the Victory in the Great Patriotic War ...