Military Review

Stumbling Agent Way

Stumbling Agent Way

Chairman of the KGB of the USSR Viktor Chebrikov (center) and deputy commander of the Alpha group Vladimir Zaitsev (left in kimono)

In all special services, be it intelligence or counterintelligence, there is a division of labor that depends on the personal qualities of employees. There are brilliant recruiters who are unable to put their thoughts coherently on paper, and, conversely, there are virtuosos of the pen who are able to present a penny event almost at the Battle of Waterloo. There are brilliant leaders of large collectives who may be completely helpless when working "in the field", and, conversely, there are simple operas whose inventive and ruthless mind is able to give birth to such intrigue from which a whole department of the enemy will stand on their ears. Captain Poleshchuk Leonid Gergievich, who in 1974 was the first commander in chief of the KGB of the USSR (foreign intelligence), sent to the Soviet diplomatic mission in Nepal for the post of cultural attache, belonged to the last category of operatives.


A scout by profession, an adventurer and a man in love for life, he landed in a “honey trap”, where the bait was the CIA personnel officer, the beautiful Sally Graves. Experienced seducer, she, demanding expensive gifts for love joys, introduced the self-confident scout into huge expenses, thus creating the basis for his recruitment as a secret agent. On the advice of Graves, Poleshchuk, to pay off debts, he applied for a loan to the CIA resident in Nepal, John Bellingham. And the deal took place: an American loaned Poleshchuk 10 thousand dollars, and in return received a duplicate key from the KGB resident's safe in Kathmandu.

In the 1975 year, before Poleshchuk returned to the Union, Bellingham wrote down his recruitment in writing and assigned Poleshchuk the pseudonym Way with the delivery of a set of espionage equipment and a large amount of Soviet money. However, arriving in Moscow, Poleshchuk immediately got rid of the spy equipment, drunk his “Nepalese sins” from his memory with alcohol, deciding never to do business with the Americans.

However, the cold war continued, and in February 1985, Poleshchuk ended up in the trenches of the invisible front in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. His appetites, as always, were ahead of his career - the money for the salesman, steeped in debauchery, was again not enough. Having indebted an impressive amount to the brothel owner, Poleshchuk recalled that he was not only the deputy KGB resident, but also the CIA agent Way. And it doesn't matter that he didn’t give call signs to 10 for years - you never know was not possible ...

Having decided that the American sword did not knock the blame's head, Poleshchuk rushed to the US embassy in Lagos, where he was met with open arms. Already in Nigeria, mutually beneficial cooperation lasted about six months and should have continued in the Union, where Poleshchuk intended to receive an increase in the Office of the “K” PGU KGB of the USSR (external counterintelligence).


In July, 1985 of the year, on the eve of the end of a business trip in Nigeria and departure to Moscow, Lieutenant Colonel Poleshchuk, who is also agent Way, insistently demanded money from their American owners. After long disputes, the operators managed to persuade Wei not to carry money with them across the border, but to take them in a cache in Moscow. For the cache container was tested camouflage - weighty cobblestone. In it are 20 thousand rubles. - a huge sum for those times: in the 1985 prices of the year - this is the cost of almost three Volga cars.

Tsereushniki assured Way, that the laying of the cache in Moscow will be carried out by a “deep cover” intelligence officer, who will remain absolutely beyond suspicion and whose existence in the KGB will not even be suspected. Unable to resist the pressure of his "puppeteers", Poleschuk surrendered.

The practice of using the “deep cover” of the intelligence agents of the CIA in Moscow (our counterintelligence officers called them “snowdrops”) indicated that the CIA protected them like the apple of their eye, only the resident and the ambassador knew about their existence.

The scouts of the "deep cover" never took part in the "everyday games" of their colleagues and went out to the "warpath" only at a crucial moment, and then when there were absolute guarantees that they would not "light up." They had to appear at the right place at the right time at the right time and disappear at the same speed. The snowdrops acted as ghosts, but the results of their actions were not only material, but also very tangible.

The idea of ​​using “deep cover” intelligence officers belonged to Gardner Gus Hathaway, head of the CIA counterintelligence department. As head of the Moscow residency in 1977 – 1979, he noted that his officers were practically deprived of the opportunity to leave the embassy building unnoticed - each time outdoor advertising was linked to them. At the same time, several people from among the “clean” diplomats, who held low posts at the embassy, ​​moved around Moscow without supervision where they would like to.

One of the reasons why the KGB always knew whom to follow was, first of all, that the operational staff worked in the premises of the embassy, ​​which traditionally belonged to the CIA. Secondly, Tsereushniki, who worked in Moscow, as a rule, already had time to serve abroad, that is, to "light up." Therefore, our counterintelligence long before the arrival of the tsheraushnik at the Mother See already had an exhaustive dossier on it.

The essence of Hathaway's idea was that the newcomer tsareushnik, who had never traveled abroad along the reconnaissance line, was much more difficult to calculate, especially if he was full-time engaged in purely ambassadorial affairs and did not visit the residency premises. They were supposed to be used only if absolutely necessary - when the residency chief needs one of his people to leave the embassy without a “tail.”


Hathaway's project, code-named “Safe Loophole,” was successfully tested, and it was decided to replace the pioneer the next time a young officer, Edward Lee Howard. However, he did not get to Moscow, since in April 1983, a routine polygraph test showed that Howard had lied in response to a question about drug use while serving in the Peace Corps. He was taken away from a trip to the USSR, and in May he was fired from the CIA without explanation. Then Howard moved to Santa Fe, the capital of the state of New Mexico, found a good job there, but he could not overcome the resentment of management. Drunkenness began, and at night he began to disturb his former colleagues with telephone calls and generally became depressed.

One day, in February 1984, during a barrage in the bar, Howard grabbed a pistol and shot at the ceiling. The court found him guilty. But since he had no previous convictions, he was released on a written undertaking not to leave the country, confining himself to a conditional punishment and the appointment of compulsory treatment in a psychiatric clinic. In all that happened, as in his mental disorders, the poor fellow still blamed the CIA. And three months after being treated by a psychiatrist, Howard, violating his own recognizance, bought a week-long tour and flew to Europe - ostensibly to reinforce the rehabilitation course.

21 September 1984, Howard entered the Soviet consulate in Vienna and, for 150 thousand dollars, sold the KGB secrets to the CIA, including the “Safe Loophole”. Having received the required amount, he placed money on a secret account in a Swiss bank, and on September 23, in the company of his beloved wife, was noisily celebrating an act of retaliation against the hated CIA at his home in Santa Fe.

By 1985, our counterintelligence with the method of total sifting and exclusion came to one downright classically "quiet American" - Paul Zalaki, head of the embassy library. In the course of controlling his movements in the capital, evidence was obtained that Zalaki was responsible for laying caches for especially valuable agents, so when 19 July flew from the embassy gate at high speed, Ford Taurus with this snowdrop was driving behind the wheel, the outdoor station already knew for sure that the American did not go for a walk ...


For three hours the American traveled around the capital, constantly changing the direction of movement - was checked. However, despite all his tricks and the immutable fulfillment of the conspiracy requirements, Zalaki failed to break away from the outdoor advertising, and he led her directly to the place where he had to carry out the laying of the container.

From the point of view of our experts, the aces of counter-espionage, the place to bookmark was chosen quite amateurishly. However, how to know? Perhaps, the choice of a place for a hiding place was due to the fact that passers-by never looked in there, except for those who like “figure out for three”. It is also possible that when selecting a place for a cache, Americans acted in accordance with their traditionally favorite principle: “The best conspiracy is its complete absence.”

In 1980, Serebryakova Passage is a remote suburb of the northern region of Moscow, where right on the vacant lot thickly overgrown with shrubs and weeds, new nine-storey buildings rose. The dull “lunar” landscape was complemented by high metal towers supporting a high-voltage power line. Here, at the foot of one such support, Zalaki hid his priceless burden - a cobblestone container. But did you hide it? .. He threw it, turned on his heel, dived into the car and was such - who, besides the agent, the recipient of the cargo, would think to look for treasures here ?!

As soon as Zalaki, having gotten rid of the “cobblestone,” disappeared at a huge speed, the outdoor station received an order to stop monitoring: let the moor who had done his job remain fully confident that he had performed the operation without a hitch! And why continue to spy? After all, it is clear that no surprises are foreseen from the American today or in the near future. That's what he and the scout "deep cover" to shit rarely, but aptly.

In addition, further surveillance of the outdoor intelligence officer could turn into an exposure, and this, in turn, threatened the failure to implement the main event, the capture of a red spy, who would come to withdraw the bookmark.

After some time, outdoor surveillance reconnaissance inspected the cobblestone left behind by Zalaki. Carefully opened it. Inside they found a bundle of money, sealed in a plastic case, and a reminder note for the recipient, that it is necessary to deliver a conventional signal after removing the bookmark. Recalculated money - exactly 20 thousand rubles.

It was impossible to determine for whom the container is intended and when it will be removed. One thing was clear: it is for a very valuable source of the CIA and is designed for a long period of stay on the ground.

... On the same day, two Moselectroset vans, in which the Alpha fighters from the capture group were stationed, were on duty on duty not far from the tower. During the light part of the day, they, dressed as fitters, were located near the tower, pretending to repair the line. With the onset of darkness, the Alpha men got into the wagons and watched from there with the help of night vision devices.

About passers-by and cars, whose appearance in the controlled area inspired even the slightest suspicion, the surveillance intelligence officers dispersed in the district were on the radio to the alfovtsam and the central dispatcher station.

Dances Around the Secret

And on July 21, just in the east, a red sun disk appeared, the zone controlled by Alphaists was announced with cheerful young voices. Four guys, stripped bare, began to scream after each other around the tower-pillar, under which there was a “cobblestone”. Well, straight dance savages at dawn!

- What are they doing?! - Vitaly Demidkin was surprised.

“They collect pollen from blooming cannabis,” said Vladimir Zaitsev, deputy commander of the Alpha. - Apparently, the collectors are experienced guys, now is the most productive time for collecting “dope”.

They, like bathers, dipped into dew mixed with hemp pollen, trying to cover the whole body with this solution. The rest is a matter of technique: when the bodies from whites turn into yellowish-brown, - consider that the harvest has been completed. Roll the balls into balls - and this is a ready-to-eat product, the so-called “mastyrka”.

Suddenly the mad nudists' dance was interrupted by the appearance of policemen with shepherd dogs. Young people were loaded into the “funnels” and taken away. But Zaitsev noticed that the second car with the policemen lurked at one of the nine-story buildings. They did not have to wait long: in a few minutes the place of the first group of “bathers” was occupied by three guys and a girl, who, like their predecessors, began to run around the wasteland, in which the mother gave birth.

“N-yes ...” said Zaitsev thoughtfully. - There was no sadness, but drug addicts pumped up!

- What actually happened? - Demidkin was surprised. - Well, the kids ran around, frolicked ... They would put them under the shower in the neighborhood and, as they say, to freedom with clean skin and mug. All the way through!

- That's what you think, Vitaly, that is all the way through. Now imagine that the cops here will be on duty around the clock ...

- Well, let them be on duty, what is it to us? - I did not understand the course of thought of the chief Demidkin.

- That is how we like that! - hoisted Zaitsev. - Yes, it is worth to whom we are waiting for, to find cops here - we will not even be able to delay him, we will not even see him! He doesn’t come close to a cache on a cannon shot.

- Why?

- I am sure that the spy will not climb to the cache headlong. Well, he is not an idiot, in fact! In any case, I have not seen such spies. Before withdrawing the container, he will travel back and forth at least once to make sure that everything is calm here. And what will he see?

“Cops,” Demidkin said in an extinct voice.

- That, cops! And then, one wonders, why are we sticking here? Yes, the Americans asked us to work. Well, it was necessary to choose such a place for a cache, because with the naked eye it is clear that hemp did not grow here yesterday. There would be no time to come here and check everything - you’re looking, and we wouldn’t have any problems right now ... Isn’t it a paradox? The Americans laid a cache, and we have to suffer, wrestle with how to save it. Why are you so disregarding your caches and your agents, but, gentlemen, the imperialists ?! It is urgent to come up with something!

And Zaitsev came up with. On the same day, in the evening editions of the metropolitan newspapers "Evening Moscow", "Moskovskaya Pravda" and "Moskovsky Komsomolets" under the heading "Urgent in the room" the following notes appeared: "At the emergency morning session of the Moscow City Council, held on July 21, it was decided to give a decisive battle against weeds that poison life and cause irreparable damage to the health of the working people of our capital. All appeals of the previous leadership of the Moscow City Executive Committee to fight weeds remained good wishes. Only today, finally, Muscovites have heard a new word-order: “Destroy the weeds!”

Yes, comrades, you can fight with weeds unsuccessfully for a lifetime, therefore, it was decided to destroy it within the next 48 hours. New thinking, a new approach to solving old, pre-perestroika problems should find a warm response in the hearts of all Muscovites, patriots of the capital of our Motherland. The police and fire brigades units of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of Moscow were the first to respond to the call of the Moscow Soviet deputies. In all parts of our city, a “fire campaign” has been launched to destroy weeds. The editorial office expresses sincere gratitude to all citizens, residents and guests of the capital who are willing to volunteer to participate in the sacred cause of the liberation from the nasty streets and squares of our city! ”

Notes of such content were intended to legalize the measures taken by the police officers at the direction of the KGB of the USSR to burn cannabis in some places of the capital. But above all, in Serebryakov passage, where an unidentified American spy was waiting for a cache.

The firefighters did their best and, using a portable flamethrower, selectively destroyed cannabis around the tower, under which was a cache. Harmless weeds and bushes are not touched. So if the lovers of the free-of-charge “foolishness” come here early in the morning, they would not have gone away with it. In general, the publications had an effect, and the result was not long in coming. The very next morning, July 22, the Alphas who were guarding the cache received a signal from the outdoor station that Zalaki was moving at high speed in their direction. There was only one question left: is a snowdrop going to withdraw the cobblestone to make a bookmark elsewhere, or is it just going to make sure that the cache remained untouched after the firing of the surrounding area?

Moselektroset machines with alfovtsy on board immediately conducted a rebuilding of their combat formations - drove away from the place of the caches to a fair distance, closer to the nine-storey buildings. But so as not to let the cobblestone itself out of sight of special optical devices.

Literally in a minute, right in front of the place where the stash was located, a dusty Ford Taurus stopped, from which Zalaki jumped out and opened the trunk, pretending that it was looking for something. Watch his actions an uninitiated man, you would probably think that something happened to a foreign car.

- Yeah! - said Zaitsev, who was watching the periscope on the indiscriminate movements of the American around and around the car. - What was required to prove! The withdrawal of "cobblestone" is canceled ...

At this time, Zalaki, placing a couple of pillows under him, it’s more convenient to watch, from the backseat of the Ford viewed the base of the tower into a telescope, where he had left a cobblestone two days earlier. It seems that the results of the visual surveys are quite satisfied with the "snowdrop". He folded the telescope, turned on the ignition and was like that.

- I went to report that everything is in order! - said Zaitsev in satisfaction.


Everything fell into place only two weeks later, 2 August 1985, when a white Volga stopped in the hiding place and an attractive young man in a T-shirt with a shopping bag in his hands emerged from it. At first the “handsome” was visibly nervous and looked around, but then he confidently headed for the hiding place.

The alfovtsev, who watched his movements, did not have any doubts as to whom the “cobblestone” was intended - his path was too straightforward. The surprise was caused by another circumstance: while stumbling through the weeds and bushes of the thistle, re-rising after being treated with a flamethrower, the stranger raised clouds of mosquitoes from their occupied places, which instead of rushing to grasped free prey for some reason flew off to the side.

Approaching the tower of the power line tower, the man, without a moment's hesitation, lifted the “cobblestone” and put it in the bag. At the same moment, four Alpha men attacked him. Already during the search of Poleshchuk, the Alfians found an explanation for the illogical, from their point of view, behavior of mosquitoes: the detainee was so fumed that it was fit to wear gas masks!

"Handsome" was pretty drunk, but almost immediately attacked the fighters of the seizure group with his fists, accusing them of stopping his meeting with the girl whose name and address due to an unexpected attack from him, naturally, flew out of his head.

- Well, what about cobblestone? - Alfa asked. - To them you, probably, intended to replace a bouquet of flowers for your darling?

“I found the cobblestone by accident,” came the answer. - Took in order to plug, that is stick, the wheel of the car.

- And often you come across such stumbling blocks? - asked the head of the operation to capture the spy, breaking the "cobblestone" in half and pulling out a pack of bills and a note.

- No, the first time ...

During a personal search, Poleshchuk found two scraps of paper. On one scheme, where the cross was marked by the place of the cache at the power pole. The other is also a scheme, but already one of the sections of Gorky Street. There Poleschuk was supposed to put a signal to withdraw the container.

These scraps instantly turned into evidence as soon as in the case for glasses, under a lining, a plan of communication with the American residency in Moscow was discovered. It contained exactly the description of the places of the cache and the setting of the signal about its excavation, which fully corresponded to the records found in Poleshchuk.

“We had to wait for a long time,” Zaitsev said in their hearts. “Where have you been all this time?”

- With my girlfriend went to the Riga coast. There, you know, there is such a secluded little lake, where, according to local residents, swans sing at dawn. I wanted to hear a swan song ...

As for Agent Swan's swan song, she was really sung. It ended with a court sentence.

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  1. novobranets
    novobranets 28 August 2016 16: 02
    All the same, not just like that, all Western intelligence services, and not only, at the word "KGB", there was an uncontrollable tremor of the limbs and diarrhea. The most powerful organization was, the CIA was against them, ugh. There were no more such in the world.
    1. jjj
      jjj 28 August 2016 22: 19
      The CIA is mostly engaged not in pure intelligence, but in special operations: sabotage, sabotage, coups. In the seventies of the last century, above all Western intelligence services, the Israeli, which was collectively called the "Mossad", and the British
  2. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 28 August 2016 16: 15
    Very interesting. There are some overlaps with the details of "Operation Trianon" from "TASS is authorized ...".
    1. Delink
      Delink 28 August 2016 22: 47
      While reading, the same thought visited me.
  3. 34 region
    34 region 28 August 2016 16: 49
    Interestingly written! The KGB worked in the Union. Writers and directors wrote and filmed. I wonder how with this today? The FSB seems to be working, but do writers and directors write and shoot? It seems to me not.
    1. kit_bellew
      kit_bellew 29 August 2016 09: 17
      They write and shoot. For example, Ch. Abdullaev's "Drongo" series, based on which the eponymous series with Kalninsh in the title role was filmed.
  4. Basil50
    Basil50 28 August 2016 17: 14
    I would like to read such stories, so that * our top * must be. But in connection with * democratic * trends more and more about the valor of betrayal and the bloody OGPU-KGB *. It seems that the figures from the culture * solid * on the salary of the CIA.
  5. hly
    hly 28 August 2016 17: 26
    "You should write the head of the book ....."
    Well written, thanks.
  6. martin-159
    martin-159 28 August 2016 17: 54
    Bad fiction.
  7. sabakina
    sabakina 28 August 2016 18: 00
    Just a minute later, right in front of the place where the cache was, the dusty stopped “Ford Taurus ”, from which Zalaki jumped out and opened the trunk, pretending to be looking for something in it. Observe his actions, an uninitiated person would surely think that something happened to a foreign car.
    - Aha! - said Zaitsev, who was observing through the periscope the random movements of the American around and around the car.
    - What was required to prove! The removal of the “cobblestone” is still being canceled ...
    At this time, Zalaki, laying a pair of pillows beneath him, is more convenient to observe from the rear seat of the Ford"Looked into the spyglass base of the tower,

    I am not a counterintelligence officer, I am a driver. And I can’t understand how it is possible to watch cars coming out of the back seat? belay
  8. Scud
    Scud 28 August 2016 19: 02
    Firstly, a lot has been told and shown about this traitor a long time ago, secondly, not a word in the story article with a duplicate of keys, thirdly, here General Polyakov can be written shorter and more talented in the photo and fourthly.
    1. alexej123
      alexej123 31 August 2016 10: 16
      The photo was for Zaitsev.
  9. evge-malyshev
    evge-malyshev 28 August 2016 21: 38
    Quote: sabakina
    I am not a counterintelligence officer, I am a driver. And I can’t understand how it is possible to watch cars coming out of the back seat?

    Very simple: sit in the back seat (enter the car) and watch.
  10. Baloo
    Baloo 29 August 2016 19: 42
    This is not the only story with "cobblestone" and traitors among the Stirlitz.
    There were cobblestones with poisons and much more than that. Plots were shown on TV news and in newspapers. But the details of this story were interesting to read. Thank. All the same, a traitor is a certain psychotype, no matter how they justify themselves. What Gordievsky with Kalugin, what Rezun. One word, garbage, sucks.
    Personally, I have other heroes in spirit. After 17 moments of spring, Shield and sword, The living and the dead, my favorite movie is "Torpedo Bombers". Of course, films are fictional fiction. But the heroes of the films are collective images. hi
  11. alexej123
    alexej123 31 August 2016 10: 18
    Thanks Igor, good article. This is just an example of the fact that "There are no waste in reconnaissance, there are only reserves" - Walter Nicolai. After all, it seemed that they had thrown out of the "firm" from that American, there were no lists of agents. But no. From a bit of information, with a competent analysis, a "candy" was made. Another explanation is that the tactics and methods of the special services are as much a guarded secret as the secret apparatus. VO already had articles for traitors. Can start up a cycle?