Military Review

Invisible front general

Invisible front generalFor all history The post of the head of foreign intelligence of our state was occupied by 29 people. The Foreign Department of the Cheka, created by 20 December 1920, was headed by a professional revolutionary and diplomat Yakov Khristoforovich Davydov (Davtyan). In 1930, foreign intelligence was led by prominent political and military figure, one of the organizers of the Soviet counterintelligence, Artur Hristianovich Artuzov. During the war years, Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin stood at the helm of foreign intelligence, the youngest of her bosses appointed to this post in the 31 year.

The first director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia was Academician Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov. Since 9 in October, 2007 has been headed by eminent statesman Mikhail Efimovich Fradkov.

Some of the chiefs of intelligence held this post for only a few months, others for a few years. But all of them were united by the fact that they were bright personalities with a heightened sense of duty and devotion to work, talented organizers and leaders, selfless people.

In his memoirs, veteran intelligence officer Lieutenant-General Vadim Alekseevich Kirpichenko, who was 17 for years as deputy, of which 12 for years, first deputy head of Soviet foreign intelligence, said: “Each of them (foreign intelligence chiefs - NVO) made a feasible contribution to the development of intelligence, each gave himself entirely to this difficult matter. "

But prominent historians of the special services of our country, Anatoly Tereshchenko and Alexander Vdovin, wrote in one of their last works about the leaders of other domestic foreign intelligence - military (General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff): “The high qualities of a manager in modern scientific understanding lie in his ability to analyze information (operational, military, political, scientific), mobilize at the right moment all the managerial resources to solve the most complicated tasks, organize the work of the entire GRU system W, and in the most difficult and critical times of the international situation. During the failures of valuable agents, the betrayal of individual employees, when the top leadership of the country changes, etc. The position of chief of the GRU GSH is special. The set of knowledge and skills that it should possess does not exist and is hardly defined by any document. The person who is most capable, in the opinion of the country's leadership, of solving the tasks and problems facing military intelligence, is assigned to this role. ”

The above quote fully applies to the leaders of the Soviet foreign intelligence agencies of state security.

And I would also like to draw the reader’s attention to the following words from the work of historians. The chief of intelligence, in their opinion, “has to work with gigantic amounts of information. How to organize work with her? Two ways are possible. The first is to delve into everything, to get to the details, subtleties, trifles. And where to get time? Another way is to surround yourself with professional assistants who possess professional knowledge and ability to work with information and are well versed in the operational environment. ” According to the authors, the second way is the most justified. And we will not reveal a big secret, if we say that the power of intelligence leaders has always been and is in the power of their deputies and assistants.

One of these people in the intelligence services of the state security bodies of our country was Fyodor Konstantinovich Mortin, who was 17’s deputy for years, 13 of which for years was the first deputy head, and then for three years headed intelligence services. With the direct participation of this distinguished Chekist-leader, unfortunately, forgotten, as we see it, by historians of the domestic special services, an entire generation of intelligence officers of the Soviet period took place and actively worked.

And today we would like to share some memories of this man. Indeed, in our time - the time of the subversors of various stripes, claiming to know the truth in the last resort, handing out left and right critical assessments of past and presently healthy leaders, this is important for understanding the history of our state security bodies, and therefore - the history of the state as a whole.


July 15 Alexander Sakharovsky, 1971, was replaced by his first deputy lieutenant-general, Fedor Konstantinovich Mortin, as chief of foreign intelligence of the state security agencies. It should be noted that the long-term First Deputy Sakharovsky was a man of a somewhat different warehouse. He was younger than Alexander Mikhailovich by nine years, he had two higher educations and solid work experience in the apparatus of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

Fedor Mortin was born on May 2 of 1918 in the village of Krasnaya Polyana in the Maresevo district of the Nizhny Novgorod province into a large peasant family. He graduated from a secondary rural school, and in 1937, the Arzamas State Teacher's Institute. He taught physics and mathematics in his native village. In 1939 – 1940, Mortin was elected secretary of the district Komsomol committee. In 1940 – 1941 worked as a district high school director. From 1941 to 1942, he served as head of the organizational department of the district party committee. From July 1942 until the end of the Great Patriotic War, Mortin held various positions in the political departments of the active army. He was an active participant in the defense of Leningrad. His military work was awarded orders of the Patriotic War of I and II degree, the Red Star, many medals, including “For Courage”.

In August, 1945, Mortin becomes a student of the Military Diplomatic Academy of the Soviet Army, learns Chinese and English. After successfully graduating from the Academy in 1947, he is sent to work in foreign intelligence. In the same year, Mortin went on a long-term business trip. And successfully coped with the tasks.

After returning to Moscow in 1950, Mortina was transferred to responsible work in the apparatus of the Central Committee of the CPSU. At the end of the 1954 of the year, he again goes to work at the state security agencies and becomes Deputy Head of Foreign Intelligence - Alexander Semenovich Panyushkin, and from the middle of the 1955 of the year - Alexander Mikhailovich Sakharovsky. From 1958 to 1971, Mortin took the position of first deputy head of the First Main Directorate of the KGB (foreign intelligence).

Together with Sakharov, Mortin had the opportunity to work in one of the most difficult post-war periods of the Cold War, when a new split of the world into military-political blocs occurred, and the Soviet Union was surrounded on all sides by a network of military bases. The Suez crisis, the aggravation of the situation in the Middle East, the collapse of the colonial system, aggression against Cuba, which put the world on the brink of a nuclear war — all this greatly aggravated the international situation. On the other hand, during the same period, approaches to defusing international tensions took shape. Listing the events of that period, it is impossible not to mention, at least in a few words, about the Berlin crisis of 1958 – 1961.


The climax of this crisis was the event, which in the early morning of August 24, 1961, the KGB Commissioner in the GDR informed the Center by urgent telephone message. In it, in particular, it was reported: “On the afternoon of August 23 in West Berlin, divisions of the American, British and French troops were advanced to the sectoral border, respectively. At the border are Tanks, armored personnel carriers and vehicles with recoilless guns. "

In response to the sectoral border on the part of East Berlin, units of the Soviet forces moved forward. For the first time after World War II, the Allied forces opposed each other in the center of Europe. This confrontation was a direct consequence of the policy of the Cold War, which turned West Berlin into a permanent center of crisis and the place of confrontation of the special services.

What preceded this event? What role did the external intelligence of the USSR play in resolving the Berlin crisis?

Intelligence closely followed the situation in West Berlin and the actions of the Western powers and the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany against the USSR and the GDR. Intelligence efforts were aimed at providing the Soviet leadership with the information necessary to conduct complex and often stumped negotiations with the Western powers on the Berlin issue. It was necessary to know exactly about the plans and intentions of the other side in order to avoid actions that could lead the confrontation to the critical point.

To achieve this goal, Soviet foreign intelligence residency has been involved in virtually all Western countries. And throughout the period of the Berlin crisis, foreign intelligence was able to systematically provide the Soviet leadership with information, including documentary, regarding the position and plans of the Western powers concerning Berlin.

Taking into account the information that was received then from the headquarters of the Soviet foreign intelligence, the USSR government at the beginning of 1959 sent the draft of a new peace treaty with Germany to the Allies in World War II and the countries that participated in it. West Berlin. It was agreed to hold a meeting of foreign ministers in the same year. Such a meeting took place in May – June of 1959 in Geneva, but it did not give any concrete results then. Further discussion of the Berlin issue was postponed to May 1960, but this time at the highest level. However, the invasion of 1 on May 1960 of the year into the airspace of the USSR by an American reconnaissance aircraft Lockheed U-2, shot down by Soviet missiles, disrupted the summit meeting and delayed the solution of the Berlin issue for a long time.

In July – August 1961, the ruling circles of the Federal Republic of Germany launched an active campaign to prevent negotiations between the West and the USSR. The Seal of Germany launched a campaign with threats against the GDR and calls for training in the GDR anti-state putsch. Specially trained terrorists and saboteurs were urgently transferred from West Germany to West Berlin, from which shock groups were created to penetrate the GDRs in order to organize unrest there. The situation was heated to such an extent that at any moment a conflict could flare up with unpredictable consequences.

All this required energetic measures from the USSR and its allies in the Warsaw Pact. And such measures were taken. 13 August 1961, with the approval of the Warsaw Pact member countries, the authorities of the GDR closed the border with West Berlin by building a concrete wall, which later became famous. In any case, the August events of 1961 had a sobering effect on Western politicians who understood the futility of a show of force.

At the end of 1961, the Soviet intelligence mined the materials of the November meeting of the NATO Council, at which it was considered expedient that the three Western powers enter into negotiations with the Soviet Union. However, the Soviet-American contacts, which began at the end of 1961, were interrupted by the Caribbean crisis that broke out in 1962.

A sensible solution to the Berlin problem, taking into account the interests of the USSR and its allies, was achieved only in 1971 year ...


The Caribbean missile crisis that erupted in 1962, putting humanity on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, turned out to be the most acute during the Cold War years. For 13 days (from 16 to 28 of October 1962), the world was at the abyss that threatened a third world war and the destruction of humanity. An important role in resolving this crisis was once again destined to be played by Soviet foreign intelligence.

January 1 The 1959 of the year Fidel Castro's troops entered Havana. The dictator Batista fled the country in disgrace. In Cuba, the revolution defeated, which greatly frightened the ruling elite of the United States, which was accustomed to viewing the Island of Freedom as its colony and large brothel. As is well known, US President Douid Eisenhower reacted with hostility towards the Castro regime. President John F. Kennedy, who replaced him in 1961 in the year, picked up the baton from Eisenhower: he was carrying out plans to invade Cuba to overthrow the revolutionary government of Castro.

The country's leadership has set the task of foreign intelligence to obtain information about the US plans for Cuba. Sources of information were acquired, and reliable information was sent from the residencies to the Center, from which it followed that an invasion operation was being prepared in Cuba at the direction of Kennedy. The exact date of the landing of mercenaries on the island was established. As a result of the measures taken by the Soviet Union and the Cubans, the American intervention in the area of ​​the Bay of Pigs failed. Detachments of immigrant mercenaries were crushed and thrown from the territory of the Island of Freedom.

However, the US leadership did not calm down. The American special services began to prepare a new intervention, codenamed Mongoose. Responsible for the operation was appointed the brother of the American President, Justice Minister Edward Kennedy.

... In the early spring of 1961, two fishermen came to the consular section of the USSR Embassy in Washington from the most southern part of Florida, where invasion units were concentrated. They brought a map and showed routes on it that Americans drop into Cuba. weapon, explosives and various technical means. In a conversation with a representative of the Soviet intelligence, they expressed the opinion that the US was preparing a new invasion of the island, and asked to inform Fidel Castro’s government about this.

A corresponding telegram was sent to Moscow with a proposal to provide such information to the Cuban government. And the necessary information reached the addressee. At the same time, Soviet intelligence, through its secret channels, brought to the attention of the US Department of State information that the Cuban counterintelligence is controlling the routes of people and weapons being dropped onto the island. There was also an event on the diversion of directional information, in accordance with which the Cuban counterintelligence agency allegedly recruited several counterrevolutionaries abandoned to Cuba and using them to play with the CIA - to get as much money and weapons as possible.

US Secretary of State Dean Raek was furious. He had a serious conversation with J. Kennedy, as a result of which the CIA was forced to significantly reduce the transfer of its agents to Cuba. However, this did not lead to the cancellation of Operation Mongoose. John Kennedy was still preparing the overthrow of Castro. Then, at the request of Cuba, the Soviet government began to provide massive economic and military assistance to this country. Knowing about the plans of the United States, Nikita Khrushchev decided to place in Cuba Soviet nuclear warheads capable of striking the territory of the United States, including Washington and New York. October 14 1962, a US U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, fixed construction of missile launchers in Cuba.

Kennedy immediately created a “crisis headquarters” - the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, which included the vice-president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, director of the CIA, and others. Strict measures have been taken to prevent information leakage. Representatives of the military and the CIA were in favor of an immediate invasion of Cuba, but the American president hesitated. He shared the view of Defense Minister Robert McNamara that in the event of a bombardment of launchers, Soviet specialists could die, which would inevitably lead to the Soviet Union being drawn into the conflict.

By the way, the fact that the USSR placed nuclear missiles in Cuba capable of hitting the territory of the United States, the US administration did not dare to declare publicly for a long time, and only the threat of the opposition to inform the population on its own forced Kennedy to address the nation. This news caused a panic in the US. Over a million Americans urgently left the United States and took refuge in Mexico and Canada. It was then that Kennedy decided to establish a blockade of Cuba. Thus arose the Caribbean crisis, which put the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe.

The KGB residency in Washington worked around the clock during this period, extracting current operational information about the US plans for Cuba. Through his operational capabilities, the head of the Washington residency, Alexander Feklisov, received and handed over to Moscow compromise proposals by US President John F. Kennedy to the head of the Soviet Union, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, to resolve the crisis. Their essence boiled down to the following: The Soviet Union immediately dismantles and, under UN control, exports its rocket launchers from Cuba; The United States lifts the blockade of Cuba and undertakes a public promise not to invade the island.

The response of the Soviet leader was received on Sunday, October 28 1962. The Soviet Union accepted the US proposal to dismantle the island’s missiles. In exchange, the United States pledged to withdraw its Jupiter missiles from Turkey and not to attack Cuba. The Caribbean crisis was successfully resolved.


When he came to lead work at the PGU, Mortin, unlike Sakharov, often went to foreign countries. He was more dynamic and tried to personally penetrate into all areas of the service. Thus, in addition to solving current issues, Mortin focused his activities on the development of Middle Eastern problems. He made one of his first trips abroad in Arab countries. And this was a conscious decision, since the processes that began in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, and aimed at a possible rapprochement with the Soviet Union, demanded from our side more attention and adjustment of foreign policy towards the countries of this region.

It should also be emphasized that, in connection with the events that were mentioned above, the leadership of the foreign intelligence agencies of state security from the middle of the 1960-s paid special attention to the training of personnel for the service and organization of research work at the PGU. So, in 1966 – 1967, being then the first deputy head of the Perm State University, Mortin simultaneously headed the Higher Intelligence School. The most experienced intelligence officers involved in practical work abroad were involved in teaching there. Somewhat later, Mortin took an active part in the reorganization of the Higher Intelligence School into a more modern educational institution — the Red Banner Institute of the KGB. From July 1971 to January 1974, Lieutenant General Mortin took charge of Soviet foreign intelligence.

Mentioned above, Lieutenant-General V.A. Kirpichenko wrote about this in his memoirs: “Instead of calm and stingy with gestures and words, Sakharov’s commander-in-chief gained an impulsive, lively chef. Mortin was constantly overwhelmed with different ideas and ideas and sincerely strove to give intelligence a new, modern look and direct it to solve the problems the state needed. Fyodor Konstantinovich expounded his thoughts and ideas very vigorously and temperamentally ... Yes, and the handwriting on the waves somehow corresponded to the pace of his speech. Mortin wrote long resolutions that were difficult to disassemble (Sakharovsky, on the contrary, had short resolutions and a clear and precise handwriting). In comparison with Sakharov, Mortin was softer, more accessible. It was easier to open the door to his office than to go to Sakharovsky ... Perhaps, Mortin made the greatest contribution to the development of scientific and technical intelligence, having timely understood the viability of this service. ”

We add that it was under Fyodor Konstantinovich that the units of the PGU KGB under the USSR Council of Ministers were transferred from Dzerzhinsky Square to a separate complex of buildings in the Moscow district of Yasenevo.

13 January 1974 Fyodor Konstantinovich was relieved of his duties as head of intelligence and appointed head of the Directorate for Scientific and Technical Cooperation of the State Committee on Science and Technology of the USSR CM. Simultaneously with 1976, he began working in a group of consultants under the Chairman of the KGB of the USSR.

In 1982, FK Mortin retired by age.

Lieutenant-General Mortin was awarded two Orders of Lenin, Orders of the Red Banner, World War I and II Degree, the Labor Red Banner, two Orders of the Red Star, many medals, several foreign awards, and the badges "Honorary Officer of State Security" and "For service in intelligence. "

“Until the end of his days,” recalled General Kirpichenko, “Fyodor Konstantinovich, despite his health flaws, remained a very lively and restless person. As before, he was overwhelmed with ideas ... without experiencing senile weakness and fatigue of life. "

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 28 August 2016 08: 07
    Thank you .. Sorry there are no notes left. There was something to tell ...
  2. 34 region
    34 region 28 August 2016 09: 41
    All this is certainly good. But why was the movement of partners in the 61st turned out to be a surprise to us? And how did you manage to miss or promote Gorbachev? As well as the comrade who surrendered all the secrets of the KGB in the 90s. Did the assistants miss or was this a plan?
    1. captain
      captain 28 August 2016 10: 40
      I agree with you, the actions of our intelligence in the 90 are not clear. Especially the actions of Bakatin suggest. that not everything is so beautiful in this structure as it is written in the article. Previously, foreign intelligence was part of the KGB and spank Bakatin !!!! This is not even a failure, it is the collapse of our KGB.
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 28 August 2016 11: 25
        If you read Kryuchkov's two-volume memoirs, then everything becomes clear. There, the first volume contains a biography, and the entire second volume is a naive explanation on the topic "why I did nothing, knowing that Yakovlev was an agent of influence, and Gorbachev, who was informed about this, covered him up." Translated into an accessible language, this means that the last leaders of the KGB are the same ... as the marked Gorby.
    2. Knizhnik
      Knizhnik 28 August 2016 15: 22
      Whole generations of Soviet people lived and did not know that their "beloved leaders", starting with Khrushchev, came to power thanks to the intrigues of the Central Committee-shnykh bosses. The figure of the secretary general was too idealized. It was difficult for people in uniform, with the concepts of duty and service, they were used to following orders.
      1. RoTTor
        RoTTor 16 August 2017 23: 54
        Why do you need to know?
        Is it necessary, for example, for children to know the details of the personal lives of parents and grandparents, for students - the personal lives of teachers, etc.?
  3. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 28 August 2016 15: 40
    The author exaggerates the interest and personal involvement of John F. Kennedy in the overthrow of Fidel Castro. Rather, he was under strong pressure from the "siloviki". At least, after the failure of the "special operation", he did not give permission for the full-scale use of troops, which seriously turned the initiators of the invasion against himself. Later, the commission to investigate the failure of the invasion cited the impossibility of keeping the secret as one of the reasons for the failure of the invasion. the plans of the Americans became known to the Cubans in advance. I believe that Soviet intelligence played a role here good