Friday, January 28, 2022

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: FSB Magazine "FSB: For & Against" (No. 5, 2021)

Filip Kovacevic: Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt - Red Army Chemical Weapons in Lithuanian Countryside

Filip Kovacevic: How KGB Spied on Foreign Journalists and Diplomats in the 1960s Lithuania

Filip Kovacevic: What KGB Counterintelligence Knew About Yugoslavia

Filip Kovacevic: Bibliography of Books on State Security and Intelligence Services Published in Russian Language (Summer 2021 Update) 

KGB and UFOs: Interview of Former KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov (2005)

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 7: Oleg Kalugin and the Encrypted Telegram from New York KGB Rezident to Lithuanian KGB

Interview of Soviet Military Intelligence Illegal Zalman Litvin (1992)

The Titles of the PhD Dissertations Defended at the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in 1985

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 6: The Description of NASA Workshop Documents Covertly Acquired by the KGB in 1985

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 5: Covertly Acquired NASA Workshop Documents Were Put to Use by the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex in 1985

The Higher School of the KGB Special Department “M”: KGB Activities in the Special Period and the Wartime (1989)   

The Titles of the PhD Dissertations Defended at the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in 1984

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 4: A List of KGB Undercover Measures During the Lithuania Visit of U.S. Journalist Tom Brazaitis in 1989

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 3: KGB-Moscow Asks KGB-Vilnius to Eavesdrop on Visiting American Students 

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 2: A KGB Source Reports Rumors About the Production of the Israeli Jet Fighter Lavi

Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt No. 1: A KGB Officer Under Journalistic Cover Tasked to Contact PRETTY WOMAN in Italy

The Titles of the PhD Dissertations Defended at the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in 1981

The Titles of the PhD Dissertations Defended at the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in 1980

Filip Kovacevic: The Soviet-Chinese Spy Wars in the 1970s - What KGB Counterintelligence Knew (4)

Filip Kovacevic: The Soviet-Chinese Spy Wars in the 1970s - What KGB Counterintelligence Knew (3)

Filip Kovacevic: The Soviet-Chinese Spy Wars in the 1970s - What KGB Counterintelligence Knew (2)

Filip Kovacevic: The Soviet-Chinese Spy Wars in the 1970s - What KGB Counterintelligence Knew (1)

Illona Yegiazarova: Interview of Lyudmila Nuykina, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Moskovskaya Pravda; October 30, 2020)

Filip Kovacevic: How Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Framed Its Centenary Celebration (NASIH Newsletter Fall 2020)

Eva Merkacheva: Interview of Tamara Netyksa, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Moskovsky Komsomolets; November 10, 2020)

Eva Merkacheva: Interview of Lyudmila Nuykina, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Moskovsky Komsomolets; February 21, 2020)

Illona Yegiazarova: The Story of Africa de las Heras, A Spanish-Born KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Moskovskaya Pravda; September 18, 2020)

Interview of Vyacheslav Trubnikov, A Former SVR Director (RIA Novosti; April 25, 2019)

Nikolay Dolgopolov: Interview of Boris Gudz, a 100-Year-Old NKVD Officer (Rossiyskaya Gazeta; February 5, 2020)

Illona Yegiazarova: Interview of Yury Drozdov, KGB Illegals Program Director (Moskovskaya Pravda;September 4, 2020)

Nikolay Dolgopolov: Interview of Mikhail Vasenkov aka Juan Lazaro, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officer (Rossiyskaya Gazeta; March 29, 2020)

Vladimir Ryzhkov: Interview of Alexander Bondarenko, Soviet Intelligence Historian (Part 2) (Ekho Moskvy;February 6, 2016)

Andrey Okulov: Interview of Nikolay Khokhlov, KGB Defector Who Survived Poisoning Twice (Negosudarstvenayasfera bezopasnosti; January 23, 2006)

Eva Merkacheva: Interview of Anna Rudakova, a 100-Year-Old Veteran SMERSH Secretary (Moskovsky Komsomolets; March 7, 2017)

Vladimir Ryzhkov: Interview of Alexander Bondarenko, Soviet Intelligence Historian (Part 1) (Ekho Moskvy; February 6, 2016)

Illona Yegiazarova: Interview of George Blake, Former MI-6 Officer and KGB Double Agent (Moskovskaya Pravda; July 31, 2020)

Interview of Alexander Bondarenko, Soviet Intelligence History - The Story of Anna Ziberova, Veteran SMERSH Officer (RIA Novosti; March 8, 2019)

Elena Racheva: Interview of Nikita Petrov, Soviet Intelligence Historian (Novaya Gazeta; December 29, 2017)

Interview of Vladimir Antonov, Soviet Intelligence Historian and Veteran KGB Intelligence Officer, on Women in Soviet Intelligence (RIA Novosti; March 5, 2020)

Elena Knyazeva: Interview of Goar Vartanyan, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Noyev Kovcheg: March 16-31, 2016)

Interview of Lyudmila Nuykina, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (RIA Novosti; March 7,2018)

Zoya Bardina: Interview of Elena Vavilova, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officer (Na Blago Mira; May 26, 2020)

Alexander Lyubimov: Interview of Mikhail Lyubimov, Spy Novelist and Veteran KGB Intelligence Officer (Argumenty i Fakty; May 27, 2019)

Book Presentation of Elena Vavilova, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officer (TMedia News Report; December 8, 2019)

Nikolay Dolgopolov: The Story of Mikhail and Elizabeth Mukasey, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officers (Rossiyskaya Gazeta; November 22, 2017)

TV Report Transcript: The Story of Vladimir Lokhov, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (Rossiya 24; March 28, 2020)

Interview of Tamara Netyksa, Veteran KGB Illegal Intelligence Officer (RIA Novosti; March 6, 2020)

Nikolay Dolgopolov: The Story of Zoya Zarubina, Veteran NKVD Intelligence Officer and Translator (Rossiyskaya Gazeta; April 14, 2020)

Eva Merkacheva: Interview of Yury Shevchenko, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officer (Moskovsky Komsomolets; June 16, 2020)

Alexander Bondarenko: Interview of Yury Shevchenko, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officer (Krasnaya Zvezda; April 6, 2020)

Nikolay Dolgopolov: The Story of Vyacheslav and Tamara Netyksa, Veteran KGB/SVR Illegal Intelligence Officers (Rossiyskaya Gazeta; May 31, 2020)

Table of Contents: FSB Magazine "FSB: For & Against" (No. 5, 2021)

"FSB: For & Against" is a glossy news magazine published by the Public Council of the Russian Federal Security Service. Below is the table of contents of the October-December 2021 issue translated by Filip Kovacevic.

FSB: For & Against, No. 5, 2021.

Table of Contents


In the spotlight – “Spy Things” 2

The Legendary Female Spy Turns Hundred [Nadezhda Troyan] 2


From the First Days of the Creation of the VChK: The Facilities Management Directorate of the FSB: More than a Century within the Service 4


Quarter of the Century in the Cadet Uniform: How They Keep the Tradition and Educate Patriots near St. Petersburg 14


Fifteen Years in Motion and Unity: The Special Physical Training Center of the FSB Looks Toward New Accomplishments 22


A Genius of Intelligence for Special Tasks: In the Memory of the Founder of the “Vympel” Group Yuri Drozdov 26


Tested by Snow and Air: Border Guard Special Forces Acquire Fighter Skills in Difficult Training Exercises 32


Hot Games on Cold Ice: Security Services’ Teams Competed for the "Dinamo" Hockey Cup 40


Legendary Semyonov: In 2021, the Master of Political Detective Fiction Would Have Turned Ninety 40


First Guardians of Soviet Ciphers: Exactly a Century Ago, The Special Department of the VChK Was Created 48


Test of Strength: From the Auto Combat Squad to the Dzerzhinsky Division 52


Hot October 1956: The Origins, Development, and Outcomes of the Anti-Government Protests in Hungary 60


Western Outpost of Russia: The Past and Present of the Kaliningrad Region 68


Knot of the Riga Peace Treaty: Chekists in the War between Soviet Russia and Poland 72


Monday, January 3, 2022

Filip Kovacevic: Tales from the Lithuanian KGB Crypt - Red Army Chemical Weapons in Lithuanian Countryside

Did the Soviet Red Army store chemical weapons in Lithuania prior to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941? The document found in the Lithuanian KGB archive offers some circumstantial evidence that this was the case. It also tells a story of how a group of Lithuanian villagers almost lost their lives because they were unaware that there were chemical weapons in their vicinity.

What is known about the case comes from a top secret report by Soviet Lithuania’s Minister of Internal Affairs Juozas Bartašiunas to Lithuania’s Communist leaders Antanas Sniečkus and Mečislovas Gedvilas on June 11, 1949. The report was recently digitized by the Genocide and Resistance Centre of Lithuania and posted on the Internet.[1] It is still considered a state secret in Putin’s Russia.

Bartašiunas reports that on June 2, 1949, three villagers from the village of Rasskazy near the capital Vilnius went to the local cemetery to fix the crosses of their recently deceased family members. They stopped by a house near the cemetery to ask for a shovel. The owner of the house, whose name is redacted from the report, in addition to the shovel, also offered them a bucket of dark brown liquid which he poured from a bigger 20-pound container. He told them that he used the liquid against various types of pests around his house and that it proved very effective. The villagers covered the bases of the wooden crosses with the liquid and left the cemetery.

However, during the following day, they all developed red marks on their bodies, primarily on their arms and legs, and, also, in one case, on genital organs, which soon turned into blisters. One of the villagers was admitted into the hospital on the next day, and the others, including the villager who owned the liquid, on June 6. They were later transported to a specialized hospital in Vilnius.

According to Bartašiunas, in the meantime, the unknown liquid was seized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and transported to the laboratory of the Ministry of Health. After running several tests, it was determined that the liquid was the mustard gas (also known as sulfur mustard), a deadly chemical weapon massively used during World War One.

How did a Lithuanian villager come into the possession of a chemical weapon? It did not take long to solve the mystery. During the interrogation, he stated that in 1941, before the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union, he was employed at the Red Army warehouse No. 988 on Algerdo Street in Vilnius. In the chaotic days of the Red Army withdrawal, he simply took two containers of liquid home to use against pests. 

The fate of the rest of chemical weapons stored at the same facility is not mentioned in the report. Whether they were evacuated by the Red Army, seized by the advancing Nazis, or taken by other Lithuanian warehouse employees remains unknown.

There is also a bigger question as to why the Red Army would store chemical weapons in Vilnius in 1941. But tackling that question goes well beyond the scope of this blog post.


[1] “LSSR VRM ministro J. Bartašiūno spec. pranešimas LKP CK sekretoriui A. Sniečkui apie valstiečių apsinuodijimą nuodingosiomis karinėmis medžiagomis [Special Report by J. Bartasiūnas, Minister of Internal Affairs of the LSSR, to A. Sniečkas, Secretary of the CC of the LKP, on the Poisoning of Peasants with Toxic Military Substances],” F. V-141, ap. 2, b. 41, 1. 153-154. Top Secret. Digitized on August 29, 2018,   


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Filip Kovacevic: How KGB Spied on Foreign Journalists and Diplomats in the 1960s Lithuania

In the late 1950s, Nikita Khrushchev’s policies opened the Soviet Union to foreign visitors. The large influx of Western journalists, students, and tourists necessitated changes in the KGB standard operating procedures. More sophisticated methods of surveillance and counterintelligence collection were required. Special units were created to study how the KGBs of the Soviet Republics coped with the emerging challenges.

One of these units was set up at the headquarters of the KGB of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in Vilnius. On September 27, 1960, the unit's high-ranking member, Lt. Colonel Tumantsev, filed a report on the surveillance and other covert measures which the KGB operatives employed during the visits of foreign diplomats and journalists. His top secret report was digitized by the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania in 2012 and is discussed here in English for the first time.[1]

In the report, Tumantsev described the details of two separate operations involving the search of the hotel rooms of the visiting foreigners known in the KGB technical jargon as the Measure “E.” Both operations took place at the Hotel Vilnius in Vilnius. The target of the first operation was the room of Italian journalist Wanda Grawonska[2] who came to Vilnius accompanied by the first secretary of the Italian Embassy in Moscow, Enrico Carrara. The visit in question took place in February 1960.

According to Tumantsev, Carrara was known to the KGB as an officer of the Italian foreign intelligence service and had a “weakness for alcoholic beverages and women,” which the KGB tried to leverage against him. Grawonska was suspected of ties with Stasys Lozoraitis, the former foreign minister of pre-WWII independent Lithuania, who was the head of the anti-Soviet Lithuanian diplomatic service based in Rome. It is clear from the report that Grawonska was perceived by the KGB as more threatening and dangerous than Carrara.

Grawonska’s conduct in Vilnius is described by Tumantsev as highly provocative. According to him, in her conversations with the locals, she made many “libelous” comments about the Soviet government and the socialist system, while at the same time praising the benefits of the bourgeois capitalism. When she met with a Lithuanian Catholic priest, she gave him several copies of the booklet titled “Lithuania and Lithuanians in the Free World,” which Tumantsev condemned for its “anti-Soviet” orientation. Grawonska also irritated the KGB by demonstratively pointing to their external surveillance operatives and trying to escape them by taking a taxi to the suburbs. Most damningly from Tumantsev’s point of view, Grawonska took hundreds of photographs of the daily life in Vilnius. The KGB feared that she would use the photos to give an unflattering portrayal of the Soviet life in her subsequent articles in Western journals and newspapers. To prevent Grawonska from carrying out her ‘nefarious’ design, the decision was made to enter her hotel room and expose (destroy) her film rolls. The question that the KGB needed to work out was how to keep Grawonska away from her room long enough to do so.   

For the task of distracting Grawonska, the KGB engaged their agent and informer codenamed NEMAN [the name of the major river]. There is no indication in the report as to who NEMAN was, but it is likely that he was either a journalist or an art critic, somebody with a prominent role in the Vilnius cultural circles. According to Tumantsev, NEMAN was planted to Grawonska during her first visit to Vilnius in January 1960 and managed to gain her trust. He apparently impressed her so much that when she came to Vilnius again in February, she asked to see NEMAN and then introduced him to Carrara. Coached by the KGB, NEMAN invited both Grawonska and Carrara for dinner at the Vilnius Airport restaurant, quite a distance away from the hotel. Familiar with Carrera’s “weakness,” he also invited a well-known theater actress [or ballerina] to accompany them.

Tumantsev reported that the KGB team waited to receive a phone confirmation from their source at the airport that Grawonska and her companions made their dinner orders at the restaurant before two experienced operatives sprang into action. One operative was from the OTO [technical service] and the other from the 2nd Directorate [counterintelligence]. Having obtained the key of Grawonska’s room from a trusted contact at the hotel, they entered the room and methodically exposed all the film rolls they could see lying around. They also discovered that one of Grawonska’s leather bags was tightly packed with about 100 film rolls. They took the bag to another hotel room where they had already brought a portable x-ray machine. When they exposed all the rolls, they returned the bag to the same place in Grawonska’s room. According to Tumantsev, the whole operation took about 2 hours. He noted that the agent NEMAN proved to be a real expert in keeping both Grawonska and Carrara entertained during the dinner, while adding that the warning system had been put in place in case they suddenly decided to return to the hotel.

There is nothing in the report regarding the epilogue of the operation. There is no mention of whether Grawonska noticed that her film rolls were damaged and, if so, how she reacted. For Tumantsev and his KGB unit, the operation was marked down as an unmitigated success.

The second operation Tumantsev described in his report involved the visit to Vilnius of two Japanese diplomats, the first secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Moscow, Hirooka, and the attaché at the Embassy, Tanaka [only their last names are included in the report]. This visit took place in June 1960. Tumantsev noted that before the visit, the Lithuanian KGB was informed by the Second Chief Directorate of the KGB [counterintelligence] that Hirooka was an experienced foreign intelligence officer fluent in Russian language and skilled in using various technical equipment for collecting information about the objects of interest to the Japanese government.

After Hirooka and Tanaka arrived in Vilnius, they were put under around-the-clock surveillance by the KGB. Tumantsev indicated that it was observed that Hirooka spent a lot of time at the hotel writing something in a thick notebook which he later deposited in his bag. The decision was made to gain access to the notebook. Once again, the question was how to keep Hirooka away from his room long enough to do so.

According to Tumantsev, in contrast to the case of Grawonska and Carrera, a different tactic was used this time. Instead of dining and wining the Japanese diplomats, the KGB engaged their agent TSAREV who was introduced to them as a translator and a tourist guide. Using his encyclopedic knowledge of history, TSAREV convinced the diplomats that the town of Trakai would be a great place to visit. Trakai is about 30 kilometers from Vilnius and has been a popular tourist destination for decades due to its medieval architecture. When the diplomats left for Trakai with TSAREV and the taxi driver, who was selected because he was also a trusted KGB contact, the KGB operative team entered Hirooka’s room. They quickly found the notebook and photographed its content which was in Japanese language. In total, there were 92 pages filled with writing, which, according to Tumantsev, were promptly dispatched to the Second Chief Directorate in Moscow. It is also noteworthy that during the drive to Trakai, the taxi driver took the longest possible route, not only to allow more time for the hotel room search, but also to avoid passing near any Soviet military installations.

In conclusion, Tumantsev’s report is just one of many archival testimonies of the methodical nature and thoroughness of the spying on foreign visitors by the regional KGBs of the Soviet republics. As can be seen from the report, external surveillance and hotel room searches were quite common and most local individuals who foreign journalists and diplomats interacted with during their visits were planted by the KGB. Not only was the KGB ready and willing to violate the visitors’ right to privacy but was also on occasion engaged in damaging and destroying their property and equipment. Conveniently for the KGB leadership which wanted to hear only the good news, it seems that the reactions of the affected journalists and diplomats were rarely reported.


[1] “Valstybės saugumo organų operatyvinio darbo patirties tyrimo ir apibendrinimo grupės prie LSSR KGB pirmininko vyr. referento N. Tumancevo pažyma apie asmenų sekimą [The Statement of N. Tumantsev, High-Ranking Officer of the LSSR KGB Operational Work Experience Research Unit, on the Surveillance of Individuals],” F. K-l, ap. 10, b. 275, 1. 73–77. Top Secret. Digitized on February 7, 2012,

[2] Wanda Grawonska is a well-known Italian journalist. At this time, she is in her 90s and lives in Rome. Her father was a pre-WWII Polish diplomat Jan Grawonski and her maternal grandfather Alfredo Frassati was the founder of the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Filip Kovacevic: What KGB Counterintelligence Knew About Yugoslavia

This short article is included in the 2021 Newsletter of the North American Society for Intelligence History (NASIH).

The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania has digitized many volumes of top secret KGB in-house journals and published them on the Internet.[1] The aim of the journals was to inform the KGB officers about the latest developments in several fields related to state security, and they remain classified in Putin’s Russia to this day. In one of the journals, more precisely, in the volume No. 23 of the Proceedings of the Felix Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB published in 1981, I came across an article about Yugoslavia.

The article with a long and cumbersome title - “The Use of the Territory and Citizens of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia [SFRY] by the Intelligence Services of the Imperialist States to Conduct Subversive Activities Against the Soviet Union” – is signed by Major V. A. Tikhonenkov.[2]


The title already gives a sense of the KGB’s attitude towards Yugoslavia. In other words, though political and economic relations between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia seemed to be on an upward trajectory at the time (in the late 1970s), the KGB approached Yugoslavia with a high degree of suspicion.


Tikhonenkov begins his article by claiming that, in comparative perspective, the U.S. intelligence service was the best positioned and most influential in Yugoslavia, though both the British and West German intelligence services were also very active. He asserts that the main priority of these services was to create roadblocks and tensions in the relations between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.


According to Tikhonenkov, one of the ways that the Western intelligence services attempted to do so was to spread rumors that the Soviet Union would invade and occupy Yugoslavia after Tito’s death. In contrast, Tikhonenkov alleges that the exact opposite was the case: it was the West that worked on the disintegration of Yugoslavia by prodding Yugoslav republics to pull away from federal policies and institutions. In the case of Slovenia, for instance, Tikhonenkov claims that the Western intelligence services encouraged the development of strong economic ties with Western companies and banks. On the other hand, the strategy in Serbia was to advocate the need for a “broad democracy,” implicitly hinting that the ethnic rights of the Serbs living outside Serbia needed to be enhanced.


In addition, Tikhonenkov rejects the allegations of Western media directed at Yugoslavia at that time about the Soviet covert assistance of the nationalist émigré circles, the Croat émigré organizations in particular, in their explicit anti-Yugoslav political efforts. However, he does admit to his KGB audience that certain members of these organizations did contact Soviet embassies in Western Europe with offers of collaboration. But, according to him, all such offers were turned down.


Furthermore, Tikhonenkov claims that Western intelligence services regularly used the territory of Yugoslavia to recruit Soviet citizens who came from the Soviet Union, either on official business or as tourists. For example, he describes how some Yugoslav hosts, in collusion with their Western intelligence “mentors,” often invited Soviet diplomatic officials and Soviet scientists to private parties where “in the company of young women” they tried to persuade them to defect to the West. According to Tikhonenkov, in addition to the big cities, the coastline of  Montenegro was also used as a setting for similar recruitment attempts. For instance, he cites the case of a Soviet military ship’s visit to the Montenegrin port of Tivat in 1976 and claims that three Soviet sailors and one officer stated to the KGB counterintelligence after their visit that their Yugoslav hosts tried to convince them not to return to the ship and offered them assistance in emigrating to the West.


Tikhonenkov seems particularly vehement in his criticism of the alleged behavior of some Yugoslavs who had lived and worked in the Soviet Union and for whom, according to him, Soviet citizens had felt “sincere sympathy and friendship,” which they betrayed by secretly collecting valuable political, economic, military and other information for the Western, primarily U.S., intelligence services. In this context, he refers to the case of a former Yugoslav ambassador to Moscow, though he does not reveal his name.


At the same time, however, considering the type and nature of the information Tikhonenkov appears to have accessed for his article, one gets a clear impression that the KGB also had its own sympathizers and sources high up in the Yugoslav government circles. Tikhonenkov might have provided a subtle hint about who they were when he cited positive statements made about the Soviet Union by Tito’s national security adviser Ivan Mišković and the Yugoslav federal secretary (minister) for internal affairs Franjo Herlević.


Interestingly, at the end of the article, Tikhonenkov also warns that after the visit of the Chinese Communist leader Hu Guofeng to Yugoslavia in 1978, it was to be expected that China too would become an active intelligence player in Yugoslavia and seek political allies for its anti-Soviet foreign policy goals.


In conclusion, the key takeaway from the article is that while the KGB counterintelligence did not discount the possibility of the Soviet Union improving political and economic relations with Yugoslavia in the near future, they still considered Yugoslavia an untrustworthy, “Trojan horse” of the West.


[1] See “KGB Journals and Books,” The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania,

[2] Майор В. А. Тихоненков, “Использование спецлужбами империалистических государств територии и граждан СФРЮ для ведения подрывной деятельности против Советского Союза,“ Труды Висшей Школы КГБ 23, 1981: 351-364.  

This is the revised English version of my article published in Monitor, an independent political weekly in Montenegro, in March 2021.