Notes on the Use of the Soviet Cultural Committee for Intelligence

November 1, 2018

Use of the Soviet Committee for Cultural Ties with Fellow Countrymen Abroad in the interests of State Security Agencies


Note: The following is a translation of some pages from the manual.

pp. 27-32

Let us cite the example of the work of one of these groups. In 1965, a small patriotic group was formed in Hannover headed by a certain Simeonov, a traitor to the Motherland, sentenced in his day by a Soviet court to severe punishment. The group established contact with the Representative Office of the Soviet Committee [for Cultural Ties] in Berlin. For these purposes, the Committee was used for both correspondence as well as trips by the group members to Berlin for personal meetings with officers of the Representative Office. From talks with these emissaries, the impression was formed that the Simeonov group was well-organized, regularly conducted patriotic meetings with fellow countrymen, and had launched work to attract other emigrations to the organization who lived in Hannover and its suburbs. Soon, after preliminarily clarifying our attitudes toward him, Simeonov himself came to Berlin. Although he was subject to detention in accordance with the sentence of the Soviet court, it was decided not to detain him, since this could compromise the Soviet Committee, and most importantly, sever at the root the foundations of the patriotic movement among fellow countrymen which had been started in the FRG. After obtaining the relevant recommendations for further development of the patriotic movement and expansion of his group, Simeonov returned to Hannover.

Meanwhile, a serious mistake was committed in the work with the Simeonov group. The thrust of it was that the staff of the Representative Office, and also operatives related to this matter, did not take into account the possible interference in the work of this group by West German intelligence services. They did not immediately take measures to vet the members of the group and its activity among fellow countrymen, having believed the information passed to them by Simeonov and his close aides. However, subsequently, this mistake was corrected. The first serious suspicion emerged after the receipt of information that the “patron” of this group of patriots was a Catholic priest, who provided church space for the group’s meetings and himself often attended them. A check of the priest through operational lists indicated that we were dealing with a former Hitlerite officer, a participant in the “march on the East,” who maintained a connection to the local police agencies.

Further vetting actions conducted subsequently indicated that Simeonov himself was a provocateur. Taking into account the information obtained, the appropriate correctives mere made in further work with this pseudo-patriotic group. The main attention of the operatives was aimed at discovering the West Germany agents’ network among the group members and determining which of these persons were suitable for re-recruiting.

In connection to this example, it should be noted that in the approach to creating patriotic groups, libraries and correspondents’ networks, the Soviet Committee should not be taken lightly. The main thing is to see that the group not only disseminates our ideology but that it is under our control, and not the influence of the enemy’s intelligence services,.

It must be known firmly that the “patriotic” group whose leadership was seized by the intelligence agencies of the enemy can cause irreparable harm to the patriotic movement of our fellow countrymen. With its help, the intelligence service may, using the cover of the authority of the Soviet Committee, “disseminate” our ideology in such a distorted form that it will cause harm to both our ideology and our government.

The intelligence services of the capitalist governments conduct serious work against progressive emigre organizations as well, which had emerged long before the creation of the Soviet Committee, believing that stepping up the activity of these organizations in recent years is closely connected to the work of the Soviet Committee.

By infiltrating its agents’ network into these organizations, the enemy’s intelligence services strive to resolve both counterintelligence as well as intelligence tasks. On the one hand, they try to expose the connections of the progressive organizations with the Soviet Committee and embassies of the USSR in the capitalist countries, to establish the persons making this connection and also fellow countrymen who sympathize with the Motherland and so on, and on the other hand to create for its own agents’ network the opportunity for eased entry into the USSR through various channels, including by invitation from the Soviet Committee.

Thus, the Canadian RCMP’s counterintelligence service, for the purposes of exposing from among emigrants persons who visited the USSR, planted a certain “Khameleon”, who served as a middleman in filing petitions by Ukrainian emigrants to enter the USSR. By spreading among Canadian Ukrainians the rumor that such forms are filled out only in the Russian language, Khameleon gained the opportunity to meet with many of his fellow country men who wished to visit the USSR as tourists and also on private business. He used this circumstance to discover intentions and study the moods of certain individuals, learning their attitude to the USSR and to local authorities as well as their affiliation to progressive organizations, and reported all this to the RCMP. Khameleon tried on the same basis to establish close “business” contact with the officials of the embassy’s consular section, but they rejected his services.

The Belgian counterintelligence actively developed the Union of Soviet Citizens (SSG), uniting fellow countrymen with Soviet citizenship but who lived permanently in Belgium. The main objective of its attention were the members of the organization who had the opportunity to visit the USSR, including people connected to the Soviet Committee. Counter-intelligence had dossiers on many members of the SSG, above all, on its activist core. It was conducting study and development of these persons from the perspective of their possible recruitment.

Thus, for example, SSG member Bekker was being developed. When Belgian counterintelligence learned from its agents’ network that Bekker intended to go to the USSR on personal business and at the same time visit the Soviet Committee, he was invited to the police. One of the officers interrogated Bekker in detail about the state of affairs in the SSG, his intensions regarding the trip, and then tried to recruit him, blackmailing him with the fact that the police supposedly had materials on him. While doing this, he held in his hands a bulging dossier. Bekker refused to collaborate, but the counter-intelligence agent who had talked with him still gave him his telephone number and asked him to get in touch in the event difficulties arose, promising to help him. Bekker informed the Soviet embassy of what had happened.

As a rule, the enemy’s intelligence services brought in anti-Soviet centers in the work against progressive emigre organizations, and with their help tried to disrupt the events held by members of the progressive organizations, and discredit them in the eyes of the local authorities. In addition, as has been noted, some anti-Soviet emigre organizations tried to infiltrate their own agents into patriotic organizations and groups. For example, the ZCh OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists Abroad), at their VI Conference, passed a special decision obliging the so-called “security service” of the organization to organize work against Ukrainian progressive groups, envisioning the infiltration of their agents into these groups.

In carrying out this decision, the Ukrainian nationalists tried to compromise the Ukrainian progressive organization Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (TOUK). They launched a criminal investigation against a leader of the TOUK, Kravchuk, whom they accused of causing moral damage to a number of Ukrainian nationalists in a book he wrote published in the Ukrainian language under the title “You Cannot Cut Out What is Written with an Axe”. In this book, Kravchuk using factual material exposed the criminal activity of a number of authoritative Ukrainian nationalists during the period of the German occupation of Ukraine and their collaboration with the German Fascist authorities.

Precisely in connection with the publication of this book, the Ukrainian nationalists intended to begin their attack on TOUK. However, soon they rejected their own plan, since they were afraid of the documented materials of their collaboration, which Kravchuk and TOUK possessed. A second such attempt was made by Ukrainian nationalists in 1987 as well.

Progressive organizations and groups as well as their press organs are subject to constant harassment on the part of nationalist and other anti-Soviet formations. One of the basic methods in the work against patriotic groups are informers’ reports to the police and counter-intelligence agencies of the capitalist countries on the leaders and activists of progressive organizations.

Thus, in the USA, for a long time a patriotic journal, Za sinyem okeanom [Beyond the Blue Ocean], which propagandized loved for one’s people, history and culture, published official materials on the achievements of the Soviet Union and often spoke out against nationalist organizations. Informants’ reports systematically went to the FBI about the editor of this journal, “Writer,” as a person connected to the USSR Embassy who received funds from it for publishing the journal. In connection with these informants’ reports, Writer was summoned to the FBI several times, interrogated and intimidated. As a result, Writer was forced to drop the publication of this journal for the sake of his own peace and the welfare of his family.

Often the intelligence services themselves and the bourgeois press are used in the provocations against progressive organizations and groups. Thus, Belgian counter-intelligence exploited the fact of a petty violation of the customs regulations by one of the heads of the SSG who worked in the Brussels Airport, broadly advertising this incident in the press, linking it to the activity of the “Soviet agents’ network” in Belgium and reporting that the “culprit” was a member of the SSG.

It should also be noted that all progressive emigre organizations, groups and press organs, especially in the USA, are included in lists of “saboteur organizations”.

In this connection, the Soviet Committee and especially the rezidenturas, when they are involved in this, must observe the maximum caution and konspiratsiya in work with the progressive organizations. This is particularly the case with those countries where the progressive organizations are in a semi-legal position.

Along with the agent network’s work, intelligence agents of the enemy devote a lot of attention toward paralyzing the propaganda activity of the Soviet Committee, opposing its ideological influence on its fellow countrymen. For these purposes, in a number of countries (the US, France, some countries of Latin America) special measures are taken obliging postal offices to confiscate all the literature of the Soviet Committee sent to fellow countrymen. Emigrants who receive newspapers from the Soviet Committee (if this becomes know to the local authorities) are summoned to police and subjected to harassment. Therefore cases are noted frequently when fellow countrymen, fearing for their position, refuse to receive newspapers.

p. 64

As an example, let us review the case of “Kapitan,” through whom state security agencies were developing a staff member of the American military air intelligence, a Russian by ethnicity.

The state security agencies received a tip on Kapitan from the Soviet Committee, where a letter was received from the fellow countryman “Stary”. In that letter, Stary provided some information about himself, his relatives and friends. In particular, he indicated that his nephew, “Kapitan,” was involved in secret work in the US Army. This report drew the attention of agents of state security who decided to obtain more information about Kapitan, using the correspondence with Stary for this. Stary had to be drawn into correspondence with the Soviet Committee and several letters were exchanged with him.

In the letters to Stary, our interest to Kapitan was carefully encoded. Through indirect questions, we managed to obtain basic data about Kapitan and the address of his place of residence.

A check of Kapitan on the lists and through the rezidentura indicated that he was an officer of US air military intelligence. It was decided to immediately halt the correspondence with Stary through the Soviet Committee and start the development of Kapitan. But it turned out later that this measure was taken too late.

When our agent visited Stary, through whom access to Kapitan was intended, and introduced himself as a Soviet citizen, Stary immediately warned that his correspondence with the Soviet Committee was known to the FBI which was in the process of holding all these letters. He said that he had the assignment to immediately inform the FBI about people who came to him and would be interested in Kapitan. Stary advised our person not to visit him any more to avoid unpleasantness.

Stary turned out to be an honest person and did not give away our agent. But it could have been far worse. The reason for this failure is only that when the operatives first caught sight of Kapitan, they selected an incorrect path to study him. Instead of getting information about Kapitan from the same Stary clandestinely, they launched an open correspondence which gave the enemy the opportunity to intercept our activity.