New Light on Old Spies - A Review of Recent Soviet Intelligence Revelations - part 2 - Dagger and Cloak

Sunday, 15 July 2007

New Light on Old Spies - A Review of Recent Soviet Intelligence Revelations - part 2

Part 1

Other GRU Cases

Soviet authorities have also seen fit to give publicity to an obscure officer of the GRU surfaced under the name of Colonel Lev Yefimovich Manevich. This man was made posthumously a Hero of the Soviet Union in early 1965, presumably for wartime services. He is credited in the Soviet press with service in an unidentified foreign country, possibly Germany or German-occupied Europe. According to the Soviet accounts he was betrayed through the cowardice of an assistant and imprisoned in German concentration camps, where he was known under the name Ya. N. Starostin. Before his death from tuberculosis at the Ebensee camp in Austria on 12 May 1945, he is said to have confided to a fellow inmate, one Grant Gregoryevich Ayrapetov, that his cryptonym was Etienne and to have asked that the Soviet authorities be notified.

Manevich is portrayed as a devoted intelligence agent who continued his work despite serious illness. According to Ayrapetov, Manevich compiled files on Soviets in Vlassov's unit, on followers of Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist leader, and on other collaborators, all of which he turned over to one F. N. Dontsov for transmittal to the Soviet authorities. Interviews with Manevich's sister and Ayrapetov have appeared in the Soviet provincial press. The reason for surfacing Manevich in particular is unclear, unless the script called for an intelligence agent whose activities could be related to the second world war. This criterion could also be applied to Sorge.

One former chief of Soviet military intelligence, a victim of the great purge, has recently been rehabilitated, apparently as part of this publicity campaign. Yu. Geller has written a brief account of the career of Semen Petrovich Uritskiy, chief of the GRU between 1935 and 1937 until he was purged and executed by Stalin. Only the most general information on Uritskiy's career is given. His intelligence work is passed over with the excuse that it cannot yet be made public, but he is credited with having directed officers of the caliber of Sorge and Manevich.

The German portion of the loosely connected Soviet wartime espionage operation now known as Rote Kapelle has been surfaced in the guise of a German resistance movement. Through the device of an interview with Greta (Margareta) Kuckhoff, a member of the group and presently a banking official in East Germany, the Soviet authorities have lifted a corner of the veil that still covers their wartime military intelligence operations in Europe. Rote Kapelle (the Nazi origin of this name is admitted by the Soviets) is portrayed as an antifascist group that began to take shape before the Hitler dictatorship was established. Although the upper-class origin of its leaders, Arvid Harnack and Harro Schulze-Boysen, and of other members is admitted, a determined effort is made to show that it also contained many persons of working-class origin. The espionage role of the group is presented in rather incidental fashion, without emphasis. No mention is made of the GRU networks that existed in France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland. Greta Kuckhoff presents East Germany as the heir to the cause for which the Rote Kapelle fought.

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