Secret Intelligence Service


Red Star

Soviet Military Intelligence


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This is a very large collection of era-specific papers, comprising; spoken thoughts, opinions, diary extracts, books and other writings of Soviet / Russian intelligence officers

Attention to the point of view



No. I of XL

Red Star. To begin with Number One, hence : It is over one hundred years since the birth of General of the Army Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin, Hero of the Soviet Union. Little is known about the life and activities of this person. His busy life, which lasted for about 93 years, resembling a mountain peak hidden by thick clouds. The higher this person climbed the steps of his unusual service career, less became aware of him and his activities.

It is known that Peter Ivashutin was an employee of the Soviet counterintelligence for about 25 years. During the Great Patriotic War, he served in Smersh, after the war he organised the fight against Ukrainian nationalists, worked in the central office of the USSR State Security Committee, was the first deputy chairman of the KGB.
During the Cold War, General Ivashutin led the activities of Soviet military intelligence. Under his leadership, the officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate achieved unique results in their activities.
The author of these lines had occasion to meet and talk with General Ivashutin and some of his comrades. The information that became available during these meetings formed the basis for an essay on the life and activities of a person who for a long time was the main counterintelligence officer and military intelligence officer of the Soviet Union.


In the life of General Ivashutin were two main things. The first is the fight against foreign intelligence agents. The second is getting the military secrets of the major world powers. The main purpose of both is to strengthen security and preserve the territorial integrity of our state. Judging by the positions held by General Ivashutin, and by his numerous awards, he was able to achieve positive results in his work.

They say that living life is not a field to move on. This fully applies to the fate of General Ivashutin. He was a worker and military pilot, counterintelligence officer and head of Soviet military intelligence, he took an active part in the public life of the country, was repeatedly elected deputy of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine and the Soviet Union. Estimated by many supporters of General Ivashutin, he was a high-class manager.

Peter Ivashutin became a military counterintelligence officer in 1939. The formation of Ivashutin-Chekist occurred in combat conditions during the Soviet-Finnish war in 1939-1940. It is characteristic that at that time, while providing security for the Red Army, Ivashutin, then a very young officer, the head of the special department of the 23rd rifle corps of the Leningrad Front, personally addressed the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) A.A. Zhdanov, who headed the Leningrad Regional Committee of the Party, with a request to take prompt measures to provide intelligence officers of the corps headquarters with everything necessary to carry out combat missions in the rear of the enemy. The request has been completed.

During the Great Patriotic War, Ivashutin took part in the uncompromising struggle against the German intelligence officers and agents on the Transcaucasian, North Caucasus, Crimea, South-Western and 3rd Ukrainian fronts.

As the chief of counterintelligence Smersh of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, Major General P.I. Ivashutin in 1944 at the final stage of the Yassko-Kishenevskoy operation initiated negotiations with representatives of the Romanian government about the withdrawal of this country from the war on the side of fascist Germany. At this time, a representative of the Supreme High Command headquarters, Marshal G.K., arrived at the front headquarters. Zhukov. He acquainted the front commander with a plan for a subsequent operation to finalise the German-Romanian grouping in Romania. Ivashutin tried to convince Zhukov that the representatives of the Romanian royal court were negotiating about the withdrawal of Romania from the war and that these negotiations were close to a positive conclusion. Zhukov did not respond to Ivashutin’s information and gave instructions to carry out preparatory activities for a new offensive operation. Only after a convincing report on counterintelligence to Supreme Commander I.V. Stalin on the real situation in the area of ​​responsibility of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, the decision to conduct the operation was revised. Zhukov departed for Moscow. Soon after, the government of Antonescu was overthrown in Romania, the country broke off relations with the fascist bloc and entered the war against Germany. The decision to refuse to conduct a new operation saved the lives of many thousands of Soviet soldiers and officers.

After the victory over fascist Germany, the work of counterintelligence Ivashutin did not diminish. The USA, which was one of the main allies of the USSR in the war against Hitler, became the main opponent of the Soviet Union. American intelligence, taking advantage of the post-war mess, in every way sought to implant its agents on the territory of the USSR. To achieve these goals, all methods were used. Agents-parachutists were thrown on the territory of the USSR, other agents of foreign intelligence secretly tried to crawl across the Soviet borders and dissolve in the expanses of the country, which with great difficulty healed the heavy wounds inflicted on it by the invasion of the German hordes.

The American, British and German intelligence agencies actively used to achieve their goals and the fifth column – militarised nationalist organisations, preserved in Ukraine and in the Baltic States. In Ukraine, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) acted in secret. In Lithuania, the bandits of the Lithuanian Liberation Army and the Union of Lithuanian Partisans were operating. In Latvia, the Latvian National Partisan Association, the Latvian Resistance Organisation and others, in Estonia the Estonian National Committee and the Union of Armed Struggle. These pro-fascist underground organizations were well-armed, received support from foreign intelligence services and caused Moscow and the local authorities a big headache.
In Ukraine, the fight against Ukrainian nationalists was assigned to lead General PI. Ivashutinu. In September 1952, he was appointed Minister of State Security of the Ukrainian SSR, and in 1953 he became Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. General Ivashutin fulfilled the tasks assigned to him. The leaders of nationalist organizations were destroyed, and ordinary members of these organizations, who managed to escape punishment for their atrocities against compatriots and representatives of the Soviet government, went underground, ceased terrorist acts for many years and hid. Before leaving Kiev for Moscow, General Ivashutin said to the leaders of the Ukrainian government:
– The fight against Bandera is not over. Years will pass, convicts will leave their terms. Not all of them will return to Ukraine repentant. Children and grandchildren of the repressed will grow up. In their souls, resentment for the fate of their fathers and grandfathers will remain.

With a powerful supply from the West, on the wave of Ukrainian nationalism and Russophobia, Bandera will be reborn. Therefore, adequate opposition is necessary – political, economic and social, but especially – ideological.
The opposition was apparently inadequate. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the forecast of General Ivashutin came true.

In 1954, Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin was appointed to the post of deputy chairman of the State Security Committee at the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Like the other vice-chairmen of this organisation, he was responsible for the effective work of specific departments and services. Ivashutin supervised the activities of the 3rd Main Directorate of the KGB (military counterintelligence), as well as the 4th, 5th and 6th directorates, a number of departments and the Commission for certification of officers of the State Security Committee.

The appointment of Ivashutin to a high position in the KGB headquarters was undoubtedly associated with the further aggravation of Soviet-American relations and the hei heightened interest of American intelligence in the state and military secrets of the USSR. In the middle of the twentieth century, the climate on our planet completely depended on the state of Soviet-American relations. This climate was harsh and therefore not by chance was called the period of the cold war.

The exacerbation of US relations with the USSR was in every way promoted by American intelligence, whose curious employees tried to extract information about the Soviet military-economic potential at any price. They did this often in bad faith. The White House, which was ruled by US President General Dwight Eisenhower in 1953-1961, sometimes had false information about the Soviet Union. First in this respect, Rear Admiral R. Hillenkotter, director of American Central Intelligence, distinguished himself. In 1947, he overestimated the capabilities of the USSR to build atomic weapons and reported to President Truman on the rapid build-up of Soviet atomic potential. According to estimates of the CIA specialists, who were commanded by Hillenkotter, in 1955 the USSR was to have 50 atomic bombs. The Soviet atomic arsenal reached such an indicator much later.

The forecasts of CIA analysts and its directors sometimes deliberately leaked out to the press, which twisted political typhoons and tornadoes, frightening US citizens in the Soviet military threat. Under the propaganda noise in the United States, the pace of creating intercontinental ballistic missiles with atomic warheads was increased, and plans for an atomic war against the USSR were developed. In January 1954, President Eisenhower declared : ‘If we can simultaneously launch an atomic attack on all the advanced air forces of the Communists, the enemy will be drained of blood from the very beginning of hostilities.’

The Soviet atomic bombs and air force bases did not intimidate President Eisenhower. The reason for this was another mistake of American intelligence, whose agents acted in Moscow. A. Dulles, who headed the United States CIA in 1953, wrote: ‘… In 1954 there was evidence that the USSR produced heavy long-range intercontinental bombers comparable to our B-52s.’

American intelligence suggested that, ‘… Russians … plan to produce heavy bombers at a pace that their economy and technology allows … Dulles wrote : ‘All this led to suggestions in our country about” lagging behind bombers.’

The cause of these fictions was the air parade in Moscow, which took place on May 1, 1954. At that parade, a prototype of a Soviet M-4 intercontinental jet bomber, which flew over Red Square accompanied by MiG-17 fighters, was demonstrated.

The appearance of the M-4 in the sky over Moscow made a great impression on all those present, including foreign diplomats. Few people knew that this bomber was created in the design office of V.M. Myasishchev, had a range of 11-12 thousand km, a bomb load of up to 5 tons and a flight speed at an altitude of 9,000 metres – 900 km per hour.

The American military diplomats who were present at this air parade appreciated the new Soviet bomber. Encrypted reports were sent to Washington that this plane could reach the shores of America and could threaten US security. The American intelligence officers did not know that the bomber would not have had enough strength on the way back to its base, since in those years the system of refueling the aircraft in the air had not yet been worked out. Photos of a Soviet bomber capable of reaching the shores of America appeared in the world’s leading media. Speculation of American intelligence (and this was not the only case) was taken in the White House as reliable information indicating a rapid build-up of Soviet military power.

Despite the fact that in Moscow they did not even think about the war against the USA, in Washington, deceiving American inhabitants and US allies in the NATO military bloc, propaganda hype about the “Soviet military threat” began with a new force. Significant funds were allocated for the creation of new strategic missiles, B-52 bombers and other means of warfare. Crazy arms race made one turn after another. Additional funds were also allocated to finance the activities of all types of American intelligence, whose main efforts were directed against the Soviet Union, to search for and support hidden Bandera and other fifth columns.

Since the Soviet counterintelligence successfully caught on the territory of the USSR American agents, in the United States it was decided to expand the use in the interests of intelligence of the latest achievements in the field of radio electronics. On October 15, 1959, CIA Director A. Dulles stated : ‘We feel that the scientific side of intelligence gathering should be brought to a level where radar and electronic devices will tend to take the place of intelligence officer Mata Hari.’

In the USA, since 1952, work was under way to establish the National Security Agency. Uncle Sam’s big radio-electronic ears were supposed to eavesdrop on everyone, listen to everything, always and everywhere. The main task of the NSA is to collect intelligence information by … ‘intercepting electromagnetic signals of communication systems of other states’.

Information about the creation of the National Security Agency in the United States was extracted by Soviet intelligence. A similar structure in the USSR in those years did not exist. NSA residencies have already operated on many of the 400 US military bases.

American electronic spies were located in the territories of many countries. Especially densely they settled along the Soviet borders. New means of collecting information allowed to intercept all the signals that went on the air. At the headquarters of the NSA, this information was sorted, deciphered, analysed and systematised by professional analysts, who turned the scattered information into valuable intelligence information. A state, if it claims to be the leading world power, should have powerful and omnipresent intelligence. The Americans understood this and spent considerable funds on the development of all branches of their intelligence community. Washington was firmly convinced that investing in exploration is a profitable business, it not only pays for all expenses, but also brings real material profits, and also helps to achieve success in the struggle for a leading position in the world community.
Americans have repeatedly tried to place their electronic spies on the territory of the USSR. One of the first such operations was carried out by American intelligence in 1955. A group of American diplomats gathered to visit Volgograd. The KGB has reported that Americans are taking with them portable electronic equipment of unknown purpose. It was decided to capture the American intelligence officers in Volgograd red-handed.
It is possible that the operation to detain the Americans was led by General PI. Ivashutin, as he was responsible for the security of all Soviet military installations.

‘Travelers’ from the American Embassy were taken under surveillance. When in Volgograd, in the room of the hotel, they completed the assembly of their espionage electronic equipment, they were captured along with portable electronic intelligence gathering tools.

Technical experts from the General Staff and the Soviet military intelligence estimated this equipment as follows : ‘… The equipment is designed to solve the problem of a new, previously unseen type of agent technical intelligence. The equipment allows conducting preliminary reconnaissance of pulsed, radar, radio navigation stations and control systems of jet weapons. Intelligence data obtained with the help of this equipment are basic and, together with other intelligence information, are of great importance for the development of technical means of suppressing our radar system in the course of hostilities … The work of intelligence officers with this equipment is a serious danger to our country’s defense capability.’

Relations between the USSR and the USA continued to escalate. In the USSR, measures were taken to strengthen defense, intelligence and counterintelligence. In 1958, a new ‘Regulation on the KGB with the USSR Council of Ministers” was developed. General P. Ia took part in the creation of this document. Ivashutin. It was stated in that top secret document that ‘… the State Security Committee … and its bodies are called upon to vigilantly monitor the secret intrigues of the enemies of the Soviet country, expose their plans, stop the criminal activity of imperialist intelligence services against the Soviet state.’

One of the paragraphs of this document stated that the KGB should conduct ‘… counterintelligence work in the Soviet Army, Navy, border troops and the Interior Ministry troops and other structures, warning … the penetration of agents into their ranks foreign intelligence services and other enemy elements … This direction was the field of activity of General Ivashutin, who in 1956 was appointed to the post of first deputy chairman of the KGB.
… In early December 1958, the chairman of the KGB, Colonel-General I.A. Serov was dismissed. On 10 December of the same year, he was appointed to the post of head of the Main Intelligence Directorate. In the Resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the new appointment of Serov was explained by the need to ‘… strengthen the leadership of the GRU.’

General Ivashutin, who in 1958 was the first deputy chairman of the KGB, was completely worthy of being appointed as the chief counterintelligence officer of the Soviet Union. But that did not happen. The duties of the KGB chairman were entrusted to General F.K. Lunev. And on December 25, 1958, A.N. was appointed to the post of chairman of the KGB. Shelepin, who had no relation to the activities of the KGB and had headed the Department of Party Organs of the Central Committee of the CPSU in the Union Republics. Khrushchev appointed his trusted person to the post of KGB chairman. The ghost of Beria still roamed the corridors of the Kremlin.

Shelepin was a professional party functionary, he did not know the specifics of the work of the KGB organs, but zealously began to follow Khrushchev’s line on ‘strengthening the security organs.’ As a result of his activities in the KGB, some units were liquidated, the number of deputy chairmen was reduced, which significantly changed the distribution of their duties. However, General Ivashutin, as before, was entrusted with managing the activities of military counterintelligence and overseeing the work of a number of other directorates and departments of the KGB.
In 1960, a new reorganization was carried out at the KGB. Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin continued his activities as the first deputy chairman of the KGB, who was responsible for the work of all the military counterintelligence agencies in the Soviet Army and the Navy, as well as the General Directorate of Border troops

Ivashutich, Ivashutin

For many years it was believed that Ivashutin is the true surname of Army General Peter Ivashutin. It turned out that the name of his father – Ivashutich. In childhood and adolescence, the future counterintelligence bore the father’s last name and once, quite accidentally, he was forced to change his parents ’s name to a new one — Ivashutin. About how and why this happened, Peter Ivanovich first told in the summer of 1999.

The disclosure of the Ivashutins family secret happened under the following circumstances. In the summer of 1999, the Main Intelligence Directorate was preparing for the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the veteran of military intelligence, the head of the GRU in 1963-1987, Hero of the Soviet Union, Army General P.I. Ivashutin. It was decided to contact Pyotr Ivanovich with a request to meet with a representative of the main military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda. The chief editor of the newspaper supported the proposal. Together with the newspaper’s correspondent to the dacha to General Ivashutin, the author of this essay left at the appointed time. The adjutant of General Ivashutin, Lieutenant Colonel Igor Popov, accompanied us.

The cottage of Army General Ivashutin was located in the Moscow Region Razdory. She made a special impression on us. I was amazed not by luxury, but by the Spartan modesty of the one-story structure and its internal situation. Assembled from concrete panels of ‘Khrushchev’ production, the dacha resembled the standard house of any pioneer camp. Under the roof of such a structure there was usually a guard or camp management with its bookkeeping.

Around the house there was an asphalt path sixty centimeters wide. Around – a lawn and some trees. The permanent adjutant of Ivashutin’s army general, lieutenant colonel Igor Popov, explained :
– Peter Ivanovich is walking along this path.

On the threshold of giving, we were met by the wife of General Maria Alekseevna. She invited us into the house. Igor Popov opened the door and first entered the small hallway. In the hallway on a small table, which was located in the far corner, there were flowers. We also brought a bouquet of flowers, which was presented to Maria Alekseevna.
In the reception room there was a usual table for ten persons, a sideboard and some other inexpressive furniture, which, undoubtedly, had a functional purpose, but did not catch the eye or remember. It was striking that in this rather spacious room there was no desk, on which, as expected, there should have been books, fresh newspapers, some kind of notebooks for records.

The general explained confusingly :
– One problem – I can not read and write. Completely blind.

This confession was not like a complaint. Most likely, this revelation of an elderly man who was to be ninety years old in a month could be a signal that a long conversation would not work. But it was an erroneous assumption. General Ivashutin, despite his age and illness, told us about himself, his family and his work in intelligence for about four hours. The performance of the general was amazing.

Peter Ivanovich invited us to a table on which there were no writing utensils too.
When we settled at the table and asked for permission to turn on the portable voice recorder, the general asked :
– What interests you?

We were interested in everything that was connected with his life, his work in military intelligence, with his relatives and friends. Therefore, the first was the question of when and why the KGB General Peter Ivashutin was appointed head of the Soviet military intelligence. Answering this question, Peter Ivanovich unexpectedly said :
– Let’s start with my biography. I was born in Brest-Litovsk in 1909. My father, Ivan G. Ivashutich, was born in Ukraine, his mother is Belarusian, and I consider myself to be Russian. My father was a railroad worker, a locomotive driver. Mother graduated from gymnasium in Minsk, then – courses of teachers and taught in school. And the transformation of the name Ivashutich into Ivashutin occurred as follows.
I loved the technique. But with the technique in my life I was not lucky. Our family lived in the Chernihiv region in the town of Snovsk. When I graduated from the seven-year school, my father persuaded me to go to study at a railway school. I refused, but I had to study. Then, in 1926, I graduated from a vocational school in the same Chernihiv region, in Gorodnya. Later this school became known as a technical school. After graduating from this school, I worked as a fitter and dreamed of going to college. But at that time in Ukraine, teaching at the institute was conducted in the Ukrainian language. I did not know this language. Father and mother decided to move permanently to the city of Ivanovo-Voznesensk. My father always read the newspaper Pravda and Hooter. Once in the ‘Gudka’ he read that in this city there is a good team at the railway depot. He also learned that there is a good polytechnic institute there. Therefore, the father and mother decided to go to Ivanovo, where they could find work in their field, and I could go to college.

I could not enter the Polytechnic. That year, the institute was accepted only on the recommendation of the party cells of the city, and we were from other cities. Therefore, I had no recommendations. It was a shame. But there is nothing to do. Then I think I’ll go to the factory. Wrote a statement. Waiting for a call. A week later I come to the stock exchange for employment. Offer a job at a textile factory. I refused. I come in a day – they offer a place in some factory as an unskilled worker. Also refused. The next day at the exchange I was invited to go to the seventh window. The girl, an employee of the exchange, reports :

– Ivashutin. There is a place as a mechanic of the second category in the factory number 1 …
I really wanted to go to work at this factory. It was the engineering plant Santekhstroy. The only one in Ivanovo. I gladly grabbed a directional card and ran to the plant management. There, they gave me a temporary permit in which it was written that I was Peter Ivashutin, factory fitter number 1. I was given a probationary period of two weeks.

Peter Ivashutich became Ivashutin.

I passed the trial period successfully. Two weeks later I was given a permanent pass in the name of Ivashutin. The Komsomol organisation also issued a membership card for the name Ivashutin. My father first objected to replacing my name, but I was afraid of losing my job at the factory.

Then the general told us about how difficult it was for him to work at the plant. Despite the fact that more than seventy years have passed since then, Peter Ivanovich told us in detail about the brigade of mechanics, the head of which he was soon appointed, about the shop in which he worked, and about the machines he assembled. It was evident that he was proud to be a worker, he worked in a large industrial enterprise and acquired labor training in a real production team, where he received piecework wages for high-quality work.

Working at the factory, Ivashutin studied at the working school. In 1930, he was admitted to the Bolshevik Party, became a member of the VKP (b). In June 1931, he was drafted into the Red Army for party mobilization and sent to study at the Stalingrad School of Military Pilots.

The Stalingrad School of Military Pilots No. 7 trained the first Soviet military pilots. Two of them after some time will become the heads of the Soviet military intelligence. In 1939, a graduate of this school, Hero of the Soviet Union, Ivan Iosifovich Proskurov, will be appointed the head of the Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army. In 1963, Colonel General Peter Ivashutin became the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate.

After graduating from school in 1933, the military pilot Ivashutin was sent to the 455th aviation brigade of the Moscow Military District. He served in the 23rd heavy bomber squadron as an instructor pilot. He boldly mastered the new aviation technology, flew the heavy bombers TB-1, TB-2, TB-3. In 1936, during a flight en route Moscow-Serpukhov, one engine failed on a TB-3 bomber. The life of all the crew members, and there were seven of them, depended on the skill and composure of the pilot Ivashutin. Despite the emergency, Captain Peter Ivashutin was able to land the plane on a field airfield.

Speaking about this case, Ivashutin said that the bomber had a strong stabiliser, and he withstood the strike when landing.
All crew members remained alive. Four of them had wives and children. And the bachelor captain Ivashutin was only 26 years old.

Undoubtedly, service in military aviation could become the main business of the life of Peter Ivashutin. The command of the brigade sent him to study at the Air Force Academy. Professor N.E. Zhukovsky. He became a student of the Academy Faculty, successfully completed the first course. But he did not succeed in continuing his studies at this prestigious educational institution. In January 1939, the 2nd year student Peter Ivashutin was selected to serve in the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs. On this, his quite successful career in the Soviet Air Force was unexpectedly interrupted. Peter Ivashutin became an employee of the special department. In 1939-1940, he took part in the Soviet-Finnish war as the head of a special department of the 23rd infantry corps. In May 1941, Ivashutin was appointed deputy head of the 3rd Division of the Transcaucasian Military District. In the Caucasus, Peter Ivashutin met with the news that fascist Germany on the night of June 22, 1941 had faithlessly attacked the Soviet Union. The Great Patriotic War began. During this war, counterintelligence officer Ivashutin fought against German intelligence officers and agents on the Crimean, North Caucasus, South-Western and 3rd Ukrainian fronts. He always acted boldly, skillfully and prudently, took part in the arrest of German intelligence officers and agents, led the difficult complex operational activities carried out by Soviet counterintelligence officers almost daily.

In April 1944, Major General P. Ivashutin led one of the special operations. He was the head of the Smersh Directorate of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. At that time, Soviet troops were preparing for the liberation of Odessa, in which the Germans and the Romanians were boss. In Odessa, our scouts, illegal immigrants, who managed to infiltrate the structure of the German military intelligence. During the period of the battle for Odessa, communication was lost with them. According to the plan of the Soviet intelligence command, these illegal immigrants were to retreat with the Germans and continue their activities on the territory of Romania and Germany. They needed new conditions of communication with the Center and new ciphers.

To establish a connection with these illegal immigrants to Odessa, it was necessary to send a liaison officer. Since time was running out and the task had to be solved, it was necessary to send not one intelligence officer, but several people to the city. By order of Ivashutin, the four best intelligence officers of the intelligence section of the front headquarters were selected for this task. The group was led by Senior Lieutenant I. Tregubenko. The scouts (spies) had to get to Odessa even before the city was liberated by Soviet troops.

Major-General P. Ivashutin was preparing the operation to penetrate the group into Odessa. He developed the legend of their actions in the occupied city. According to this legend, Tregubenko was supposed to portray a captured Soviet officer, two other intelligence officers – the SS, and the fourth – the Romanian gendarme.
On the night of April 8-9, the group crossed the front line and leaked into the city. In the conditions of evacuation, for which the German garrison was already preparing, the Soviet intelligence officers, dressed in German and Romanian military uniforms, did not attract attention. In the agreed place in the safe house, Tregubenko conveyed the conditions of communication and the cipher to the head of the illegal immigrants. After that, the scouts returned without losses to the front headquarters. General Ivashutin listened to their report on the operation and thanked for the successful execution of the task.

Hero of the Soviet Union, Army General Semyon Ivanov, who in 1942-1945 was the chief of staff of the South-Western, Voronezh, Transcaucasian, 1st and 3rd Ukrainian fronts, wrote : ‘… Peter Ivanovich took a direct part in offensive operations of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. He put a lot of effort and energy into the preparation and implementation of the Yassko-Kisinevskaya, Budapest, and Vienna operations, ensuring the actions of the front forces for the liberation of Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. War PI Ivashutin graduated in Austria. I met Victory Day there. ‘


Talking about his activities as a chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Pyotr Ivanovich mostly did not speak about himself, but about how under his leadership the generals and military intelligence officers acted.
It all started with the appointment of PI. Ivashutin to the post of chief of military intelligence. The arrival of General Ivashutin to the GRU had two features. The first was related to the extraordinary circumstances that had developed in the GRU in 1962-1963. These were not the best times in the history of military intelligence. Employees of the USSR State Security Committee completed a complex operation to identify and detain the agent of British intelligence, Colonel Penkovsky. He was arrested, tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to capital punishment.

The operation to expose and detain the traitor Penkovsky was led by Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin. GRU officials in charge of personnel work were severely punished. The first deputy head of the GRU, General A. Rogov, and the head of the personnel department, General A. Smolikov, were dismissed. On February 2, 1963, the head of the GRU, Army General I.A. Serov was removed from office. On March 7, he was demoted to Major General and on March 12 he was deprived of the title Hero of the Soviet Union “… for blunting political vigilance” in connection with the arrest of Penkovsky. Serov also had to leave Moscow – he was appointed assistant to the commander of the Turkestan military district for educational institutions. Two years later he was dismissed from the Armed Forces of the USSR due to illness.

Commenting on the removal of General Serov from the post of head of the GRU, Army General Ivashutin said :
– Serov was shot not only because of the exposure of the agent of British intelligence Penkovsky. There were other past affairs behind Serov that could undermine Khrushchev’s authority. He was engaged in resettlement of peoples, he was in charge of prisons, did not know operational work and did not deal with it. Khrushchev appointed him to the post of head of the GRU. Nikita Sergeevich trusted Serov. All instructions Khrushchev Serov unconditionally performed. The failure with Penkovsky was a blow not only to the Main Intelligence Directorate, but also to the prestige of Khrushchev. Therefore, he sent Serov away from Moscow to the Turkestan Military District.

Peter Ivanovich also had to visit those places, but only during the war years. It happened in 1942. He was summoned to Moscow from the North Caucasus, where the 47th Army, in which he served, fought. Ivashutin went to Colonel-General Viktor Abakumov, who was the head of the special departments of the NKVD of the USSR. As expected from the military, reported on the arrival. Abakumov began to ask about the situation at the front, about the work of the special department of the army and inquired briefly whether Ivashutin had a large family. The officer replied that he did not know, because the connection with the family was cut off during the evacuation. Abakumov promised to make inquiries, and a day later he summoned him to his office and said that Ivashutin’s relatives were in Tashkent. Abakumov helped Ivashutin fly to Tashkent.

In Tashkent, Ivashutin sought out his wife, children, and parents who lived in a mud hut without windows and heating. Comrades from the special department of the Central Asian Military District helped him by allocating a small room to the Ivashutin family.

He returned to Moscow as a happy man. Abakumov said that Ivashutin was appointed head of the special department of the South-Western Front.

General Ivashutin said that during the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Smersh organs, in which he grew from captain to major general, were engaged not only in detecting and destroying German intelligence agents and agents, but also in depth intelligence.

‘I could, if there was a need,’ said the general, ‘send my intelligence officer to perform a special mission in Berlin, in Paris, to any place behind the front line.’ And front-line intelligence was supposed to act only behind the front line, where the enemy was located.

Summarising the above, General Ivashutil concluded :

– When Serov was removed from the post of the head of the GRU, I myself wanted to head this special service and was ready to achieve an improvement in the quality of its work. Want to know why? First, I knew the specifics of the work of military intelligence well and had an idea of ​​how the military intelligence of the leading world powers work. Secondly, it became hard for me to work in the State Security Committee. Honestly, I was responsible for the work of the entire KGB apparatus, whose chairmen were appointed incompetent people – Shelepin, Semichastny. These people were politically mature leaders, but they understood absolutely nothing about counterintelligence activities. The scope of my responsibilities became more and more widespread. I even had to fly with N.S. Khrushchev at congresses of fraternal communist parties, at various international meetings where his security had to be ensured, although for this purpose there was a special deputy chairman of the KGB. Therefore, after Serov was dismissed from the post of the head of the GRU, I appealed to the personnel department of the Central Committee of the CPSU with a request to entrust me with the leadership of military intelligence, which was subjected to a serious test at that time by a commission of the CPSU Central Committee. My request was granted. So I ended up in the Main Intelligence Directorate.

The second feature of Ivashutin’s parish in the GRU was that he arrived at a new duty station accompanied only by his assistant and adjutant Igor Popov. General Ivashutin did not invite other KGB officers to the GRU. This surprised the experienced military intelligence officers, who also knew other examples.
Lieutenant-General Peter Spiridonovich Shmyrev, a veteran of military intelligence, told how the GRU officers met their new chief :
– It was during March 1963, Chief of the General Staff Marshal of the Soviet Union S.S. Biryuzov introduced us, officers and generals of the GRU, Colonel General Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin, whom some of us knew as the first deputy chairman of the KGB. He immediately said that he did not plan to make any changes in the staff, he is ready to work with those who know the business well and skillfully fulfill their official duties.
The new head of the GRU got acquainted with the affairs and people thoroughly, showing with all his actions that he had arrived at the GRU for a long time. The focus was on identifying gaps in the work and proposals for improving the activities of military intelligence.

From the very first days of the activity of Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin experienced military intelligence officers noted in his work the main strategic directions.

The first is to strengthen the system for training highly qualified military intelligence personnel. Under the conditions of a tough confrontation with counterintelligence of the leading Western states, Soviet military intelligence could achieve new results in operational activities only by significantly improving the quality of training intelligence officers.
Secondly, while preserving the traditional forms of intelligence, Ivashutin began to devote considerable attention to introducing new advances in the field of electronic equipment into the practice of collecting and processing intelligence information, which appeared in Russian research institutes or were produced abroad, which he, as a former First Deputy Chairman The KGB was well aware.
Third, the successes of the USSR in the exploration of outer space opened up for exploration new unlimited possibilities for quickly collecting information about the state of the armed forces of foreign states and redeploying their units, subunits, as well as ships of naval forces. Ivashutin immediately decided to take advantage of these opportunities. Soon a new Space Intelligence Directorate appeared in the GRU.

Other new directions quickly emerged, which the head of the GRU, General Ivashutin, sought to activate in order to timely obtain accurate and complete information about the state of the armed forces of the potential enemy and plans to use them against the Soviet Union.

General Ivashutin drew attention to the fact that the ability of the Main Intelligence Directorate to obtain intelligence information is limited to the forces that were at its disposal. At the same time, the information that was obtained by intelligence units of the branches of the Armed Forces of the USSR was not fully taken into account in the assessment of the military-political situation. The head of the GRU has obtained the permission of the chief of the General Staff to organise by the experts of the GRU an inspection of the activities of intelligence services of the Armed Forces.

The results of the audit were reported to the Chief of General Staff. The decision on the report was unambiguous – the chiefs of intelligence of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces, in their operational activities, found a senior chief in the person of Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin.

Considering the desire of American intelligence to bring the electronic intelligence units to the borders of the Soviet Union, General Ivashutin supported the proposal to establish a special intelligence group in Cuba aimed at reconnaissance of the US strategic nuclear forces. At the request of General Ivashutin, the Minister of Defense of the USSR R.Ya. Malinovsky sent a letter on this issue to the Minister of the Armed Forces of Cuba Raul Castro.
Negotiations with Cuban officials in Havana were led by Soviet military attache Colonel Valentin Mescheryakov. Negotiations ended positively. In the GRU, the first group of electronic intelligence ‘Reed’ was formed, which in November 1963 began work on Liberty Island. The group was headed by Colonel V.F. Kudryashov.
Several years have passed. The results of the group were positive.

In 1977, the group ‘Reed’ was visited by Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin. He was accompanied by the head of the GRU information, General N.F. Chervov, Lieutenant-General PS Shmyrev and other specialists.

The head of the GRU carefully studied the ability of the group to increase the amount of information extracted, made decisions that ensured the improvement of the work of the group.

Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro received the head of the Soviet military intelligence and discussed with him the prospects for cooperation between the two states in the field of intelligence.

In 1978, the electronic intelligence group ‘Reed’ on the proposal of the head of the GRU Army General P.I. Ivashutina was awarded the Vympel of the Minister of Defence of the USSR ‘For courage and military valor.’
The deployment of the GRU electronic intelligence forces in Cuba undoubtedly expanded the capabilities of the Soviet military intelligence to obtain information about the state of the US strategic nuclear forces, but these possibilities were still limited. Therefore, Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin, Lieutenant-General PS Shmyrev and his subordinates were looking for new ways to expand the possibilities of using technical means to gather intelligence information not only about the US military, but the armies of other states.

Acceptable decision prompted, oddly enough, the Americans. In the fall of 1967, the border forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea detained the American Pueblo reconnaissance ship, which brazenly invaded the republic’s territorial waters. With the permission of the North Korean side, the specialists of the GRU in the field of radio electronic intelligence equipment P.E. Beskorovainy, V.I. Kirilov and others went to the DPRK to the place of the parking of the American ship.

While in North Korea, the GRU officers conducted a full survey of the American ship and its electronic content. The results of the Pueblo survey and the capabilities of the latest electronic intelligence equipment were reported in detail to the Chief of the General Staff and the Minister of Defense of the USSR.

General Ivashutin proposed the creation in the USSR of such reconnaissance ships, primarily for the Black Sea and Pacific Fleets. The proposal of the head of the GRU was supported by the leadership of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1969, the first reconnaissance ship of the Black Sea Fleet ‘Crimea’ went on a military campaign. In 1971, the reconnaissance ships Kavkaz, Primorye and Transbaikalia were built.

Once, while in Sevastopol, Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin visited the reconnaissance ship Kavkaz, which at that time was commanded by the captain of the 1st rank L. L. Shulpin. The head of the GRU was satisfied with the intelligence capabilities of this warship.

In 1974, the inquisitive head of the GRU also visited the Northern Fleet, where, during the exercise, Horizon made a trip on an atomic underwater missile carrier.

Activities of electronic intelligence ships Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin paid constant attention. When the ships ‘Primorye’ and ‘Trans-Baikal’ began to go to the central part of the Pacific Ocean for reconnaissance of the American air defense range on the Kwajalein atoll islands, Ivashutin personally received the commanders of the ships and their deputies, who arrived in Moscow to receive a preliminary mission, and specified them reconnaissance . The crews of Soviet reconnaissance ships in June 1984 were able to record the results of an interceptor missile test conducted by Americans over the Pacific, which was created as part of the so-called Strategic Defence Initiative programme, or the Star

Wars program. Soviet military intelligence determined that the Americans had installed a radio beacon on the target missile, which allowed the interceptor missile to destroy the target. Thus, an attempt was opened by the US military-political leadership to misinform Soviet specialists and draw the USSR into a new, unpromising and costly round of the arms race.

The efforts of General Ivashutin to create a new-level military intelligence system made it possible to reveal yet another insidious misinformation, skillfully conducted by the US Department of Defence …
Another favourite technical project of General Ivashutin was the creation in the Main Intelligence Directorate of an automated military intelligence system, which received the provisional name ‘Dozor’. In view of the exceptional importance, the development of this system was assigned by a special Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU, under the constant control of the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the General Staff. The system was created by famous Soviet scientists. The case was progressing successfully. USSR Minister of Defense Marshal DF Ustinov at that time repeatedly visited the headquarters of the GRU and was interested in the progress of work on the creation of the Patrol. During one of his visits, Ustinov praised the special mathematical and informational support of the system, especially the set of tasks to determine the current state of combat readiness of the armed forces of a potential enemy to start a war against the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries. Marshal recommended to pay serious attention to the development of sets of tasks that provide a deep situational analysis of the military-political and military-strategic situation in the world.

The instructions of Marshal Ustinov were not only fulfilled, but also marked the beginning of new research in this field, which was carried out by talented scientists who were employees of military intelligence.

Unknown victory and loss

Little is known about the activities of the Soviet military intelligence during the Cold War. Especially strictly in this organisation relate to the confidentiality of all operations related to the recruitment of agents. Nevertheless, we asked Peter Ivanovich a question on this topic as well. He sounded like this :

– Everything that you have said indicates that with your appointment as the head of the GRU in military intelligence, considerable attention has been paid to the development of technical reconnaissance equipment. And what happened to the intelligence agency?
Thinking, the army general said :

– We paid enough attention to both intelligence. I just can’t talk to you extensively about the activities of undercover intelligence, I have no right …
He smiled good-naturedly and added :
– ‘Kitchen’ is still closed for public discussion today. But I can say that any, even the most sophisticated equipment will not be able to extract those secret materials that a professional intelligence officer is able to receive. The human factor was and remains in intelligence in the first place …
– And what, in your opinion, today can be a real secret?
The general said  :
– Let’s say, in some secret laboratory a new device has been developed, which is not in the world, it should make a revolution in the technical field. No one will write or speak on the phone about such a discovery, otherwise they will be arrested by the security forces and will be tried. And take the plan of warfare. This is a top secret document. If an adversary finds out about him, this is no longer a plan. Military secret intelligence is aimed at secrets of this kind …

Further, General Ivashutin did not discuss this topic. However, after 2000, in the Main Intelligence Directorate, some documents were declassified, which in general made it possible to judge the gigantic, important and productive work carried out by military intelligence officers who obtained the military, military-political and military-technical secrets of some Western countries.

In 2002, when I was preparing to print the book ‘GRU and the atomic bomb’, I was lucky to meet with the military intelligence officer, Captain 1st Rank Viktor Andreyevich Lyubimov. This unique intelligence officer, taking advantage of the permission of the military intelligence command, told me about some of his operations carried out in the United States, France, and some other Western European countries. In one of the countries, he supervised the activities of a valuable agent, who was assigned the nickname ‘Murat’ in the GRU. This source held an important post in one of the NATO staff committees and gave Lyubimov documentary materials about the plans for the preparation of a war against the Soviet Union by this bloc.

General Ivashutin was closely interested in the work of Lyubimov, gave valuable advice on the organization of communication with ‘Murat.’ Perhaps that is why this agent was never disclosed by the counterintelligence of his country. In 1963–1965, particularly important documents were received from ‘Murat’, including the new ‘Plan of Nuclear War No. 200/63’, ‘List of targets for delivering nuclear strikes on the territory of the USSR and countries of the Soviet bloc”, ‘NATO Manual on the Use nuclear weapons.’
July 16, 1964, Colonel-General P.I. Ivashutin reported to the Chief of the General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union S.S. Biryuzovu :
‘… The GRU apparatus in Paris produced a draft secret document of the joint NATO headquarters in Europe on the use of Pershing missiles, developed on February 25, 1964.
The document contains the following information:
– deployment of firing positions of the ‘Pershing’ missiles with a nuclear charge to destroy objects of the first stage in the Central European theatre of operations;
– organisation of combat units of Pershing missiles and their subordination;
– The combat formations of the Pershing missile units;
– communications equipment for the Pershing missile units;

– proposals to increase the number of Pershing missile units for the period 1965-1970;
– the number of Pershing missiles that can be launched in the first 20 and 50 minutes after the team … “
The document transmitted by Murat to Viktor Lyubimov is the best example of what reconnaissance cannot get by its perfect technical means.

By order of Colonel-General Ivashutin, a valuable agent ‘Murat’ visited the Soviet Union in 1965, underwent special training, was awarded the Order of Lenin, visited Moscow, Leningrad, Yerevan and Sochi. After returning to his homeland, he continued to cooperate with the captain of the 1st rank, Viktor Lyubimov …
In the same 1964, the Minister of Defence of the USSR R.Ya. Malinovsky and Chief of the General Staff S.S. Biryuzov turned to N.S. Khrushchev was asked to urgently accept them for an important report. Arriving at the Kremlin, the marshals reported to the head of state that military intelligence had obtained documents of special importance. The defence minister told Khrushchev that, according to military intelligence, the United States is actively building up its nuclear potential in Europe. Khrushchev was handed a memorandum prepared by the GRU, which reported important secret information obtained in one of the European countries. In particular, this memo stated that ‘… at the beginning of 1963, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff held operational activities, which made it possible to access and extract a large number of documents of special importance. For the period from January 1963 to January 1964, about 200 documents were produced containing information on the delivery, storage and transfer of nuclear munitions to the units of the US and NATO attack forces deployed in the European zone; information about the organisation of units and divisions of providing nuclear weapons, the deployment of some parts and headquarters of the armed forces of NATO countries, as well as the activities of the US Navy … ‘
It was further reported that as a result of operational intelligence activities, 6 warehouses of nuclear weapons were opened in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands and Greece, the presence of 27 nuclear bombs in Turkey and 16 nuclear bombs in Greece …
‘In general, information received over a period of one year,’ the report said, ‘allowed to reveal and confirm some important data on the preparation of the US and NATO forces for the use of nuclear missiles in the European theater of war. The operational activities of the GRU in this direction … continue … ‘
This information was obtained from agent Hector, who was recruited by military intelligence officer Viktor Lyubimov. The name of this agent is also still kept secret.

Another valuable GRU agent was the commander of the Navy of the Republic of South Africa, Dieter Gerhard. He was involved in cooperation with the Soviet military intelligence in 1964 and has since been listed in the GRU under the pseudonym ‘Felix’. Gerhard quickly moved up the career ladder and gradually achieved his appointment as Deputy Chief of the Simonstown Naval Base, which was stationed in the Cape Town area and was the largest electronic tracking base in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1968, Gerhard met Ruth Yor in Switzerland. Soon they got married. It was Dieter’s second marriage.
Gerhard told his wife that he was cooperating with Soviet intelligence, and asked her to assist him in transporting documents to Switzerland. Ruth agreed to do it. Her mother lived in Switzerland. Therefore, her trips to Europe were quite legendary. In the center, Ruth Gerhard received the pseudonym “Lina”.
Dieter Gerhard’s collaboration with Soviet military intelligence continued for more than a decade. During this time, he visited Moscow five times and received special training, which was conducted with him by experienced GRU instructors.
‘Felix’ and ‘Lina’, most likely, would never have come to the attention of counterintelligence. Communication with the “Lina” was maintained by the illegal GRU intelligence officer Colonel Vitaly Vasilyevich Shlykov. An experienced scout, he knew his business well. But intelligence is balancing on the edge of a knife. Failure can occur at any time. It happened with Dieter Gerhard. The American counterintelligence has established that he is a Soviet agent. First Dieter was arrested, then his wife ‘Lina’. It happened in 1983. The GRU did not expect such a failure. The situation was even more aggravated when it became known that an illegal scout arrested in Switzerland, Colonel Vitaly Shlykov.
The GRU took steps to secure the release of its illegal immigrant. Nevertheless, Shlykov had to spend about twenty months in a Swiss prison.

After being released from prison, he flew to Prague, where he was met by colleagues in the special service. Shlykov arrived in Moscow. The GRU treated him kindly. Nobody accused him of anything. Everyone who was in the know, understood that the failure was not his fault. Once Vitaly Vasilyevich Shlykov was invited to the office of the head of the GRU. Colonel-General Ivashutin presented the scout the Order he deserved, thanked for his many years of successful work in the Main Directorate. Proposed a new position.

Dieter Gerhad was sentenced to life imprisonment, ‘Lina’ was sentenced to ten years in prison. This couple was imprisoned for several years. Ruth was released early in 1990. Dieter was released in 1992. It is believed that President Boris Yeltsin stood up for Dieter Gerhard, who learned about the fate of this man from an article by B. Pilatskin published in January 1992 in the Izvestia newspaper. It is possible that it was. But, most likely, the head of the GRU asked for assistance in the release of Dieter Gerhard of the Russian President.

The reasons for the failure of the Felix group and Colonel V. Shlykov are still unknown. Both Shlykov and Dieter Gerhard were well prepared for undercover work. Shlykov was in an illegal position for about twenty years and was one of the best rezvedchik-illegals of the GRU. Therefore, failure could have occurred if there was a leak somewhere that Dieter transmitted to the Soviet military intelligence. Where and how did it happen? There are no answers to these questions yet.

Remembering the failure that occurred with Colonel Shlykov during a conversation with General of the Army P.I. Ivashutin, we raised the issue of betrayal. Over the years when PI Ivashutin was in charge of military intelligence, there were several cases of recruiting foreign intelligence services for GRU officers. One of the biggest cases is the betrayal of General Dmitry Polyakov


General PI Ivashutin said that Polyakov went to treason in 1962 during a business trip to the United States. He himself offered services to the Americans, who took advantage of his offer.
The reasons for the crime that Polyakov committed, according to Ivashutin, were hidden in the flaws that existed in the system of selecting candidates for military intelligence service.
‘We have changed a lot in this system, introduced new methods that began to allow GRU officers to select the most worthy, morally stable and politically reliable people. The main thing is that officers who had experience of foreign operational work began to deal with the selection of candidates for military intelligence service. All this in the complex reduced the infiltration into the ranks of the scouts of random and unreliable people. However, intelligence is a system that constantly fights. But in war losses are inevitable …’
According to General Ivashutin, it has become much more difficult for today’s intelligence officers to work abroad. He believed that in Russia there was not a single factory or factory, where there was no American or other foreign representation.

‘Today, I would set the intelligence task of singling out intelligence officers among those arriving in Russia to help counterintelligence drag them out of here …’
The proposal of General Ivashutin sounded unexpected. In his soul, which could not be indifferent to the collapse of the Soviet Union, memories of his activities in the KGB apparently surfaced when he himself conducted operations to identify and neutralise foreign intelligence agents and agents who were on the territory of the USSR. Perhaps there were always two beginnings in his soul. The first is the love of the counterintelligence profession. This love was the first and therefore undoubtedly the strongest. The second beginning is a sense of duty to the Fatherland, which in 1963 entrusted him with the position of chief of military intelligence. This love and duty somehow miraculously entwined in his soul. Most likely, they were the sources of his mental strength, which allowed him to work tirelessly for many years, to defend his point of view in principle, to seek for the introduction of new scientific achievements in intelligence activities, to promote the promotion of worthy officers, many of whom later became talented military leaders. intelligence. The authority and example of General Ivashutin was a beacon along which many GRU officers and generals verified their life path.

Ivashutin never considered the victory of military intelligence or its defeat. He lived in a world in which everything dynamically changed and developed. From his office in a building on the Khodynka field, he saw the whole world, felt the pulse of the planet, foresaw the occurrence of armed conflicts, reasonably and convincingly reported to the leadership of the USSR possible options for the situation in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in military conflicts in Mozambique, Angola or in Vietnam. Colonel General Ivashutin also had his point of view regarding the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in December 1979 …

GRU and Afghanistan

‘The question of the introduction of a limited contingent of Soviet troops into Afghanistan,’ said General Ivashutin, ‘was discussed on December 17 or 19, 1979, at a meeting with Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, Chief of the General Staff, in the presence of all his deputies. As always, the first to give the floor to the head of military intelligence. I categorically rejected the idea of ​​a possible direct interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and emphasised that we can create a situation there, similar to that which the Americans found themselves in Vietnam.
Continuing to talk about the attitude of the Main Intelligence Directorate to the events in Afghanistan, General Ivashutin drew our attention to the fact that all the Deputy Chiefs of the General Staff supported the opinion and assessment of the situation outlined by the head of the GRU.
During our conversation, it was clear that even after twenty years, the problem of the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan continued to disturb Army General Ivashutin, whose opinion was not taken into account for the first time in the General Staff and the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee when making the final decision on this issue.
Indeed, the decision to bring Soviet troops into Afghanistan was made by the Soviet leadership without taking into account the forecasts of the Main Intelligence Directorate and the opinion of such a specialist as PI. Ivashutin, who in 1971 was given the military rank of army general. The political leadership of the Soviet Union was convinced of the need to support the April Revolution, which occurred in Afghanistan on April 27, 1978. In the course of this revolution, the reactionary regime of M. Daud fell, the government of N. M came to power in Kabul. Taraki, which proclaimed the formation of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
Big events in small countries do not occur without the knowledge and intervention of great powers. The actions of the Taraki government provoked a sharply negative reaction from the local opposition, which was fed by Pakistan by American agents. The Taraki government was in danger. Therefore, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU and adopted a decision that provided for the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in order to stabilise the internal political situation in that country. This was done at the request of the Afghan government. Therefore, the political leadership of the USSR, apparently, did not listen to the opinion of the Soviet military intelligence.
The troops of the 40th Army, reinforced by aviation, entered Afghanistan in the last days of December 1979 – early 1980.

General Ivashutin visited Kabul for the first time on February 14, 1980. After that, he visited Afghanistan more than ten times. The objectives of his trips were different. First of all, they were operational in nature and were aimed at finding ways to increase the effectiveness of military intelligence operations in this country, since the security of a contingent of Soviet troops depended on military intelligence officers.
The ‘stay’ of the limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan did not drag on for a year or two, and not a whole decade. Visiting Afghanistan, General Ivashutin sought to see ways to end the military conflict in this country, whose people never recognized foreign interference in their internal affairs. It was not easy to do. It was impossible to unite the tribes living in Afghanistan with one idea and direct them towards the achievement of a single goal. If you believe that the East is a delicate matter, then Afghanistan is also a dark one. Ivashutin was convinced that the faster the Soviet troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan, the better it would be for the Soviet Union, which spent a lot of money on maintaining its troops in this country.
Soviet military intelligence was active and effective in Afghanistan. Ivashutin, who gained rich experience in organizing intelligence and counterintelligence in the years of the Great Patriotic War, used this knowledge under new conditions, complementing it with modern technical means that military intelligence received under his leadership.
The Central Intelligence Agency succeeded in creating a military intelligence system in Afghanistan that reliably monitored the situation in the country and promptly obtained information on any movements of large forces and small opposition groups.
Assessing the activities of Ivashutin during this period, Marshal of the Soviet Union Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Supreme Soviet S.F. Akhromeev wrote in October 1986 :
– Army General PI Ivashutin, as the head of the GRU, is well prepared in operational and strategic terms. He correctly and deeply assesses the military-political situation in the world, the military preparations of the United States and the NATO bloc and draws the right conclusions from this for the organisation of military intelligence.
The GRU apparatus, subordinate intelligence agencies, units and institutions are prepared for the fulfillment of tasks standing in peacetime and wartime …

The Deputy Minister of Defence, General of the Army V.M. Shabanov somehow after a conversation with P.I. Ivashutin told Lieutenant General P.S. Shmyrev, who was also in Kabul :

– Your boss works like a bulldozer, turning problems one by one …
Deeply aware that the defense of the conquests of the April Revolution was a matter for the Afghans themselves, General Ivashutin in every way sought to contribute to the strengthening of the Afghan army. He established friendly relations with the Chief of Intelligence of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, General Khalil, not only assisted the Afghans with advice, but also sought the transfer of the necessary equipment and weapons to them.
In February 1989, after a ten-year stay in Afghanistan, Soviet troops left the country. About 15 thousand soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army, including 800 special forces, were killed in the battles in Afghanistan. Eight GRU special forces were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Among them, Colonel Kolesnik V.V., captain Y.P. Goroshenko, senior lieutenant OP Onischuk. (posthumously), Lieutenant N. Kuznetsov (posthumously), Sergeant Islamov Yu.V. (posthumously), ordinary Arsenov V.N. (posthumously) and Mirolyubov Yu.N.
General Ivashutin believed that the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan was necessary much earlier.


The history of the Cold War is the history of an unstoppable and unrestricted arms race, diplomatic demarches and military conflicts, regional wars and rare meetings of the leaders of the United States and the USSR, during which attempts were made to keep the world from unleashing a third world war. The periods of extreme tension were replaced by rare thaws, promising new peaceful prospects that allowed two opposing socio-political systems to coexist. All this is well described in the books of Soviet and American politicians and diplomats who were directly involved in the diverse events of those years already experienced. There is no only chronicle of the confrontation between the intelligence services of the two socio-political systems that also took an active part in those events. Perhaps someday a scientific paper will be prepared on how the intelligence services of the NATO countries opposed the intelligence services of the Warsaw Pact countries. In that study, undoubtedly, there will be quite a few place and role of the head of the GRU, General of the Army, PI. Ivashutin, who, according to his colleagues, was the main organizer of the interaction of military intelligence of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact.
From the very first days of his activity, as the head of the GRU, General Ivashutin decided, if possible, to unite the efforts of the intelligence services of the USSR-friendly states to solve common tasks. Ivashutin thought strategically – the invisible front, on which there was an uncompromising war of special services, covers the entire globe. Therefore, it was important to unite the forces of the intelligence services, to organise their cooperation and interaction. This idea was approved by the Minister of Defence of the USSR and received support in the military ministries friendly to the Soviet Union. The main feature of this strategic interaction was that the General Intelligence Directorate acted as an equal member among all intelligence agencies of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact countries.

Over time, forms of interaction were developed. The main meetings were the annual meetings of the heads of intelligence departments and the personal meetings of the head of the GRU with each head of military intelligence in the process of solving various operational and other issues. Since the Main Intelligence Directorate had a more powerful base than other intelligence directorates, at the request of colleagues, all organizational and preparatory work for the annual meetings was assigned to General Ivashutin.

Heads of military intelligence of the armed forces of Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, Poland, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia took part in these meetings. Delegations of the intelligence departments of the armed forces of Cuba and Romania attended the meetings in discussing protocol and informational issues.

The meetings were held once a year in the capitals of the Warsaw Pact countries. A democratic order was established for determining the venue of meetings – in alphabetical order. Major-General PF was appointed Permanent Secretary of these meetings. Borovinsky.

Evaluating the relationship PI Ivashutin with the heads of the intelligence departments of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact member countries, Major General Borovinsky wrote :
– Pyotr Ivanovich Ivashutin not only resolved official matters with the heads of intelligence departments, but also maintained friendly relations with them. Ivashutin developed particularly good relations with the head of the military intelligence of the Bulgarian armed forces, General Zikulov, and the head of the Czechoslovak military intelligence, General Broz. Together with them, Ivashutin developed the basic ideas for the preparation and conduct of the first meeting of the heads of military intelligence of the Warsaw Pact countries.

Another important feature of these meetings was that they were always attended by the defense ministers of those countries in whose capitals the chiefs of military intelligence gathered. The defense ministers met with General Ivashutin and used these meetings to obtain secret information on military and military-political issues. At meetings with defense ministers, plans were approved for cooperation and cooperation between the military intelligence of a particular country and the General Intelligence Agency.
One day, after a regular meeting of the chiefs of military intelligence, which took place in Sofia, Bulgarian Defense Minister General Djurov asked Army General Ivashutin to give a survey report on the situation in NATO forces for all his deputies. The report of the head of the GRU lasted more than an hour and a half. Peter Ivanovich spoke without any notes and notes. His knowledge of the armed forces of NATO countries and their capabilities made an indelible impression on all those present.

At the end of the meeting, General Djurov thanked the head of the Soviet military intelligence for the informative report and said :
– General Ivashutin’s knowledge on all issues of the state of the armed forces of the potential enemy and all types of special work is so significant and concrete that it causes the Bulgarian side to admire and be satisfied that the issues of interaction between intelligence departments of the Warsaw Pact countries are in experienced and reliable hands .
General Broz, Chief of the Intelligence Directorate of the German Democratic Republic, General Gregory, often met with the head of the GRU. According to General Gregory, after conversations with General Ivashutin, everything fell into place, the prospect was clearly defined, operational tasks were easier to solve, which had previously seemed impossible.
General Ivashutin maintained constant working contacts with the head of the intelligence department of the Hungarian army, General Sharkezi, and the head of military intelligence of the Polish Army, General Kishchak.
General Sharkezi considered General Ivashutin to be a man who did not stand still, but always looked ahead, far-sightedly warning his colleagues against unwarranted risks in recruiting work and in solving special tasks.
The head of the Hungarian military intelligence, General Syuch, who replaced his predecessor, General Sharkezi, in this post, said that he learned a lot from Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin in operational work. In 1984 Syuch came to Moscow several times, met with Ivashutin for consultations on one important operation. When it ended successfully, Syuch personally thanked General Ivashutin for fruitful consultations.
Army General Ivashutin successfully interacted with the chiefs of military intelligence of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact for about 15 years. They considered Peter Ivanovich a wise leader, an experienced military intelligence strategist, capable of making responsible decisions on the complex issues of the operational activities of special services …
In the early 80s of the last century, there was an improvement in relations between the USSR and North Korea. In the summer of 1985, in connection with the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from the Japanese invaders, Pyongyang was visited by a Soviet military delegation led by Marshal of the Soviet Union V.I. Petrov. At the end of November of the same year, at the invitation of the Korean side, a group of generals and officers of the GRU headed by General of the Army P. I went to Pyongyang. Ivashutin. In Pyongyang, the Soviet military delegation was received by the Chief of the General Staff, Army General O Gyk Rehl, a young and energetic man. Delegation led by Ivashetin was adopted by Kim Il Sung in his residence, located in the Diamond Mountains. In order to assist the DPRK, Ivashutin proposed to establish in one of the North Korean regions the Ramon radio intelligence complex of Czechoslovak production for reconnaissance of the facilities of the army and naval forces of South Korea. Korean intelligence officers gladly accepted the proposal of General Ivashutin. In the summer of 1986 in Moscow, the Chief of the General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union, S.F. Akhromeev and the Chief of the General Staff of the DPRK’s Armed Forces, General of the Army O Guy Rel, signed a corresponding agreement …
Army General PI Ivashutin maintained working contacts with military intelligence officers from Syria, Cuba and Vietnam. In general, cooperation and interaction with the intelligence chiefs of the armed forces friendly to the Soviet Union allowed the head of the GRU to keep abreast of important military and military-political events that occurred in all regions of the world, which greatly enhanced the security of the USSR.


Army General Peter Ivashutin built his house, raised decent children – the son of Yuri and daughter Irina, raised a tree. Together with his colleagues, he created a system of national military intelligence, which to this day by its efforts helps to strengthen the security of Russia.

At the very beginning of 1987, P.I. Ivashutin left the post of head of the GRU. On February 23 of the same year, he was appointed to the Group of General Inspectors of the USSR Ministry of Defense, which was called the ‘paradise group’. Peter Ivanovich almost blind. Ophthalmologist Fedorov scolded for an unsuccessful operation.
Pyotr Ivanovich was not in the ‘paradise’ for long. On May 12, 1992, he was dismissed for health reasons.
One way or another, Peter Ivanovich and his comrades-in-arms, generals and officers, who served in military intelligence for forty years or more, told about all this. One of the veterans of the GRU, we will call him Yegorych, said that General Ivashutin was such a leader of military intelligence, which there will be no more. High mark. But it is unlikely not to be. Russia is rich in talents .
What is the trace left in the memory of his comrades and friends Hero of the Soviet Union, Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin?
Colonel-General F.I. Ladygin, who was the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate in 1992-1997, believes that “… Hero of the Soviet Union, Army General P.I. Ivashutin created a unique military intelligence system, which has all the currently known methods, methods, forces and means of obtaining information needed to guarantee the security of the country. This system has repeatedly proved its high combat readiness and reliability … Domestic military intelligence turned out to be so viable that it could not only withstand all the attacks that hit our country as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, but also successfully solve tasks in the interests of the security of the Russian Federation and the Russian people in the critical 90s of the last century, and at the beginning of the new century with its new challenges and threats for Russia.

Colonel-General A.G. Pavlov, one of the deputy chief of the GRU, believed that ‘… objectively considering the work of military intelligence in the period when it was headed by Army General P.I. Ivashutin, you can rightly call this period in the history of military intelligence ‘the era of Ivashutin’ in the GRU … ‘
Retired Colonel-General G.A. Mikhailov, recalling the years of work in the Main Intelligence Directorate, said : ‘… Soviet ambassadors from different countries often visited the office of the head of the GRU. The major Soviet scientists and leading designers of rocket, nuclear and space technology were frequent visitors to the head of military intelligence … About the meeting with P.I. Ivashutin was even asked by General Wilson, head of the military intelligence of the United States Chief of Staff Committee, who was passing through Moscow. The meeting was held at the Foreign Affairs Department of the Ministry of Defense on Gogol Boulevard. After her, Wilson spoke very highly of his interlocutor … ‘

Military intelligence veteran lieutenant general, retired Yu.A. Babayants believes that ‘… for all his workload with a mass of problems and solvable problems PI. Ivashutin delved deeply into the work of managing agents, knew the pseudonyms of the most valuable agents and the scope of their employment … ‘

Lenin Prize winner, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Vice-Admiral V.F. Kostryukov recalled that ‘… Army General P.I. Ivashutin, setting the task of complex automation of military intelligence agencies, primarily focused on solving the problem of operative tracking of the military-political situation in the world and managing the forces and means of intelligence on a time scale close to real. This issue has been solved. I especially remember his parting words : ‘Take care of programmers. This is the golden fund of automation, and in no case allow a reduction in their numbers … ‘

Military intelligence veteran lieutenant general, retired IG Konovalenko, describing the nature of the head of the GRU Ivashutin, said:
‘… Army General P.I. Ivashutin was a modest man. When traveling to the army or to the teachings, Peter Ivanovich never worried about his deployment and did not demand anything extra for himself. Food, transportation, he was the same as all the generals and officers. Commander-in-Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, Army General V.A. Belikov once said to me with a smile :
– What is your boss? Do not eat, do not drink. On the ‘Seagull’ does not want to ride … ‘
This talk can be supplemented by our conversation at the summer cottage of General of the Army Ivashutin in the summer of 1999. It was about his dacha. And that’s what he told us :

– I had a state dacha. But in 1992, the officials set a condition: either buy out or move in … They demanded 200 thousand rubles. I had only nine thousand on the passbook. I had to sell the guns I bought and gave to me. Added to them the coat of his wife and daughter. I barely collected the necessary amount. Then he spent a lot of money on repairs …
WWII veteran military intelligence lieutenant-general, retired G.I. Dolin, recalling the general of the army, PI Ivashutin, said that his biography “… an indelible line included significant events even such as the unrest of the workers of the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Building Plant in 1962. Peter Ivanovich traveled to Novocherkassk as part of a government commission headed by Anastas Mikoyan. Ivashutin proposed other, more humane measures to influence the instigators and organisers of the riots. However, at the top, they gave preference to harsh violence against rebels … ‘
The events in Novocherkassk in 1962 really became a landmark in the life of Peter Ivashutin. Less than a year later, that is, in March 1963, he asked to be appointed to the vacant post of head of the Main Intelligence Directorate. The general understood that the main task of military intelligence is the timely opening of external threats to the security of the state and the people. Ivashutin did not want to take part in the pacification of the workers’ speeches, from which he emerged himself …
Lt. Gen. V.M. Rudenko drew attention to the fact that ‘… Pyotr Ivanovich led a modest life. On weekends I went fishing. It was his favorite form of recreation. His regular partners, Colonel V.S. Rodyushkin and Lieutenant-General K.A. Seskin. Almost every year, he spent his holidays in the sanatorium ‘Esheri’ (Abkhazia), where he also very often went fishing on a boat or boat. In the Black Sea the staridka was well caught. Peter Ivanovich always had a great success. He managed to catch hundreds of stavridok in a few hours … ‘

Veterans of military intelligence, who made up the ‘Ivashutin team’ and knew him well, noted his exceptional performance even at an old age. P.I. Ivashutin loved Russian literature and poetry, knew by heart many verses of A.S. Pushkin, Yu.M. Lermontov and other poets. He loved interesting books, met with writers Julian Semenov, Vadim Kozhevnikov, Vasily Ardamatsky, Yevgeny Vorobyov, authors of remarkable books about the activities of Soviet military intelligence officers during the Great Patriotic War. General PI Ivashutin was an excellent consultant for these writers. He also oversaw the preparation of an interesting two-volume book about military intelligence officers J. Berzin, R. Sorge, V. Zaimov, L. Manevich, I. Vinarov, I. Shtebe and others. Not without his participation introductory articles to the first and second volumes were written by Marshals of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky and I.Kh. Bagramyan. Thus, these illustrious commanders expressed their respect for military intelligence officers and, in general, Soviet military intelligence, which always reliably solved difficult tasks to strengthen the security of the country.
With journalists P.I. Ivashutin not met. He believed that intelligence does not need advertising. However, at the request of the Military History Magazine, he wrote an article entitled ‘Reporting accurately …’ on the activities of military intelligence the day before and during the war. In 1998, his article ‘Intelligence Integrated into Politics’ was published in the weekly ‘Independent Military Review’.
An important conclusion of those articles is the opinion of General of the Army PI. Ivashutina that the military readiness of military intelligence should always be one step higher than the combat readiness of those units that it provides with its intelligence data …
Reforming and strengthening the military intelligence system of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the country, Army General P.I. Ivashutin was guided by this very principle. And he was right. Intelligence is never much.
Member of the Great Patriotic War, State Prize Laureate, retired Lieutenant General P.S. Shmyrev on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the birth of P.I. Ivashutin told about the last years of General Ivashutin’s life:

On October 27, 1999, both of us were presented in the Kremlin with a state award – the Order of Merit for the Fatherland. Peter Ivanovich was awarded the Order of the III degree, and I – IV. Accompanied Peter Ivanovich, who lost his sight, his faithful assistant I.A. Popov. When Ivashutin was named, Igor Popov took Peter Ivanovich under the arm and led him to the President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin.
– Is that his son? – the lady who was sitting next to me asked.
– No, I answered, this is his adjutant.
‘Well done, my neighbour concluded with warmth in her voice …
In the winter of 2001, we spent on the last journey a faithful life partner of Peter Ivanovich – his spouse.
‘Bury me here too,’ he said to me on that sad day.
A year later, on July 4, 2002, he was gone. We did as he asked …


None of the chiefs of the GRU was able to serve as the head of the national military intelligence for about a quarter of a century. And none of them was destined to make such a significant contribution to the development of national military intelligence. Army General PI Ivashutin is still remembered in the GRU and respectfully called only by name and patronymic.
In accordance with the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated November 1, 1974, Army General Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin was awarded the Marshal’s distinction ‘Marshall Star’.
P.I. Ivashutin did not become a Marshal of the Soviet Union, but he became a Marshal of Soviet military intelligence. For labor and honor.
Pyotr Ivanovich conscientiously served in the Armed Forces of our country for more than fifty years. For courage and bravery shown in the fight against the Nazi invaders during the Great Patriotic War and successful activities to strengthen the Armed Forces of the USSR in the postwar period, Army General P.I. Ivashutin February 21, 1982 was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
On November 5, 1998, at a ceremonial meeting in the GRU, Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Marshal I.D. Sergeev presented PI Ivashutin badge ‘For service in military intelligence’ for number 001.
On September 4, 2009, a rally will be held in the Main Intelligence Directorate, during which a memorial plaque will be opened. It shows a bas-relief of P.I. Ivashutin and made a concise inscription; ‘In this building, worked from March 1963 to July 1987, Hero of the Soviet Union, Army General Peter Ivashutin.

The one who worked in the Main Intelligence Directorate in the years when military intelligence was headed by PI. Ivashutin, never forget this time.
Anyone who came to military intelligence at the beginning of the twenty-first century and did not have the opportunity to work under the leadership of Army General Ivashutin, stopping at this plaque, will undoubtedly be interested in the fate of this man, whose name is already written in golden letters not only in the history of Russian military intelligence, but and in the military history of Russia.
Aura of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Army General P.I. Ivashutin and his memory have amazing power. Studying his life, getting acquainted with some of the results of his many years of activity, meeting with his colleagues, I constantly remembered our meeting at his dacha in the summer of 1999, his dear spouse Maria Alekseevna, who treated us to a plain cake. She reminded me of my mother, a Don Cossack girl, who was also called Maria.
Being engaged in the collection of material and its comprehension, I repeatedly caught myself thinking that Peter Ivanovich Ivashutin continues to selflessly and selflessly serve our Fatherland.
The memory of General Ivashutin, on the one hand, inspires with a worthy example of serving the Fatherland, on the other, makes it critical to evaluate the results of our activities and think about whether we are doing everything correctly to strengthen the security of our Russia …


Not included :

Images : Army General P.I. IVASHUTIN; P.I. IVASHUTIN at the reception at Fidel CASTRO. Havana, 1977; Captain IVASHUTIN – Pilot of the 23rd Squadron of Heavy Bomber 455th Aviation MTR, 1935; USSR Minister of Defence A.A. GRECHKO (center) and P.I. IVASHUTIN at the exercises in the Northern Fleet, 1974; Major General IVASHUTIN on the South-Western Front, 1943; P.I. IVASHUTIN assigns the task to the head of the intelligence centre, Colonel SS Romanenko. Afghanistan, 1983; P.I. IVASHUTIN during his service in the KGB of the USSR; P.I. IVASHUTIN at reconnaissance aviation exercises in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, 1987.


Red Star. Soviet Military Intelligence

(No. I of XL)


Secret Intelligence Service




Adversitate. Custodi. Per Verum