The most famous Soviet spies

The most famous Soviet spies

Experts told “Izvestia” about the history of domestic intelligence, but also about how easy is it to combine espionage with personal life.

March 29, 1912, was born Elizaveta Mukasey, along with her husband Mikhail she served in intelligence for over 50 years.

The couple, who worked under the call sign “Elsa” and “Zephyr”, traveled to foreign countries, obtaining required intelligence information. In the late 1930s they were sent to Los Angeles, where Michael was waiting for the Vice-Consul. Mukasey quite quickly joined in the social life of the city, and soon to their techniques began to drop Theodore Dreiser, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin and other famous Hollywood characters.

After returning home experienced scouts were engaged in the training of young spies. On the anniversary of the birth of Elisabeth Mukasey “Izvestia” talked to the experts and remember the most successful spies working for the USSR.

“Cambridge five”

In 1929, Kim Philby, which in Britain is considered one of the greatest traitors in the history of the country, he enrolled in the prestigious Trinity College of Cambridge University. There he met the legendary Soviet scout-illegal immigrant Arnold Deutsch, who recruited him and brought in the so-called “Cambridge five” — one of the most powerful and influential of the reconnaissance during the Second world war.

After graduation, Philby joined the British intelligence service MI-6. It took him only four years to head up the Agency Department, dealing with Soviet and Communist activities. Thanks Kim, the Soviet authorities managed to catch dozens of British agents and informants. Philby was the head of a spy network in the UK for over 20 years. During this time he leaked thousands of classified documents and, according to some, gave the USSR all the details of the German operations at Kursk.

Exposing Philby occurred in the 1960-ies. However, he managed to flee to the USSR, where he received the order of Lenin and several other state awards.

Writer and intelligence historian Gennady Sokolov has noted in conversation with “Izvestia” that the purpose of the spyware can be not only the production of secret intelligence, but and hunt for dirt.

— The presence of compromising significantly changed jobs between binding political figures in the West: you can remove them, but it was possible to make agents of influence. For example, spy Yevgeny Belyakov seduced the wife of the Prime Minister of Norway Mrs. Gerhardsen, and the government actually worked for us in the 1950-ies. There was also dirt on the government of Harold Macmillan, when six of the leading British Ministers resigned — said the expert.

Nuclear secrets

Another famous pair of spies were American Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. For several years they were able to convey information about Soviet military developments, the United States, including a nuclear bomb. In 1950, the FBI denounced the Rosenbergs and took them into custody. The case of spouses was made public, and it further soured relations between the USSR and the USA.

The result of the trial pair was sentenced to death. The world community is called on to mitigate punishment, and to pardon the Rosenbergs asked the scientist albert Einstein, novelist Thomas Mann, and even Pope Pius XII. But the U.S. government decision is not changed, and in 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.

History remembers many occasions when spies were at once both husband and wife. They interfere with personal life in such a dangerous profession, “news” asked the Colonel of foreign intelligence, the candidate of historical Sciences and writer Mikhail Lyubimov.

— Personal life with a job to drive. Moreover, a good family helps in this case, therefore, the intelligence tried to prevent divorce. Everyone should be solid support. In some cases, agents took, and if they liked each other, we could get married. Sometimes everything happened spontaneously: then, for example, beloved of the agent was carried out through training, doing a radio operator. It is important to have a normal family and durable. Many a marriage was — said the expert.


Richard Sorge was born not far from Baku in 1895. Grew up a boy in Berlin, where the family Sorge moved a few years after his birth. When the First world he went to the front and fought on the German side.

After returning home, Sorge became interested in Marxism and joined the Communist party. In the mid 1920-ies he moved to USSR where he found a wife, got Soviet citizenship and took a job in the apparatus of the Comintern, and after joined the ranks of military intelligence. Some time later he was sent on a business trip, first to China and then to Japan. There he found the press attache of the German Embassy. According to some, in this post, Sorge not only mined and passed the USSR classified information, but warned the country about the impending German attack.

According to historian Gennady Sokolov, domestic intelligence can rightly be considered one of the best in the world.

We staked out this title since “the Big game”. Princess Christopher Lieven, agent of Alexander I, did something more than the notorious Mata Hari. She seduced the heads of the three leading countries: Austria, France and the UK. From the English king, she even gave birth to a child, — said the expert. The private life of spies is radically different from the usual. It’s a dirty job — stealing, cheating, work on the edge of morality and even on the other side in the name of security of your country. It destroys the family. Forget about that?

“Kleptomania from intelligence”

Yan Chernyak was born on the territory of Austria-Hungary in 1909, and educated in Prague and Berlin. Recruited one of the most successful Soviet spies in the 1930s, when he was in Germany, he joined the Communist party.

During the reign of Adolf Hitler Chernyak managed to expand in Germany, one of the largest spy networks known as the “Crown”. Of the 35 members of the group known to only a few names. Cherniak, in particular, recruited the favorite actress of Hitler Olga Chekhov and mistress of Joseph Goebbels — actress Marika rekk.

On account of the reconnaissance Chernyak many feats. They managed to obtain a copy of the plan “Barbarossa”, the German offensive at Kursk and information about the latest weapons in Germany. This list of achievements, “the Crown” ends. In 1945, Chernyak went to the US where he helped to extract information about the atomic bomb project.

According to Gennady Sokolov, winning the war and the atomic project, “the concrete results of the domestic investigation”.

— There is a term “kleptomania intelligence”, in other words — scientific and technical intelligence. Many of the weapons we got through it. Since radar that Cherniak and his band “Crown” gave us. We were not protected from the bombing, and radar, which worked around Moscow, we received from him, — said the historian.

Sometimes the hunt for the latest weapons turned into funny stories. The expert spoke about the case in 1856, when Colonel Alexei Ignatiev in broad daylight robbed the British Museum, where he presented the latest sample cartridge. Followed immediately gave chase, but he managed to escape from his pursuers at the Russian Embassy.


Life scouts is so rich and unusual, often their biographies are reflected on the screen. In particular it concerns a Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, who in 2015 Director Steven Spielberg dedicated the film.

Largely through the efforts of Abel in the USSR appeared the first atomic bomb. In the postwar period he worked in new York under the name of the artist Emile Robert Goldfus, secretly directing a spy network. And the work went smoothly, until he through sent radio operator Johannes Kauhanen. The latter did not differ exemplary behavior, led a dissolute life and one day went to the FBI office and gave Colonel Abel. Rudolph was taken into custody, and only a few years later he was exchanged for American pilot Francis powers, whose plane was shot down near Sverdlovsk.

Obtaining secrets of the atomic weapons, the largest success of the Soviet intelligence service, Mikhail Lyubimov.

— There was a huge number of people. Basically, spies-illegals, even the agents who worked in the “Manhattan project”, England was connected. But all the scouts, of course, was ours. Work on the “Manhattan project” was conducted in Los Alamos. Among our agents was a scientist Emil Fuchs. We managed to get samples of atomic weapons and with the help of our scientists to complete the project, — said the writer.