The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

By Christopher Andrew; Vasili Mitrokhin | Go to book overview

TWENTY - SIX
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY

The Soviet intelligence offensive against West Germany during the Cold War had three distinguishing characteristics. First, the division of Germany made the Federal Republic (FRG) easier to penetrate than any other major Western state. So many refugees fled to the West from the misnamed German Democratic Republic (GDR)-- about three million before the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961--that it was not difficult to hide hundreds, even thousands, of East German and Soviet agents among them. Among the bogus refugees were a series of illegals. Some were KGB officers of Soviet nationality who had spent several years establishing false German identities in the secure environment of the GDR, many of whom moved on to operate against north American and other targets.1 Others were East German illegal agents recruited and trained by the KGB, most of whom were deployed against targets in the Federal Republic.2

Secondly, the FRG was the only Western state on which Moscow received even more high-grade intelligence from an allied agency--the Stasi's foreign section, the Hauptverwaltung Aufklúrung (HVA)3'--than it did from the KGB. From 1952 to 1986 the HVA was headed by Markus Johannes "Mischa" Wolf, probably the ablest of the Soviet Bloc intelligence chiefs. Wolf was the son of a well-known German Communist doctor and writer who had been forced to flee to Moscow after Hitler's rise to power. He owed his appointment as head of East German foreign intelligence shortly before his thirtieth birthday to his devoted Stalinism and hence the confidence he inspired in the KGB (then the MGB), as well as to his own ability. In 1947 he told his friend Wolfgang Leonhard that East German Communists would have to give up the idea of the "separate German way to socialism" mentioned in their Party program. When Leonhard, who worked in the Party central secretariat, told him he was wrong, Wolf replied, "There are higher authorities than your central secretariat!" Shortly afterward, the "higher authorities" in Moscow did indeed put an end to talk about the "separate German way."4Wolf has never suffered from false modesty. "As even my bitter foes would acknowledge," he boasts in retirement, "[the HVA] was probably the most efficient and effective such service on the European continent."5

The third distinguishing characteristic of Soviet intelligence operations in West Germany was that, in addition to receiving HVA reports, the KGB's own penetration of the FRG was powerfully assisted by its East German allies. As well as establishing

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