Oleg Penkovsky

Oleg Penkovsky

Oleg Penkovsky was born in Russia in 1919. He joined the Kiev Artillery School and became a lieutenant in 1939. A member of the Communist Party, he took part in the invasion of Finland and by the end of the Second World War had reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

In 1955 Penkovsky was appointed military attaché in Ankara. Later he was appointed to the Coordination of Scientific Research where he became deputy head of the foreign department. In April 1961 he began passing important information to his British contact in Moscow, Greville Wynne.

Penkovsky revealed information about Soviet missile developments, nuclear plans, locations of military headquarters and the identities of KGB officers. This included evidence that Nikita Khrushchev had been making false claims about the number of nuclear missiles in the Soviet Union. Over a period of 14 months Penkovsky passed photographs of 5,000 secret papers to the CIA and MI6.

Penkovsky, described by one intelligence officer as the "best spy in history", was considered so important that a meeting was arranged between him and Sir Dick White, head of MI6.

The Soviet Union had two double agents, William Whalen and Jack Dunlap, working in Washington. Eventually information was passed to the KGB that Penkovsky was spying for the West. On 20th October, 1962, Russian intelligence officers raided Penkovsky's apartment and discovered a Minnox camera that had been used to photograph secret documents.

Penkovsky was immediately arrested and it was not long before he gave the name of Greville Wynne as his British contact. A few days later Wynne was arrested at a trade fair in Budapest, Hungary.

After being convicted Wynne was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and Penkovsky was sentenced to death. Oleg Penkovsky was executed on 16th May 1963.

Penkovsky was, at the time, the jewel in MI6's crown. He was a senior GRU officer who spied in place for MI6 and the CIA during 1961 and 1962, providing massive quantities of intelligence about Soviet military capabilities and intentions. It was hailed on both sides of the Atlantic as the most successful penetration of Soviet Intelligence since World War II. Penkovsky alerted the West to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, and his information about the Soviet nuclear arsenal shaped the American approach to the subsequent Cuban missile crisis. He also provided the evidence for the identification of the Russian missiles in Cuba. But in late 1962 Penkovsky and a British businessman, Greville Wynne, who was his cutout to MI6, were both arrested by the KGB, and put on trial. Wynne was given a long prison term (although he was eventually exchanged for Gordon Lonsdale and the Krogers) and Penkovsky, apparently, was shot.

Biography [ edit | edit source ]

Early life and military career [ edit | edit source ]

Penkovsky's father died fighting as an officer in the White Army in the Russian Civil War. Penkovsky graduated from the Kiev Artillery Academy in the rank of lieutenant in 1939. After taking part in the Winter War against Finland and in World War II, he had reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel. A GRU officer, Penkovsky was appointed military attaché in Ankara, Turkey in 1955. He later worked at the Soviet Committee for Scientific Research. Penkovsky was a personal friend of GRU head Ivan Serov and Soviet marshal Sergei Varentsov. ΐ]

Work for (or against) Western intelligence [ edit | edit source ]

There are two very different opinions about Oleg Penkovsky. While the majority of observers seem to feel that he was a genuine defector as described in The Penkovskiy Papers, Α] Peter Wright, a scientist with MI5 in Britain, was convinced that Penkovsky was a Soviet plant designed to lead the United States to the conclusion that the USSR's intercontinental missile capabilities were much less developed than they actually were. Β]

The defector account says Penkovsky approached American students on the Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow in July 1960 and gave them a package, which was delivered to the Central Intelligence Agency. CIA officers delayed in contacting him because they believed they were under constant surveillance. Γ] Penkovsky eventually persuaded the British spy Greville Wynne to arrange a meeting with two American and two British intelligence officers during a visit to London in 1961. Wynne became one of his couriers. In his autobiography, Wynne says that he was carefully developed by British intelligence over many years with the specific task of making contact with Penkovsky. Δ] The CIA regretted their earlier mistake, but were included by the British and they shared future information. For the following eighteen months, Penkovsky supplied a tremendous amount of information to his British Secret Intelligence Service handlers in Moscow, Ruari and Janet Chisholm, and to CIA and SIS contacts during his permitted trips abroad. Most significantly, he was responsible for arming President John F. Kennedy with the information that the Soviet nuclear arsenal was much smaller than previously thought, that the Soviet fueling systems were not fully operational, and that the Soviet guidance systems were not yet functional. [ citation needed ]

The view of Peter Wright is quite different. Wright was struck by the fact that, unlike Igor Gouzenko and other earlier defectors, Penkovsky did not reveal the names of any illegal Soviet agents in the West but confined himself to organizational detail, much of which was known already. Wright noted that some of the documents were originals which in his opinion would not have been so easily taken from their sources. Wright scathingly condemned the leadership of British intelligence throughout nearly the whole Cold War period. He reportedly believed that the Soviet agents (Philby, Maclean, Burgess and Blunt) could all have been identified more quickly using the scientific methods that he proposed. In Wright's view, British intelligence leaders became even more paralyzed when Philby and the others defected to the Soviet Union. British intelligence became so fearful of another fiasco that they avoided taking risks. Aware of this sensitivity, Wright says, the Soviets planted Penkovsky to buoy up the sagging fortunes of their ineffective—and therefore highly useful—counterparts in British intelligence. Wright wrote: "When I first wrote my Penkovsky analysis Maurice Oldfield (later Chief of MI6 in the 1970s), who played a key role in the Penkovsky case as Chief of Station in Washington, told me: 'You've got a long row to hoe with this one, Peter, there's a lot of K's [knighthoods] and Gongs [medals] riding high on the back of Penkovsky,' he said, referring to the honors heaped on those involved in the Penkovsky operation." Ε] Wright was more complimentary of the CIA and even of the FBI, who were initially suspicious (and remained suspicious) of Penkovsky. Greville Wynne seems convinced that Penkovsky was genuine and that Wynne's own sacrifices, including 18 months in the Lubyanka Prison, were worthwhile. [ citation needed ]

Former KGB major-general Oleg Kalugin Ζ] does not once mention Penkovsky in his comprehensive book. KGB defector Vladimir Sakharov, suggests Penkovsky was genuine, saying, "I knew about the ongoing KGB reorganization precipitated by Oleg Penkovsky's case and Yuri Nosenko's defection. The party was not satisfied with KGB performance . I knew many heads in the KGB had rolled again, as they had after Stalin." Η] While the weight of opinion seems to be Penkovsky was genuine, the debate underscores the difficulty faced by all intelligence agencies of separating fact from fiction.

Role in Cuban Missile Crisis [ edit | edit source ]

Soviet leadership started the deployment of nuclear missiles in the belief that Washington would not detect the Cuban missile sites until it was too late to do anything about them. Penkovsky provided plans and descriptions of the nuclear rocket launch sites on Cuba. Only this information allowed the West to identify the missile sites from the low-resolution pictures provided by U.S. U-2 spy planes. Former GRU Colonel and defector Viktor Suvorov writes, "And historians will remember with gratitude the name of the GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky. Thanks to his priceless information the Cuban crisis was not transformed into a last World War." ⎖]

Penkovsky's activities were revealed by Jack Dunlap, a double-agent working for the KGB. The KGB swiftly drew the conclusion that there was a mole in their ranks and set about uncovering him. Penkovsky was arrested on 22 October 1962—before Kennedy's address to the nation revealing that U-2 spyplane photographs had confirmed intelligence reports and that the Soviets were installing medium-range nuclear missiles on the Caribbean island—code named Operation Anadyr. Thus President Kennedy was deprived of a potentially important intelligence agent that might have lessened the tension during the ensuing 13-day stand-off intelligence such as the fact that Nikita Khrushchev was already looking for ways to defuse the situation. ⎗] Such information, arguably, would have reduced the pressure on Kennedy to launch an invasion of the island—an action which, it is now known, might have led to the use of Luna class tactical nuclear weapons against U.S. troops. [ citation needed ] The Soviet commander, General Issa A. Pliyev, commander in charge, had been given permission to use these weapons without consulting Moscow first. ⎘]

Penkovsky's fate [ edit | edit source ]

Penkovsky is said to have been convicted of treason and espionage in a trial in 1963. Some sources allege Penkovsky was executed by the traditional Soviet method of a bullet to the back of the neck, cremated and his ashes buried in the New Donskoy Cemetery in Moscow. Former MI5 officer Peter Wright believed Penkovsky was actually a double agent who, having completed his task of taking in the western intelligence services, was, after a show trial, awarded a suitable post out of sight in the Soviet Union. This, claims Wright, explains why Penkovsky never defected to the West when he had the chance.

GRU agent Vladimir Rezun, known for his controversial books under the pseudonym Viktor Suvorov following his defection from the Soviet Union to the United Kingdom, alleged in Aquarium to have been shown a black and white film in which a GRU colonel was bound to a stretcher and cremated alive in a furnace as a warning to potential traitors ⎙] and since Penkovsky is the only known executed GRU colonel, this description was attributed by many to his fate. ⎚] A similar description of the process was later included in Ernest Volkman's popular book ⎛] and Tom Clancy's novel Red Rabbit. Suvorov in interview later denied ⎜] that the man in the film was Penkovsky.

How Penkovsky Became A Double Agent

On April 23, 1919, Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky was born in Vladikavkaz, Russia. The future double agent’s father died that same year fighting against the communists in the Russian Revolution.

However, Penkovsky would grow up to join the Red Army in 1937. By that time, the army’s main concern was crushing Nazi Germany, and during World War II, Penkovsky fought as an artillery officer.

Bettmann/Getty Images Penkovsky’s debriefing sessions with MI6 and the CIA totaled up to 140 hours. Over the course of his espionage, he delivered rolls of film, classified documents, and over 5,000 photos.

After being wounded in battle in 1944, Penkovsky left the army and joined the renowned Frunze Military Academy. He graduated from the strenuous academy in 1948 and promptly joined the GRU.

In simple terms, the GRU was Soviet army intelligence. It looked outward for any external threats, and employed people capable of subterfuge and turning potential pawns into assets. Compared to the KGB, which focused squarely on crushing internal dissent, the GRU had more of a geopolitical impact.

This jump from the army to the GRU set the course for the rest of Penkovsky’s life. After attending the Military Diplomatic Academy from 1949 to 1953, he officially became an intelligence officer and worked in Moscow.

A GRU colonel by 1960, he served as deputy chief of the foreign section of the State Committee for the Coordination of Scientific Research for the next two years. In this role, he amassed and assessed technical and scientific intel on the West — while growing increasingly disillusioned with his own country.

That year, Oleg Penkovsky passed a message to the CIA via a pair of American tourists that read, in part, “I ask you to consider me as your soldier. Henceforth, the ranks of your armed forces are increased by one man.”

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images British spy Greville Wynne was Penkovsky’s contact and intermediate to MI6. He was arrested for espionage in Budapest on Nov. 16, 1962.

The British intelligence agency MI6 (then known as SIS) had already been hard at work to infiltrate the Soviet Union’s State Committee for Science and Technology, however. More than a year before the crisis, they had recruited a civilian, British businessman Greville Wynne, to do so.

Wynne had founded an export business of industrial engineering products years earlier, and the international travel involved provided excellent cover for espionage. During one of Wynne’s trips to London in April 1961, Penkovsky handed him a hefty package of documents and film he passed along to MI6.

MI6 was in disbelief — as were the Americans they gave it to. After Penkovsky urged Wynne to arrange a meeting with the entities in question, he officially became a Western spy with the codename “Hero.”

Traitor to the Motherland

Colonel Oleg Penkovsky of the KGB stood trial in 1962 for passing secret information to Western Intelligence. In what was a classic example of a ‘show trial’ for the benefit of the Soviet people he was abused, humiliated and finally sentenced to death with a verdict that barely went noticed in the West. For at the same time as the Penkovsky trial his English associate Greville Wynne who passed Penkovsky’s secrets to the British was also being tried and eventually sentenced to three years imprisonment followed by five years hard labour. This was of far greater interest to those in the West despite Penkovsky’s hand in the Cuban missile crisis in which he provided details of nuclear launch pads on Cuba and information on the state of Sino-Soviet relations at that time.

There are two very distinct sides to this story. On the Western side Penkovsky was a hugely important asset who, because of his perceived hatred for the Soviet Union risked and sacrificed his life for trying to bring it down. A quite plausible alternative view and one which Peter Wright of ‘Spy Catcher’ fame concurred was that Penkovsky was a double agent. A man who had previously been given multiple chances to defect but refused by later claiming that “as a soldier my place was on the front line”.

The courtroom trials could be seen in the context of history to be more dramatic and therefore memorable than the espionage itself. Both men were given prepared scripts to work from and it is clear that Wynne was undoubtedly threatened to tow the party line or face severe consequences. On the odd occasion in which Wynne managed to deviate from the prepared answers the records were altered to suit the prosecutors.

There is a wonderful section from Front of the Secret War by Tsibov and Chistyakov which shows the espionage equipment and documents reported to have been found in Penkovsky’s flat (see below), The trial recorded “During the search of Penkovsky’s flat, in addition to the already mentioned records with the telephone numbers of the foreign intelligence officers, six message postcards with instructions for them, the report and the exposed rolls of film, the following articles were discovered in a secret hiding-place installed in his desk, and were attached to the file as tangible evidence a forged passport, six cipher pads, three Minox cameras and a description of them…”

During the trial Penkovsky revealed much about his contacts but claimed never to have done the same about his Russian colleagues. He told of hiding places, lamp-posts for leaving chalk marks on and codes for answering telephone calls. The court, aided by Penkovsky’s admission painted him as a heavy drinker and party-goer but as the trial stood they struggled to pin a creditable reason for his betrayal. There was no doubt why a British businessman like Wynne would have helped the intelligence services but less clear about Penkovsky and they could not make their own version stick.

Throughout the trial the prosecution faced the dilemma of wanting to emphasise the seriousness of the crime without having to explain how much Penkovsky had told the West. In the end it was left to the Chief Prosecutor to release a statement saying that Penkovsky only passed on technical information and that his position was far removed from information connected to troop movement and new types of weapons. What is not in doubt is that he did pass on information to his handlers about KGB agents but virtually all where already known to the services, a point which Wright was keen to emphasise. To add further embarrassment his drinking exploits revealed his friendship and drinking bouts with General Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov, head of the Soviet military intelligence agency (GRU).

At the end of the trial we are told that he was executed on May 16th but Wynne would have his own doubts. He believed they kept him alive and continued to interrogate him after the trial ‘proper’ as they had done with Wynne himself. As for Wynne, he would eventually be swapped for Gordon Lonsdale, one of the KGB’s greatest assets. In ‘KGB-The Inside Story’ by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky there is little doubt that Penkovsky was a traitor. Gordievsky maintains he was shot and following his arrest General Sherov was dismissed as head of the GRU which in turn led to Sherov killing himself in a Moscow back street. What the trial tells us is that as with many other such episodes during the Cold War there was always another version of events to consider. Was Penkovsky brutally tortured and then shot? Did the Russians plant the information about the Cuban missiles? We shall probably never really know.

Beachcombing has never quite known what to make of Oleg Penkovsky, the most important double agent run by MI6, indeed by any power in the Cold War. Was he self-seeking? A traitor? A hero? These are puerile questions: he was probably all three. But now for a curiosity that is more amenable to interpretation. Beachcombing has recently learnt that this extraordinary man, who passed the most desperately important information to the West in the run up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, brought the world to the brink of nuclear destruction – Peter Hennessy Secret State, pp. 42-43.

Beachcombing should here remind any younger readers – those lucky ones who did not grow up dreaming of mushroom clouds – that this was a time when the West was worried that the Soviet Union would carry out a surprise nuclear attack: and helpfully the Soviet Union was convinced that the West was considering a similar tactic. In this hideous climate Penkovsky and his MI6 handler had arranged a signal should a Soviet attack ever be on the cards: Penkovsky would telephone, breathe three times and then ring a minute later to breathe three times again.

Beachcombing’s first reaction on reading this was that a pervert with access to a Moscow telephone could have inadvertently set off the Third World War. But then Beachcombing thought of that poor handler, Gervase Cowell (obit May 2 2000) and how his blood would have run cold if such a phonecall had ever come.

November 2 1962 the British handler picked up his phone and received the terrible warning. If he had followed protocol then presumably the ambassador would have been informed – Cowell was run out of the British Embassy in Moscow – and an urgent message would have been sent back to London with who knows what consequences. As Hennessy points out British Vulcan bombers were still on alert following on from the confrontation over Cuba.

But Cowell did not follow protocol. Hennessy established in a conversation with the MI6 agent (‘[s]hortly before he died’) that Cowell had already decided (correctly) that Penkovsky was compromised and that he had been arrested. The phonecall then could not be relied upon.

Hennessy reflects on Cowell’s good sense. But Beachcombing cannot help thinking of another question and would be grateful if a reader could enlighten him: drbeachcombing[AT]yahoo[DOT]com Why would the Soviets risk sending such an extraordinarily dangerous message to the West at such an insanely dangerous moment?

Here was a pivot in history. If Cowell had acted differently and the Brits back home had made the wrong calls then the village of Little Snoring and all that Beachcombing holds dear would have evaporated in radioactive dust.

We cannot resist ending this piece with reference to Penkovsky’s death. He was, of course, executed after being filmed Soviet-style confessing all. But how did he die? Beachcombing would like to think with a gunshot wound: quick and clean – a warrior’s death. However, Viktor Suvorov, an admittedly controversial figure, alleges (Inside the Acquarium) that the double agent was filmed being burnt alive in a crematorium. Penkovsky’s interrogator (Alexander Zagvozdin) denies this, though he did so while looking at the camera with worryingly dead eyes: ‘I know for sure that Penkovsky was shot. I can’t tell you anything else. I know his body was cremated. I don’t know any more and I’m not interested.’

Out the film about Oleg Penkovsky – a Colonel accused of spying

moreover it starred our artists. Thus, the role of Oleg Penkovsky played the Soviet and Georgian actor Merab Ninidze, who is actively removed, and at us, and abroad. Among his works are the films “Repentance”, “Spy bridge”, “Love with accent”, “Under electric clouds”, the TV series “Mcmafia”, “inspector Rex”, “Germany 83” and other projects. Striking similarities Merab Ninidze with real Oleg Penkovsky – the documentary footage shown at the end of the picture, but there is hero thin and emaciated. The second main character in the film is a British entrepreneur and coherent Greville Wynne, and thanks to the actor playing him – and it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, he comes to the fore. In the abstract painting says it tells “the true story of a British businessman, who helped the CIA to infiltrate the Soviet nuclear program during the cold war. Winn and his Russian source, Oleg Penkovsky (code name Ironbark), provided crucial intelligence that put an end to the Cuban missile crisis.” In fact, the history of relations between wine and Penkovsky told so (screenwriter Tom O’connor) that the alleged winn anything other than a business not engaged, and when members of the CIA and “MI6” met with him and offered to be a liaison in Moscow, he resisted, for a while. However, intelligence officials of the two countries were able to persuade him.

“an officer and a spy”: one of the most notorious trials in history

Wynn picture – family-oriented, he’s got a faithful wife (in this role, Jesse Buckley, who, incidentally, starred in such series as “Chernobyl” and “War and peace” – that is also thematically linked with Russia) and son. And now Wynn is coming to the Soviet Union as the businessman to establish trade relations. In our country it’s Khrushchev, which is quite original plays actthe EP Vladimir Chuprikov. His Khrushchev unpleasant in the extreme. The Soviet Union also is not sympathy. The Director shows people like spy of them each. All careful appraising look, be it administrator in a hotel or a passerby. There is a funny detail – Wynn staying at the hotel “Vitaly” – it is hard to imagine that such was actually the case. The fact that the USSR did not give to descent to traitors, are shown in a rather strange episode – show shot spy Pyotr Popov, and so to teach it to others.

Next the film begins to dominate the family line. Oleg Penkovsky married (wife played by Maria Mironova, actress and here’s a brunette), he has a daughter. Winn Penkovsky begin to make friends families. The heroine Mironova, for example, can not accept wine gift dolls for girls, they say, we are not supposed to.

a Lot of attention in the film is given how Oleg Penkovsky was working with the documents, taking photos in different ways and passed them to the British. Fear-mongering, they say, Khrushchev is an unpredictable head of state, he can expect anything.

Director cook has collected all the possible stereotypes about the Soviet Union

Kirill Pirogov plays in the film KGB representative of the future of the Soviet counterintelligence chief Oleg Gribanov – the man who will open the wine and Penkovsky (incidentally, the film shows and dick Franks (played by Angus Wright) who will later head of Mi 6). The remarkable fact that when Wynne realizes that to go to the Soviet Union is unsafe, he still rides, not to substitute his friend, whom he considers a Soviet Colonel.

Polanski Film “an officer and a spy” showed how the crowd ready to devour any

The worst scene starts after the arrest. This inthe impression that the whole tape is only a prelude to them. As bullied by the KGB over Pen – not shown, but the viewer lives the hardest scenes with the hero of Cumberbatch. Wynn does not have, he is beaten, humiliated, in his cell, the old smelly bucket in the corner and a bare mattress – not even clothes, and when the prisoner tries to Express dissatisfaction with the take even the mattress. Cumberbatch lost a lot of weight for this role (about how Joaquin Phoenix for the Joker), cropped cropped, in a sense, made the actor feat, and he already tipped high movie awards at the end of the year for this role. Although he is in this film not only an artist, but also one of the Executive producers. His hero winn, despite the beatings and torture, all survived and didn’t crack. This is the episode when closer to the time of the end of his imprisonment, he arrange a confrontation with Penkovsky, from which it follows that a Soviet Colonel still cracked and told him everything, and the Brit – no, and he withstood all the tests. Act Penkovsky partially justifies the fact that shortly before his arrest, the wife, who is unaware of the double life of a husband, tells him that for the second time.

the film starred Russian actors Andrey Kurganov, Karina Salieva, Denis horoshko, Alexander Kotyakov and others. It is very good music composer Abel Kozenevski. For this kind of music need different movie. Most likely, in Russia the tape will not come, and is unlikely to get us a rental license. Although… it can be. However, it is possible that the film will be included in the programme of other international festivals and will surely be released in other countries. And the first would be Britain. By the end of Sundance, it became known that the painting was bought by an American distributor, which means she will be released in the United States.

Eccentrically Dolgopolov: And now – how was actually

did Not read, not watched, but are angrily protesting. Believe me, it is a widespread – not on my article. The story of Colonel Penkovsky well studied. His betrayal, which is of great damage to the country, has been amply demonstrated. For a long time and was given a disturbing echo leaked from border to border of our vast. Kara, they incurred well deserved. In older Russian times, he would be drawn and quartered.

In recent times, there are many new interpreters of history. In principle the reason is clear. The reader wants something unusual, a new interpretation will attract more attention, to sell more, gain a lot of likes. Sometimes it is possible to accept: well, maybe, who knows, maybe, probably.. could be like that. But not in the case of bastard Oleg Penkovsky.

And again, in the light of God, for our happiness, there is a new generation. Young looking for technically more advanced and computer, not constrained by dogma and full of freedom. But sometimes lack of knowledge. Neither the fact that fundamental… And that’s okay. It will be years, accumulate experience, will be able not only to catch up, but also to analyze to what still do not reach neither the head nor the hands.

to at least To some extent, to alleviate, to expedite understanding, which will still come, will tell you briefly about the two main characters of the film – the Penkovsky with Wine.

Oleg Penkovsky somehow think the first traitor, released from the bowels of the intelligence. This is not so. He is not the first, and most famous. Over the decades, until 1961, when he was recruited in London, the first betrayal was committed by a security officer Sokolov. The white officer who voluntarily joined the Reds, honestly worked in intelligence. But a man of deep faith, could not bear the persecution of the Church, the death of his brother, the priest, and fled shortly before the 1920s. at First, as it was found in close to Finland, and then, fearing retaliation, in North America. Whether he deserves justification? In my, maybe too hard don’t think so. And understanding?

Nikolai Dolgopolov: well As Snowden?

Penkovsky different story. Soldier with a well earned military orders. Friend, perhaps not entirely unselfish, some high military commanders, among whom was chief Marshal of artillery Sergey Varentsov. He Penkovsky had served in the war to the commoners. Already 30 years in the future, the mole wore a Colonel’s epaulettes. It is believed that subsequently Varentsov and helped his faithful man to make a good career and quickly advance in the Main intelligence Directorate. He was available as a very “sensitive” information on the Soviet nuclear potential.

furthermore, Penkovsky served courtesy of relatives of the head of the KGB, the future chief of the GRU, Ivan Serov, during their brief trip abroad, he managed to ingratiate himself to him. Imagine how valuable sources could be from Penkovsky. Varentsov, Serov, and dozens of others, involuntarily close to the traitor, after his arrest were deprived of their positions and ranks. And the Marshal Varentsov and the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Severely.

was Penkovsky and during the war drevotochiny. Envious and greedy, he hated people successful and more service capable. Created minor mischief, created for colleagues unpleasant situation by using a high protection. It was tolerated in Moscow, but abroad, where everything both good and rotten qualities come out more clearly than at home, he did not last long. “Vengeful, spiteful man unprecedented ambitious, capable of any meanness” – such lines in the generally restrained characteristics on employees of security agencies still had “earned”. So thankful for him in Turkey, where quickly withdrawn. After the arrest of the traitor were rumors, though even then he tried to sell some secrets to the British. I also have to close other version: caught the hand on the Istanbul market, where the security officer was trying spekulnut yuvelirkoy.

to Drive this would what I just and bLisko related to the security of the country but high-ranking officials spared, determined by the position in the strategically important centre, where the Colonel was, as it is called in the security services, “podrasnica”.

the court: Oleg Penkovsky. Photo: GettyImages

And then he went for broke. Through the delegation of innocent American students tried to deliver a letter to the CIA about the desire to do good. Did not work, and after two years in Moscow itself came on the staff of Western embassies. They decided not to risk it, waited for the departure of the “initsiativniki” (so-called traitor-volunteer) abroad. And in April 1961 took place in London, what is called formal recruitment.

What the game of the KGB with the British and the Americans. Penkovsky was feeding the CIA and SIS valuable information about the location of Soviet missiles, and that was extremely important for the “main opponents”, their number. Thanks to “the mole” revealed secret info: the Soviets have far fewer rockets than expected, Russians are bluffing, exaggerating every number.

the Cuban missile crisis here at anything. Tragically otherwise: Penkovsky was betrayed state secrets. For this he was treated kindly during the next visit abroad is not only richly rewarded (which is unusual for stingy at that time in reckoning with the traitors foreign intelligence services), but priode photographed in a Colonel’s uniform – British, then American. With regard to the moral qualities of the Hero (one of the operational alias of the traitor), at its request, the gracious hosts entertained the honored guest, inviting him in the room of the representatives of one of the oldest profession. This is hardly indicative of conjugal fidelity.

Director Andrei Smirnov told about where to start Regenerates and exchange

There are many versions of the capture pen. Supposedly, sasupensu his “outdoor advertising” attracted to the sound of water from an open faucet in discussions of the mole with the English courier, Wine. Are to follow, made a secret search of the house found a bunch of spy stuff-dryuchek. I saw two caches in which the spy provided the information. One in heating the house, which at that time belonged to the newspaper “Trud”, near the Bolshoi theatre. The second near our refuge on Vagankovo. At twenty paces from the family crypt, near the grave of Sergei Yesenin pen was equipped with a clever hiding place. What is there for him Yesenin.

Another version of the revelations was in detail told to me by a former assistant to the Chairman of the KGB Yuri Andropov’s foreign intelligence. Colonel Dedyulya swore that Penkovsky was uncovered by Austrian, apparently the employee of the special services, which is almost exactly called Ivan Prohorovich two names: Penkovsky and Wynne. The British ordered in Austria a huge box with a double bottom. In case of danger winn was ready to take out it from the USSR Penkovsky.

both were Arrested in October 1962. No beatings, interrogation and other horrors. The merchant and the unlucky spy winn confessed all at once, fully exposing Penkovsky. And he instantly took up the pen. Describe all the officers of foreign intelligence services, who worked with him. Led the way they work. Promised to serve the Soviet Union and asked to use it in double game. But double agent “mole”, of course, did not take. So very much damage to the country that was his Homeland. Especially was struck Bedulu reports Penkovsky, in which he told Americans how better to destroy Moscow with one nuclear strike. Then on this tactics was thinking of the CIA a: immediately wipe off the earth all the Soviet leadership, and the remaining in other cities, the population greeted the arrival of the armies of the victorious spread. That’s really nuts to you!

On court: Greville Wynne. Photo: GettyImages

the Greville Wynn, who actively cooperated with the military investigation, he measured an unprecedented low life. He really helped in revealing many employees of the CIA and SIS worked not only in the Embassy in Moscow but also in other countries. Three years in prison and five years of settlement he was dosed in open court, 1963. And in may 1964 was exchanged for a Soviet illegal Colonel Young, who was sentenced by the court of Her Majesty the Queen to 25 years in prison.

neither fawned nor twisted pen, which would be incredible options for dealing with foreign agents is not offered, he got his legally owed – shot. To issue money-grubber and a traitor for ideological enemy, a fighter for democracy, is not only foolish, but rude.

In the film, which will return at the end of this story, played by great English actors, among them a stunning “Sherlock Holmes” Benedict Cumberbatch. Sorry that I starred in bullshit. On Russian it is difficult to speak. Actors can play anyone anywhere. Would pass the trial and it would wish. To transform from disgusting villains in a purely positive – personal, purely creative. But “clean” Penkovsky and the company… to Applaud not drawn.


It is 50 years today since Soviet military intelligence officer Oleg Penkovsky was executed for spying for the Americans.

Penkovsky, whose father died fighting for the anti-communist Whites during the Russian Civil War, lived up to his western handlers’ HERO codename by tipping the Soviets’ operational plans for missile deployment in Cuba — helping precipitate the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This speech inaugurated some of the darkest days of the Cold War … but they were probably even worse for Oleg Penkovsky, who was arrested just hours before Kennedy delivered it. He might have been shopped by a U.S. intelligence mole working for Moscow.

Penkovsky and his British contact, businessman Greville Wynne, faced a public show trial in May 1963 — resulting in the spy’s prompt execution. (Wynne got a prison sentence, and was later exchanged back to the West for Portland Spy Ring principal Gordon Lonsdale.)

The late spy’s journal was published in 1965 as The Penkovsky Papers. A variety of documents from Penkovsky’s CIA case file are available on the spy agency’s own site.

As befits the shadow world of espionage, Penkovsky’s activities and motivations are still disputed to this day. While some consider him among the most valuable/damaging spies in the Cold War, former MI5 officer Peter Wright claimed that Penkovsky was a loyal Moscow agent all along actually trafficking disinformation — and that he was not executed at all but cashiered to a comfortable secret retirement after his show trial “condemnation.”

The Penkovsky Era

Bad news, like every secret communication from Moscow, arrived at CIA Headquarters encrypted. The news that arrived mid-morning on November 2, 1962—as the Cuban Missile Crisis was winding down—was particularly bad. Colonel Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, a career Soviet military intelligence officer and the Agency’s most spectacularly successful spy, was, in all likelihood, lost. Penkovsky had held a senior position in the Glavnoye Razedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU), the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet General Staff while secretly reporting to U.S. and British intelligence. In the colorful parlance of espionage, he had almost certainly been “rolled up.”

At the new Agency compound at Langley, Virginia, the paint was barely dry on the walls when the Communications Center on the ground floor—Headquarters’ sole secure link to Moscow personnel—received the super-enciphered message. It arrived as an “IMMEDIATE” cable, a long, narrow strip of paper snaking out of a bulky machine, much like a price quote from an old-fashioned stock ticker. The encoded message was contained in an intricate pattern of perforations that ran along the paper’s length. When the transmission was complete, the paper was torn off by the communicator, and then run through a printer that produced a neat array of seemingly random numbers and letters on a sheet of standard letter-sized paper. A second level of decryption was needed to render the message into plain text. This phase of decryption guarded against the potential for security failures along the transmission path, whether over the air or via land lines. Like placing a strong, small safe inside a larger safe, this last layer of decryption could be performed only by one of a handful of authorized officers from the Soviet Russia Division (SR) of the CIA’s Directorate of Plans.

Although the DDP sounded like the dullest of bureaucracies, its name veiled the most secretive directorate in the Agency. Hidden beneath the vague acronym resided the responsibility for the CIA’s “cloak and dagger” work. Within the DDP, SR was particularly shrouded with “cloak.”

If asked about their job by neighbors or friends, SR personnel would repeat a carefully rehearsed cover story of working for one or another government department, but never the CIA. It was not unusual for DDP operations officers to remain undercover even after retirement, and maintain their cover stories until their deaths. Even the top-secret clearance, required for employment at the Agency, did not authorize someone to know rudimentary details regarding SR or its personnel. If an Agency colleague asked about an SR staffer’s job, they would receive only generalized replies and most knew better than to probe for details. Secrecy within the Agency was both enforced by official policy and expected as part of professional etiquette.

Virtually no one, with the exception of SR personnel, was allowed into SR spaces. A no-nonsense secretary immediately confronted any visitor who opened the unmarked, always closed, hallway doors that led into the division’s suite and friends of SR officers from other parts of the agency did not drop in to plan weekend activities or for office gossip. When SR officers left the area, even for a short time, security procedures mandated that desks be cleared and all work secured in one of the division’s high-security 500-pound black steel safes.

SR Division applied strict need-to-know compartmentation through BIGOT lists that restricted access to what many would consider routine information coming out of the Soviet Union. Within the division information was distributed like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Only a very few ever saw an entire operational picture. Those outside of SR could only assume that a puzzle existed. Within CIA’s instinctively tight-lipped security environment, SR’s added multilayered security cloak created a mystique that some viewed as arrogant and unnecessarily obsessive.

The term “BIGOT list” existed—and still exists—as a holdover from World War II when the most prized stamp on the orders of personnel traveling from England to Africa was “TOGIB,” meaning “to Gibraltar.” To reach Africa, the majority of personnel made the dangerous journey by ship through seas controlled by German U-boats. However, for a select few, there were the highly prized seats on a flight to Gibraltar. For these lucky individuals, the stamp on their orders was reversed to read BIGOT and the term thus acquired its special meaning in intelligence circles, carrying with it the inference of not only rarity, but also safe passage and a valued mission.

There were other levels of compartmentation as well. A top-secret clearance did not provide automatic access to specific operations or programs. TS, a security clearance level required for all CIA staff employees, only made one eligible for potential access to a compartmented program. The BIGOT access was granted based on responsibilities and an individual’s demonstrated need to know about the operation.

SR’s security policies extended to written communications within Headquarters. SR did not rely on the CIA’s usual interoffice mail couriers nor were its officers permitted to use the 1960-era state-of-the-art pneumatic tube system that carried classified documents to every corner of the 1.4 million-square-foot building. Everything regarding Soviet operations was hand-carried from office to office by either an SR operations officer or one of a dedicated cadre of women known as Intelligence Assistants.

It was standard operating procedure for the communicator to place the encrypted message in a heavy manila security envelope, securely seal it, and call SR to advise that a cable had been received from Moscow. On the morning of November 2, the young SR officer who walked to the communications vault, accepted the sealed envelope, and, without opening it, retraced his three-minute route to SR’s small warren of offices, could not have known that he now had a role in one of history’s most significant espionage events.

At his desk, the officer opened the envelope, removed the single sheet of paper, and, with painstaking care, began deciphering the message by hand. He used a one-time pad, or OTP, whose printed columns of numbers and letters exactly matched those used by the person who had composed the brief message. After the message was deciphered, the page of the one-time pad used was destroyed. The Soviet Union paid a heavy price during World War II when they reused one-time-pad pages for communicating with agents in different parts of the world. This seemingly innocuous error provided an advantage to U.S. code breakers who were able to unravel many Soviet ciphered communications that had been intercepted from Washington, D.C. and New York City. This secret would become known as VENONA and remains one of the notable achievements of the Army Security Agency and later the National Security Agency.

The cable did not mention Penkovsky by name. Rather, it reported that Richard Jacob, a CIA officer in Moscow, was apprehended while clearing a dead drop. After a nerve-shattering but relatively brief interrogation, the message continued, Jacob was released to the custody of the U.S. ambassador and returned to the safety of the U.S. embassy. Because he was a diplomat, Jacob could not be formally charged with a crime. Instead, he was “PNG’ed,” declared persona non grata by Soviet authorities and ordered out of the country.

Penkovsky’s arrest by the KGB was not confirmed during those first few hours, but it did not seem realistic to hold out much hope for the agent. As in the immediate aftermath of any roll-up, there were more questions than facts, but for those few who knew about the case, it required no imagination to conclude that Penkovsky either was dead or would be very soon.

The officer delivered the decrypted cable up the chain of command to the SR Division Chief. The Chief took the bad news to the Deputy Director for Plans who in turn briefed John McCone, the Director of Central Intelligence. Within twenty-four hours, McCone would personally inform President Kennedy. That so few understood the enormous impact Penkovsky’s arrest would have on America’s national security was partially due to the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the nearly eighteen-month operation and the care given to the handling of the remarkable intelligence he single-handedly supplied.

Intelligence reports based on Penkovsky’s information had been structured to suggest that the intelligence originated from multiple sources. To reinforce this illusion, the Penkovsky product circulated under two code names, IRONBARK for that material that was scientific or quantifiable and CHICKADEE for material that included his personal observations. For anyone outside the small group who knew the truth, the vast quantity of intelligence flowing from the Soviet Union looked like the work of an extensive spy network, coupled with mysterious and advanced technical collection, rather than the efforts of a single spy.

A small team of CIA and British intelligence officers ran Penkovsky. He was alternately known as HERO to his American handlers and YOGA to the British. Jacob had been chosen to service the dead drop because he had recently arrived in Moscow and had a strong cover in a traditionally non-alerting, low-level administrative position. As such, he was less likely to be identified as a CIA officer and draw KGB surveillance.

According to later accounts, Jacob entered the dingy hallway of an apartment house at 5/6 Pushkinskaya and removed an ordinary matchbox wrapped in a short length of wire that formed a hook to secure it behind a radiator. As Jacob was placing the matchbox in his pocket, the KGB team jumped him from their hiding places in the vestibule. During the ensuing scuffle, he managed to drop the matchbox to the floor through a slit in the lining of his raincoat pocket, ridding himself of incriminating evidence and avoiding the nasty legal and diplomatic problems arising from having Soviet state secrets on his person. The technicality did not matter to the KGB team, since it was obvious why the American was in the building. Once subdued, Jacob was hustled into a waiting car and whisked off to a nearby militia station.

The final act of the Penkovsky drama had begun that morning with two voiceless phone calls—silent calls—to a phone answered by a U.S. official. The silent call was a signal activating the communication plan issued to Penkovsky by his handlers when they had met outside the Soviet Union. Arguably the most critical piece of any operation, the commo plan provided agents, such as Penkovsky, with precise contact instructions and schedules to establish secure communication under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.

Because the CIA assumed that the KGB monitored all telephone calls to and from the U.S. officials, the silent call represented a clever piece of tradecraft that allowed a message to be sent, even if the call was monitored. Penkovsky had been instructed to go to a remote public telephone and call a specific number. When the phone was answered, he said nothing, but waited ten seconds before hanging up. The call to the specific number and the length of silence before hanging up were the message that directed intelligence officers to a telephone pole marked with a symbol written in chalk, an X. The simple chalk mark announced that the dead drop site at the Pushkinskaya apartment house had been loaded.

These standard pieces of tradecraft—the silent call, followed by a signal site marked with an X and dead drop—were part of a commo plan, code-named DISTANT, designed specifically for Penkovsky to provide an early warning of imminent Soviet attack on the West. The small matchbox that Jacob found tethered by wire behind the radiator might have contained information signaling the start of World War III.

With the silent call, Penkovsky, who had not been heard from or seen since early September, had apparently, reemerged. It was possible that nothing serious was wrong. If it was a trap—a provocation on the part of the KGB—then it was worth the chance. “We had been worried about him, it had been quiet for quite a while,” said the case officer who decrypted the message and whose memories are still vivid after more than four decades. “But in the past he had come up again. To my knowledge we had no warning, nothing to indicate they’d caught him.”

Now, with Jacob’s arrest, whatever glimmers of hope that might have existed with Penkovsky’s reemergence, seemed far-fetched. It was possible that a bystander had seen Penkovsky suspiciously fiddling behind the radiator as he loaded the dead drop and called authorities who then laid in wait. It was also possible that the KGB had not been fooled by Jacob’s cover and defeated his countersurveillance maneuvers en route to the dead drop site. Any number of other scenarios about Penkovsky’s fate was possible, but only a single distressing conclusion was probable.

Penkovsky’s handlers had grown increasingly troubled by recent events surrounding the operation. Penkovsky had vanished from operational sight for several weeks prior to the silent call and his GRU superiors abruptly canceled his scheduled trip to Seattle in the autumn of 1962. Additionally, the sheer volume of intelligence he was providing on his Minox film cassettes suggested a level of clandestine activity that could not continue undetected indefinitely. So voluminous was Penkovsky’s productivity during the first half of 1962 that his handlers decided to discontinue temporarily tasking him for new intelligence collection.

The operation would refocus on supporting his work for the GRU by providing comprehensively written technical articles to be published under his name and supplying harmless intelligence products he could take back to Moscow from trips to the West. The intent was to strengthen Penkovsky’s credibility among superiors, raising him above suspicion and moving him into circles of even greater access to Soviet secrets.

During a three-month period between October 1961 and January 1962, Penkovsky met with his contact in Moscow, Janet Chisholm, the young wife of British MI6 officer Roderick Chisholm, eleven times in public locations. During these brief encounters, she received thirty-five rolls of film containing hundreds of images of top-secret Soviet documents. In January, Penkovskyreported what he believed was surveillance on Mrs. Chisholm but showed no personal alarm. Rather, he suggested that dead drops replace their contacts “on the street.” Early successes, it seemed, emboldened Penkovsky but, in his handlers’ opinion, the agent’s level of productivity was alarming as well as gratifying.

Had Penkovsky dropped his guard or grown careless as the inherently dangerous work became routine? It was possible. Had he grown to feel invulnerable and above suspicion? That, too, was possible. It only became known much later that George Blake, an MI6 officer who spied for the Soviets, alerted the KGB that Janet Chisholm was actively supporting her MI6 husband in operations. Consequently, when the couple arrived in Moscow, KGB surveillance teams were waiting for them.

Confirmation of the disaster arrived a few hours after the first message with news of the arrest of Greville Wynne, a British businessman traveling in Hungary. A sometime contact between Penkovsky and his handlers, Wynne was arrested by a KGB team in Budapest, also on November 2, and flown back to Moscow.

The final curtain fell a month later. On December 12, a notice in the Soviet newspaper Pravda announced Penkovsky’s arrest in late October, more than a week before Jacob’s apprehension. Six months later, on May 7, 1963, Penkovsky stood in a courtroom before the same judge who had presided at the trial of Francis Gary Powers, the American pilot whose U-2 spy plane had been shot down in May 1960 over Sverdlovsk.

The trial lasted four days. Penkovsky, in an attempt to save his life, admitted that he had passed secrets to the Americans and British. Prosecutors cited “moral degradation” among the reasons for his traitorous acts, while a witness bolstered this claim by testifying that he had seen the defendant sipping wine from a woman’s shoe during a night of heavy drinking.

On May 17, a public notice appeared that Penkovsky had been executed.

Rumors about his death eventually began to leak out. While the Soviet press announced an execution by firing squad, another, unconfirmed report, claimed that he had been burned alive in a crematorium and the grisly episode filmed as a warning to new GRU officers who might someday consider cooperating with the West.

Wynne was also tried, found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released in 1964 as part of a spy swap for Gordon Lonsdale, a Soviet spy convicted in Britain.

Like a silent explosion, the capture, trial, and execution of Penkovsky sent shock waves of uncertainty, recrimination, and retribution through American, British, and Soviet intelligence circles. While the badly burned Soviets restructured the GRU, the British and Americans, uncertain about when and how Penkovsky was first identified, faced a flood of questions. If Penkovsky was under KGB suspicion as early as December of 1961, or January of 1962, did this mean the Soviets manipulated the information he provided? If so, when did he begin reporting controlled information designed to mislead American and British analysts? For that matter, could anything he reported be trusted?

Material long disseminated by analysts to policy officials was recalled and painstakingly reexamined. The eventual conclusion was that the Soviets had not played Penkovsky back against the Americans and British, but that left unanswered the mystery of why, if Penkovsky was suspected as early as December 1961, the Soviets continued to allow him access to secret files and materials.

Over the next several years, the Penkovsky case would become a cottage industry within the CIA as every aspect of the operation was analyzed to determine what was accomplished and what went wrong.

The Penkovsky operation had produced an astonishing amount of material. During his year and a half as an active agent, he supplied more than a hundred cassettes of exposed Minox film (each containing fifty exposures or frames). The more than 140 hours of debriefings in London and Paris produced some 1,200 pages of transcripts and reams of handwritten pages. He identified hundreds of GRU and KGB officers from photos, and provided Western intelligence officials with their first authoritative view of the highest levels of the post-Stalin Soviet Union. In fact, he supplied so much information that both the CIA and MI6 set up teams dedicated exclusively to processing the material, which resulted in an estimated 10,000 pages of intelligence reports.

More than the quantity, the substance of the documents on the Minox film and his knowledgeable debriefings impressed both CIA and MI6. Penkovsky appeared at a crucial time during the Cold War when tensions and the potential for nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the West were at an apex. This volatility was heightened by a lack of certainty on each side about the intentions and capabilities of the other.

The failed Soviet attempt to isolate the British-, French-, and U.S.-controlled sections of Berlin by blocking all ground and rail transportation and shipments into the city during 1948 and 1949 was still a fresh memory when the United States was caught off guard by unpredicted assertive Soviet technological, military, and political actions beginning in 1957. The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957 shot down Francis Gary Powers’s U-2 reconnaissance plane on May Day, 1960 and built the Berlin Wall in 1961. So anemic was U.S. intelligence access to the plans and intentions of the Kremlin that the text of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous speech denouncing Stalin at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956 came to the CIA via a third party, an Israeli source operating behind the Iron Curtain.

Through the late 1950s, Khrushchev’s seeming obsession with the United States was rising to dangerous levels. His fixation with U.S. objectives was fueled first by an alarmist 1960 KGB report that falsely described the Pentagon’s intention to initiate war against the Soviet Union “as soon as possible” followed by a failed attempt to overthrow Castro in 1961. Then, in 1962, two erroneous GRU intelligence reports warned of an imminent nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union by the United States.

“Our production of rockets is like sausages coming from an automatic machine, rocket after rocket comes off the assembly line,” bragged Khrushchev.

Penkovsky’s assignment to the State Committee for the Coordination of Scientific Research Work granted him access to the highest levels of military circles. He, in turn, provided the West with a contrasting view of both Soviet capability and Khrushchev’s belligerent stance. “His [Khrushchev’s] threats are like swinging a club to see the reaction. If the reaction is not in his favor, he stops swinging,” Penkovsky explained to the team in a Paris hotel room in 1961.

For the Kennedy administration, Penkovsky’s reporting put the lie to the Soviet leader’s braggadocio, while the intelligence he provided, combined with overhead intelligence, influenced downward revisions of Soviet missile production in National Intelligence Estimates.

Penkovsky also revealed the real dangers of diplomacy without independent and timely intelligence. As the Cuban missile crisis heated up, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin used back-channel communication through Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson, and other White House officials to assure President Kennedy that only short-range defensive, rather than offensive, missiles were going into Cuba. Similar false assurances also flowed through the back channels of diplomacy from GRU Colonel Georgi Bolshakov, working under cover of the TASS news agency, through Robert Kennedy.

However, the technical manuals provided by Penkovsky for the Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missiles allowed CIA photo analysts to identify and match the deployment pattern or footprint with U-2 reconnaissance photos taken over San Cristobal, Cuba. Far from being defensive and of short range, the missiles were armed with 3,000-pound nuclear warheads and a range of some 1,000 nautical miles, and were more than capable of reaching Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Finally, Penkovsky’s information provided analysis of the Soviets’ overall lack of preparedness for war, allowing President Kennedy to face off against Khrushchev during the crisis. His insights, derived from personal access to Kremlin leaders, added independent weight to technical evidence that Soviet military threats were overstated, if not hollow. The American President was emboldened to act and denied the Soviets a nuclear missile foothold in the Western Hemisphere. For that brief and critical moment in time, history turned on the material provided by one man, Oleg Penkovsky.

In the wake of the Penkovsky case, the CIA undertook the unprecedented measure of bringing to press in 1965 The Penkovskiy Papers [sic]. The Agency, working with journalist Frank Gibney and the publisher Doubleday & Company, publicly exposed many of the operational aspects of the GRU revealed by Penkovsky. An immediate bestseller, the book presented most Americans with one of the first in-depth looks at Soviet intelligence operations in the West.

The Penkovskiy Papers offered remarkable details of Soviet tradecraft, from tips on American personal grooming and social customs (“Many Americans like to keep their hands in their pockets and chew gum”) to evading surveillance and selecting dead drop sites. One section warned of the dangers presented by squirrels running off with small packages left at dead drop sites in New York’s Central Park.


According to de Havilland, whose grandfather bought the house from Wynne, Penkovsky told the KGB that Wynne enjoyed ‘alcohol and women of negotiable virtue’ and that the bar would help him extract secrets from the agent as he would be able to talk to him when he was relaxed and more loose-lipped.

Wynne told MI6 a similar story, describing Penkovsky as a nervous type who would be more likely to betray sensitive information when under the influence of alcohol, and arguing that he would be able to ply the Russian with booze in the comfort of his own home.

Of the £1,000 the pair received, only £100 was spent on the construction of the bar – the rest went on alcohol and ‘other forms of entertainment’, according to de Havilland.

British spy Greville Wynne (pictured with his wife Sheila) owned the house in the early 1960s and, at the time, was friends with Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky

Murdered: Penkovsky (pictured) was shot in the Soviet Union in 1963, after being arrested the previous year

The townhouse property on one of London’s most expensive streets is on the market for a cool £6million

But while the KGB and MI6 were short-changed over the bar, the conversations that flowed there between the dissolute Wynne and Penkovsky paid real dividends. De Havilland says that his grandfather, who became friends with Wynne, found out what was revealed and how Wynne was secretly rewarded.

In the late 1960s, Wynne was offered the choice of a one-off payment of £50,000 or a life pension by the American government – a vast sum at the time and an unheard-of offer from a foreign government to a British agent.

Wynne, who took the £50,000, suggested that it was a reward for gleaning from Penkovsky vital information about the Russian military sites in Cuba that steered President Kennedy’s brinkmanship diplomacy in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

‘Wynne also told my grandfather that Penkovsky had told him that the USSR was not willing to start World War Three over Cuba and this was vital information for Kennedy,’ says de Havilland.


Unique features: Wine cellar, bar that was paid for by both MI6 and the KGB

Penkovsky was to pay for these conversations with his life. He was shot in the Soviet Union in 1963, after being arrested the previous year. Wynne was also arrested by the KGB, while in Budapest, and taken to the Soviet Union, where he was convicted of spying. Wynne’s conviction and Penkovsky’s execution happened within a week of each other.

Wynne was released in a prisoner exchange a year later. According to de Havilland, it was during his imprisonment in Russia that Wynne, who died in 1990 aged 70, redesigned the interiors of the house, drawing them on toilet paper in his cell.

He was obviously keen on pine. All the cornices on the ceilings you’d expect to see in a house of this period have been covered by pine panelling, giving some of the rooms a sauna-like look.

While the buyers of the house may find that takes some getting used to, they will have plenty to admire elsewhere. The five-bedroom property, which comprises 2,846 square feet, has a spectacular 210 sq ft roof terrace. There is also a large, south-facing garden, with a private studio cottage complete with bathroom and kitchen and separate entrance.

Below the ground-floor reception room in which the bar is situated is a large open-plan kitchen/dining area. The suspicious Penkovsky would often head down to this area when he was concerned about bugging devices.

Perry and Adriana are selling the house to downsize, but Perry admits it will be a wrench after enjoying its quirks.

He has lived there since 1997 when he moved in to help look after his grandfather, who died in 2001.

Oleg Penkovsky, Soviet traitor who provoked the Cuban missile crisis

according to many historians, it is a betrayal of the GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky provoked one of the most critical situations in the “cold war” between the USSR and the USA, as close the world’s two superpowers to the possibility of a nuclear confrontation.

Who he was, and how betrayed

Lieutenant-General of justice Nikolai Chistyakov, head of the investigation and the trial of Penkovsky Investigation Department of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, wrote in his book, “Catching “moles”. Secret tribunals of the KGB” that the future spy was brought up in a single parent household, his mother raised. After graduating from the artillery school at Finnish and the great Patriotic war was mostly political work. Career in the GRU, he started after the Military-diplomatic Academy in 1953.

According to the Russian historian of the world of intelligence, the writer Gennady Sokolov, Penkovsky himself initiated his meeting with foreign intelligence, especially one not recruited. Many of the documents about the case of the spy is still classified, and fully known, and when, to whom, how much and what type of information he passed. Veteran intelligence Anatoly Maximov, in his book “the Central Mystery of the GRU” writes, quoting the sentence Penkovsky: from 1961 to 1962 GRU officer more than a year according to top-secret information to the British and American intelligence services. The documents, he began to convey since April of 1961, during my London business trip. It was a film with frames photographed secret papers, codes.

According to Western intelligence services, announced the publication of “top secret”, Penkovsky was the most productive informant in the entire history of the cold war, and that he reported to foreign intelligence services, who decided to combine their efforts in the confrontation with the “evil Empire”, VAinasia information about the supply of the USSR in Cuba ballistic missiles, medium-range R-12. A similar version adheres to the journalist and politician Alexander Hinstein who study the history of Soviet and Russian intelligence services, as well as the well-known Soviet defector, Colonel of the KGB Oleg Gordievsky, who believed Penkovsky “the only major source in the West.”

the Writer Gennady Sokolov argues that for all time of cooperation with British and American intelligence Oleg Penkovsky passed more than a thousand typewritten pages of copies of secret documents and over a hundred films with snapshots of information constituting state secrets. He as the Deputy chief of Department of external relations of the state Committee for coordination of scientific research at the Council of Ministers of the USSR (official cover officer of the GRU in the West) had the widest access to sources particularly valuable for the CIA information. Claim that the informant Oleg Penkovsky was chief Marshal of the rocket forces and artillery of the Soviet Union Sergei Varentsov (at the time a traitor, he served as adjutant), and tacit patronage of the spy, in particular, had and father – in-law, Lieutenant-General Dmitry Galenovich, in the last years of his life the chief architect in combat and political training of land forces of the USSR.

Oleg Gordievsky in an interview with “Radio Liberty” said his namesake to the details Penkovsky told the CIA details of the operation “Anadyr” – how many missiles the USSR had deployed in Cuba, what are the other details of this action. According to Gordievsky, this information helped America to realistically assess the availability and effectiveness of a nuclear strike by the Soviet Union and subsequently contributed to the beginning of the negotiation process between Grushevyi and Kennedy.

… Among historians, there are still unresolved controversy about the role of pen in the escalation of the Cuban missile crisis. Opponents point of view Gordievsky (in particular, the Soviet and Russian intelligence officer, Hero of Russia Alexander Feklistov), believed that this agent was just not mog is fully informed Western intelligence agencies about the details of the operation “Anadyr”: Soviet missiles delivered to Cuba on 14 October 1962, a few days after Penkovsky was arrested. Before the arrest of the spy for a long time “grazed”, so to convey the appropriate information to the West that simply was not possible.

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