Polyakov, Dmitry Fedorovich

   The highestranking Soviet officer to spy for the West, Polyakov was an agent for America from 1961 to 1986. During the period that he was promoted in the GRU from captain to major general, he served first the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and then the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by providing information about 19 GRU illegals, more than 150 other GRU agents, and more than 1,000 military intelligence officers serving abroad. According to the Russian account of the case, he also passed hundreds of top secret documents to the West, including Ministry of Defense war plans. He was betrayed to the KGB in 1986 by Aldrich Ames and was arrested. He was shot two years later.
   The KGB account of Polyakov paints him as someone seduced by the American dollar, but Polyakov did not receive substantial funds from the CIA. He spied primarily out of anger and disgust with the Soviet system. A major motivation was deeply personal: when his son fell seriously ill in New York, the GRU rezident refused to allow him to seek American medical help. His son died, and Polyakov shortly thereafter sought contact with American intelligence. The Polyakov case illustrates the rivalry that existed in Moscow between the GRU and the KGB. There had been a spate of reports in the American press and from American sources in the 1970s that Polyakov was an American asset. Yet the GRU leadership defended Polyakov and kept him from arrest. It was only when Ames presented documentary evidence of Polyakov’s work for U.S. intelligence that he was finally arrested.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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