Fitin, Pavel Mikhailovich

(1907–1971)
   Fitin was drafted into the NKVD’s foreign intelligence directorate in 1938, following the purge of the component. Within months of completing the Soviet Union’s first course for foreign intelligence officers, he was promoted to general’s rank. At the age of 34, Fitin took over the foreign intelligence directorate and led it through World War II. While untrained and unprepared for the responsibility, Fitin was an exceptionally effective intelligence chief, supervising the penetration of both enemy and Allied governments as well as the collection of critical scientific information on the American and British nuclear weapons program, codenamed Enormoz.
   The KGB’s official history notes that Fitin provided accurate documentary reporting of German plans to invade the Soviet Union. Lavrenty Beria quashed these reports and repeatedly threatened Fitin with a firing squad for his audacity in contradicting the party leadership. NKVD cables from the war show that Fitin was a demanding but knowledgeable boss. He also appeared to have the moral courage to intercede with Beria in the case of senior officers who were recalled unfairly. When Vasily Zarubin and his wife were hastily brought back from New York on charges of treason, they were exonerated.
   Beria, never one to forgive or forget, moved Fitin out of foreign intelligence at the end of the war. As a lieutenant general, Fitin served first in Germany and then in the provinces. Beria insisted that he be removed from the service in 1951 for “incompetence.” While never prosecuted, Fitin lost his rank, medals, and pension. After Beria’s execution, work was found for Fitin, but he died in obscurity in 1971.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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  • Pavel Fitin — Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin (ru: Павел Михайлович Фитин) (1907 Ozhogino, Kurgan Region, Soviet Union 24 December 1971) was director of Soviet intelligence during world war II, identified in the Venona cables under the code name Viktor. [ [http://www …   Wikipedia

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