Slutskiy, Abram Aronovich

   Slutskiy deserted from the tsarist army and joined the Bolsheviks in 1917. He joined the Cheka in 1920 and in 1930 entered foreign intelligence. According to his official biography, he specialized in the collection of scientific, technical, and industrial intelligence. He was well regarded by his superiors and twice received the Order of the Red Banner for his work. Slutskiy was deputy chief of foreign intelligence from 1930 to 1936, and chief of the foreign intelligence component of the NKVD from 1936 to his mysterious death in February 1938. As NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov began to purge his service of experienced officer and illegals, suspicion fell on Slutskiy, a Russian Jew who had been involved in dispatching and managing illegals. On 17 February 1938, he was found dead in his office, an apparent suicide, though many of his colleagues believed he had been murdered. The Soviet press announced that he had died at his “military post.” Two months later he was posthumously expelled from the Communist Party as an enemy of the people.
   Slutskiy’s death set off an even more vicious purge of the foreign directorate, which claimed four directors in less than one year. More importantly, the purge of the NKVD’s foreign intelligence arms left Joseph Stalin with little access to foreign intelligence about developments in Europe or the Far East. According to Russian records, for 127 days in 1938 Stalin did not receive a single foreign intelligence report.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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