Starinov, Ilya Grigorevich

(1900–2001)
   After fighting in the civil war, Starinov joined the GRU. In the 1930s he became one of the founders of GRU Spetznaz forces, preparing Soviet soldiers and foreign communists to conduct operations behind invaders’ lines. In 1936 Starinov was dispatched to train Spanish Republicans in Spetznaz tactics. As “Comrade Rudolfo,” he was successful in training a cadre of dedicated saboteurs and partisans during the Spanish Civil War. To his Soviet colleagues in Spain and Moscow, he was known by the codename “Volk” (Wolf). Starinov barely escaped arrest on his return to Moscow, and he continued to work in the GRU.
   He ran schools for special forces and partisan forces. In the terrible first days of the Great Patriotic War, he established bases for partisans behind enemy line. He reportedly also played a critical role in the destruction of Soviet installations as German forces occupied key industrial cities.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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