Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatolevich

(1907–1996)
   Orphaned by Russia’s civil war, Sudoplatov joined the Red Army at 12 and the Cheka in his teens. In the early 1920s he worked as an illegal in operations against Russian and Ukrainian émigré organizations. In the 1930s, Sudoplatov personally assassinated a Ukrainian émigré leader with a booby-trapped box of chocolates. In 1938 he was made Yakov Serebryanskiy’s successor as chief of the Administration for Special Tasks and was given personal responsibility by Joseph Stalin to organize the assassination of Leon Trotsky. With the purge of the leadership of the foreign intelligence component, Sudoplatov also served as the head of foreign intelligence for several weeks in 1938. During World War II, Sudoplatov was chief of the NKVD’s Fourth Directorate responsible for partisan and terrorist operations behind German lines. He was also made head of Department S, which coordinated all Soviet espionage against the Anglo-American nuclear weapons program, codenamed Enormoz. For his work, Sudoplatov was repeatedly decorated by Stalin and made a lieutenant general in 1945. Following the war, he initially was given responsibility for purging collaborators from the Soviet territory that had been occupied by the Germans. He then returned to foreign intelligence, concentrating on operations against NATO military forces. Along with many of Lavrenty Beria’s subordinates, Sudoplatov was arrested in August 1953 and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. His sentence was reversed following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 1992 he was officially rehabilitated.
   Sudoplatov’s memoirs published soon after his rehabilitation raised a firestorm in the West. His charges of NKVD recruitment of Western scientists, including Robert Oppenheimer, were rejected out of hand by most scholars. Nevertheless, the book is now more highly regarded and considered insightful about Stalin’s management and use of foreign intelligence.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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