Eitingon, Leonid Aleksandrovich (Naum Isakovich)
- (1899–1981)Eitingon was an experienced illegal who took part in a number of political assassinations. He was also one of the founders of Soviet Spetznaz troops and tactics, working in Spain during the Spanish Civil War to train republican partisans. In the late EITINGON, LEONID ALEKSANDROVICH [NAUM ISAKOVICH] (1899–1981) 75 1930s, when Pavel Sudoplatov was tasked with organizing the assassination of Leon Trotsky, Eitingon masterminded recruiting agents to penetrate Trotsky’s inner circle and murder him. During World War II, he served as the deputy chief of the NKVD’s partisan directorate and took part in an attempted assassination of the German ambassador to Turkey. He was promoted to general’s rank in 1945. Following the war, Eitingon was purged by Joseph Stalin and briefly imprisoned. In 1953 he was rearrested in a purge of Lavrenty Beria’s subordinates and sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which he served 12. He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1992. Eitingon had a legendary romantic life and an unusually ready wit. He was married to several women, more than one at the same time. When he was asked about survival during the purges, he told a subordinate the way to stay out of jail was “Don’t be a Jew or a general of state security.” Eitingon was both.
Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. Robert W. Pringle. 2014.