The Astounding Case of Soviet Defection Deception

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Book Review
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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Astounding Case of Soviet Defection Deception

In "Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General" (2002), former FBI agent Edward Gazur tries to prove the impossible ­ that KGB Gen. Alexander Orlov was a true defector, a man who switched allegiances from the Soviet Union to America and repudiated international communism.

Gazur ardently believes that Orlov, who became his friend and whom he ultimately came to love as a father figure, genuinely cooperated with the FBI and the CIA. This (his own) book unfortunately proves quite the opposite.

Alexander Orlov KGB FileOrlov did denounce Stalin, who had annihilated many of his compatriots in the various purges, but he was not a defector in the true sense of the word, and he did not deserve the honors or the protection this country extended to him and his family.

Orlov never fully cooperated with U.S. authorities and certainly did not help preserve the freedom and security of the country that sheltered him and his family during their many years on the run from the KGB, as well as the 15 preceding years when he hid from the FBI and CIA.

Curiously, Gazur wrote his tome after an FBI colleague brought to his attention a book entitled "Deadly Illusions" (1993) by John Costello and Oleg Tsarev, based on then recently opened KGB files, which presented Orlov in a very different light. Gazur was astonished: "What I read about Orlov and the man I knew personally and called a close friend seemed to be two entirely different people."

Indeed! What Gazur wrote in his book, by commission or omission, actually indicted the KGB officer and revealed that Orlov had perpetrated one of the most astounding cases of defection deception in U.S. history.

Nevertheless, the book should not be completely discarded. Three genuinely interesting pieces of information come to light that deserve mention and careful consideration by history buffs and scholars of communist historiography in the 20th century.

Bank of Spain in MadridFirst of all was Orlov's masterfully executed plundering of the Spanish Treasury during the Spanish Civil War, when three-fourths of Spain's gold reserves were moved to (stolen by) the USSR.

Approximately 7,900 boxes, each containing 145 pounds of gold cast ingots and gold coins, a fabulous national wealth accumulated through the centuries and extending to Spain's Siglo de Oro, were "transferred" by the communist-socialist leaders of "Republican" Spain to Joseph Stalin and the USSR for "safe keeping" during the civil war.

Needless to say, the Soviet Union (and now Russia) never returned the gold. As Stalin told KGB Chief Yezhov, "They will never see their gold again, just as they do not see their own ears." To their everlasting shame and for their unforgivable betrayal of their country ­ not to mention incredible stupidity ­ the Spanish leaders "had made a tragic blunder of gargantuan proportions."

Stalin Okhrana photoSecond was the exposition of Joseph Stalins "horrible secret," namely that the Red dictator, as a young revolutionary, had once been an informant for the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana. Stalin, in fact, spied on and informed on his fellow revolutionaries prior to the October 1917 Russian revolution. (photo, left)

Thirdly, as a result of this "horrible secret" becoming known to several top Communist Politburo and Soviet military leaders, Marshall Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky (photo, below), a hero of the Soviet Union, and eight other generals became involved in a plot to overthrow Stalin.

They were summarily executed following conviction by a kangaroo court, not on the trumped-up charges of treason for conspiring with Nazi Germany, but in reality for leading a coup to rid Russia of one of the worst mass murderers in history, Joseph Stalin.Marshall Mikhail Tukhachevsky

In the minds of these conspirators, Stalin's "horrible secret" was the last straw of the tyranny to break the camel's back. They were now ready and willing to risk it all with the ill-fated coup, a coup which, unfortunately, was nipped in the bud by Stalin's henchmen in the secret police before it could come to fruition.

While this book does not prove the author's thesis, Gazur has written an interesting apologia for the elusive career of the KGB general. We learn how the Soviet general survived in the U.S., eluded the CIA and FBI for 15 years, and then managed to give the INS as well as the FBI and CIA enough tidbits of information and circumlocution to enable him to remain in the U.S. legally while remaining virtually in hiding.

Orlov was sheltered and protected in the U.S. from the wrath of Joseph Stalin (whom he had effectively blackmailed with his threat to reveal Soviet secrets if pursued by Soviet KGB agents), but he did not betray the USSR or any of the Soviet agents who had operated, and were then still operating, against the U.S. and the West.

Orlov passed on historical trivialities and personal anecdotes, skillfully navigating himself among congressional committees and half-hearted debriefing sessions by American security agents, while never revealing specific information, which could have been helpful to the U.S. and the West during the Cold War.

Kim PhilbyMore apropos, Orlov did not expose the British traitor Kim Philby (photo, left) or any of the others in the Cambridge spy ring, who so much harmed this country and the West. Neither did Orlov expose specific Soviet operations undermining the security of the U.S. In fact, Orlov did not even reveal to Gazur that he had traveled to England ­ not to mention that he had headed for a time the notorious spy ring and handled the British agents himself!

Thus, it is with these reservations that I would recommend this book only to knowledgeable scholars who may want to find out some specific details about the Cold War and the Soviet KGB (and its predecessor agencies), with the caveat that these details are only selected pieces of information that the KGB general chose to reveal during 1971-1973, in the last few years of his life, to his friend and executor, FBI Agent Edward Gazur.

This book is by no means an authoritative, historic or literary biography of the elusive KGB Gen. Alexander Orlov, but should only be considered part of a jigsaw puzzle whose mismatched pieces are still to be fully assembled.

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., is editor emeritus of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (formerly the Medical Sentinel) and author of "Vandals at the Gates of Medicine" (1995), "Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine" (1997) and "Cuba in Revolution ­ Escape from a Lost Paradise" (2002). Dr. Faria's books are available through

This article may be cited as Faria MA. The Astounding Case of Soviet Defection Deception. Newsmax & Hacienda October 31, 2003. Available from:

The photographs used to illustrate this exclusive article for Hacienda Publishing came from a variety of sources and do not necessarily appear in the book reviewed here. This article was featured in on June 1, 2013.

Copyright ©2003-2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Agent provocateur?

Another book of interest:

Stalin's greatest secret by Frank Cass

Five years in a gulag camp gave Roman Brackman a reason to find out what motivated Russia's ruthless dictator to ruin so many lives.

I have spent many years searching for the "real" Stalin - for the personal motivations behind the murderous purges and brutality of his reign. In particular, I have traced the history of a secret file proving Stalin's pre-revolutionary career as an Okhrana (Tsarist secret police) agent - a file that Stalin went to extraordinary lengths to suppress after it was discovered in 1926. It is my belief that the story of this secret Okhrana file explains the great purges of the 1930s and much of the subsequent history of the Soviet Union. My research has been spurred on by the fear that, if I failed to recover the truth, the bits and pieces of evidence that I had unearthed would disappear with the passage of time, unnoticed or neglected by other authors.

To hide the truth, Stalin sent millions of people to their deaths, forced defendants at the show trials during his long rule to confess to crimes he himself had committed and inundated Soviet archives with forged and doctored documents. Rightly or wrongly, I felt that the information I had gathered provided me with an insight into the "method behind Stalin's madness". I also felt that the circumstances of my own life compelled me to reveal the truth about his...

During my research, I also read Provocateur Anna Serebriakova , a book published in 1931 supposedly by I. V. Alekseev. As I read it, however, it dawned on me that I was in the presence of Stalin. I could almost hear his Georgian accent, I recognised his peculiar logic and spotted his non-Russian- sounding phrases. I realised that the book's real author was Stalin, not Alekseev and I set out to prove this. The book consisted mostly of reproductions of documents from the Okhrana file of the elderly agent provocateur Anna Serebriakova, who was exposed in 1925 and sentenced to seven years in prison. She died soon afterward. In the last chapter, Stalin masterfully described the psychological profile of an Okhrana agent, apparently not recognizing himself in this description.

My book's title, The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life , was only partly influenced by the important role Stalin's Okhrana file played in his reign. In a larger, allegorical sense it also reflects the fact that Stalin's whole life story has been hidden, as if in a secret file. In another sense, the secret police under Stalin and all his successors have functioned like an enormously magnified Okhrana. It is this that has been Stalin's most enduring legacy.

The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life, published by Frank Cass, £35.00, is available to THES readers at £30.00 (including packing and postage) by calling 01752 202301 and quoting reference THE1. Abstracted from At The Heart of Higher Education Debate, April 6, 2001.

Is the "horrible secret" credible?

Dr. Faria, I enjoyed the review, much as I did the book byy Gazur. The role of the USSR as told by the Chief of the KGB in supporting the communists in Spain was most fascinating, as was the brief moment with Hemmingway (127).

(It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around those who thought socialism, especially one as virulent as communism, could be the answer. Alas, I am a product of my times; therefore, I am aware of the tremendous horror of communism).

More to the point, the most intriguing part of this book to me was the “horrible secret of Stalin”: that Stalin had informed to the Okhrana, as ascertained by a letter(455) in the Vissarionov File (Deputy Director of the Okhrana 451). I have never heard of this before anywhere. Is it credible? The author mentions Stalin’s natural paranoia for eliminating for the Old Bolsheviks, yet this other motivation certainly would kill two birds with one stone. What do you think of this? Has this topic been discussed elsewhere?

Stalin an Okhrana agent? A Gapon or an Azeff?

Good morning Koba 56!

The Okhrana widely used double agents and agent provocateurs to infiltrate groups of terrorists, such as the People's Will (Narodnaya Voila) and later the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Bolsheviks.(1) But this practice was at times a double-edged sword. (2) These double agents got caught in their own double act of betrayal and "forgot" which side they were fighting for.

Father Georges Gapon (1870-1906) started as a police agent and ended believing in the cause of the proletariat during the Russian Revolution of 1905, became a suspect among the group, and was eventually strangled by the radicals with whom he partially identified.

The greatest of the double agents and agent provocateurs was the pure incarnation of evil: The Russian Jewish agent Yevno Azeff (1869-1918), from Rostov, who was the leading Okhrana informant at the same time he was the head of the terrorist, military arm of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries in Russia. He was instrumental in killing the Interior Minister of Russia under whom he ostensibly served, Vyacheslav Plehve in 1903, as well as the Tsar Nicholas II 's uncle, the Grand Duke Sergei!

And the Okhrana believed Azeff that he could not have prevented these assassinations! He finally came under suspicion because he betrayed a number of his terrorist buddies. In short, he was loyal neither to the police or to his revolutionary friends. He escaped to Germany where he died.

In the case of Stalin, it is a loaded question, but I do believe that early in his career as a revolutionary bandit, as "Soso" or "Koba," Stalin was probably a police informant, and that gave him a lot of freedom of movement and easy "escapes" from the police. Edvard Radzinsky intimated this but was not certain.(2) Unlike the gentle Gapon or the sinister Azeff, Stalin became a die-hard Bolshevik communist and severed all connections with the Okhrana. Later, he made sure that any incriminating papers were destroyed and all who suspected his activities killed!

1) The Political Spectrum (Part I): The Totalitarian Left from Communism to Social Democracy

2) See the recommended classic KGB — The Inside Story by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky (1990). This is essentially the first in the series of KGB books by the British scholar Christopher Andrew that continues with the Mitrokhin Archives.

3) Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives by Edvard Radzinsky

A most intriging subject

The "horrible secret,"which the author kept tantalizing the reader with while keeping it secret himself until near the end of the book, caught me off guard. It was totally unexpected. While the whole book was very interesting to me because of who told it, how he told it, and, naturally, what he told; the most fascinating part to me was the possibility that Uncle Joe possibly spied for the Czar's government.

First, I had read about Stalin; therefore, his murderous actions were no surprise to me, but this tidbit had never before been offered. Second, although I did not see it coming, I should have since Stalin was no true believer as was Lenin in the totalitarian dictatorship of the proletariat. Stalin was looking out for Stalin. This is easily demonstrable with his murderous purges on the military officer staff right before going to an inevitable war and many other actions that served Stalin while greatly harming the USSR.

Moreover, Hitler had many attempts upon his life during his brief time in charge, yet I have never read of one attempt on Stalin's life that came anywhere near fruition. How can that be when so many millions died during Stalin's nearly 30 yrs as dictator, including those leaders so near to Stalin himself? Even as the Germans marched through USSR like a hot knife through butter, Stalin hid and those other leaders--Molotov, etc--dared not approach him until it seemed it was impossible not so to do or USSR would be defeated.

I shall indeed peruse the book you mentioned by Andrew. I have not made it through Mitrokhin Archives yet. Thanks again for the information.

Attempt on Stalin's life

Dear Koba56,

Re. Your very accurate statement: "Hitler had many attempts upon his life during his brief time ... yet I have never read of one attempt on Stalin's life..."

Hitler indeed put up with a lot of treasonous rumors and activity, until the Wolf's Lair attempt on his life in July 1944, but Stalin purged and killed for the sake of terror.

About Stalin's assassination attempts, it is very true, but within a few days or possibly next week, I may reveal an interesting secret, but you have to wait, my learned friend.

I really have enjoyed our chat and hope to continue in between my deer hunting, research and reading. Great weather here in Georgia for a change!


Dr Faria

Oh my another secret, which concerns possibly assasination attempts upon Stalin. I am most intrigued.

I just finished Traitors Among Us and wrote a review of it on Amazon.

Stalin's Mysterious Death---The Secret is Out!

Stalin's Mysterious Death

For Press Release Monday 11-14-11; Embargo until Wednesday, 11-16-11

Did Stalin, the Soviet dictator, die a peaceful death in his own bed or was he poisoned by Beria? What is the new medical evidence?

With the possible exception of Mao Tse-tung, the greatest mass murderer in history was Joseph Dzhugashvili, who was better known as Stalin (1879-1953). Stalin ruled the Soviet Union virtually from 1924 to 1953 with an iron hand in an atmosphere of perpetual mass terror. Many of us have wondered how this monster of a man could have ruled for so long, and then died so peacefully of a natural death, a stroke, in defiance of Divine justice, after having eliminated so many of his own people as if they were merely inconvenient statistics.

The picture painted by Premier Nikita Khrushchev, his eventual successor, and the Russian press was that Stalin died quietly while in the private sanctuary of his comfortable inner dacha. Medical care was only slightly delayed because the Great Leader was thought only to have overslept and did not need to be disturbed! But who was this Great Leader?

Stalin was the man who turned the USSR into a massive police state, a vast Gulag Archipelago of concentration camps, and who exterminated 20 to 40 million of his own countrymen. Stalin was the man who turned Russia into a ghastly meat-grinder of Soviet society, including decimation of Lenin's old friends from the Old Bolshevik ranks and the legendary October 1917 Revolution: the "right deviationists," Rykov, Tomsky, and of course, Bukharin, then the "leftist Troskyites," Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Trotsky himself; the man who purged the Russian Army eliminating 90% of the Red Army top commanders, including Marshall Tukhachevsky; the man who cleansed the Security Apparatus and made the heads of the secret police trembled. The Great Leader, Joseph Stalin, may not have, after all, died of natural causes peacefully in his dacha!

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D., a retired Professor of Neurosurgery and Adjunct professor of Medical History from Mercer University in Georgia has uncovered old evidence that the Russian dictator, the Man of Steel, must likely was himself eliminated by members of his inner sanctum, who were fearful for their own survival.

In a historic medical article to be published and posted this week in Surgical Neurology International (SNI), an international on-line journal of neurological scientists, and entitled "Stalin's Mysterious Death," Dr Faria cites compelling evidence that the Russian dictator was poisoned under the direction of his right hand henchman, Lavrenti Beria, with the very probable connivance of Nikita Khrushchev, who eventually succeeded Stalin and went on to dismantle Stalin's Cult of Personality and expose the "errors" of the former regime.

Dr. Faria's material consist of primary sources cited in at least three books published since the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as clinical, forensic, and autopsy evidence that had been suppressed by the Soviets or forgotten in the secret Russian Archives since 1953, from the time of Lavrenti Beria, Georgi Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev.

For further information contact Helen at

very interesting information

More, More. This is very interesting. I would like to read the entire article if possible, although I am no scientist.

I have heard faint rumors of this in some book I once read, but it was merely suggested, and it was not Beria. Ha, as I recall Beria was himself gotten rid of--by Khruschev I think. So that would be poetic justic indeed.

I am traveling and do not have any of my books with me to check this. Thanks so much for this insight.