These days our country reveres the memory of Pavel Sudoplatov, the legendary Soviet spy, Lieutenant General of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, and honored employee of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security (Soviet Union).
The legendary member of the intelligence services was born to the family of a miller in Melitopol 115 years ago, on July 7, 1907. He became an orphan already at the age of 12 and left with a Red Army regiment, crossing through his hometown. This military unit participated in battles, and young Sudoplatov, inspired by Nikolai Bukharin's book “The ABC of Communism” about a just society, started fighting even at that age. Moreover, he was taken prisoner, but soon managed to escape.
Sudoplatov lived without parental supervision there, so in order to earn a living he began to work as a laborer in the port. It was only after the Reds came to Odessa that Sudoplatov started serving in the army again. He was sent to special training courses and after their graduation became a junior operative of the State Political Directorate (GPU) in Melitopol, where he was engaged in monitoring the work of agents embedded in the Bulgarian and Greek settlements.
In 1932, Pavel Sudoplatov became a member of the headquarters of the Joint State Political Directorate. As early as 1933, he began to engage in illegal intelligence activities in several European countries. As a person who spoke Ukrainian fluently, he specialized primarily in fighting the Ukrainian Nazis.
From the beginning of 1938, Sudoplatov worked as assistant chief of the 7th section of the First Main Directorate of the Committee for State Security under the USSR council of ministers (PGU KGB), acting as assistant chief of the 4th (Spanish) section of the 5th section of the PGU KGB and in the end of the year he even acted as head of the Foreign Intelligence Service.
In 1941, Sudoplatov was already deputy chief of the First Intelligence Directorate of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. During the Second World War he ran the Fourth Directorate of this agency. His responsibilities included coordination of the network of agents in Germany and its allies, as well as management of partisan and reconnaissance and sabotage missions.
Pavel Sudoplatov’s combat record includes many famous covert operations, which he carried out while serving his homeland. For example, in May 1938, he eliminated Eugene Konovalts, then head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Recall that in alliance with the Germans, the OUN members were planning to seize several Ukrainian regions to form an independent state under the auspices of Nazi Germany.
Under the guise of a young student imbued with the ideas of independent Ukraine, Sudoplatov managed to enter Konovalets' inner circle. After thorough examinations, he began to be trusted. Then one day, which became fateful for Konovalts, the young “student” arranged a meeting with him. It was postponed for a long time but after meticulous checks they finally met in a cafe in Rotterdam. At parting, Sudoplatov handed Konovalts a box of his favorite chocolates.
However, this box had an ingenious explosive device in it, which did not go off in the vertical position, but in the horizontal position, and not immediately, but after some time. So, it went off a few minutes after the “student” left, when the sweet-tooth Konovalets, apparently, decided to eat some candy. All was up with him. Dissensions and power struggles occurred in the top of the OUN, and the nationalist organization weakened considerably, which was the goal of the Soviet Chekists.
The Duck special operation to eliminate Lev Trotsky was another high-profile case, also led by Pavel Sudoplatov. It is known that the liquidation of the traitor was assigned to Ramon Mercader, a member of the International Brigade, which was carried out with an ice pick on August 20, 1940.
No less famous was the Monastery special operation, which was aimed at creating a fictitious underground anti-Soviet organization of monarchists in 1942 for its use as bait for the intelligence services of Germany.
Sudoplatov supervised mining the most important objects during the attack of the Nazi hordes on Moscow. In Western Ukraine, occupied by the Nazis, he led a special forces detachment under the command of Medvedev.
Unfortunately, despite all his services to the fatherland Pavel Sudoplatov was arrested on August 21, 1953, as “accomplice of Beria.” He was primarily accused of anti-government conspiracy. During the investigation of the case he feigned insanity and was kept in a psychiatric hospital in Leningrad until 1958.
However, this did not help Sudoplatov, and the legendary spy was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “aiding and abetting” Lavrenty Beria, “preparation of a coup d'etat,” “kidnapping and murder,” and “experiments on people.” It should be noted that Sudoplatov never pleaded guilty. The legendary spy served his sentence in a prison in Vladimir, where he went blind in one eye, suffered three heart attacks and was disabled.
Returning to Moscow in 1968 from prison, he wrote three books about his professional activities under the penname Anatoly Andreev. Shortly before his death, in 1996, he published a book of memoirs. He had to fight for his justification, which he received only in 1992, for more than 20 years. Even today Pavel Sudoplatov received the honorary nickname ‘Stalin's Terminator’ for his successful special operations to eliminate the enemies of the Soviet Union.
Pavel Sudoplatov was a man of unusual, rare and dramatic fate. He played one of the most significant roles in the activities of domestic foreign intelligence. As he himself wrote in his book, he managed to survive due to “a bizarre combination of circumstances and undoubted luck.” The legendary Soviet spy died Sept. 24, 1996, in Moscow at the age of 89. He is buried at the Donskoye Cemetery in the Russian capital.
The day before memorial bust, timed to the 115th anniversary of the birth of Pavel Sudoplatov, a famous native of this city, was unveiled in Melitopol. This was done as part of a program of the Russian Military Historical Society to preserve the memory of outstanding countrymen.
The opening ceremony of the bust was attended by the head of the civil-military administration of Zaporizhzhia region Evgeny Balitsky. “Today, historical justice has been done. No Bandera and Shukhevich will desecrate our streets. There will be monuments to real heroes, to people who liberated our city. If not for Sudoplatov, we would not be here today. We owe these people everything we have.”