Jump to content

Anatoliy Golitsyn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anatoliy Golitsyn
Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn

(1926-08-25)25 August 1926
Died29 December 2008(2008-12-29) (aged 82)
Occupation(s)Author, KGB operative (formerly)
Known forSoviet KGB defector

Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn CBE (Russian: Анатолий Михайлович Голицын; 25 August 1926 – 29 December 2008)[1] was a Soviet KGB defector and author of two books about the long-term deception strategy of the KGB leadership. He was born in Pyriatyn, USSR. He provided "a wide range of intelligence to the CIA on the operations of most of the 'Lines' (departments) at the Helsinki and other residencies, as well as KGB methods of recruiting and running agents."[2] He became an American citizen by 1984.[3]


Golitsyn worked in the strategic planning department of the KGB in the rank of Major. In 1961 under the name "Ivan Klimov" he was assigned to the Soviet embassy in Helsinki, Finland, as vice counsel and attaché. He defected with his wife and daughter to the Central Intelligence Agency via Helsinki on 15 December 1961. They flew "with a CIA escort from Finland to Sweden and thence to the United States via Frankfurt am Main, Germany, arriving on 18 December 1961".[4] He was interviewed by James Jesus Angleton, CIA counter-intelligence director. In January 1962, the KGB sent instructions to Rezidentura throughout the world on the actions required to minimize the damage. All meetings with important agents were to be suspended.[2]

In November 1962, KGB head Vladimir Semichastny approved a plan for the assassination of Golitsyn and other "particularly dangerous traitors" including Igor Gouzenko, Nikolay Khokhlov, and Bogdan Stashinsky.[2] The KGB made significant efforts to discredit Golitsyn by promoting disinformation that he was involved in illegal smuggling operations.[2]

Golitsyn provided information about many famous Soviet agents including Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Vassall, double agent Aleksander Kopatzky who worked in Germany, and others.[2] While unable to identify some agents like Philby specifically by name, Golitsyn provided sufficient information that SIS was able to determine the culprits.[5] Thus, Golitsyn's defection in 1961 set in motion the process that definitively confirmed Philby as a Soviet mole.


Golitsyn was a figure of significant controversy in the Western intelligence community. The military writer General Sir John Hackett and former CIA counter-intelligence director James Angleton[6] identified Golitsyn as "the most valuable defector ever to reach the West".[7] However, the official historian for MI5, Christopher Andrew,[8] described him as an "unreliable conspiracy theorist".[9] Andrew believes that although intelligence data provided by Golitsyn were reliable, some of his global political assessments of the Soviet and KGB strategy are questionable.[2] In particular, he disputed the Golitsyn claim that the "Sino-Soviet split was a charade to deceive the West".[2]

Accusing Harold Wilson[edit]

Golitsyn said that Harold Wilson (then prime minister of the United Kingdom) was a KGB informer and an agent of influence. This encouraged pre-existing conspiracy theories within the British security services concerning Wilson.[2][10] During his time as president of the Board of Trade in the late 1940s, Wilson had been on trade missions to Russia and cultivated a friendship with Anastas Mikoyan and Vyacheslav Molotov. He continued these relationships when Labour went into Opposition, and according to material from the Mitrokhin Archive, his insights into British politics were passed to and highly rated by the KGB. An "agent development file" was opened in the hope of recruiting Wilson, and the codename "OLDING" was given to him. However "the development did not come to fruition," according to the KGB file records.[2]

Golitsyn also accused the KGB of poisoning Hugh Gaitskell, Wilson's predecessor as leader of the Labour Party, in order for Wilson to take over the party. Gaitskell died after a sudden attack of lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disorder, in 1963. Golitsyn's claims about Wilson were believed in particular by the senior MI5 counterintelligence officer Peter Wright.[11] Although Wilson was repeatedly investigated by MI5 and cleared of this accusation, individuals within the service continued to believe that he was an agent of the KGB, and this belief played a part in coup plots against him.[12]

Accusing Urho Kekkonen[edit]

Golitsyn said after his defection that the Note Crisis of 1961 was an operation masterminded by Finnish president Urho Kekkonen together with the Soviets to ensure Kekkonen's re-election. Golitsyn further said that Kekkonen had been a KGB agent codenamed "Timo" since 1947. Most Finnish historians believe that Kekkonen was closely connected with the KGB, but the matter remains controversial.[citation needed][13]

Golitsyn and Nosenko[edit]

Golitsyn had said from the very beginning that the KGB would send a false defector to the US to try to discredit him. In January of 1964, Yuri Nosenko, a Golitsyn-discrediting putative KGB officer who had defected "in place" to the CIA in 1962 in Geneva, returned there, once again as the ostensible security officer of a Soviet arms control delegation, and, as promised, recontacted his CIA case officers, Tennent H. Bagley and Russian-born George Kisevalter.[14] Nosenko proceeded to them that he now wanted to physically defect to the US (and leave his previously beloved wife and two daughters behind in Moscow) because he allegedly feared that the KGB was aware of his treason. Bagley, having read Golitsyn's CIA file shortly after his and Kisevalter's June 1962 meetings with him, knew that what Nosenko had told them about KGB penetrations of Western intelligence services overlapped (and contradicted) what Golitsyn had told the CIA. Bagley had thought this strange, because Nosenko and Golitsyn had worked in different parts of the highly compartmentalized KGB and therefore would not have been privy to the same information. Bagley also did not believe that the KGB would have allowed Nosenko to travel to Geneva in 1964 if it suspected him of spying for the CIA. For these and other reasons Bagley came to believe that Nosenko was a false defector, originally sent to the CIA in Geneva to discredit and deflect what Golitsyn had told it.

When Nosenko told Kisevalter and Bagley that he wanted to physically defect to the US, Bagley, who was Nosenko's primary case officer from the beginning, stalled and suggested to him that he wait a few days while headquarters prepared for him, and Nosenko agreed. Two developments, however, hastened the process: Nosenko told Bagley and Kisevalter during that same meeting that he had been Lee Harvey Oswald's case officer in the USSR, and a few days later he excitedly told them that he had just received a telegram from Moscow ordering him to return immediately (NSA later said that no such telegram had been sent). After being flown to Frankfurt and interviewed there by Soviet Russia Division chief David Murphy, Nosenko was allowed to physically defect to the US, but only because he claimed to have been privy to Oswald's KGB file both before and after the assassination.

Judging it improbable that the KGB had not, as Nosenko claimed, interviewed former Marine radar operator Oswald, and faced with further challenges to Nosenko's credibility (e.g., his originally telling Bagley that he was a major, then in January 1964 boasting -- with a KGB travel document that stated as much -- that he had recently been promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and eventually confessing to having been only a captain), Angleton did not object when Murphy and Bagley detained Nosenko in April of 1964. This confinement lasted sixteen months and involved austere living conditions, a minimal diet, and interrogations that were frequent and intensive. Nosenko spent an additional four months in a ten-foot by ten-foot concrete bunker in Camp Peary,[6] and was allegedly told that this arrangement would continue for 25 years unless he confessed to being a Soviet spy.[15]

During the three years Nosenko was detained and interrogated by the CIA, he was given three polygraph tests. According to Gerald Posner (who befriended Nosenko in 1993), he failed the first two (1964 and 1966) while under great duress, but passed the third one in 1968, which was "monitored by several Agency departments."[16] However, Nosenko's long-term CIA case officer, Tennent H. Bagley, says in his 2007 book Spy Wars that Bruce Solie of the Office of Security (whom Professor John M. Newman believes was a KGB mole[17]) "coached" Nosenko through the easy third test, and polygraph expert Richard D. Arthur said that of the three tests, the second one (which Nosenko had failed) was by far the most reliable one.

In October of 1968, Nosenko was virtually cleared by Bruce Solie via the aforementioned polygraph test and a report he had written, and a few years later the CIA declared Nosenko to be a true defector and hired him to teach counterintelligence to its new recruits.[6]

Golitsyn's books[edit]

New Lies for Old[edit]

In 1984, Golitsyn published the book New Lies For Old,[18] wherein he warned about a long-term deception strategy of seeming retreat from hard-line Communism designed to lull the West into a false sense of security, and finally economically cripple and diplomatically isolate the United States. Among other things, Golitsyn stated:

The "liberalization" would be spectacular and impressive. Formal pronouncements might be made about a reduction in the communist party's role: its monopoly would be apparently curtailed. An ostensible separation of powers between the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary might be introduced. The Supreme Soviet would be given greater apparent power, and the president of the Soviet Union and the first secretary of the party might well be separated. The KGB would be "reformed." Dissidents at home would be amnestied; those in exile abroad would be allowed to return, and some would take up positions of leadership in government.

Sakharov might be included in some capacity in the government or allowed to teach abroad. The creative arts and cultural and scientific organizations, such as the writers' unions and Academy of Sciences, would become apparently more independent, as would the trade unions. Political clubs would be opened to nonmembers of the communist party. Leading dissidents might form one or more alternative political parties.

There would be greater freedom for Soviet citizens to travel. Western and United Nations observers would be invited to the Soviet Union to witness the reforms in action.[19]

Angleton and Golitsyn reportedly sought the assistance of William F. Buckley, Jr. (who once worked for the CIA) in writing New Lies for Old. Buckley refused but later went on to write a novel about Angleton, Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton.[20]

New Lies for Old received a first edition in Portuguese in 2018.[21][22]

The Perestroika Deception[edit]

In 1995, Anatoliy Golitsyn and Christopher Story published a book entitled The Perestroika Deception containing purported memoranda attributed to Golitsyn claiming:

  • "The [Soviet] strategists are concealing the secret coordination that exists and will continue between Moscow and the 'nationalist' leaders of [the] 'independent' republics."[citation needed]
  • "The power of the KGB remains as great as ever… Talk of cosmetic changes in the KGB and its supervision is deliberately publicized to support the myth of 'democratization' of the Soviet political system."[citation needed]
  • "Scratch these new, instant Soviet 'democrats,' 'anti-Communists,' and 'nationalists' who have sprouted out of nowhere, and underneath will be found secret Party members or KGB agents."[citation needed]


In his book Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA (Knopf, 1994), Mark Riebling stated that of 194 predictions made in New Lies For Old, 139 had been fulfilled by 1993, 9 seemed 'clearly wrong', and the other 46 were 'not soon falsifiable'.[23]

According to Russian political scientist Yevgenia Albats, Golitsyn's book New Lies for Old claimed that "as early as 1959, the KGB was working up a perestroika-type plot to manipulate foreign public opinion on a global scale. The plan was in a way inspired by the teachings of the 6th-century BC. Chinese theoretician and military commander Sun Tsu, who said, "I will force the enemy to take our strength for weakness, and our weakness for strength, and thus will turn his strength into weakness." Albats argued that the KGB was the major beneficiary of political changes in Russia, and perhaps indeed directed Gorbachev. According to her, "one thing is certain: perestroika opened the way for the KGB to advance toward the very heart of power" in Russia.[24] It has been said that Mikhail Gorbachev justified his new policies as a necessary step to "hug Europe to death", and to "evict the United States from Europe".[25]

According to Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, "In 1992 I had unprecedented access to Politburo and Central Committee secret documents which have been classified, and still are even now, for 30 years. These documents show very clearly that the whole idea of turning the European common market into a federal state was agreed between the left-wing parties of Europe and Moscow as a joint project which Gorbachev in 1988–89 called our 'common European home'." (interview by The Brussels Journal, February 23, 2006).

On 8 June 1995 the British Conservative Member of Parliament Christopher Gill quoted The Perestroika Deception during a House of Commons debate, saying: "It stretches credulity to its absolute bounds to think that suddenly, overnight, all those who were Communists will suddenly adopt a new philosophy and belief, with the result that everything will be different. I use this opportunity to warn the House and the country that that is not the truth"; and: "Every time the House approves one of these collective agreements, not least treaties agreed by the collective of the European Union, it contributes to the furtherance of the Russian strategy."[26]

According to Daniel Pipes, Golitsyn's publications "had some impact on rightist thinking in the United States".[27]

Golitsyn's views are echoed by Czech dissident and politician Petr Cibulka, who has alleged that the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia was staged by the communist StB secret police.

In popular culture[edit]

The 1996 American film Mission: Impossible featured a fictionalized character based on Anatoliy Golitsyn named Alexander Golitsyn, played by actor Marcel Iureș.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Corera, Gordon (2011). The Art of Betrayal: Life and Death in the British Secret Service. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 9780297861010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  3. ^ Arnold Beichman, New lies for old: the communist strategy of deception and disinformation. - book reviews, National Review, September 7, 1984
  4. ^ "NARA Record Number: 104-10169-10125". Mary Ferrell Foundation. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  5. ^ Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-307-27581-7.
  6. ^ a b c Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, August 27, 2008, Yuri I. Nosenko, 81; KGB Agent Who Defected to the U.S.
  7. ^ Herron, Caroline Rand; Wright, Michael (2 February 1986). "THE NATION; A K.G.B. Defector Who May Not Be" – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ War and Intelligence Conference Archived May 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Christopher Andrew, Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries and Deadly Games By Tennent H Bagley Reviewed by Christopher Andrew, The Sunday Times, June 24, 2007
  10. ^ Dorril, Stephen and Ramsay, Robin (1992). Smear! - Wilson and the Secret State. Grafton
  11. ^ Wright, Peter (1987). Spycatcher. New York and London: Viking Penguin Inc.
  12. ^ Leigh, David (1988). The Wilson Plot. Heinemann
  13. ^ Kansakunnan sijaiskärsijät, Lehtinen&Rautkallio. Neuvostotiedustelu Suomessa 1917–1991 strategia ja toiminta, Jukka Seppinen. Vuodet Tehtaankadulla, Albert Akulov. Sisäänajo, Kalevi Sorsa ... etc
  14. ^ Bagley, Tennent H. (2007). Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries and Deadly Games. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. pp. 80–91. ISBN 978-0-300-12198-8.
  15. ^ Posner, p.39
  16. ^ Posner, Gerald, Case Closed (New York:Random House, 1993, pgs. 40–42)
  17. ^ Newman, John M. (2022). Uncovering Popov's Mole. United States: Self-published. pp. 46–50. ISBN 9798355050771.
  18. ^ Anatoly Golitsyn, New Lies for Old
  19. ^ Anatoliy Golitsyn (1984). New Lies for Old. New York: Dodd Mead & Co. p. 339. ISBN 0-396-08194-0.
  20. ^ Buckley, William F., Jr. Spytime: the Undoing of James Jesus Angleton: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2000. ISBN 0-15-100513-3.
  21. ^ "A ameaça comunista | Articulação Conservadora". articulacaoconservadora.org (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2020-04-07. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  22. ^ "Meias Verdades, Velhas Mentiras". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  23. ^ Mark Riebling, Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA, pgs. 407-408
  24. ^ Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia—Past, Present, and Future. 1994. ISBN 0-374-52738-5, see chapter Who was behind perestroika?
  25. ^ Talk of Gorbachev at the meeting of the Soviet Politburo on 26 March 1987. New edition of documents of Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Interview with Pavel Stoilov. (Russian) Archived 2007-11-22 at the Wayback Machine - by Radio Free Europe
  26. ^ Christopher Gill MP Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, House of Commons Hansard Debates for 8 June 1995, Column 370
  27. ^ Pipes, Daniel (1999). Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From. Middle East Forum. p. 114. ISBN 9780684871110.


  • Anatoliy Golitsyn. New Lies for Old G. S. G. & Associates, Incorporated, 1990, ISBN 0-945001-13-4
  • Christopher Story (Editor). ("by Anatoliy Golitsyn") The Perestroika Deception : Memoranda to the Central Intelligence Agency, Edward Harle Ltd; 2nd Ed edition (1998) ISBN 1-899798-03-X

External links[edit]