Iskhak Akhmerov

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Ishkak Akhmerov
Ishkak Akhmerov (undated)
Born Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov
Died 1976
Nationality Russian
Ethnicity Tatar
Alma mater First State University
Employer OGPU/NKVD
Known for espionage
Political party Communist
Spouse(s) Helen Lowry (AKA "Elza Akhmerova")
Relatives Earl Browder (uncle by marriage)
Awards Order of the Red Banner, Order of the Badge of Honor, badge of Honored Chekist

Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov (Russian: Исха́к Абду́лович Ахме́ров, Tatar: Cyrillic Исхак Габдулла улы Әхмәров, Latin İsxaq Ğabdulla ulı Əxmərov) (1901–1976) was a highly decorated KGB officer, best known to historians for his role in KGB operations in the United States from 1942-1945. His name appears in the Venona decryptions over fifty times, often as signatory,[1] and on his return to the Soviet Union in 1945/46, he rose to deputy chief of the KGB's 'illegal' intelligence section.[2]



Akhmerov was born in Troitsk, located in modern Chelyabinsk Oblast,[3] and came from a Tatar background.

He joined the Bolshevik Party in 1919, and attended the Communist University of Toilers of the East and the First State University, where he graduated from the School of International Relations in 1930.


Akhmerov joined the OGPU/NKVD in 1930 and participated in the suppression of anti-Soviet movements in the USSR's Bukhara Republic between 1930 and 1931.[4]

In 1932 Akhmerov transferred to the foreign intelligence division of the NKVD and served as a 'legal' intelligence officer under diplomatic cover in Turkey. In 1934, he transferred to China, where he served as an 'illegal' field officer.

In 1935 he entered the United States with false identity papers and served until 1939, when he was transferred back to the Soviet Union. Akhmerov returned to the United States in 1942 and served as chief illegal resident during World War II.

In late 1945 or early 1946 Akhmerov returned to the Soviet Union and became deputy chief of the KGB's 'illegal' intelligence section (отдел нелегальной разведки). He attained the rank of colonel.


Akhmerov received the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Badge of Honor, and the badge of Honored Chekist.


Akhmerov is known to have used the cover names "William Grienke", "Michael Green", "Michael Adamec", and several others while in the United States. His code names in the Venona project decrypts of Soviet intelligence messages are MAYOR and ALBERT.[5]


Akhmerov spoke Turkish, English and French.

He married Helen Lowry (AKA "Elza Akhmerova"), who was a niece of the CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder and also worked for Soviet intelligence.


  1. ^ Robert L. Benson, The Venona Story, 2001, 35.
  2. ^ John Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 391, citing Veterany Vneshnei Razvedki Rossii, Moscow: Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, 1995.
  3. ^ Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. "Biography of Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov". Retrieved 4 Apr 2013. 
  4. ^ John Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 391.
  5. ^ Robert L. Benson, The Venona Story, 2001, 35.

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