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Operation Trust (операция "Трест") was a counterintelligence operation of the State Political Directorate (GPU) of the Soviet Union. The operation, which ran from 1921 to 1926, set up a fake anti-Bolshevik resistance organization, "Monarchist Union of Central Russia", MUCR (Монархическое объединение Центральной России, МОЦР), in order to help the OGPU identify real monarchists and anti-Bolsheviks.
The cover story used for discussion was to call the organization the Moscow Municipal Credit Association.
The head of the MUCR was Alexander Yakushev (Александр Александрович Якушев), a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of Communications of Imperial Russia, who after the Russian Revolution joined the Narkomat of External Trade (Наркомат внешней торговли), when the Soviets began to allow the former specialists (called "spetsy", Russian: спецы) to resume the positions of their expertise. This position allowed him to travel abroad and contact Russian emigrants.
MUCR kept the monarchist general Alexander Kutepov (Александр Кутепов) from active actions, as he was convinced to wait for the development of internal anti-Bolshevik forces. Kutepov had previously believed in militant action as a solution to the Soviet occupation, and had formed the "combat organization", a militant splinter from the Russian All-Military Union (Russian: Русский Обще-Воинский Союз, Russkiy ObshcheVoinskiy Soyuz) led by General Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel.
Some modern researchers say that there are reasons to believe that both persons had doubts in MUCR, and they went into the Soviet Union for their own reasons, using MUCR as a pretext.
The Soviets did not organize Trust from scratch. The White Army had left sleeper agents, and there were also Royalist Russians who did not leave after the Civil War. These people cooperated to the point of having a loose organizational structure. When the OGPU discovered them, they did not liquidate them, but expanded the organization for their own use.
Still another episode of the operation was an "illegal" trip (in fact, monitored by OGPU) of a notable émigré, Vasily Shulgin, into the Soviet Union. After his return he published a book "Three Capitals" with his impressions. In the book he wrote, in part, that contrary to his expectations, Russia was reviving, and the Bolsheviks would probably be removed from power.
The one Western historian who had limited access to the Trust files, John Costello, reported that they comprised thirty-seven volumes and were such a bewildering welter of double-agents, changed code names, and interlocking deception operations with "the complexity of a symphonic score", that Russian historians from the Intelligence Service had difficulty separating fact from fantasy.
In 1967 a Soviet adventure TV series Operation Trust (Операция "Трест") was created.
- Political warfare
- Inner Line
- False flag operations
- Hundred Flowers Campaign, China
- Honeypot (computing)
- Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, Gardners Books (2000), ISBN 0-14-028487-7
- Costello, John and Oleg Tsarev, Deadly Illusions: The KGB Orlov Dossier Reveals Stalin's Master Spy, Crown Publishing, 1993. ISBN 0-517-58850-1
- Richard B. Spence Trust no One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly, Feral House publ., 2003, ISBN 0-922915-79-2
- Gordon Brook-Shepherd Iron Maze. The Western Secret Services and the Bolsheviks, Macmillan, 1998
- Pamela K. Simpkins and K. Leigh Dyer, The Trust, The Security and Intelligence Foundation Reprint Series, July 1989.