Pavel Fitin

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Pavel Fitin
Birth name Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin
Nickname(s) Viktor
Born 1907
Ozhogino, Russian Empire
Died 24 December 1971
Soviet Union
Allegiance Soviet Union Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Years of service 1932-1953
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs
Battles/wars Great Terror
Operation Barbarossa
German-Soviet War
Awards Order of the Red Banner
Order of the Red Star
Red Banner of Tuva

Lieutenant General Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin (ru: Павел Михайлович Фитин) (1907 Ozhogino, Tobolsk guberniya, Russian Empire - 24 December 1971, Moscow, Soviet Union) was a Soviet intelligence officer and was the director of Soviet intelligence during World War II, identified in the Venona cables under the code name "Viktor."[1]


Fitin graduated from a program in agricultural engineering studies at the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in 1932 after which he served in the Red Army, then became an editor for the State Publishing House of Agricultural Literature. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) selected him for a special course in foreign intelligence.

NKVD Deputy Head[edit]

Fitin became deputy chief of the NKVD's foreign intelligence in 1938, then a year later at the age of thirty-one became chief. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service credits Fitin with rebuilding the depleted foreign intelligence department after Stalin's Great Terror. Fitin also is credited with providing ample warning of the German Invasion of 22 June 1941 that began the German-Soviet War. Only the actual invasion saved Fitin from execution for providing the head of the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, with information General Secretary of the CPSU, Joseph Stalin did not want to believe. Beria retained Fitin as chief of foreign intelligence until the war ended but demoted him.

Pavel Fitin thought it was important to build up a network of spies inside the Manhattan Project. However, at the beginning he was mainly reliant on Klaus Fuchs. Fitlin gave the project the codename "Enormoz". In November 1944 he reported: "Despite participation by a large number of scientific organization and workers on the problem of Enormoz in the U.S., mainly known to us by agent data, their cultivation develops poorly. Therefore, the major part of data on the U.S. comes from the station in England. On the basis of information from London station, Moscow Center more than once sent to the New York station a work orientation and sent a ready agent, too (Klaus Fuchs)." [2]

Another important source was John Cairncross. Pavel Fitin reported to Vsevolod Merkulov: "Valuable information on Enormoz is coming from the London station. The first materials on Enormoz were received in late 1941 from our source List (John Cairncross), containing valuable and absolutely secret documents both on the substance of the Enormoz problem and on measures by the British government to organize and develop work on the problem of atomic energy in our country. In connection with American and Canadian work on Enormoz, materials describing the state and progress of work in three countries - England, the U.S., and Canada - are all coming from the London station." [3]

Dishonored Discharge[edit]

After Beria was executed in 1953, Fitin was discharged from the NKVD and denied his pension. Fitin was unable to find employment until 1959.


Fitin attained the rank of lieutenant-general, and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Red Star, the Red Banner of Tuva and Order of the Republic of the Tuvan People's Republic.


In 1942, Joseph Stalin appointed Pavel Sudoplatov to head the intelligence work on the Manhattan Project, and to coordinate the data gathered by Soviet agents in England, Canada, and the United States. Most cables sent via the New York – Moscow connection were sent by KGB officer Leonid Kvasnikov, known as Anton, to Lieutenant General Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin, known as Viktor, who had been the head of the foreign intelligence section of the KGB at that time (NSA 2/9/44).


  1. ^ Venona 195 New York to Moscow 9 February 1944
  2. ^
  3. ^ Pavel Fitin report to Vsevolod Merkulov (August, 1945)

See also[edit]