Dmitri Polyakov
Allegiance 22x20px United States
Service GRU
Active 1951-1980
Rank General
Codename(s) Bourbon

Born 6 July 1921
Died 15 March 1988
Cause of
Nationality Soviet

Dmitri Fyodorovich Polyakov (Template:Lang-ru) (July 6, 1921 - March 15, 1988) was a Soviet Major General, a high-ranking GRU officer, and a prominent Cold War spy who revealed Soviet secrets to the Central Intelligence Agency. In the CIA he was known by code names BOURBON and ROAM, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) knew him as TOPHAT.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in 1921, in Ukraine, he graduated from Sumy Artillery School in June 1941 and served as an artillery officer in World War II and was decorated for bravery. After the war and his studies at Frunze Military Academy and GRU Training Courses, he joined Soviet Military Intelligence, the GRU. His first mission was with the Soviet delegation to the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations in New York from 1951-1956.

Agent[edit | edit source]

On his second assignment there, in 1959-1961, he approached FBI counterintelligence agents to offer his services as an informant. His follow-up overseas assignments included Rangoon, Burma (1965-1969) and New Delhi, India (1973-1976 and 1979-1980) where he was posted as Soviet Military Attaché. Some in the CIA feel that Polyakov became a mole because he was disgusted with the corruption of the Soviet Party elite.[1] Victor Cherkashin suggested that he was embittered because Soviet leadership denied him permission to take his seriously ill son, the eldest of three, to a hospital in New York where he could get adequate medical attention. This son died as a result of the illness and soon after, Polyakov began his informant activities.[2]

For 25 years, he remained a CIA informant as he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a General. CIA officers speak in superlatives about the kind of information he provided. Sandy Grimes said of him, "Polyakov was our crown jewel,... the best source at least to my knowledge that American intelligence has ever had and I would submit, although I certainly can't be certain, but the best source that any intelligence service has ever had."[3] James Woolsey said of him, "Polyakov was the jewel in the crown."[1] According to all accounts, he was not interested in money, but was acting purely from principle.

Among the important information Polyakov provided:

  • Evidence of the growing rift between the Soviet Union and China. This information played a crucial role in President Richard Nixon's decision to open diplomatic relations with China in 1972.
  • Technical data on Soviet-made antitank missiles. While the US never fought the Soviet Union directly, knowledge of these weapons proved invaluable when Iraq employed them in the second Gulf War.
  • Proof of spying done by Frank Bossard for the USSR.

Arrest and Execution[edit | edit source]

In 1980 Polyakov retired, and as an avid sportsman, wrote articles for a Soviet hunting magazine. In 1986 Polyakov was arrested by the KGB. His contacts at the CIA had no information about what might have happened to him. Only later, it became clear that he was betrayed by both Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames. In 1988 Polyakov was sentenced to death for treason and executed.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

CIA officer Jeanne Vertefeuille said, "He didn’t do this for money. He insisted on staying in place to help us. It was a bad day for us when we lost him." [1]

References[edit | edit source]

de:Dmitri Fjodorowitsch Poljakow es:Dmitri Poliakov pl:Dmitrij Polakow ru:Поляков, Дмитрий Фёдорович

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