Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov (Template:Lang-ru; Troitsk, located in modern Chelyabinsk Oblast, 1901–1975) was a Soviet spy of Tatar ethnicity who joined the Bolshevik Party in 1919. Akhmerov 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. Akhmerov spoke Turkish, English and French. His wife, an American who worked for Soviet intelligence, was Helen Lowry (Elza Akhmerova), the niece of the CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder.
In 1932 Akhmerov transferred to the foreign intelligence of the NKVD and served as a covert intelligence officer under diplomatic cover in Turkey. He became a covert field officer serving in China in 1934. In 1935 he entered the United States with false identity papers and served until 1939. Akhmerov returned in 1942 and served as covert resident in the United States during World War II and operated under cover as a clothier. 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 intercepted Venona project decrypts of Soviet intelligence messages are MAYOR and ALBERT.
In late 1945 or early 1946 Akhmerov returned to the Soviet Union and became deputy chief of the KGB's covert intelligence section (отдел нелегальной разведки). He attained the rank of colonel and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Badge of Honor, and the badge of Honored Chekist.
KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky said that Akhmerov delivered a lecture to KGB personnel in the early 1960s, one that Gordievsky attended. Gordievsky later reported that Akhmerov had described FDR's personal assistant Harry Hopkins as "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States". Mark (1988) shows that Hopkins was not in fact pro-Soviet and that Akhmerov misunderstood Hopkins role; other Soviet leaders realized Hopkins was feeding the Soviets information (as he was authorized to do) to keep them allied with the U.S. Other Soviet sympathizers have also criticized Gordievsky- retired NKVD Lieutenant General Vitaliy Pavlov wrote that Gordievsky was a "traitor who did not know Akhmerov personally." Pavlov says that Akhmerov was very secretive about his work and would never have disclosed the names of his American connections. Pavlov directly contradicts Gordievsky by writing, "Harry Hopkins [and] Alger Hiss... were not agents of ours". Journalist Eric Alterman wrote in 1996 that Gordievsky fabricated the account for profit.
References[edit | edit source]
- Return to Responses, Reflections and Occasional Papers
- Eduard Mark, "Venona's Source '19' and the 'Trident' Conference of May 1943: Diplomacy or Espionage?" Intelligence & National Security, Apr 1998, Vol. 13 Issue 2, pp 1-31, esp. 20
- Pavlov, Vitaliy (1996). "A Russian Spymaster Remembers". Moscow: Geya Publishers; New York University. https://files.nyu.edu/th15/public/pavlov.html. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Alterman, Eric (1996). "Alterman Examines Spy Proof: I Spy With One Little Eye". The Nation. https://files.nyu.edu/th15/public/venona4.html. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Biography (in Russian)
- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999)
- Richard C.S. Trahair and Robert Miller, Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations (New York: Enigma Books, 2008) ISBN 978-1-929631-75-9