Divided Loyalties Within the Bloc: Romanian Objection to Soviet Informal Controls, 1963-1964

By
Larry Watts
Romanian delegation visiting Moscow, August 1962. Romanian Communism Online Photo Collection, Photo #E404.
CWIHP e-Dossier No. 42
 
Introduction
 

The removal of Soviet control was a central goal of Romanian communist elites at least since the death of Stalin. It drove, for instance, the campaign begun in 1955 for the withdrawal of Soviet troops and advisers. And it was the motivating factor behind the bid for economic independence that began even earlier with the closure of Soviet-Romanian joint ventures. By 1963 Romanian efforts to exercise full sovereignty in their own country had shifted from the largely-accomplished removal of the more ostentatious instruments of that control to the rooting out of its less overt forms, specifically Soviet clandestine networks and the direct recruitment of individuals by the KGB and GRU.

Foreign Training or Foreign Recruitment? 

Although the intermarriage of elites as a method of forging alliances and cementing political relationships dates back to antiquity, Soviet authorities employed it rather consistently as a means of exerting covert influence and control over the non-Soviet spouse. The private marital relationship seldom drew close or consistent official scrutiny and was thus ideally suited for such clandestine influence. When combined with the more overt forms of indoctrination embedded in the training programs provided to visiting officers, including the almost inevitable attempt at recruitment by either Soviet military intelligence or the KGB, the provision of a Soviet wife amplified the leverage that Moscow could bring to bear upon those officers considerably.

This practice evoked rather specific memories for Romanians regarding similar practices that had proven detrimental to the consolidation of the modern Romanian state. The training of junior officers within the armed forces of the great European empires – especially the German, Tsarist and Austro-Hungarian – repeatedly caused problems of shifting and conflicting loyalty for the Romanian Army during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[1]

Those training programs usually combined a period of formal instruction in one of the host country’s military academies culminating in a year’s service within their armed forces. As part of their graduation ceremony officer-trainees also took the same oath pledging their allegiance to the country of the host army as did native officers, and then served as an officer of that army – rather than as a representative of their own military – before returning home.[2] The magnitude of the attraction this exerted on young officers from the poorly-resourced army of a country at the very beginning of its institutional and economic development was enormous. The allegiance ambiguity thus created was amplified by the tendency of officers to return with newly-acquired wives, and further exacerbated by obligations incurred of a fiduciary or legal character (property acquisitions, debts, etc.) while in the host country.[3]

According to a 1908 study by the Romanian General Staff in reference to junior officer training with German imperial forces, for example, this created a wealth of obstacles to the creation of a “unified perspective” within the Romanian officer corps:

The young Romanian officers who had been in Germany alienated themselves, just as had most Romanians who had been sent abroad at too young an age to study in foreign countries. Some from among them made as if they no longer knew the Romanian tongue, others returned with monocles and with other habits copied from the Prussian Junkers, and many more believed they were of a nobility as old as that which they imitated, others finally, had German wives.[4]

The worst-case scenario of loyalty shift in the midst of national crisis became manifest during World War I when a German-trained colonel abandoned the sector under his command, betrayed his country, and actively sought to instigate his brother officers to join his treason.[5] Romania’s King Carol II, having trained with the 1st Prussian Regiment in Potsdam, showed greater sympathy for the German side during the war and sought to replace his country’s French-inspired constitutionalism with German and Italian-inspired Fascism once he gained the throne in 1930.[6] In World War II one foreign-trained officer deserted to command a German SS Division, while another, who had served as Romania’s defense minister and chief of the general staff in 1941-1942, conspired with the German SS and the right-radical Iron Guard to overthrow the Romanian military and political leadership.[7]

Dueling Identities, Divided Loyalties

Divided loyalty was also a central problem for Romanian communists during this period. Members of the Communist International (1919-1943) were paid agents of Moscow regardless of their national origins or party affiliations, and their operations outside the Soviet Union were indiscernible from Soviet espionage operations.[8] The Comintern frequently ‘seconded’ its members for Soviet intelligence operations, freely transferring them between various intelligence services, and their subordination did not necessarily end when they took over as national communist leaders after World War II.[9]

The dilemma of divided loyalty was particularly sharp for Romanian communists as Moscow required all communist parties within the Comintern to advocate the destruction of the Romanian state and the portioning out of its territory to the USSR, Hungary, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia as a matter of official policy beginning in 1924.[10] The obligation to pursue the destruction of their homeland placed a heavy burden on Romanian communists, making their party highly unpopular.[11] From 1924 until 1944 Moscow imposed as leaders of Romanian communism persons who were not even Romanian citizens (much less of Romanian ethnicity) because of their lack of confidence that Romanian-born communists would embrace the Comintern program. [Document 2] That program was eventually abandoned because of Romanian fait accompli – an internal coup that installed a native Romanian leadership in April 1944 – and not because of any prior Soviet reconsideration.

Further muddying the waters, on several occasions during the 1920s-1940s (and briefly following the 1956 Hungarian revolt) Romanian party members were instructed to switch their affiliation between the Romanian, Hungarian, and Soviet communist parties at Moscow’s behest. Meanwhile, in accordance with general practice, Romanian members of the Comintern acquired Soviet citizenship, as did the commanding officers of the POW divisions formed in the USSR – the Tudor Vladimirescu Division and the Horia, Cloşcă and Crişan Division – that returned to Romania at the end of the war.[12] [Document 1]

The Soviet victory exacerbated the already massive loyalty problem as Stalin sought to consolidate control over his new Eastern European empire through institutional duplication, the direct subordination of political, economic and military structures, and the peppering of those institutions and structures with Soviet and Soviet-Romanian personnel.[13] Stalin was particularly attentive to the institutions of state coercion – the army, the security and intelligence apparatus, and the militia. Accordingly, in Romania as in the rest of Eastern Europe, he imposed Soviet citizens to lead those institutions and their main subunits.[14]

Exploiting Private Relationships for Clandestine Purposes

Arranged marriages were used as both cover and control. On the one hand, Soviet officers heading Romanian institutions – marked by their heavily accented Romanian or lack of fluency altogether – acquired Romanian-style names and ostensibly ‘Romanian’ wives. On the other, Soviet women were used to control Romanian officers in various ways. Some Romanian officers (from both the army and the state security apparatus) who trained in the USSR returned with Soviet wives. Some married into Romanian families that had worked for the Comintern and thus held Soviet citizenship. And some officers married to Romanian women prior to their training became involved with Soviet women in the USSR, and those liaisons rendered them vulnerable to blackmail.[15] According to Romanian (and Polish) assessments, the Soviet wives of returning political and military elites were almost invariably officers or agents of Soviet intelligence.[16]

There was little opportunity to counter the thorough-going effort to transfer national loyalties to the Soviet “leading center” prior to 1953. Almost immediately after Stalin’s death, however, efforts were made in a number of Eastern European countries to oust Soviet commanders and curb the influence of Soviet advisers in their military and intelligence institutions. After Moscow unilaterally placed Romania’s armed forces on alert during the 1961 Berlin Crisis by passing its instructions through Soviet advisers to Soviet-trained officers in senior command positions, Bucharest redoubled it efforts in this direction.

Consequently, Bucharest ended the practice of sending its military and intelligence officers for training in the USSR and began circumscribing the career opportunities of those who had undergone such training. These measures failed to resolve the problem and, during the 1962 Cuban crisis, Moscow again demonstrated its ability to place the Romanian army on alert without consulting national authorities.[17] This prompted Bucharest to purge its military, focusing on Soviet-trained officers and those with Soviet spouses primarily.[18]

As part and parcel of the effort to curb Soviet informal influence, Bucharest also launched a de-russification campaign during 1962-1963, closing down the main avenues through which Moscow penetrated Romanian power structures through ostensibly cultural contacts.[19] In April 1963, Gheorghiu Dej underscored to his Politburo that there was no justification whatsoever for organizing intelligence networks “on the territory of socialist countries,” and Moscow’s continuation of this practice cast a “shadow over” Romanian-Soviet relations.[20] In May 1963 the Romanians officially informed KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny that the last two Soviet advisers working in their interior ministry were “no longer necessary and that, in the future, cooperation between our two ministries will take place only at the top level.”[21]

Moscow’s ‘Non-existent’ Agent Networks

Romanian authorities recommended the closure of Soviet espionage networks to Khrushchev during his visit to Bucharest in June 1963, apparently compelling a backhanded acknowledgment that Moscow indeed ran such networks.[22] [Documents 1, 2, 5, 6] According to Khrushchev, however, the phenomenon was a ‘natural’ one in which “informers appear by themselves” whenever “good relations are compromised,” and was not the result of “any sort of agent of ours in the socialist countries.” [23] [Document 1] This soon became the Soviet fall-back position.

By August 1963 the related issues of clandestine Soviet intelligence gathering on its territory and Soviet citizenship became central elements in the Romanian-Soviet debate as Bucharest took direct action to close down KGB and GRU networks.[24] Nicolae Ceauşescu was assigned the lead in this campaign, as reflected in his exposition to the August 1963 Politburo meeting on the topic:

We have looked into how Soviet intelligence agent networks were, and continue to be, organized, and how these networks operate. My talks with a number of those involved reveal that they continue even now to recruit agent networks for the Soviet espionage service. They continue to recruit Romanian citizens to Soviet agent networks for use both in this country and abroad. …

We have collected data on a number of these people proving they worked in these agent networks, particularly in the case of those who were part of the Tudor Vladimirescu Division. The bulk of them admit they had indeed been recruited and had worked in the Soviet agent networks. [Document 1]

Very probably referring to his own experience when he received “military” training in the USSR for a few months in the early 1950s and returned to Romania with general’s rank, Ceauşescu underscored that “those who were sent to study in the USSR” were particularly vulnerable to Soviet recruitment.[25] He further explained that the backbone of the espionage rings was formed by Soviet officers who were infiltrated into Romania during the war and continued to operate a “network at the Central Committee” and one “in the localities where Soviet troops were deployed” (Transylvania, Moldova, and the Dobrogea area along the Black Sea) without interruption.[26] Moreover, he pointed out, Soviet advisers “organized intelligence activities the entire time they were here.”[27] Ceauşescu concluded that:

It is obvious that the Soviets not only had intelligence networks here, they run them still. All those [agents] who maintained that they worked only up until 1949-1953 also stated that they were told to preserve their contacts with [KGB senior officer] Pîntilie even after they interrupted their activity.[28] It seems, in fact, that this was a step towards making them “illegals.” We have explained to these people that they must subordinate themselves to the party,” and “that we will not accept the continuation of these agent networks in any way, shape or form.” [Document 1]

At the heart of Bucharest’s complaint was Moscow’s extraordinary claim on the loyalty of Romanian citizens and the fundamental inequality this represented. As Gheorghiu Dej explained to the Romanian party leadership:

Maintaining intelligence networks inside the party, in a socialist state, is done only when one considers oneself to be in a position of supremacy and considers the other an untrustworthy subordinate. … This is not only a transgression of sovereignty. It indicates something much harder to qualify, the relationship between master and slave. [Document 1]

Gheorghiu Dej even proposed to Khrushchev that the Kremlin shut down all Soviet intelligence and espionage operations – not just in Romania but throughout the socialist community. As he related to the Politburo:

We raised the issue of their not having agent networks in any socialist country. To top everything else off, that made Khrushchev call us “bastards,” even before enumerating Soviet disagreements with us. You should have no illusions concerning the fact that we are listened to in every socialist country, wherever we go. When I pointed this out to Khrushchev, he tried to justify the existence of these agent networks, arguing that people were concerned by what was happening in the relations between Romania and the Soviet Union [but] in fact they pursued this line of recruiting long before, and they have continued it without interruption. [Document 1]

Soviet authorities were clearly unwilling to address this topic, and any admission the Romanians thought they had prized from Khrushchev in June 1963 clearly reflected the latter’s momentary imbalance rather than any greater openness on the Soviet side. The considerable distance between the two perspectives grew greater still as Bucharest sought to eliminate Soviet espionage networks, resolve the problem of divided loyalties, and establish a new basis for their relations. Moscow, on the contrary, was far more interested in rolling back the de-russification campaign, salvaging what it could of its rapidly diminishing footprint after the removal of Soviet economic directors, troops, advisers, and ‘cultural’ institutions, and preserving and expanding its informal networks. [Document 6] It desired, in fact, the status quo ante.

The linked issues of citizenship, loyalty and espionage resurfaced in rather explicit terms in March 1964, during Romanian party preparations of what would become known as its “declaration of independence.” According to Nikolai Podgorny, the Soviets found particularly offensive the declaration by the head of Romania’s state security apparatus that “we must be very clear regarding the problem of Soviet citizens, because there are many among the Soviet citizens who are engaged in [hostile] espionage.”[29]

First Secretary Gheorghiu Dej presented the Romanian perspective to the Chinese Ambassador that June:

Comrade Khrushchev trusts us, but, with all of that, he wants to have his men in our country, in our party. He has numerous personnel occupied with this and in addition he tries to recruit military personnel, civilians, etc., who should work for them.

In Moscow they follow our diplomats just as they do the imperialists, and they have installed listening devices in the dwelling of our military representative to the Warsaw Pact. And all of this is done in the name of proletarian internationalism! […]

We do not have people engaged in intelligence work in any socialist country. In contrast, they have an intelligence network operating in our country. Because of that we were compelled to draw up a special material for increasing vigilance in the party and among the population. … [T]hey consider us as an unsure and capricious ally because we express our opinion, and we do not swallow all of theirs.[30]

Bringing the Problem into Open Discussion

With no easement on the horizon, and with Moscow apparently prepared to apply military pressure – a new Soviet battalion was deployed near the border in the Moldavian SSR at the end of May and the Soviets had increased their effective strength from 2.5 soldiers per kilometer to 11 soldiers per kilometer all along the Soviet-Romanian frontier – Bucharest requested “high-level meetings in order to analyze the divergences that have appeared between the two parties.” [Document 3] Moscow responded favorably at the beginning of July 1964. [Document 4

To this end the Romanians prepared a list of the outstanding grievances in Romanian-Soviet relations grouped in four categories with sixteen main points. [Document 5] Any hopes that the      Romanians may have harbored for a frank exchange on these issues were to be sorely disappointed. When the Romanian Prime Minister raised the issue of agent networks at the start of the week-long discussions the Soviet delegation responded:

Cde. Lesechiko[31]: What? Are you claiming that we, the Soviets, maintain agent networks in Romania?

Cde. Maurer: Yes, we are affirming this to you now and we are affirming it not for the first time. We affirmed the exact same thing during the discussions that we had in Bucharest with Cde. Khrushchev, in which you also participated (addressing Comrade Podgorny)

Cde. Podgorny: This problem was not raised there; we do not have agent networks in Romania.

Cde. Kosygin[32]: I have never heard of such a thing either.

Cde. Răutu: At the meeting attended by Cde. Podgorny and by Cde. Kosygin and by Cde. Andoropov, Cde Ceauşescu raised this question.

Cde. Podgorny: We have never maintained an agent network in Romania and even if 20 Ceauşescus affirmed we did, we would not agree [that we had]. …

Cde. Maurer: We have here the transcript of the discussion in Bucharest [of 24-25 June 1963]. This transcript testifies to the fact that the problem was raised, and that it was not raised incidentally, in the course of other discussion, but as a special point of the discussions.[33]

Not for the first time, the Soviet-Romanian debate quickly degenerated into the absurd. Specific examples given by the Romanian side were simply dismissed while the first-hand description of the Soviet espionage networks given by Deputy Prime Minister Emil Bodnăraş, the man who ran them on Moscow’s behalf during the war and into the initial post-war period, was likewise ignored. The Soviet delegation stuck to the party line, stubbornly denying any such thing.

Efforts to allow for Soviet sensibilities by attributing the operation of these networks to rogue elements within Romania and the USSR – to “persons who have not yet turned the corner” and “who have not rid themselves of the dysfunctional habits of former times against which, we know you are fighting” – also fell on deaf ears.[34] Nor was Bodnăraş any more successful in arguing the operational vulnerabilities that such practices created vis-à-vis Moscow’s “Main Enemy”:

We would like to announce to you, comrades, that we have warned our party organs about the danger of this intelligence activity. We cannot tolerate such agent informers, even when they work for a business firm from the Soviet Union or for the friendship [associations] with other socialist states. If we permit the functioning of such means of information, we will open the way to American and English espionage, which can also infiltrate under the cover of a business firm. … Regarding occasional or professional informers, we have decided to take measures against them, because they are the most dangerous agents in the service of hostility between us.[35]

Podgorny “officially and categorically” rejected all affirmations “that the USSR conducts any intelligence activity in Romania.”[36] According to Podgorny, after consulting with the Soviet State Security Committee (KGB), his delegation had received:

…complete assurance in categorically rejecting your affirmations with regard to the intelligence activity against the RPR and her citizens, wherever they may be and in any way at all. … We affirm that this has never happened and that our intelligence organs have nothing to do with such activity whatsoever.[37]

Podgorny further dismissed the arguments of the prime minister and his deputy as “tendentious,” and suggested that both were merely trying to “cover up the anti-Sovietism manifested in the party meetings after the April Plenum.” He also drew attention to the flood of “news and rumors regarding the diminishing interest of the Romanian comrades in the Warsaw Pact,” and affirming “that Romania could assure its own security and that it should not be a member of this Pact.”[38] He then concluded by claiming that “the problem of the so-called Soviet agent networks in Romania” was now “sufficiently” and “fully clarified” for all parties – “there are not now nor could ever be any of our agents of any sort.”[39]

Clandestine Confrontation Ensured

In what may have been one of the last opportunities for improving Romanian-Soviet relations during the Cold War, on 17 July 1964 Khrushchev confirmed denial as official Soviet policy. After blaming Romania entirely for the downturn in their relations, he admonished the Romanian delegation for its stance:

Today we read the TASS bulletin and the material of the foreign intelligence services. Foreign Ambassadors are talking about the fact that there is a purge of those married with Soviet citizens taking place in Romania; they are losing their ranks. The fact speaks for itself, and it doesn’t say friendship. It is said that the law does not permit those married with women of other nationalities [citizenship] to hold positions of responsibility in the state apparatus. However this law existed before as well, but now they are being fired. Thus it is not a question of the law, but about the relations which are being created now. …  

And then with the Russian spies. I have to tell you, this smells of Stalinism. Aside from damage, it can bring nothing else. None of our spies are there. That is just stupidity.[40]

Khrushchev then implied exactly the opposite when he asserted that the Romanians could harbor no secret attitude or intention towards the Soviet Union without Moscow’s knowledge, and that the greater the sensitivity of the matter the faster its discovery:

Come on, let’s establish a rule. There are no secrets in this world. A person of responsibility in Romania affirms something to someone in a confidential manner about the relations between the USSR and the PRR and we will have the documents concerning what was said there. ... Thus, practically, there are no secrets that we will not discover. … The most secret things arrive the most rapidly to [our] knowledge.[41]

Romanian reactions were predictable. In a move that was observed by the other bloc members, the communist leadership ordered Romanian officers to either divorce their Soviet wives and “send them back to the USSR or to resign from the army.”[42] There is some question as to whether this latter instruction was universally-applied, either in the armed forces or in the state security apparatus (which under the Communist constitution was formally included within the “armed forces.”)[43] Since the stipulation was aimed initially at Soviet-born wives it may not have been designed for or applied with any rigor in the case of Romanian-born wives who also possessed Soviet citizenship (and even less to Romanian-born women holding senior party positions along with their Soviet passports).[44]

Regarding Romanian-Soviet intelligence collaboration, the “break off” about which Podgorny had complained was now made permanent.[45] As the KGB leadership later complained to their Stasi counterparts, “beginning in 1963 there were no longer any liaison officers of the two secret services in Romania or the Soviet Union,” and the “exchanges of intelligence on military and foreign policy” through the official Romanian Embassy channel were “only sporadic” and “minor.”[46] Symbolic of this breakdown was the creation of a permanent anti-KGB unit (the “Socialist Countries Desk”), even though it would receive its formal designation (UM 0920/A) as a bona-fide component of the Romanian state security apparatus only five years later. From this point, each May, the Romania leadership used the triple anniversary of Romanian independence, the end of World War II, and the founding of the Warsaw Pact to publicly denounce the Moscow’s ‘past’ efforts to exploit divided loyalties in order to overthrow national communist leaderships.[47]

Larry L. Watts is a professor in the Master’s Program in Security Studies and Intelligence Analysis run jointly by the University of Bucharest and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). He served as security sector reform advisor to Romania’s Presidential Counselor for National Security and to the Romanian Defense Ministry during 1991-2004. He is the author of With Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania (2010), which was published in Romanian translation in 2011. Most recently, he has an upcoming book Extorting Peace: Romanian-Warsaw Pact Relations During 1978-1989 and the End of the Cold War, which will be published in Romanian in 2013, and followed by publication in English. 

Documents

 

Obtained and translated by Larry L. Watts

 

The first document in this collection, discovered by Petre Otu, is the Romanian Politburo’s August 1963 discussion of Soviet networks operating covertly on their territory, of Khrushchev’s reaction when confronted over this issue, of the intention to shut down those networks and reclaim the Romanian agents working in them, and of how the Romanian leadership went about accomplishing that aim.[48] The second document, brought to light by diplomat Romulus Ioan Budura, is part of a March 1964 discussion between Romanian and Chinese officials on the Soviet use of informal channels to interfere in Romania’s domestic affairs.[49] The next four documents were discovered by diplomat Vasile Buga.[50]  Document 3 is the Romanian Workers Party request for discussions following Soviet complaints regarding the new policy line introduced with the April 1964 “declaration of independence.” Document 4 is Moscow’s positive response. And Document 5 lists the array of ultimately irreconcilable differences that had arisen in Soviet-Romanian relations under Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej by July 1964, in preparation for the upcoming discussions. Topping the list of major problems were the “anti-Soviet atmosphere in Romania,” the “problem of Soviet citizens,” and the “maintenance of espionage networks” on Romanian territory. The last document provides detail regarding several levels of the debate over loyalty and trust within the bloc, from inter-party and inter-state relations to the debate over the citizenship of Soviet women married to Romanian elites.

DOCUMENT 1

Meeting of the Political Bureau of the Romanian Workers Party [RWP] (Excerpts)

30 August 1963

[Source: ANIC, fond Comitetul Central C.C. al P.C.R., sectia Cancelarie, dosar nr. 44/1963, file 75-82; Petre Otu, “Vin Vremuri Grele: In Biroul Politic, despre agentura sovietica” [“Hard Times Are Coming: In the Political Bureau, About the Soviet Agent Networks], Magazin istoric, no. 7 (July 1999), pp. 19-24.]

 

DOCUMENT 2

Transcript of Conversations between Delegations of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers’ Party and the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing (Excerpts)

3-10 March 1964

[Source: ANIC, fond C.C. al P.C.R. – Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 29/1964, f. 1-124; Document 8 in Budura (2008), pp. 147-151.]

 

DOCUMENT 3

Letter of the Central Committee of the RWP addressed to the Central Committee of the CPSU proposing the organization of a high-level meeting to analyze the divergences that have arisen between the two parties

26 June 1964

[Source: ANIC, Fond C.C. al P.C.R., Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 36/1964, filele 3-4; Document No. 1 in Buga (2012), pp. 30-31.] 

 

DOCUMENT 4

Letter of response of the CC of the CPSU to the CC of the RWP

2 July 1964

[Source: ANIC, Fond C.C. al P.C.R., Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 36/1964, filele 5-6; Document No. 2 in Buga (2012), pp. 31-32.]

 

DOCUMENT 5

Note on Issues Prepared by Romanian Side for the Conversations in Moscow, Bucharest

6 July 1964

[Source: ANIC, Fond C.C. al P.C.R., Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 36/1964, filele 9-13; Document No. 3 in Buga (2012), pp. 32-36. Translated by Larry L. Watts]

 

DOCUMENT 6

Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC in Moscow (Excerpts)

July 1964

[Source: ANIC, Fond C.C. al P.C.R., Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 35/1964, vol. II, filele 1-237; Document No. 7 in Buga (2012), pp. 77-80, 174-175. Translated by Larry L. Watts]

 

Footnotes

 

 

[1] The military training offered by France was much less problematic as it was offered to more mature, senior officers.

[2] Regarding similar Soviet practices see Dale R. Herspring, “The Soviets, the Warsaw Pact, and the Eastern European Militaries” in Lincoln Gordon, editor, Eroding Empire: Western Relations with Eastern Europe, Washington, Brookings, 1987, pp. 146-147; Viktor Suvorov, Inside Soviet Military Intelligence, New York, Macmillan, 1984, p. 165; and Antoni Macierewicz, coordinator, Report on the actions of soldiers and employees of the former Military Intelligence Services (WSI) performing military intelligence and counter-intelligence activity and other actions going beyond the issues of State defense and safety of the Polish Army, Warsaw, Verification Commission, 16 February 2007, pp. 28-64.

[3] Russian intelligence services, both Tsarist and Bolshevik, “depended heavily on female agents, particularly in foreign operations.” See e.g. Rita T. Kronenbitter, “The Okhrana’s Female Agents,” Studies in Intelligence, vol. 92, no. 2 (22 September 1993):25-42. See also the discussion of “Lenin’s ladies” in Stephen Koch, “Lying for the Truth: Münzenburg & the Comintern,” New Criterion, vol. 12 (November 1993).

[4] Radu R. Rosetti, Marturisiri [Confessions] vol. I, Bucharest, "Bucovina" I. E. Torouţiu, 1940, pp. 145-146. Rosetti was a former Chief of the Romanian General Staff and founder of the Army’s General Inspectorate.

[5]Glenn E. Torrey, “When Treason Was A Crime: The Case of Colonel Alexandru Sturdza of Romania,” Emporia State Research Studies, vol. 39, no. 1 (1992): 1-75.

[6] Larry L. Watts, Incompatible Allies, Umeå, Umeå University (Sweden), 1998, pp. 97-106.

[7] Op. cit., pp. 156-157.

[8] See e.g. David McKnight, Espionage and the Roots of the Cold War: The Conspiratorial Heritage, London, Frank Cass, 2002, pp. 52, 61; Raymond W. Leonard, Secret Soldiers of the Revolution: Soviet Military Intelligence, 1918-1933, Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1999, pp. 17-18, 43, 57, 60, 97, 141-142, 148.

[9] Suvorov (1984), pp. 12, 18-19, 36.

[10] See Ghita Ionescu, Communism in Rumania 1944-1962, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1964, pp. 14, 24-25. See also the discussion in Larry L. Watts, With Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania, Bucharest, Military Publishing House, 2010, pp. 44-78, 122-125.

[11] Watts (2010), pp. 138-146.

[12] These divisions provided the political commissars who first seconded and then replaced over 200 commanding officers (30 generals, 49 colonels, 65 lieutenant colonels and 61 majors) of the Royal Romanian Army in 1947. Florin Şperlea, De la armata regală la armata populară: Sovietizarea armatei române (1948-1955) [From the Royal Army to the Popular Army: The Sovietization of the Romanian Army], Bucharest, Ziua, 2003, pp. 47-52, 64, 78-79, 267.

[13] Soviet citizens also ran Romanian industry and the economy, and were prominent in the party hierarchy.

[14] Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, made a Polish marshal and Poland’s minister of armed forces on Stalin’s order, is perhaps the most infamous case of a Soviet-imposed military commander, although even Rokossovsky has some claim to Polishness. Given the dearth of Romanian Cominternists available, the imposition of Soviet officers over state security organs was perhaps most egregious in Romania. Dennis Deletant, Ceauşescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989, London, Hurst & Company, 1995, pp. 15-17; Cristian Troncotă, Istoria Securitatii Regimului Comunist Din Romania [The History of the Securitate of the Communist Regime in Romania], vol. I, Bucharest, National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism, 2003.

[15] In this regard it is at least interesting that the wives and/or girlfriends of Romania’s most infamous Cold War traitors – for example, Ion Şerb and Nicolae Militaru – held Soviet citizenship.

[16] See e.g. Macierewicz (2007), p. 44. KGB documents smuggled out after the Soviet collapse also suggest Kremlin contingency planning to execute the Soviet wives of Czechoslovak political and military figures prior to the 1968 invasion in order to use the “attack against Soviet citizens” as justification for immediate military intervention. Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB, New York, Basic Books, 2001, p. 334.

[17] Larry L. Watts, Romanian Security Policy and the Cuban Crisis, Cold War International History Project e-Dossier No. 38, February 2013. (Hereafter: CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38)

[18] Jan Sejna, We Will Bury You, London, Sedgwick and Jackson, 1982, p. 67. For example, General Şerb was blackmailed with his Soviet girlfriend and their illegitimate child to betray Romanian defense plans against a possible Soviet led invasion in the late 1960s. General Militaru, who betrayed Romanian defense secrets to Moscow in the late 1970s and then briefly imposed himself as defense minister during the 1989 revolution, was married to a woman from a Cominternist family, and she had accompanied him to the USSR on a training program of her own while he underwent training at a Soviet facility in the 1950s.

[19] Central Intelligence Bulletin: Daily Brief, 13 September 1963; William A. Crawford, recorded interview by William W. Moss, 12 March 1971, pp. 28-33, John F. Kennedy Library Oral History.

[20] Transcript of the Meeting of the Political Bureau of the CC of the PMR of 3 April 1963 in Romania and the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1989, vol. I, A CWIHP Document Reader compiled by Mircea Munteanu for the International Conference “Romania and the Warsaw Pact,” 3-6 October 2002, Bucharest, Romania.

[21] 13 May 1963 protocol of meeting of the Political Bureau of the CC of the Romanian Worker’s Party, ANIC, fond CC al PCR, secţia Cancelarie, dosar 10/1963, ff. 1-3; Constantin Hlihor and Ioan Scurtu, The Red Army in Romania, Iaşi, Center for Romanian Studies, 2000, p. 280.

[22] In 1962 Romanian officials had likewise complained to Khrushchev when the KGB “tried to recruit our military attaché” in Moscow and how the Romanian military representative to the Warsaw Pact’s Unified Command in Moscow discovered “microphones in his apartment,” which he duly “handed over” to KGB officials after reporting the incident to his own superiors. Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC, Moscow, July 1964 (Excerpts), 9 July 1964 session, Document 7 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[23] Part of 24-25 June 1963 transcript in Op. cit.

[24] Gheorghiu Dej authorized a highly-secret “Socialist Countries Desk” within the counterintelligence branch of Romanian State Security (Securitate) in 1962. By 1963 that bureau had identified 149 persons “as Soviet agents infiltrated in Romania.” Cristian Troncota, Duplicitării: O istorie a Serviciilor de Informaţii şi Securitate ale regimului Communist din Romania 1965-1989 [The Duplicit: A History of the Intelligence and Security Services of the Communist Regime in Romania 1965-1989], Bucharest, Editură Elion, 2004, pp. 19-20. The US Legation similarly observed that “the Moscow-trained Romanians whom the Russians had placed in key positions in the internal security apparatus after the War were soon got rid of,” as were “the Russian-trained N.K.V.D. types, who in some cases were actually Russian citizens who had been placed in the internal security apparatus which the Romanians were now proceeding to ‘Romanize.’” William A. Crawford, recorded interview by William W. Moss, March 19, 1971, Part II, John F. Kennedy Library Oral History Program, Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

[25] Transcript of the Political Bureau Meeting of the Romanian Workers Party Central Committee, 30 August 1963, ANIC, fond C.C. al P.C.R., secţia Cancelarie in Otu (1999), p. 24..

[26] Op. cit., p. 20. Ceausescu specifically named “Pîntilie, Nicolău, Gavrilovich.” Gheorghe Pintilie was the cover name of NKVD/MVD officer Pantelei Bondarenko, head of Romanian security police (DGSP) in 1948. Sergiu Nicolău was the cover name of former OGPU officer Sergei Nikonov, first head of Romanian foreign intelligence (then SSI) from 1948 until 1951 and then Romanian military intelligence chief from 1954 until 1960. Mikhail Gavrilovich was a MGB/KGB officer posted as head of Gheorghiu Dej’s cabinet in 1948.

[27] The best known of these, General Aleksandr Sakharovskii, returned to Moscow Center to become the KGB’s longest-serving head of the First Chief Directorate responsible for foreign intelligence.

[28] See footnote 26 above.

[29] 7 July 1964 session in Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC, Moscow, July 1964 (Excerpts), Document 7 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[30] Note Regarding Conversations between Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, First Secretary of the RWP CC, President of the Council of Ministers of the Romanian P. R., and Liu Fang, Ambassador of the Chinese P. R. in Bucharest, Referring to Bilateral Relations and the Soviet-Chinese Ideological Conflict, Snagov, 5 June 1964, Document 6 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[31] Mikhail Avksentievich Lesechiko was a Vice-President of the USSR Council of Ministers and the Soviet representative to the CMEA (1962-1980).

[32] Aleksei Nikolaevich Kosygin was First Deputy Vice-President of the USSR Council of Ministers at this time. After Khrushchev’s ouster in October 1964 he became President of the USSR Council of Ministers (1964-1980).

[33] 9 July 1964 session in Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC, Moscow, July 1964 (Excerpts), Document 7 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid. The measures taken regarding Soviet agents of Romanian citizenship included individual consultations explaining the new state of affairs: “We should clarify to [former Soviet agents] that they must be devoted to our Party and not to some organ or another that threatens to shoot them. We can do the same: “we speak nicely and quietly to you, but if we catch you, may God help you. If you persist in fulfilling a duty to them then we will also fulfill our duty before the Party, towards anyone who commits an illegality.” [Document 1]

[36] 11 July 1964 session in Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC, Moscow, July 1964 (Excerpts), Document 7 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] 14 July 1964 session in Transcript of Conversations Between Delegations of the RWP CC and the CPSU CC, Moscow, July 1964 (Excerpts), Document 7 in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 38.

[40] Note Referring to Meeting of Romanian Delegation with First Secretary of the CPSU CC, Nikita Khrushchev, Moscow, 17 July 1964, Document 9 in op. cit.

[41] Ibid.

[42] For the Czechoslovak report see Sejna (1982), p. 67. As the former chief of general staff noted, the Kremlin, “of course, had not allowed the women to change their nationality.”

[43] For example, General Stefan Kostyal claimed that he was forced out of the military because of his Russian wife only in 1970. On the other hand, the wife of General Ion Ioniţa (defense minister 1966-1976) hailed from a Comintern family but was Romanian born. Dennis Deletant, Ceauşescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989, London, Hurst & Company, 1995, pp. 88, 343-344.

[44] Given Romanian policy as of 1965, the mystery that warrants explanation is not why General Kostyal was cashiered but how he managed to maintain both his position – he had been deputy head of the army’s Higher Political Directorate – and his Soviet wife for so long. Kostyal’s 1970 protest that Ceauşescu was exploiting the invasion of Czechoslovakia as “an excuse to remove from the head of the army specialists trained in the Soviet Union” marked him as a pro-Soviet agent. Op. cit., p. 343.

[45] See e.g. Ladislav Bittman, The Deception Game: Czechoslovak Intelligence in Soviet Political Warfare, Syracuse, Syracuse University Research Corporation, 1972, pp. 144, 147, 185; U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Communist Bloc Intelligence Activities in the United States, Hearing before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, Ninety-Fourth Congress, First Session, 18 November 1975, Washington, U.S. GPO, 1975,  pp. 27-28; Jeffrey T. Richelson, Sword and Shield: Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus, Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger, 1986, p. 210.

[46] Markus Wolf, Conversation with the Committee for State Security that took place between 3-6 April 1967 in Moscow, BStU, MfS, SdM 1432, S. 2, 8; Georg Herbstritt and Stejaru Olaru, Stasi si securitate [Stasi And Securitate], Bucharest, Humanitas, 2005, p. 94; and “New Evidence on Soviet Intelligence: The KGB’s 1967 Annual Report, with Commentaries by Raymond Garthoff and Amy Knight,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 10 (March 1998), pp. 215, 218.

[47] For example, in May 1966 Ceauşescu warned “against efforts by foreign Communists to establish sub rosa contacts with groups or individuals within his own party.” Fritz Ermarth, Internationalism, Security, and Legitimacy: The Challenge to Soviet Interests in East Europe, 1964-1968, Memorandum RM-5909-PR, Santa Monica, RAND Corporation, March 1969, p. 49. See also Scânteia, 7 May 1967; and NATO and Allied Consultations on Czechoslovakia Crisis and Possible Soviet Removal of President Ceauşescu of Romania, 1968, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 28/57, Public Records Office, British National Archives.

[48] Transcript of the Political Bureau Meeting of the Romanian Workers Party Central Committee, 30 August 1963, Arhiva Naţionale Istorice Centrale, fond Comitetul Central (C.C.) al Partidului Comunist Român (P.C.R.), secţia Cancelarie, dosar nr. 44/1963, file 75-82 [Central National Historical Archive, Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party Collection, Chancellery Section, file no. 44/1963, pp. 75-82]; Petre Otu, “Vin Vremuri Grele: În Biroul Politic, despre agentura sovietică” [“Hard Times Are Coming: In the Political Bureau, About the Soviet Agent Networks], Magazin istoric, no. 7 (July 1999) , pp. 19-24.

[49] Romulus Ioan Burdura, coordinator, Politica Independenţă a României şi Relaţiile Româno-Chineze 1954-1975: Documente [Romania’s Policy of Independence and Romanian-Chinese Relations 1954-1975: Documents], Bucureşti, Ministerul Afacerilor Externe, Arhivele Naţionale, 2008, pp. 134, 151-152.

[50] Vasile Buga, O vară fierbinte în relaţiile româno-sovietice: Convorbirile de la Moscova din iulie 1964 [A Hot Summer in Romanian-Soviet Relations: Conversations in Moscow during July 1964], Bucharest, Romanian Academy, National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism, 2012, pp. 32-36, 77-80, 174-175.

 

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