By Vadim Birstein
I have … some doubts in the authenticity of this document [Ivan Serov’s memoir]. It could have been created later, and could have had no relationship to Serov. It is hard to say.
— Boris Sokolov, Russian historian, interview on July 14, 2016
The word “killed” has never appeared in any official documents [about Raoul Wallenberg] released from the Soviet side, according to Nikita Petrov, a historian with the Memorial organization in Moscow who specializes in the Stalinist era and Serov himself.
The book [Serov’s memoir] is full of distortions and omissions of important facts.
— Gurdrun Persson, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages, Stockholm University, from En bra rysk story – om vi bara kunde lita på den
Copyright Vadim J. Birstein, New York, NY, September, 2016. Recently the memoir by Ivan Serov, the first KGB Chairman, entitled Notes from a Suitcase, was published in Russia. This is a huge, 702-page-long, volume printed on high-quality paper with numerous illustrations in black and white and color. The goal of this publication was, evidently, to promote, in accordance with the current political trend in Russia, one of the most brutal Checkists (members of Soviet state security organs) of the 1930s-1950s. The memoir contains a chapter on Raoul Wallenberg that has already prompted public commentary from Raoul Wallenberg’s relatives and publication of articles in the New York Times and other papers. However, the content of the chapter raises many questions about the memoir’s reliability.
At first a few words about the author of the memoir, Army General Ivan Serov (1905-1990). Before 1954, when he was appointed Chairman of the just created KGB, he served in the NKVD (Interior Affairs Commissariat)/MVD (Interior Affairs Ministry), where he held high-level positions. From February 1947 to March 1954, he was First Deputy Interior Affairs Minister. Serov was a favorite of Laverty Beria (NKVD/MVD head) and left a bloody trail in the Baltics, Ukraine, Crimea, Poland, Romania, and Germany. For his participation in the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 he received the Kutuzov Order 1st Class.
The creation of the KGB was discussed at the Presidium (former Politburo) of the Central Committee (CC) of Communist Party (CPSU), the real ruling body of the Soviet Union, on February 8, 1954. The most powerful man at that time, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Georgy Malenkov, presided. The transcripts made of that meeting indicate that Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the CPSU, and the second most powerful person at that time, proposed and supported Serov for the post of KGB Chairman. Apparently Khrushchev thought that Serov “behaved well in Ukraine.” Khrushchev no doubt referred to Serov’s activity in 1939-41 as Ukrainian NKVD Minister, when Khrushchev was First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party. By the way, while serving in Ukraine, in April 1940, Serov received his first award, the Order of Lenin (the highest Soviet award at the time), for his participation in the Katyn Massacre, during which 22,000 Polish prisoners of war were executed. Khrushchev later declared “[Serov] was an honest, incorruptible, reliable person despite his mistakes. I respected and trusted him. He was a simple person, simple to the point of being naïve. . . With his help, I was able to put the Ukraine back on its feet.” In 1954, Khrushchev needed Serov to support his bid to take over power, which happened a year later. In February 1955 Malenkov was ousted from the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers and replaced by Khrushchev supporter Nikolai Bulganin.
At that Presidium meeting some participants criticized Serov’s candidacy. For instance, the Party ideologist Mikhail Suslov claimed that Serov “looks down on the Party organs,” Mikhail Pervukhin, deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, claimed that Serov “is rude, pretends to be a [big] chief.” Lazar Kaganovich, an old Stalin crony, considered Serov to “be weak” (“zhidkovat”). Nikolai Shatalin, CC Secretary in charge of overseeing the former MVD, said that he did not want to vote for Serov: “The apparatus [MVD] characterizes [him] negatively. [He is] a bad Party member and a careerist, trims the sails to the wind. He looted in Germany.” The last claim was true. Serov’s looting, as well as that of other high-ranking Soviet military officials, in Poland and Germany was legendary. Even while KGB Chairman, Serov, apparently, used to steal items he liked. During Khrushchev and Bulganin’s visit to India in November-December 1955, Serov, who accompanied them, “simply stole a beautiful table-lamp made of ivory that Jawaharlal Nehru [Indian Prime Minister] intended to give [as a gift] to another person.”
Serov made excuses: “I will try to justify the trust… I have uncritically followed Beria’s orders… I should have gone to the C[entral] C[ommittee] [with reports on Beria], but I did not do that… Some [officers] should be removed from the organs [i.e., the future KGB], they gossip.” Apparently, Serov wanted to blacken the reputations of officers who previously served under Stalin’s MGB ministers Viktor Abakumov (1946-51) and Semyon Ignat’ev (1951-53). At first Malenkov criticized Serov, saying “now [he] is trimming the sails to the wind, to the Party.” But then Malenkov voted: “For the C[ommitte]e, — C.[omrade] Serov, for his 1st Dep[uty], — C.[omrad] [Konstantin] Lunev.” Chairman Malenkov eventually concluded that: “Serov could be trusted.”
Oddly, in the chapter about Wallenberg, Serov complained that at that meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who was not even there, and Malenkov, who from the transcript clearly did support Serov’s appointment “did not support my appointment as KGB Chairman; in connection with the division of the MVD in two organizations [MVD and KGB], Malenkov wanted to appoint Shatalin, CC Secretary, to the KGB” (p. 538). Evidently, Serov’s memory failed him, which is strange since this meeting was one of the most important in his life. There is nothing in the transcript about Malenkov wanting to appoint Shatalin instead of Serov to head the KGB.
But, possibly, there was some tension between Molotov and Serov since Molotov mentioned Serov in his own memoir only once. He said that it was Serov who technically organized the CC Plenum meeting in June 1955, when members of the Presidium Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich, and Shepilov were ousted after their failed attempt to dismiss Khrushchev and appoint him Minister of Agriculture.
In 1958, Serov was appointed head of the GRU, Main Intelligence Directorate, the Soviet military intelligence. Anastas Mikoyan, a long-time member of Stalin’s Politburo and then Presidium, and one of the main Party political figures after Stalin’s death, writes in his memoir that the new appointment was a result of a long struggle around Serov. Many Party leaders of the time wanted to oust Serov because of his crimes as a Beria man and his looting in Germany, and insisted not only on a military demotion but also on expulsion from the Communist Party. Khrushchev saved his favorite by putting him in charge of military intelligence, which was not connected with the other Soviet security organs. However, in 1963, Serov’s brilliant career came to an end due to a scandal around the GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky (1919-1963), who the KGB identified as a double agent. For about three years, just before the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis, Penkovsky provided the MI6 and CIA with secret information. Serov was demoted to Major General, his Hero of Soviet Union award was taken from him, and the last two years of his service he held unimportant low-level military positions outside of Moscow.
Serov’s deputy in the KGB, Colonel General Pyotr Ivashutin (1909-2002), replaced Serov as GRU head. During World War II and just after the war, Ivashutin served under Serov’s main nemesis Viktor Abakumov (1908-1954), head of military counterintelligence during the war and from 1946 to mid-1951, State Security Minister.
Serov wrote a few appeals to the Soviet leaders. After receiving his last appeal in March 1985, the newly elected Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev ordered Mikhail Solomentsev, Chairman of the Party Control Commission, and Nikolai Savinkin, head of the Administration Organs Department of the Party’s Central Committee, to review Serov’s case. On April 18, 1985 Solomentsev and Savinkin sent their response to Gorbachev. They wrote that it was true that Penkovsky used to visit the Serovs and had good relationships with Serov’s family, and that Serov “is not honest and tries to exaggerate his achievements and belittle his guilt.” The conclusion stated: “We believe there is no reason for a revision of the adopted decisions regarding Serov” [see Nikita Petrov. The First KGB Chairman Ivan Serov. Moscow: Materik, 2005. P. 2005 (in Russian)].
According to the Russian journalist Aleksandr Hinstein (Khinshtein), who edited and annotated the memoir, Serov secretly wrote his manuscript, based on the notes in his diaries, from 1964 on. In 1971, after the KGB found out about the existence of the memoir, he allegedly hid the manuscript in the wall of his garage at his country house, where the manuscript was discovered in a suitcase in 2012. It’s very important to note, however, that the Wallenberg chapter in the memoir begins with the phrase “in 1987, various journalists – Soviet and foreign – started calling me at my dacha [country house]. All of them were interested in one person, Wallenberg.” Therefore, this chapter could not be part of the memoir hidden in a sealed wall from 1971-2012. The origin of this material is discussed later in this article.
Hinstein is well known within both opposition and official, government-oriented, Russian circles, as a person used for leaking information to the media which the government does not want to publish officially. As a member of President Vladimir Putin/Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s party “United Russia,” Hinstein was elected three times, in 2003, 2007, and 2011, to the Duma. In the last Duma, he held the high-level positions as deputy chair of the Committee on Security and Counteraction to Corruption, and as a member of the Commission on Budget for Financing Defense, Security and Law Enforcement Services. Last year, he proposed that construction of the sporting venues for the upcoming Soccer World Cup in 2018, hosted by Russia, should be carried out largely by prisoners, in order to keep down costs.
In 2016, Hinstein became Assistant for mass media questions to the Secretary of the General Council of the “United Russia,” Sergei Neverov. Hinstein is also a member of the Central Council of the Russian Military-Historical Society (RVIO), created by President Putin for promoting a pro-Stalinist view of Soviet history and World War II. Due to his many official connections, the publication of Serov’s memoir can be considered to have been published under the auspices of President Putin’s “United Russia.”
The publishing house “Prosveshchenie” (“Enlightenment”) is also not an accidental choice. It was an old governmental publisher of school text books, but in late 2011 it was bought by the OLMA Media Group, Hinstein’s publisher and the publisher of his co-author, Vladimir Medinsky, the Minister of Culture. A member of President Putin’s party, Medinsky is infamous for his attitude towards history, especially to the history of World War II: “I am not a scientist-historian. My specialty is different, it is … practical specialization in PR and propaganda… You think naively that facts are the main thing in history. Open your eyes: For a long time, nobody has paid attention to them! The main thing is their interpretation, the angle of view and mass propaganda.” Medinsky has published a series of books on Russian and Soviet history (14 of them were published by the OLMA Media Group), one of which, entitled “Crisis” (2009), he co-authored with Hinstein.
Medinsky is Chairman of the RVIO, and his colleague Mikhail Myagkov is Scientific Director. Myagkov wrote the article entitled “I. Serov in the eyes of a historian” which was included in Serov’s memoir (pp. 630-33). In other words, Medinsky’s RVIO was directly involved in the memoir publication. The book’s launch took place in a building belonging to the RVIO, in conjunction with the opening of an exhibit honoring Serov. Medinsky chaired the event and Serov’s granddaughter, Vera Serova, who allegedly discovered the notes in 2012, attended.
The timing of the publication of Serov’s memoir was, perhaps, also not accidental, at least for the Wallenberg case. The book was published at a time when public interest is again on the rise, mainly due to many unanswered questions about Wallenberg’s fate, especially those presented to the FSB and its Central Archive and the Russian Presidential Archive by the Raoul Wallenberg International Research Initiative (RWI-70).
Generally speaking, for a serious analysis of the memoir, including the Wallenberg chapter, it is necessary to see Serov’s original notes, and not the edited text, in order to understand how and when the notes were written. There are no dates in the diary notes, which is very unusual. Hinstein vaguely says that the Wallenberg chapter belongs to a group of “finished fragments and drafts about intelligence work” that Serov was preparing for a future book (p. 534).
Two Puzzling Pages
I have in my possession Xerox copies of two pages from a Serov memoir brought from Moscow to New York in 2003 (my source prefers to remain unidentified). The pages are written in different hands. One, Figure 1, is a page numbered “9” from a Serov letter to Soviet authorities. Serov wrote three very long letters defending himself against the Penkovsky situation, claiming that the KGB was responsible for the treason because they had not prevented Penkovsky from traveling to the West. In this fragment Serov claims that in April 1962 he was against Penkovsky’s pending visit to the United States. Hinstein identifies this text as Serov Letter No. 3 in an article he wrote which is included as additional content in Notes from a Suitcase (Aleksandr Hinstein, “The Other Life of Oleg Penkovsky,” pp. 592-629). This page was definitely written by Serov himself (Fig. 1).
The other page, Figure 2, marked “1951” at the bottom, belongs to the part of the book entitled “Atomic espionage” (pp. 540-543) that immediately follows the Wallenberg chapter (pp. 534-539). It was apparently written by Serov’s son-in-law Eduard Khrustsky (1933-2010). This is an example of what Hinstein describes as “the theses written down by Serov’s son-in-law while Serov dictated” (p. 534). Although a military engineer by profession, Serov’s son-in-law was not a historian, but instead a writer of popular fictional detective novels about the work of the Moscow criminal police mostly in the 1940-early 1950s. For some unknown reason, in the book the editor omitted the last phrase. It’s unclear why. The deleted sentence talks about Vassily Zarubin, the famous foreign intelligence officer, saying “he was a good man, we played tennis together later many times.” It would be important to see if the original notes regarding Wallenberg are in Serov’s handwriting and how closely they correspond to the chapter in the memoir about Wallenberg.
Recently Nigel Bance, the author obviously close to the British intelligence community, published the book The Liquidation of Raoul Wallenberg (Essex: Asta Press, 2016). Bance based his book on a copy of Serov’s memoir about Wallenberg that he obtained in Moscow in 2002 from Serov’s daughter Svetlana. Apparently, he tried to publish his book before the Russian version of the memoir came out. Although the book includes a lot of black and white and color illustrations, surprisingly Bance does not give a photo of any page of the original Russian text of the memoir he obtained. Bance is not a professional researcher and this, probably, explains his errors in the description of events, Soviet security organizations, and persons. Interestingly, on page 50 of his book he gives almost a full translation into English of the text presented on my Fig. 1. But most important is that Bance cites a paragraph of Serov’s memoir about Wallenberg missing in the Russian publication. According to Bance, Serov wrote (p. 10):
We had discovered that Wallenberg was cremated after his liquidation. The ashes were buried in the grave of unknown remains for the year 1947-1951 in the Donskoye crematorium cemetery. Ashes of the three foreigners were also buried there. As far as I can remember, Wallenberg’s driver was liquidated, as were two cellmates of the driver. They had to be killed because they knew the details on Wallenberg. Abakumov believed that if these men would be freed and returned home, the circumstances of Wallenberg’s death would be made public.
There is nothing new in Serov’s information about the burial of ashes in the grave of unknown remains at the Donskoye Cemetery. In fact, there are three such graves in the northern part of that cemetery:
- NKVD victims executed and cremated from 1930 to 1942;
- NKVD/NKGB victims executed and cremated from 1943 to 1944;
- NKGB/MGB/KGB victims executed and cremated from 1945 to 1989.
If Wallenberg was “liquidated” in Lubyanka Prison in 1947 and his body was cremated at the Moscow Crematorium, his ashes would have ended up in the No. 3 grave. More interesting is that Serov apparently refers to the liquidation of Vilmos Langfelder and his two cellmates. According to the FSB-released documentation, Langfelder’s cellmate, Sandor Katona, most likely, was “liquidated,” since his trail, like that of Langfelder and Wallenberg’s, disappears in July 1947. It is unclear whom Serov meant by the second Langfelder cellmate. Most likely, Serov mixed up this cellmate with Wallenberg’s cellmate Willy Rödel, who, in fact, was “liquidated” on October 15, 1947. The last sentence in Serov’s statement is obviously Serov’s own interpretation, since Abakumov would have never liquidated a prisoner without an order and approval by Stalin and/or the Politburo. But it is important that Serov supposedly claimed that on the whole, four persons were “liquidated” in connection with the Wallenberg case.
In any case, if Bance’s citation is true, a verification of the authorship of the original text of the Wallenberg chapter, as well as of its full content, would be most useful.
After Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953, Beria, the new MVD Minister, merged the MGB and MVD into one big MVD. This MVD existed only for a year. After Beria’s arrest in June 1953, Sergei Kruglov became MVD Minister. It seems that some archival materials were destroyed at that time. But after the KGB creation, in July 1954, Serov was put in charge, on Nikita Khrushchev’s order, of the destruction of MGB archival materials on a large scale. At first Beria’s personal archive and part of Stalin’s archive were destroyed, then the entire former MGB Archive was reviewed for elimination. There is no mention of this large-scale destruction of archival materials under his leadership in Serov’s memoir. This is one reason to question his statements about archival documents.
Despite Khrushchev’s order, Serov ordered some special archival documents preserved. In the memoir, Serov does not mention that in 1954 the file of Raoul Wallenberg’s long-time cell mate, the German Nazi diplomat Willy Rödel, was placed in the KGB Archive for permanent secret archiving. The same thing happened to the file with the materials of the secret MGB toxicological laboratory (Laboratory no. 1) headed by Grigory Mairanovsky. Serov mentions Mairanovsky, but not this file, which is apparently still kept in the FSB Central Archive, in his memoir.
Serov’s claim that “Mairanovsky and workers of his special laboratory” were interrogated about Wallenberg’s “liquidation”, i.e. execution, is not documented anywhere. From February 1953 on, Mairanovsky was held in Vladimir Prison, after he was sentenced to 10-years imprisonment. In August 1953, he was brought to Moscow and interrogated several times regarding Beria’s case. On March 13, 1954, he was interrogated again, but it’s not known if the killing of Wallenberg was discussed. According to the records on his Prisoner Card in Vladimir Prison, the next time he was brought to Moscow was in June 1956, for a reconsideration of his case. But the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council did not alter his sentence.
In his book, Bance claims that Serov named some of Mairanovsky’s co-workers, but does not give a citation with Mairanovsky’s name (Bance. Liquidation, p. 198):
We [KGB officers] then questioned members of the special department within the MGB that had dealt with toxins and the use of such poisons at the time, including its head, Zhelezov, and his officers, Naumov and Simiakov on the events of 1946-47. They had liquidated a number of foreign citizens in the Lubyanka, Vladimir prison and in the PoW camp in Krasnogorsk [Camp no. 27 for important POWs near Moscow]. However, all three men were unaware of the names of their victims.
In addition to the uncertainty of what version, the Russian or Bance’s is true, evidently the person who wrote this did not know or forgot the details. Colonel Foma Zhelezov became head of the MGB Operational Equipment Department that included the staff of Mairanovsky’s laboratory only in September 1946, before that Zhelezov worked in the NKVD/MVD and had no connection to the work with toxins. Mairanovsky’s colleague and a rival (he considered Mairanovsky scientifically ignorant), the pharmaceutical chemist Vasily Naumov became head of the laboratory after Mairanovsky’s dismissal. The name of Simiakov has never been mentioned in any source as a member of Mairanovsky’s laboratory. Also, there was no information that prisoners were “liquidated” in Vladimir Prison. Therefore, this passage is unreliable.
In the official review of Mairanovsky’s case in 1962 by Roman Rudenko, USSR General Prosecutor, and Vladimir Semichastnyi, KGB Chairman, only one interrogation of Mairanovsky about poisoning was mentioned. On August 27, 1953, regarding the case against Beria, Mairanovsky “confirmed that he personally killed a few scores of people in Moscow, Ul’yanovsk, Saratov, and Transcarpathian Ukraine by using poisons.” During that interrogation, Mairanovsky said about the victims: “I don’t know their names, I don’t know what they are guilty of.” Therefore, Serov’s statement that Mairanovsky was interrogated later regarding Wallenberg is quite questionable.
In a letter to Ms. Susanne Berger and myself, dated November 2, 2009, archivists of the FSB Central Archive stated: “Mairanovsky’s participation in Wallenberg’s liquidation … is doubtful.” But this does not exclude a possibility that Mairanovsky had provided the other MGB officers with a poison for killing Wallenberg without knowing the name of the future victim, as he did in some cases.
It is not possible to go through each issue in Serov’s text regarding Wallenberg since the analysis would be too long; below a few examples are discussed. One needs to keep in mind that in 1945-47, the time of Wallenberg’s arrest, detention and investigation, Serov had nothing to do with this matter. Viktor Abakumov, head of SMERSH (military counterintelligence) and then the State Security Minister, was in charge of the case. Serov served in a completely different security organization, the NKVD, later the MVD, which had no connection to the Wallenberg case, and was in Germany until April 1947. Abakumov never shared anything without the Politburo’s permission and he and Serov hated each other. In 1948, Serov wrote a long, top secret letter to Stalin denouncing his nemesis.
Serov claims in his memoir that in 1942 he heard about Raoul Wallenberg for the first time. Supposedly, he was told that Wallenberg visited the German-occupied city of Pskov, where he “had contacts with the Fascist civilian administration and the ‘Abwehr’” (p. 534). From his biography and what he mentioned in the memoir, it is known that in 1942 Serov, at the time 1st NKVD Deputy Commissar, did not visit Pskov. That year he was in many other places, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan, the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, then in April he was sent to the Crimea and later he was in the Caucasus Mountains, where he was seriously wounded. Therefore, it is unclear where, when and how he supposedly heard about Raoul Wallenberg being in Pskov.
And what was Wallenberg supposedly doing in Pskov? In 1942, the staffs of Army Group North (Field Marshal Georg von Küchle, commander) and of the 18th German Army (Colonel General Georg Lindemann, commander) were located in Pskov. At the time Pskov was strategically important for the German plans to conquer Leningrad. The German military command reconstructed buildings of the Snetogorsky Monastery for its headquarters, while three Abwehr groups of the Abwehr Department 1-c under the command of Colonel Kipp were stationed in the city. Two of them were involved in military intelligence, and one, in counterintelligence. It does not seem likely that in the terrible circumstances of the Leningrad siege Wallenberg had anything to discuss with the Generals, Abwehr officers or German civilian administration.
In fact, according to all available information about Wallenberg’s travels and contacts at the time, he never visited Pskov. Wallenberg did travel to Estonia during the early 1940s on Wallenberg family business. Clearly, members of his family, his powerful second cousins Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg, had some contacts with the Germans during the war, and Raoul Wallenberg may have had some small part in such discussions, but not in Pskov.
Wallenberg was arrested by SMERSH in January 1945 near Budapest. At the same time two Swiss diplomats, not “Slovakian” diplomats, as Serov states (p. 536), were arrested. A Slovakian diplomat, Jan Spišak, was also arrested, but not “together with” Wallenberg, as Serov says. Serov states that Stalin ordered Wallenberg arrested after an orientirovka (information) about Wallenberg’s “connections with Hitler’s special services and American intelligence” came from the 1st NKGB Directorate (foreign intelligence) (p. 536). If this is true, the Swedish-Russian Working Group (1991-99) was never told. In addition, the SVR (current Russian foreign intelligence) representatives have always insisted that they have no archival documents about Wallenberg.
Serov mentions that Wallenberg’s personal documents that were with him at the time of his arrest contained information about his contacts with leading Nazi personalities, including Adolf Eichmann (p. 536). This information became available only in late 1989, when Raoul Wallenberg’s address book and calendar for 1944 among other personal effects were released to his family, a few months before Serov’s death in July 1990. These items were mysteriously suddenly found in an envelope or a plastic bag in one of KGB’s facilities. It is interesting that Serov does not identify any other German Nazi officials by name, as he perhaps should have, given his claims of Wallenberg’s alleged extensive network of contacts. But Serov cites only the one person, Eichmann, well known from the public record.
Finally, Serov’s speculations about possible reasons for Raoul Wallenberg’s arrest, i.e. that Raoul supposedly served as a conduit for intelligence contacts with both German and U.S. officials, including discussions related to a separate peace, are not new. They largely echo statements made by other Russian officials that were interviewed by the Swedish-Russian Working Group, without providing any documentary proof.
Serov tells a vague and unsubstantiated story about Stalin’s decision to secretly execute Raoul Wallenberg. He writes (pp. 536-37):
From [Vasily] Dobrokhotov and [Pyotr] Fedotov’s reports it was clear that Stalin and Molotov planned to use Wallenberg’s testimonies for secret negotiations with the Americans about which matters should not be discussed at the Nuremberg Process.
Fedotov, who, as I think, was a member of the commission on preparation of the [Nuremberg] Process, told me that the Americans made advances to us by agreeing to omit discussions of the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in exchange for us not raising the question of financial connections of the USA with Hitler’s industrialists with the Wallenberg family as a mediator, and their separate peace negotiations.
After the end of Nuremberg Process Raoul Wallenberg lost his value. Stalin thought that returning him back home made no sense, and it seems Molotov raised the question of his liquidation, as well as a number of the other American, German, and Japanese diplomats arrested by us after the war.
According to Serov, he ordered Dorokhotov to find materials about Wallenberg “a few days after [Dobrokhotov] was transferred from the [MVD] Secretariat to foreign intelligence” (p. 535).In March 1953, Dobrokhotov was appointed Deputy Head of the MVD Secretariat, and on December 11, 1953 he was appointed acting head of the 2nd MVD Main Directorate (Foreign Intelligence). Therefore, Serov’s meeting with Dobrokhotov was, apparently, in December 1953. Although Dobrokhotov headed foreign intelligence only for four months, and in March 1954 became Head of the KGB Secretariat. During those four months, Dobrokhtov could have found archival information on Wallenberg.
Fedotov headed foreign intelligence within the MGB from September 1946 to June 1947, the period covering the end of the International Nuremberg Trial (November 20, 1945 – October 1, 1946). Therefore, Fedotov could have received some intelligence reports from Nuremberg. However, Fedotov was not a member of the initial secret commission that prepared materials for the Nuremberg Trail under Chairman Andrei Vyshinsky, but Abakumov was. On November 26, 1945, a subsequent secret commission that guided and controlled the Soviet delegation at the Trial, also chaired by Vyshinsky, discussed what questions should be suppressed at the trial and the necessity of an agreement with the other delegations at the Nuremberg Trial. A list of nine questions was discussed and approved at this meeting. Taboo subjects were the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Baltic countries, Poland, etc., but there was no discussion about the Wallenberg family and alleged separate peace negotiations mediated by the Wallenberg brothers. However, from Serov’s text it seems that both Dobrokhotov and Fedotov reported to him on Wallenberg at the end of 1953-beginning of 1954, six years after the Nuremberg Trial.
In fact, there is nothing that would point to problems between the Soviets and the Wallenberg family at that time. On the contrary, during the war the Soviets dealt directly with the family, receiving ball-bearings from the Wallenberg-owned factory Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB, and paid Wallenberg’s Stockholms Enskilda Bank for them in platinum. The Western Allies were aware of these purchases, and even offered their help in moving ball-bearings. Just after the Nuremberg Trial Stalin and Molotov had a special interest in Sweden because of negotiations with the Swedes regarding the Credit and Trade Agreement, in which the Wallenbergs played an important role. According to the agreement signed on October 7, 1946, the Soviet Union was to receive 1 billion Swedish crowns within five years. The funds were to be used for purchasing Swedish industrial machinery and equipment.
Serov’s story about the Wallenberg family is consistent with the years 1947-48, when Soviet Foreign Intelligence became aware that the brothers were campaigning for the boycott of the Credit Agreement. However Serov was definitely not aware of the meeting of the former Swedish Ambassador to Moscow, Staffan Söderblom, with the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on June 15, 1946, which was the turning point in Wallenberg’s fate. Söderblom told Stalin that Raoul Wallenberg had supposedly been killed in Budapest. This conversation demonstrated to Stalin that Swedish authorities, most likely, did not want Raoul back. But it is interesting that the story in the memoir shows that Serov considered Raoul Wallenberg to have been a kind of a bargaining chip for deals with Sweden.
The last phrase in these paragraphs that supposedly “a number of the other American, German, and Japanese diplomats arrested by us after the war” were “liquidated” like Wallenberg is untrue. There were no captured and secretly liquidated American diplomats. And the German diplomats, except Willy Rödel, arrested by SMERSH and brought to Moscow were tried and after conviction, sent to prisons or labor camps. Later, after release in 1954-55, some of them testified about Wallenberg’s presence in Moscow prisons in 1945-47.
Abakumov and Blokhin
Serov mentions an interrogation of Viktor Abakumov, supposedly by Colonel Aleksandr Kozyrev “from the KGB Investigation Department.” Serov writes: “Abakumov, when interrogated by Kozyrev, confirmed the liquidation of R. Wallenberg. He referred to Stalin and Molotov’s direct orders, whom he had reported to about the case many times.” (p. 537). Serov does not clarify when and where this interrogation took place. Theoretically, it could have occurred even before Serov became KGB Chairman. Although Abakumov was arrested on July 11, 1951, in 1953 he was still kept in Moscow investigation prisons. In August 1953 Serov, as 1st MVD Deputy Minister, made plans to finish the Abakumov case, and in September 1953, Abakumov was transferred from Butyrka to Lubyanka Prison, and, apparently, interrogations continued. In fact, Kozyrev, at the time acting head of the MVD Investigation Department for Especially Important Cases (OVD), was in charge of the investigation. The investigation continued until November 1954, when both Serov and Kozyrev had already been transferred to the KGB.
But if the interrogation of Abakumov regarding Wallenberg took place, why has the transcript of that interrogation never been released, especially to the Swedish-Russian Working Group? It should have been kept in the classified Archival-Investigation File of Abakumov in the FSB Central Archive. This document would answer crucial questions in the case. Did Abakumov, in fact, use the word “liquidation”, meaning killing, regarding Wallenberg? Did Abakumov give the date of the “liquidation”? Does this information confirm the official Soviet/Russian version, still based on the Smoltsov Report, that Wallenberg died on July 17, 1947? Or does it contradict that version and that is why the transcript was not released to the Working Group? If this transcript was destroyed, on whose orders? And if destroyed, where is the documentation? According to Soviet procedure, when an archival document was destroyed, a special document entitled the “Akt [Certificate] of Destruction” was written and filed.
According to Serov, there was also a report on cremation (“Akt” or Certificate of Cremation) of Wallenberg’s body signed by two Lubyanka Prison officials, Vasily Blokhin, head of the MGB Commandant Department (as the MGB chief executioner was formally called), and Aleksandr Mironov, Chief Warden of that prison. But it would be unusual for Blokhin to sign such a statement. According to internal procedures, after the execution of a condemned prisoner Blokhin wrote a report that the execution (including executions in Mairanovsky’s laboratory) had been carried out. A second person was required to sign the report, a representative of the Registration and Archive Department, not Mironov. It was one of Aleksandr Mironov’s duties to write an order to send the body to the Moscow Crematorium, but Blokhin and Mironov did not write an “Akt of Cremation,” as Serov claims.
Serov adds that when interrogated, Blokhin stated that he had no recollection of Raoul Wallenberg’s execution (p. 537). From Serov’s text it is unclear when and by whom Blokhin was interrogated regarding Wallenberg. Blokhin was discharged from Beria’s MVD in April 1953, before Serov became KGB Chairman and inquired about Wallenberg. A transcript of this interrogation has never been declassified or made available to the Swedish-Russian Working Group. Therefore, again, this is a statement without any documentary proof. However, the possibility of a transcript of Blokhin’s interrogation should be checked in the FSB Central Archive.
Serov’s claim that “operational materials” on the Wallenberg case were kept in the Committee of Information (KI) (p. 535) is unreliable. The KI was created in 1947 as a united intelligence organization through the merger of all Soviet intelligence services. At first, Vyacheslav Molotov, Foreign Affairs Minister, headed it, and Pyotr Fedotov was 1st deputy head of the KI in charge of foreign intelligence. Fedotov remained the KI deputy head until February 1952. Serov claims that in 1953-54, Fedotov reported to him that Raoul Wallenberg’s registration card was in the Counterintelligence Directorate, but the “operational materials” were kept in the 2nd KI Directorate. It’s unclear if Fedotov meant they were kept in the 2nd KI Directory in 1953 because the 2nd KI Directory did not exist at that time (the KI had become a analytical part of MID by 1953).
Serov gives no information about the nature of the “operational materials” Fedotov saw. Taking into consideration that the FSB Central Archive always claimed that investigation files were never opened for Wallenberg and his cellmate Willy Rödel, and Rödel’s materials survived in a kind of “operational correspondence,” perhaps this file with “operational materials” was where Wallenberg’s documents were kept. Serov also mentions another file with Wallenberg documents (p. 537). It is unclear if he meant the “operational materials” or a new file the KGB created while searching for documents. In any case, the unanswered question is what happened to the “operational materials.” As for the registration card, one can only guess if it was the Registration Card in Lubyanka Prison, a copy of which the KGB released in 1991.
In fact, Fedotov was involved in the Wallenberg case in February 1947, before the KI was created, and theoretically could have seen all those operational materials at that time. In June 1952, the 5th (Scandinavian) Department of MID prepared a 14-page-long note (“Spravka”) with information on the Wallenberg case for the Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky. The note was signed by acting head of that department, Andrei Plakhin. Plakhin wrote:
According to the oral statement by Com.[rade] P. V. Fedotov (MGB USSR) to the MID Collegium member, Com.[rade] K. V. Novikov, in February 1947, it became known, that Wallenberg is kept in the MGB of the USSR. Com. Fedotov promised to inform Com. V. M. Molotov about the reasons of Wallenberg’s detention, as well as about the further measures regarding this question. Com. Vetrov mentioned the oral statement of Com. Fedotov in his report to Com. Vyshinsky, dated April 2, 1947.
MID’s Collegium was an internal council that consisted of Foreign Affairs Minister, his deputies, and 9-11 members – all leading Soviet diplomats. At the beginning of 1947, Kirill Novikov, head of the 2nd European (British) Department, was in charge of the Wallenberg case in the Collegium. In October 1947, he was appointed Soviet Ambassador to India, and Mikhail Vetrov, head of the 5th European Department, took charge of the case in the ministry.
As for Fedotov, in February 1947 he was deputy MGB Minister and head of the 1st MGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence). It is hard to say in what capacity Fedotov talked to Novikov, as a deputy minister or head of foreign intelligence, but, evidently, before talking to MID, he studied the materials of the Wallenberg case – possibly, the “operational materials” which Serov mentioned in the memoir.
If to believe Bance’s version, Serov received materials on Raoul Wallenberg not only from the KGB Archive, but also from other sources. Bance cited Serov (Liquidation, p. 110):
The report that Abakumov had provided for Molotov, on the suggestion to liquidate Wallenberg, had been given to me personally by [Vladimir] Malin, Khrushchev’s assistant in his secretariat, with whom I was on good terms.
In fact, in 1953-54, when Serov was involved in the Wallenberg Case, Malin’s title was an Inspector at the Central Committee’s (CC) apparatus, and later, from February 1955 on, he headed the CC General Department, i.e., the Presidium’s secretariat, attended all Presidium meetings and made notes at the meetings. The report that Serov mentioned was, apparently, the letter to Molotov, in which Abakumov described the plan of Wallenberg’s “liquidation.” This letter, dated July 17, 1947, was registered as outgoing from the MGB and incoming in Molotov’s Secretariat. However, in 1991-99, during the work of the Swedish-Russian Working Group on Raoul Wallenberg, it was supposedly not found either in the FSB, nor the MID archives. The question is: If Serov had it in his hands in 1953-54, when and where did this letter disappear? Or the Russian authorities do not want to release it as a direct proof that Raoul Wallenberg was “liquidated”?
Khrushchev’s Knowledge of Wallenberg in 1952
Serov claims that approximately in 1954 he reported to Nikita Khrushchev for the first time about the Wallenberg case (p. 535):
Khrushchev was very interested in the case, because he had no idea about it, and ordered to find out why the West is so interested in Wallenberg
N.S. Khrushchev forbid me to involve Molotov and MID in the circumstances [this expression is in the original—V. B.] of this task. From the conversation with him I had an impression that he wants to blame Beria and Abakumov for Wallenberg’s liquidation and that this will help to improve relationships with Sweden.
Contrary to Serov’s statement that Khrushchev “had no idea” about the Wallenberg case, Khrushchev knew about this case before 1954, although he did not receive a copy of the so-called Vyshinsky Note that was approved at the crucial Politburo meeting that took place in Stalin’s office on August 9, 1947. Beria, Georgii Malenkov, Nikolai Voznesensky, Andrei Zhdanov, and Georgy Popov, CC Secretary and head of the Moscow Party Organization, were present. Vyshinsky entered Stalin’s office at 10:10 pm and left it 40 minutes later. Popov left the office at 11:00 pm, when Abakumov entered the office. Abakumov was in the office for 20 minutes, and Stalin and the Politburo members left ten minutes after that.
The Vyshinsky Note stated that Wallenberg, most likely, was killed in Budapest during military actions in January 1945. Apparently Vyshinsky presented the case and a draft of the future note to the Politburo members. Then the members discussed the issue after he left, and then Abakumov reported on the case to Stalin, Beria, Malenkov, Voznesensky and Zhdanov, and received final instructions. After he left, the Politburo members continued a discussion for 10 more minutes. Interestingly, Molotov did not attend that meeting, but received a copy of the Vyshinsky Note after the meeting. The Vyshinsky Note became the basis of all official Soviet statements about Wallenberg until February 1957, when the so-called Gromyko Memorandum was handed over to the Swedish Ambassador Rolf Sohlman.
However, Khrushchev’s name was on the list of the Politburo members who received copies of the first answer prepared by then Foreign Minister Vyshinsky for the Swedes which was approved by the Politburo on April 12, 1952. This note stated that there was no new information about Wallenberg. Interestingly, according to a handwritten inscription on the released copy, the original document that Vyshinsky sent to Stalin was destroyed on June 30, 1967, during the time of Leonid Brezhnev. Possibly, it contained Stalin’s remarks about the Wallenberg case. Khrushchev was also present at the Politburo meeting on the night of July 28/29, 1952, that approved Vyshinsky’s suggestion not to answer the Swedish request for information about Wallenberg dated May 23, 1952. Therefore, Khrushchev was aware of the case from 1952.
It is hard to say if Khrushchev ordered Serov to keep information about Wallenberg secret from Molotov and his MID, apparently, as a potential weapon against Molotov. This is questionable because the “liquidation” of Wallenberg or the “liquidation” in 1947 of another foreign prisoner, the American Isai Oggins, by Abakumov’s subordinates, in which Molotov was directly involved, were not included in the list of accusations of Abakumov at his trial in December 1954. The case of is particularly instructive. On May 21, 1947 Abakumov suggested to Stalin and Molotov that after the “liquidation” of Oggins it would make sense to inform the American Embassy that Oggins had died from tuberculosis in one of the labor camps. Abakumov wrote: “The death of Oggins will be recorded in his medical chart, an autopsy record, and a certificate of burial [will be provided].” In other words, it seems falsification of the medical and death documentation was quite common in the MGB.
Serov was in charge of finishing the investigation of Abakumov’s case and, logically, if Khrushchev wanted to use the Wallenberg case as a weapon against Molotov, he would have ordered Serov to include it in Abakumov’s verdict. It is known that during the last period of investigation, apparently on Khrushchev’s demand, the accusations against Abakumov were changed and in the final version he became responsible, as “Beria’s accomplice” and a “member of Beria’s gang,” for mass repressions and, in particular, for the organization of the so-called “Leningrad case” against Leningrad party functionaries who administrated the city during the Nazi blockade in 1941-44. In fact, the last case was organized under the control and with the involvement of Malenkov, and this accusation of Abakumov was aimed at Malenkov, and, most likely, it played a role in his replacement in February 1955 by Nikolai Bulganin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers (see the Table). However, Molotov was not part of the accusations of Abakumov.
In one more part that is missing in the Russian version, Bonce claims that Serov explained the following (Bance. Liquidation, p. 219):
Khrushchev wanted me [Serov] to go into detail on the involvement of Molotov and Vyshinsky in Wallenberg’s liquidation and he instructed me not to charge Abakumov or Abakumov’s associates with his death. Khrushchev also wanted me to speak to Molotov and tell him that people in the West had serious intentions to bring up the disappearance of Wallenberg.
This statement is incorrect. As made clear in the next section, Molotov dealt with the Wallenberg issue almost immediately after Stalin’s death, without Khrushchev’s involvement and several months before Khrushchev became a powerful General Secretary of the Communist Party (Table).
The Wallenberg case had never been kept secret from Molotov. Almost immediately after Stailn’s death on March 5, 1953, Molotov’s Foreign Ministry was involved in a new round of negotiations. After Stalin’s death the Swedes became much more insistent in their inquiries about Wallenberg’s fate. On April 13, 1953, Arne Lundberg, Cabinet Secretary at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, met with Yevgeny Tarabrin, 1st Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm, and asked him about Wallenberg (Table). At the time, Lundberg was in charge of the Wallenberg case in the ministry. Later Lundberg met with Tarabrin once again. Therefore, it is doubtful that Molotov would have told Serov that he “did not want to return to this issue” (p. 537), since diplomatic requests continued.
By the way, I could not find information about the Soviet diplomat named Yevgeny Anatolievich Tarabrin. Taking into consideration that in Soviet embassies intelligence officers commonly worked under the diplomatic cover of the 1st or 2nd Secretary, it is possible that “Tarabrin” was a pseudonym of one of their officers. Unfortunately, the name of the foreign intelligence rezident (head of an intelligence network) at the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm in 1953 is unknown. However, in 1951 Tarabrin talked to the Swedish diplomat Sverker Åström about Finland, and after Finnish President Juho Paasakivi was informed about this conversation, he wrote in his diary: “It seems he [Tarabrin] is the same type [of a person] as Yartsev” [cited in: Oleg Ken, Aleksandr Rupasov, and Lennart Samuelson. Sweden in Moscow’s Policy, 1930s-1950s. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2005. P. 395 (in Russian)]. From 1935-39, Boris “Yartsev” (Rybkin) was a foreign intelligence rezident under a diplomatic cover in Helsinki, and from 1941-43, in Stockholm. He was in charge of, in particular, receiving platinum bars for paying to the Stockholms Enskilda Bank. Evidently, Western diplomats suspected that Tarabrin, like Yartsev, belonged to Soviet intelligence. It seems that it was not only a suspicion. Later, from August 1956 to February 1963, Colonel Ye. A. Tarabrin headed the 2nd/3rd Department in charge of the Great Britain and, apparently, Scandinavian countries, of the 1st KGB Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) [Oleg Mozokhin, http://shieldandsword.mozohin.ru/kgb5491/structure/1GU/3.htm (in Russian)]. In the meantime, meetings between Rolf Sohlman, the Swedish Ambassador to Moscow, and the Soviet MID officials, and of Konstantin Rodionov, Soviet Ambassador to Stockholm, with Östen Undén, the Swedish Foreign Minister, continued (Table).
All these MID activities could not be conducted without Molotov’s knowledge as Foreign Minister, especially because in the MID of the time, according to the memoirs of Soviet diplomats, the work rules and discipline were similar to those in a military organization. Additionally, even oral statements of the Soviet Ambassador in Stockholm Rodionov were usually approved by the Presidium members. Therefore, both Serov statements that in 1954 Khrushchev was not aware of the Wallenberg case and the case was kept secret from Molotov, are not true.
At that time, a number of other Soviet high-level officials were aware of the case. Just after Stalin’s death, in March 1953, Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet Ambassador to England and Deputy Foreign Minister, was promoted to the rank of 1st Deputy Minister and recalled to Moscow. On his way to Moscow, Gromyko unexpectedly made a stop in Stockholm to pay a courtesy visit to Östen Undén. In his turn, in June 1954, Undén went to Moscow for a private vacation, where he stayed at the home of Rolf Sohlman. During the non-official parties given by his host, Undén had a chance to talk to Anastas Mikoyan, Soviet Foreign Trade Minister and a CC Presidium member, and Valerian Zorin, Deputy Foreign Minister. Among other issues, Undén raised the question of the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. Following up these conversations, on October 1, 1954 Ambassador Sohlman presented an official Swedish memorandum inquiring about Wallenberg (Table).
On October 13, 1954 Molotov’s 1st deputy Gromyko sent an official request to the KGB Chairman Serov: “I ask you to inform MID about when and in what circumstances Wallenberg died.” On November 3, 1954 Serov answered: “[The KGB] does not have anything to add to the MGB information dated March 3, 1952.” Serov referred Gromyko to the MGB letter signed by then MGB Minister Semyon Ignatiev stating that “the MGB considered it inexpedient to change in any way,” the answer given in the Vyshinsky Note. Therefore, in October 1954 Serov did not want to give or was not ready to give anything new to the MID, but his people, probably, started digging in the archives.
As for the last phrase in the quotation about blaming Beria and Abakumov for the liquidation of Wallenberg, Serov, apparently, refers to the Gromyko Memorandum, dated February 6, 1957 (Table). The Memorandum included the so-called Smoltsov Report about the death of Wallenberg from a “heart attack” on July 17, 1947. The Memorandum stated that Wallenberg’s detention and previously released incorrect information about Wallenberg “were the result of criminal activity of Abakumov.” Of course, the Memorandum did not mention that MGB Minister Abakumov did not act alone, but only carried out the direct orders of Stalin and the Politburo.
Possibly, Serov mentions Beria’s name because after Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Communist Party Congress on February 25, 1956, Beria was primarily held responsible for the political crimes of Stalin’s time. But in the Wallenberg case it was the Swedish side that even earlier suggested blaming Beria for Wallenberg’s disappearance. In Moscow, Sohlman suggested Beria’s guilt on October 1, 1954, when he met with Molotov’s deputy Zorin and handed a Swedish note over to him. Then he repeated this suggestion to the Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Bulganin at the meeting on November 15, 1955 (Table). Finally, at the meeting on March 10, 1956, soon after Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Congress, the Swedish Foreign Minister Undén told the Soviet Ambassador Konstantin Rodionov: “The Swedish Government would be satisfied with an answer that would hint at Wallenberg’s disappearance being ‘an act of Beria.’” Interestingly, for some reason the Russian side of the Working Group did not release in 1991-99 any documentation about the many important diplomatic meetings of 1953-56, including those on October 1, 1954 and November 15, 1955 (Table), and did not mention these meetings in its official report on the Wallenberg case published on the MID website.
Nothing New Here
Serov’s memoir givse no additional information about the turning point in the Wallenberg case, when Soviet leaders decided to change their position regarding what happened to Wallenberg. Most likely, a decision was made at the Presidium meeting on April 3, 1956 (Table), at the end of the official Moscow visit of the Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander and Interior Minister Gunnar Hedlund (March 29-April 4, 1956). Apparently, Soviet leaders realized that they could not continue to ignore the demands of the Swedish government to clarify the situation with the Wallenberg case, nor could they continue to discount the testimonies of the German and Italian prisoners released from Soviet captivity in 1954-55 who testified about Wallenberg’s presence in Moscow prisons in 1945-47. On Molotov’s order, copies of the translation of these testimonies were sent out to the Presidium members on March 31, 1956. The Presidium decided to put Molotov in charge of a final oral statement to Hedlund that the Soviet Government would order the “competent organs” to carefully consider the statements of German witnesses provided by the Swedes. Additionally, on April 3, 1956, the Presidium gave Serov (KGB), and Nikolai Dudorov (MVD) two weeks to inspect the materials and give, together with Molotov and his MID, their suggestions about how to answer the case. This was the beginning of the preparation of the future so-called Gromyko Memorandum, and the process of preparation continued for almost two next years.
What Serov does not say in his memoir is as important as what he says. Although he briefly mentions “I had to participate in the preparation of documents for answers to the Swedish government” (p. 539), he does not give any details about the internal KGB review of the case, the involvement of Vyacheslav Molotov and then Dmitrii Shepilov, the new Soviet Foreign Minister, and the official Soviet leadership’s deliberations held in 1955-57. He does not mention that the text of the Gromyko Memorandum was a result of his and Shepilov’s personal efforts, that the phrase about Abakumov’s guilt was already in their joint draft presented to the Presidium (Politburo) in October 1956 and that the draft was considered at a few Presidium meetings (Table).
Serov does not also mention his involvement in the discussions about the final version of Wallenberg’s imprisonment and death. The first version presented in October 1956 to the Presidium included a statement that Wallenberg “was kept in Lefortovo and Butyrka Prison” and “suddenly died on July 14, 1947, while being in prison, and the body was cremated.” In 1947, when Wallenberg presumably died, Butyrka Prison even did not belong to the MGB, it belonged to another ministry, the MVD, and to say that he was kept in Butyrka Prison would be very unlikely. The fact that the first version mentioned the presumed date of Wallenberg’s death demonstrates that in 1956 Soviet leaders definitely knew of the so-called Smoltsov Report from the KGB Archive, indicating that Raoul Wallenberg died of a heart attack in his cell in Lubyanka Prison. But this first version of the Gromyko Memorandum did not mention Lubyanka Prison. The development of the final version of the Gromyko Memorandum by the KGB (Serov) and MID (Gromyko and Shepilov) that was approved by the Presidium on February 5, 1957, and took four months.
Generally speaking, there is nothing new about the Wallenberg case in Serov’s memoir. Even the story about “a Swedish Social Democrat, a Jew by nationality” who supposedly had a meeting with the famous Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg, also “of Jewish origin,” is not informative. Serov writes (p. 535):
This Social Democrat had a task given by Swedish intelligence to approach [Kliment] Voroshilov (at the time, he was Chairman of the Supreme Council Presidium, but in the West he was called USSR President). As a channel, Ehrenburg was chosen because he was famous abroad and was of Jewish origin.
In 1954, during a meeting with Ehrenburg in Moscow, this Swede asked him to organize a meeting with Voroshilov. After this Ehrenburg met with [Fyodor] Kharitonov, head of the 4th [KGB] Directorate, who recommended him to avoid giving specific answers.
The name of this Swedish Social Democrat is not a secret, he was the well known Hjalmar Mehr, at the time Vice-Mayor of Stockholm, and the story of his request to Ehrenburg regarding Wallenberg was published in Swedish sources in 1976. Mehr was the son of Jewish-Russian parents, Sara and Bernhard Meyerowitch, young revolutionaries who escaped to Sweden after the first Russian 1905 Revolution failed. They named their son after Hjalmar Branting, the famous leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (1907–1925), a long-time Prime Minister (in 1920, 1921–1923, and 1924–1925), and the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1921.
According to Ilya Ehrenburg’s memoir, he met with Mehr (who was also an activist of the peace movement) and his wife Liselotte in Stockholm in 1950, when Ehrenburg was attending the World Peace Council congress. Liselotte was the daughter of Jewish refugees from Germany, who escaped to France, then to the Soviet Union, and, finally, to Sweden. Therefore, there was no problem of communication, she spoke fluent French and Russian. The contacts continued until mid-1960s. In Stockholm, Ehrenburg met also Georg Branting, son of Hjalmar Branting and a member of the Swedish Parliament Riksdag from 1932-61.
According to the Swedish sources, in 1954, Mehr made a trip to the Soviet Union to find out the governmental policy towards Soviet disabled war veterans and to visit Ehrenburg. Before Mehr’s departure, the already mentioned Arne Lundberg asked him to inquire about the Soviet attitude to the Wallenberg case. That year there was another opportunity of Mehr to talk to Ehrenburg: In November 1954, as Ehrenburg writes, he gave a speech in Stockholm at the World Peace Council session.
Therefore, there was no clandestine involvement of Swedish intelligence, as Serov presents in his memoir, but actions of the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry, and of the Swedish Prime Minister, Tage Erlander (Table); like Mehr, he was a Social Democrat. The name of Voroshilov appeared in the memoir, probably, because later, in June 1955, Voroshlov met with the official Riksdag delegation headed by Gustav Nilsson, Chairman of the Upper house of the Riksdag. Previosly, in March of 1955, Nikolai Bulganin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, had a conversation with the Swedish Ambassador Rolf Sohlman. Generally speaking, during all those meetings and conversations all Soviet officials followed the 1947 version: Wallenberg was killed in Hungary.
As for Serov’s alleged consultation of Ehrenburg with Fyodor Kharitonov, it is unknown if Kharitonov even was aware of the Wallenberg case. His 4th KGB Directorate was in charge of “the fight against the anti-Soviet underground, nationalistic formations and hostile elements.” In other words, it was involved in interior security problems, and not international affairs. Serov added one more detail about Ehrenburg and Kharitonov: “On my order, in 1955 Kharitonov met with Ehrenbug once again and suggested he would make a hint to the Swedish representatives at the next meeting that he did not exclude a possibility that Wallenberg was imprisoned in the USSR and, probably, became a victim of the criminals Beria and Abakumov” (p. 538). This rings untrue as Serov could not, on his own, without receiving an order from the Soviet leaders, change the Soviet version of events in the Wallenberg case. In fact, as I already mentioned, Soviet leaders started thinking about changing their answer to the Swedes later, at the Presidium meeting on March 31, 1956.
In the memoir in Russian, Serov’s chapter on Wallenberg ends with the following scene:
After I retired on my pension, I had an informal conversation with an outstanding statesman (I promised to never release his name).
He asked me: ‘Ivan Alexandrovich, is there a possibility that Wallenberg may be currently present in places of imprisonment, living under a false name?’ I responded that my workers had conducted a thorough review [of the Wallenberg case] and I had no doubts that Wallenberg had been liquidated in 1947.
In the version published by Nigel Bance, the first phrase is given differently: “I had an informal conversation with one of the Chairmen of the KGB. I don’t wish to mention his name but he was fully aware about KGB operations in the past” (p. 265). Apparently, one of the sources adjusted what Serov said. If to believe Bance, most likely, it was Yury Andropov, KGB Chairman from 1967 to 1982, who asked Serov about Wallenberg. In January 1979, Andropov participated in the preparation of a diplomatic note about Wallenberg to the Swedish Foreign Ministry (Politburo decision P139/65, dated January 23, 1979). The note starts from the following words: ” Already in 1957, the Soviet Government officially informed the Government of Sweden that, as a careful and comprehensive search showed, Raoul Wallenberg died in July 1947.” Possibly, before writing this text, Andropov wanted Serov’s assurance that this really happened.
The end of Serov’s answer in Bance’s book also differs from the Russian version: “I [Serov] had no doubts that Wallenberg, with three foreigners, had been liquidated in 1947” (p. 266). The difference in versions is important. As in the already cited another phrase, according to Bance, Serov claimed that on the whole four prisoners, not Wallenberg alone, were “liquidated” within the Wallenberg case.
The publication of Serov’s imprecise and vague memoir, which includes parts written by his son-in-law, a detective writer, and published by a representative of the Russian President Putin’s party “United Russia” and the Russian Military-Historical Society, does not substantially add to our knowledge about Wallenberg. The goal of the publication is to glorify Serov, one of the worst Chekists of Stalin’s time, who was involved in numerous criminal actions against the populations of several countries. The story about the discovery of the manuscript, hidden for years in a suitcase in a wall (and clearly, some parts did not come from the wall manuscript), was, apparently, intended to attract attention of the press and readers not aware of Serov’s real activities.
In conclusion, it’s important to point out that Serov’s published memoir contains no previously unknown information about the Wallenberg case. The Russian publication, apparently, attempted to sell itself as a source of new sensational material, but, regarding Wallenberg and his case it fails to impress. In fact, one statement from the Bance book, in which he claims Serov confirms that four prisoners, Wallenberg, Langfelder and “his two cellmates” were “liquidated” in connection with the Wallenberg case, offers more new information than anything in “Notes from a Suitcase”. Even though we know that one of the four was Wallenberg’s cellmate, the German Willy Rödel, not Langfelder’s cellmate, this is the first statement that all four were liquidated, including Langfelder and his cellmate Katona about whom no evidence of their deaths has ever been found.
Overall, the details mentioned in the memoir reinforces that the following is necessary, if the full story of Raoul Wallenberg’s fate is ever to be known:
- The FSB authorities must provide full access to independent researchers to all Lubyanka and Lefortovo prison archival registers for 1945-47 in order to understand when evidence of Raoul Wallenberg and his driver Vilmos Langfelder’s presence in Moscow prisons ends;
- The FSB authorities must provide information about the “Akt” of cremation of Wallenberg’s body, supposedly signed by Vasilii Blokhin and Aleksandr Mironov. If it exists, the FSB must present a copy of the “Akt”; if it was destroyed, the FSB must present an “Akt” of destruction;
- The FSB authorities must provide information about the transcript of Viktor Abakumov’s interrogation regarding Raoul Wallenberg in 1953 or 1954. Whether it exists of not, the FSB must provide access to the materials of Abakumov’s case files for 1953-54 for inspection by independent researchers.
Marie Dupuy, Raoul Wallenberg’s niece, has recently filed a formal request to the FSB Central Archive asking for the release of Abakumov’s interrogation transcript and the record of cremation of Wallenberg’s remains. On September 19, 2016 she received an answer from the FSB which I have translated below. Apparently, the FSB is not ready to clarify what happened to the file and documents on Wallenberg in that file that were collected, according to Serov, during the investigation of the Wallenberg case in 1953-54.
Respected Mrs. Dupuy,
Your appeal from August 13, 2016, has been considered by the Directorate of Registration and Archival Collections of the FSB of Russia. While working on the questions you have raised, the following was found out.
In the report of the Russian-Swedish Working Group, a copy of the report of A. Smoltsov, head of the Medical Department of Lubyanka Prison, on the death of R. Wallenberg was published [in 2000]. An additional note had been made on this document: “Personally reported to the Minister. It was ordered to cremate [the body] without an autopsy. September 17 . Smoltsov” (P. 316). No other document regarding the cremation of Wallenberg has been found.
An Investigation File was not opened for Wallenberg, and no other “file” of the Swedish diplomat was found out during the work on discovering his fate.
At the moment, no new documents on Wallenberg’s fate, in particular about the circumstances of his death, have been found in the FSB archives.
Respectfully [in handwriting],
Head of the Directorate [signature] V. S. Khristoforov.
Swedish and Soviet Diplomatic Steps in the Wallenberg Case
April 1953-February 1956
|5-Mar||Joseph Stalin dies. Vyacheslav Molotov becomes Foreign Affairs (MID) Minister, Andrei Gromyko, his first deputy; Lavrenty Beria, Interior Affairs (MVD) Minister; Gregory Malenkov, Chairman of the Council of Ministers; and Nikita Khrushchev, Communist Party Secretary|
|13-Apr||Meeting of Arne Lundberg, Cabinet Secretary at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, with Yegenii Tarabrin, 1st Secretary at the Soviet Embassy||Stockholm||Swedish report|
|4-May||Meeting of Swedish Ambassador Rolf Sohlman with Vladimir Semenov (head of the 3rd European Department, Soviet MID)||Moscow||Same|
|21-May||Second meeting of Sohlman with Semenov||Moscow||Same|
|3-Jun||Meeting of Östen Undén, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister, with Konstantin Rodionov, Soviet Ambassador to Stockholm||Stockholm||Same|
|26-Jun||Lavrenty Beria, Interior Affairs (MVD) Minister, is arrested; Nikita Khrushchev, Communist Party Secretary, heads the plot against Beria|
|16-Jul||Rodionov’s statement that it was established that Wallenberg has not been and is not in the Soviet Union||Stockholm||Same|
|8-Sep||Khrushchev becomes First Secretary of the Communist Party|
|23-Dec||Beria is sentenced to death and executed|
|13-Mar||Ivan Serov is appointed Chairman of the newly created State Security Committee (KGB)|
|17-Jul||Undén’s private conversations with Valerian Zorin, Soviet deputy Foreign Minister, and Anastas Mikoyan, Soviet Foreign Trade Minister||Moscow||Same|
|1-Oct||Sohlman hands a Swedish note over to Zorin. In the note, the Swedish side mentioned Lavrenty Beria, former NKVD Commissar, as a possible instigator of the case||Moscow||Same|
|13-Oct||Letter of Andrei Gromyko, 1st deputy Foreign Minister, to Ivan Serov, KGB Chairman: “In connection with preparation of a report to the CC CPSU, I ask you to inform USSR MID when and in what circumstances Wallenberg died”||Moscow||D35|
|3-Nov||Serov’s answer to Gromyko: “[The KGB] does not have anything to add to the MGB information dated March 3, 1952”||Moscow||D36|
|18-Dec||Sohlman’s meeting with Semenov, head of the 3rd European Department, MID||Moscow||Swedish report|
|19-Dec||Viktor Abakumov, former head of SMERSH and then State Security (MGB) Minister, arrested on July 12, 1951, sentenced to death and executed|
|26-Dec||One more meeting of Sohlman with Semenov.||Moscow||Same|
|8-Feb||Marshal Nikolai Bulganin replaces Malenkov as Chairman of the Council of Ministers|
|5-Mar||Meeting of Marshal Bulganin with Sohlman||Moscow||B2, E8 and Swedish report|
|26-Mar||Undén reminds Gromyko about the Wallenberg case||Stockholm||B2, E8 and Swedish report|
|17-May||Meeting of Lundberg with Tarabrin, now former 1st secretary of the Soviet Embassy||Stockholm||Swedish report|
|13-Jun||Meeting of the Swedish Riksdag delegation headed by Gustav Nilssen in the Kremlin with Kliment Voroshilov, Chairman of the Soviet Supreme Council Presidium, and other Soviet officials, including Gromyko||Moscow||Same|
|8-Nov||Undén provides Rodionov with detailed information on the statements about Wallenberg by the Germans released from Soviet captivity||Stockholm||Same|
|15-Nov||Second meeting of Sohlman with Bulganin. Sohlman suggests to declare Beria responsible for the Wallenberg case||Moscow||Same|
|15-Dec||Rodionov’s meeting with Erlander||Stockholm||E9|
|18-Dec||Sohlman’s meeting with Semenov||Moscow||Swedish report|
|19-Dec||Letter by Aleksandr Sakharovsky (deputy head, Foreign Intelligence, KGB to Mikhail Gribanov (head, Scandinavian Department, MID): “It is expedient to say about the absence of the data about WALENBERG that he was supposedly kept in the USSR from the first days after the war until his death under another surname.”||Moscow||D39|
|1-Jan||Rodionov’s meeting with Erlander||Stockholm||E9|
|24-Jan||Report of the Soviet Embassy to Molotov regarding meetings of Rodionov with Erlander. On Molotov’s order, on March 8, 1956 the report was sent out to the Presidium (former Politburo) members||Stockholm/ Moscow||Same|
|25-Feb||The anti-Stalin speech by Khrushchev, First Party Secretary, at the 20th Communist Party Congress (Moscow)|
|28/29-Feb||Letter of Molotov as Foreign Minister to the Presidium members with a request to approve the text of an oral answer of Rodionov to Undén: “The Soviet side has nothing to add to the exhaustive and final reports about Wallenberg”||Moscow||E10, D40|
|1-Mar||The Presidium approves the text of the future Rodionov’s oral statement||Moscow||B8|
|6-Mar||Meeting of Sohlman with Bulganin, Khrushchev, Semyonov and Tarabrin||Moscow||Swedish report|
|9-Mar||Undén hands over to Rodionov a note that the witnesses’ testimonies give a reason for a search of Wallenberg and his return to Sweden. He informs Rodionav that Tage Erlander, the Swedish Prime Minister, will raise the Wallenberg question during his visit to Moscow. He mentions Beria as a person possibly responsible for the case||Stockholm||Same and E14|
|19-Mar||Gribanov hands over to L. Petri (Swedish Embassy) a note in response to the previous Swedish stating that the testimonies were not true and Wallenberg has never been on the Soviet territory||Moscow||B10|
|30-Mar||Talks between Soviet leaders Bulganin, Khrushchev, Molotov, and other officials, with the Swedish delegation that arrived in Moscow: Erlander, Prime Minister, Gunnar Hedlund, Interior Minister, Gunnar Jarring, head of the Political Department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry[b], Ambasador Sohlman, some others||Moscow||Swedish Report|
|30-Mar||The same day Hedlund meets with Molotov in the Kremlin for the second time. Hedlund hands over to Molotov testimonies of 19 German and Italian former prisoners who testified about Wallenberg’s presence in Moscow prisons in 1945-47||Moscow||B15, D43, E22|
|1-Apr||Molotov sends a review of testimonies of 18 German and Italian witnesses, released from Soviet captivity, about Wallenberg, to the Presidium members. The review was prepared by the MID’s Scandinavian Department (Mikhail Gribanov, head)||Moscow||E18|
|2-Apr||Molotov’s letter to the Presidium members informing them about copies of German witnesses’ testimonies provided by the Swedes||Moscow||E20|
|3-Apr||The Presidium decides to put Molotov in charge of an oral statement to Hedlund before April 4 that the Soviet Government order the “competent organs” to carefully consider statements of German witnesses provided by the Swedes. Also, Serov (KGB), and Nikolai Dudorov (MVD) [c] were put in charge of inspecting the materials within two weeks and giving, together with the MID, their suggestion about how to answer the questions on the case||Moscow||B16, E21|
|3-Apr||Molotov meets with Hedlund. From the Soviet side, also Semenov and Rodionov are present; from the Swedish side, Gunnar Jarring [c], head of the Political Department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, and Tibias Lorenzon, 2nd secretary of the Ministry, were present. Molotov promised to examine materials on Wallenberg presented by the Swedish side [d]||Moscow||B15|
|16-Apr||Gribanov asks Molotov to make an appointment with Serov for Serov’s personal report on the answer to the Swedes regarding Wallenberg prepared by the KGB||Moscow||D47|
|28-Apr||Presidium members approve Molotov and Serov’s plan regarding future steps in the Wallenberg case: texts of Rodionov’s oral statements to Undén that should be made in May and July, and of a note that should be given to Undén later||Moscow||D48, E23|
|3-May||The Presidium decides to make a new statement regarding Wallenberg||Moscow||D54|
|13-May||The Presidium approves texts of the future oral statements of Rodionov to Unden in May and July prepared by Molotov and Serov. MID and KGB also were ordered to prepare their draft of a statement regarding Wallenberg not later than the first part of October||Moscow||B17 and E24|
|1-Jun||Molotov is ousted from his post of Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister; Dmitry Shepilov is appointed the new minister. Molotov remains a Presidium member until June 1957.|
|19-Oct||Semenov sends Shepilov a draft of the note that later becomes the Gromyko Memorandum||Moscow||D49|
|22-Oct||Shepilov signs the draft; the next day copies are sent to Serov (KGB) and the Presidium||Moscow||D50, D51|
|23-Oct:9-Nov||Hungarian Uprising. Presidium members Anastas Mikoyan and Mikhail Suslov, as well as Serov, are in Budapest[e]|
|14-Nov||The Presidium decides to postpone the answer to the Swedes regarding Wallenberg||Moscow||E26|
|30-Dec||Ivan Tugarinov, head of the MID’s Committee of Information, to Gromyko. After a review of the case, Tugarinov recommends to give an answer to the Swedes fast||Moscow||D52|
|12/14-Jan||Shepilov and Serov send a draft of the future Memorandum to the Presidium members||Moscow||D54|
|2-Feb||The Presidium approves the draft, but with editorial changes. Bulganin, Molotov, Shepilov and Serov are put in charge of the editorial changes||Moscow||D28|
|5-Feb||Bulganin presents the final version of the Memorandum to the Presidium, and the Presidium approves it||Moscow||B19, E29|
|6-Feb||Gromyko hands the Gromyko Memorandum, that included the Smoltsov Report, over to Sohlman||Moscow|
[a] From the Swedish report “Ett diplomatiskt misslyckande: Fallet Raoul Wallenberg och den svenska utrikesledningen.” SOU 2003:18, pp. 537-543; also, documents released from various Moscow archives (B, former Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party records; D, former USSR Foreign Affairs Ministry records, and E, records from the Russian President Archive – former Stalin’s personal archive), and available in the Wallenberg database of the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry (UD), http://wallenbergdatabase.ud.se/.
[b] Later, from 1964 to 1973, Gunnar Jarring (1907-2002) was Swedish Ambassador to Moscow.
[c] N. K. Dudorov (1906-1977) was MVD Minister from January 1956 to January 1960.
[d] Molotov’s report about the meeting was sent to the Presidium members: Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kirichenko, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Pervukhin, Saburov, Suslov, Khrushchev; Serov (KGB Chairman) and Nikolai Dudorov (MVD Minister).
[e] Anastas Mikoyan (1895-1978) was not only a Presidium member, but since November 5, 1955, he presided at Presidium meetings. As Soviet Commissar/Minister of the Foreign Trade (1926-34, 1938-46, and 1953-55), he was well informed about business dealings with the Wallenbergs. He also knew about the Raoul Wallenberg case since at least 1947, when as a Politburo member he received a copy of the Vyshinsky Note.
 “Ivan Serov. Notes from a suitcase: Year 1941.” An interview with the Russian historian Boris Sokolov. Ekho Moskvy [Echo of Moscow]. July 14, 2016 (in Russian); http://echo.msk.ru/programs/Diletanti/1800158-echo/.
 Mentioned in the New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar. “From a Dacha Wall, a Clue to Raoul Wallenberg’s Cold War Fate.” NYT, August 6, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/world/europe/from-a-dacha-wall-a-clue-to-raoul-wallenbergs-cold-war-fate.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1.
 Ivan Serov. Zapisky iz chemodana. Tainye dnevniki pervogo predsedatelya KGB, naidennye cherez 25 let posle ego smerti [Notes from a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First KGB Found 25 Years after His Death]. Moscow: Prosveshchenie, 2016. 702 pp. (in Russian). The chapter “The Wallenberg Case” is on pp. 534-39.
 See Maria Dupuy’s statement at http://www.raoul-wallenberg.eu/articles/general-ivan-serovs-memoirs/, the already cited MacFarquhar’s article and Armin Fuhrer. “Warum Stalin den Judenretter ermorden ließ“. Focus, August 11, 2016; http://m.focus.de/wissen/mensch/geschichte/geheimnisse-der-geschichte-stalin-gab-den-befehl-zur-ermordung-des-judenretters-raoul-wallenberg_id_5807487.html; also, Inna Rogatchi. „Russia and Raul Wallenberg: Unfinished Business. Historical Review“ (August 14, 2016), http://rogatchifilms.org/inna-rogatchi-writings/russia-raoul-wallenberg-unfinished-business/.
 A short biography of Ivan Serov (1905-1990) see in: N. V. Petrov and K. V. Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD, 1934-1941: Reference Book (Moscow: Zven’ya, 1999), pp. 381-82 (in Russian), and a more detailed biography in: Nikita Petrov. The First KGB Chairman Ivan Serov (Moscow: Materik, 2005) (in Russian).
 See a transcript (protokol) of the Presidium meeting on February 8, 1954. Document no. 1 in: Presidium of the C[entral] C[ommittee] of the CPSU, 1954-1964. Vol. 1. Rough Minutes of the Meetings. Transcripts, edited by A. A. Fursenko. Moscow: ROSSPEN: 2004. Pp. 19-24 (in Russian).
 Khrushchev Remembers, translated and edited by Strobe Talbott (NY: Bantan Book, 1971). Pp. 116-18.
 All citations are given from Document no. 1 in: Presidium of the C[entral] C[ommittee] of the CPSU.
 From Poland, Serov sent a boxcar of objects taken from the Lodz mansion of former German Gauleiter Arthur Geiser; Serov’s wife looked after the loot on the way to Moscow. In Berlin, in 1945-47, Serov lived in the mansion that previously belonged to Joseph Goebbels. He ordered not to take to the Soviet treasury 80 million of Reichsmarks found in the Reichsbank and instead spent 77 million before this currency became useless because of inflation. Serov ordered a marble fireplace taken from the villa of Gross-Admiral Erich Roeder in Berlin’s suburbs Babelsberg and to install it in his apartment in Moscow. One of Serov’s arrested subordinates, Major General Aleksei Sidnev, testified in 1948: “Serov’s wife and his secretary Tuzhlov used to come to the storage of the [MVD] Operational Sector in Berlin, where they took many carpets, tapestries, best underwear, silver dishes and tableware and other items. . . Many times, while seeing Serov off, I saw how his plane was loaded with trunks, suitcases and bags.” See Petrov. First KGB Chairman. P. 84 and Document no. 28, pp. 257-68.
 K. F. Lunev (1907-1980) was a party functionary; in 1953, before he was transferred to the MVD and became 1st deputy minister, he headed the Administration Department in the Moscow City Communist Party Committee. In March 1954, he was, on Malenkov’s proposal, appointed 1st deputy KGB Chairman; he held this position until August 1959. See his biography in: N. V. Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services, 1941-1954: Reference Book. Moscow: Zven’ya, 2010. P. 554 (in Russian).
 Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. Conversations with Felix Chuev, edited with an introduction and notes by Albert Resis. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1993. P. 354.
 Memoir by Nikolai Zakharov (1909-2002), deputy head (1954-1958), then head (1958-1961) of the 9th KGB Directorate (guards of the Soviet government members); deputy (1961), then 1st deputy (1963-1970) KGB Chairman. See N. S. Zakharov, Skvoz’ gody [Through the Years] (Tula: Grif i Ko., 2003). P. 102 (in Russian).
 A. I. Mikoyan. How It Was. Chapter 49. Khrushchev in Power (in Russian), http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/mikoyan/05.html.
 After Penkovsky was executed in Moscow in 1963, in 1966 the book Oleg Penkovsky, The Penkovskiy Papers: The Russian Who Spied for the West was published in English (New York: Doubleday: New York, 1966). Although the book was commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency and criticized, it definitely contains some original Penkovsky’s information about the GRU (Soviet military intelligence) work. Penkovsky’s debriefing sessions produced about 1,200 pages of transcripts.
 See a biography of P. I. Ivashutin (1909-2002) in: Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services. Pp. 415-16.
 See a short biography of V. S. Abakumov (1908-1954) in: Petrov and Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD. P. 80, and more details in: Vadim Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon: Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII. London: Biteback Publishing, 2012.
 Dmitry Oreshkin, an opposition journalist, in: “Kasiyanov’s Arrest Was Not Orderd.” Nezavisimaya gazeta [Independent Newspaper]. July 11, 2005 (in Russian), http://www.ng.ru/politics/2005-07-11/1_kasianov.html; Viktor Cherkasov, Director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service [and a former KGB General]. “Fashion on the KGB?” Komsomolskaya Pravda [Komsomol Truth]. December 28, 2004 (in Russian), http://www.kp.ru/daily/23433/35559/. On scandals surrounding Hinstein see, for instance, “Hinstein refused to participate in the elections after the scandal in the primaries – RBC.” Russian News Online. May 19, 2016; http://russiannewsonline.blogspot.com/2016/05/hinstein-refused-to-participate-in.html.
 Official site of the Russian Duma members (in Russian), http://политметрика.рф/deputy.php?id_dep=99109912.
 Vyacheslav Kozlov. “Country needs cheap FSIN workers [prisoners].” Kommersant. May 25, 2015, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2733690.
 Since 2010, Sergei Neverov (b. 1961) was First Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the “United Russia,” and beginning from 2011, Secretary. In the 2011-2015 Duma, Neverov held position of the Duma Deputy Chairman. See the official “United Russia” site: http://er.ru/persons/7/ (in Russian).
 Cited in: “Historian Mark Solonin against the new Minister of Culture [Vladimir Medinsky]” (in Russian). Svoboda.org. May 26, 2012; http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/24594139.html.
 “Myagkov Mikhail” (in Russian), http://lgz.ru/author/myagkov-mikhail/.
 “Medinsky opened the exhibition devoted to the secret diaries of the former KGB Chairman and GRU Head Ivan Serov” (in Russian). TV Zvesda. May 26, 2016, http://tvzvezda.ru/news/vstrane_i_mire/content/201605270842-hy1s.htm.
 Petrov. The First KGB Chairman Ivan Serov. Pp. 158-59. On Willy Rödel, his death and his file, see Vadim Birstein. “The Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg’s Death.” Evreiskie novosti [Jewish News]. No. 2 (2002). P. 6 (in Russian, translated into English by the author), http://www.vadimbirstein.com/wallenberg.html; Vadim Birstein and Susanne Berger. “The Fate of Raoul Wallenberg: Gaps in Our Current Knowledge,” http://www.vadimbirstein.com; Vadim Birstein and Susanne Berger. “Das Schicksal Raoul Wallenberg – Die Wissenslücken.” In: Auf den Spuren Wallenbergs, Stefan Karner (Hg.). Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2015. S. 117-40.
 On G. M. Mairanovsky (1899-1964), his secret toxicology laboratory and imprisonment in Vladimir Prison see Vadim Birstein. The Perversion of Knowledge: The True History of Soviet Science. Boulder (CO): Westview Press, 2001. Also, information on Mairanovsky’s Registration Card in the Vladimir Prison Archive. A short biography of Mairanovsky is given in: Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services. Pp. 565-66.
 Nikita Petrov. “The Laboratory X.” Novaya gazeta. Pravda GULAGa [The New Newspaper. The GULAG’s Truth]. No. 6 (27). April 28, 2010 (in Russian), http://old.novayagazeta.ru/data/2010/gulag06/00.html.
 R. A. Rudenko was USSR General Prosecutor from June 1953 to January 1981, while V. Ye. Semichastnyi was KGB Chairman from November 1961 to May 1981.
 The document addressed to the USSR Supreme Court, dated March 3, 1962, and signed by R. Rudenko and V. Semichastnyi. Photo of the document on pp. 122-23 in: Andrei Sukhmlinov. To Consider Him Rehabilitated. Moscow: Pechatnye Traditsii, 2010 (in Russian). Before that, during interrogations on August 6 and 7, 1953, Mairanovsky described in detail his experiments with various poisons carried out on political prisoners sentenced to death.
 Cited in: Vladimir Bobrenev. “Doctor Death” or Varsanofiev’s Ghosts. Moscow: Olimp, 1997. P. 367. Although Bobrenev calls Mairanovsky in his book “Mogilevsky,” Bobrenev, a professional prosecutor, used real documents from Mairanovsky’s Archival-Investigation File, to which he had unique access in the 1990s.
 However, Mairanovsky could have been questioned in prison. To exclude this possibility, Mairanovsky’s Vladimir Prison Personal File, most likely kept in the MVD Information Center of Vladimir Region, should be checked in the future.
 Document no. 29 in: Petrov. The First KGB Chairman Ivan Serov. Pp. 168-73.
 B. N. Kovalev. Nazi Occupation and Collaboration in Russia, 1941-1944. Moscow: AST, 2004. P. 61 (in Russian).
 Susan Berger and Vadim Birstein. “Blasieholmsgatan 3” (2015) https://www.academia.edu/11973759/Blasieholmsgatan_3__New_Questions_About_Raoul_Wallenberg_And_The_Wallenberg_Family.
 About these arrests, see Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon. Pp. 278-80.
 See general information in: Raoul Wallenberg: Report of the Swedish-Russian Working Group. Stockholm, 2000; available at http://www.government.se/information-material/2000/01/raoul-wallenberg—report-of-the-swedish-russian-working-group-copy/.
 One can only speculate if they were found by the KGB archivists with Serov’s help.
 See a biography of V. P. Dobrokhotov (1911-1971) in: Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services. Pp. 338-39.
 The commission included: Andrei Vyshinsky (1st Deputy Foreign Affairs Commissar), Konstantin Gorshenin (USSR Prosecutor), Ivan Golyakov (Chairman, USSR Supreme Court), Bogdan Kobulov (1st Deputy State Security Commissar, NKGB), Sergei Kruglov (1st Deputy Interior Affairs Commissar, NKVD), Dmitrii Kudryavtsev (Chairman, Extraordinary State Commission on the Investigation of Crimes of the German Fascist Invaders), Viktor Abakumov (Head, SMERSH), and Aron Trainin (jurist, professor, the author of the book in Russian Criminal Responsibility of the Hitlerites, 1944). See Politburo decisions P46/82 and P46/240, dated September 5 and 6, 1945. Documents nos. 82 and 83 in: USSR and Nuremberg Process: Unknown and Poorly Known Pages of History, compiled by N. S. Lebedeva. Moscow: Demokratiya, 2012. Pp. 239-40 (in Russian).
 The Politburo created this commission on November 21,1945. It included Vyshinsky as Chair, Gorshenin as his deputy, Trainin, two more jurists, Boris Man’kovsky and Mikhail Strogovich, L. F. Kuzmin, and Bogdan Kobulov (NKGB). See Politburo decision P47/131, dated November 21, 1945. Document no. 136 in ibid., p. 308.
 Transcript # 1 of the meeting of the Commission on November 26, 1945. Document no. 142 in ibid., pp. 314-16.
 For instance, Zoya Voskresenskaya. Under the Pseudonym Irina. Moscow: Sovremennik, 1999. Pp. 148-50 (in Russian).
 See, for instance, Gerard Aalders and Cees Wiebes. The Art of Cloaking Ownership: The Secret Collaboration and Protection of the German War Industry by the Neutrals. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1996. P. 149; however, the situation was more complicated than the authors suggested. One also needs to keep in mind that the Wallenberg family had business relationships with Russia from the Tsar’s time. In particular, the Wallenberg-owned company SKF equipped and opened a ball-bearing producing plant in Moscow in 1916. Business relationships continued with the Soviet Union in the 1920s-30s. On the worsening Soviet-Swedish relations in 1948, see A. I. Rupasov. “Sliding Mask of Neutrality’: Soviet-Swedish Relations at the End of 1940s—Beginning of the 1950s.” Noveishaya istoriya Rossii [Modern History of Russia]. No. 1 (2014): 157-180 (in Russian). On May 20, 1948 the popular Soviet newspaper Literaturnaya gazeta [Literary Newspaper] published the article “Pod flagon neitral’nosti” [“Under the Guise of Neutrality”], in which the problem with the Credit Agreement was discussed.
 For a short discussion of this meeting see, for instance, the English “Summary” in: “Ett diplomatiskt misslyckande: Fallet Raoul Wallenberg och den svenska utrikesledningen.” SOU 2003:18, pp. 29-40.
 On the arrest and fate of some of those German diplomats see Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon. Pp. 265-68, 310.
 See Kirill Stolyarov. Executioners and Victims. Moscow: OLMA-Press, 1997. Pp. 93-95 (in Russian).
 Ibid. On the career of A. A. Kozyrev (1916-1974), see Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services. P. 474.
 Testimony of Arkadii Gertsovsky, former head of the NKGB/MGB Department “A,” on October 23, 1953, in: Bobrenev. “Doctor Death.” P. 394.
 See a biography of V. M. Blokhin (1905-1955) in: Petrov and Skorkin. Those Who Governed the NKVD. P. 112.
 See the KI structure, for instance, in: Klim Degtyarev and Aleksandr Kolpakidi. USSR Foreign Intelligence. Moscow: Eksmo, 2009. Pp. 150-52 (in Russian).
 On the archival material of Willy Rödel (1897-1947), see Oberführer SA Willy Rödel. Documents from the FSB of Russia Archives, compiled by V. G. Makarov and V. S. Khristoforov. Moscow: Mosgorarkhiv, 2012 (in Russian).
 Pp. 5-6 in the report “R. Wallenberg’s Case,” signed by A. Plakhin (in Russian). Although the final date of the report is shown as June 5, 1952, according to the handwritten note on the first page, it was received by Andrei Vyshinsky on June 2, 1952. See Document D34 in the Raoul Wallenberg database of the Swedish Foreign Ministry (UD) at http://wallenbergdatabase.ud.se/. Andrei Vyshinsky (1883-1954) was Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister from March 1949 to March 1954.
 One needs to keep in mind that after Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953, three Soviet Foreign Affairs ministers were involved in the Wallenberg case. Vyacheslav Molotov was minister from March 1953 to June 1956, then Dmitrii Shepilov succeeded him from June 1956 to February 1957, and after him, Andrei Gromyko was minister from February 1957 to 1985.
 In the MGB, Nikolai Selivanovsky (1901-1997), another deputy minister from May 1946 to August 1951 and head of the 3rd MGB Main Directorate (military counterintelligence) from May 1946 to November 1947, was responsible for the case. See Birstein. SMERSH, Stalin’s Secret Weapon. See a biography of Selivanovsky in: Petrov. Those Who Governed the Security Services. Pp. 777-78.
 After the meeting, copies of the Vyshinsky Note were sent to the following Politburo members: Stalin, Molotov, Beria, Zhdanov, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Voznesensky; to Abakumov (MGB Minister); and to three MID officials, Fyodor Gusev (deputy minister), Yakov Malik (deputy minister who prepared a draft of the Note), and Kirill Novikov (MID Collegium member). See Documents D26 and E2 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 See Appointments with Stalin. Registers (Journals) of Persons Met with I. V. Stalin (1924-1953): Reference Book, edited by A. A. Chernobaev. Moscow: Novyi Khronograf, 2008. P. 492 (in Russian). A. A. Zhdanov (1896-1948), Communist Party secretary responsible for ideology, died on August 31, 1948; N. A. Voznesensky (1903-1950), head of the Gosplan, State Planning Office, was arrested by the MGB on October 27, 1949, sentenced to death with the other five members of the so-called Leningrad Case, and executed on September 30, 1950.
 Stalin received the original, and copies of the answer with Vyshinsky’s cover letter were sent out to Molotov, Malenkov, Beria, Mikoyan, Kaganovich, Bulganin, and Khrushchev. Politburo decision P87/74, dated April 12, 1952. Document E4 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 At the time, Yurii Andropov just became KGB Chairman (May 1967-May 1982).
 During that night, Bulganin, Beria, Kaganovich, Malenkov, Molotov, Mikoyan, Khrushchev, and Maksim Saburov (deputy chairman of the Council of Ministries) were present in Stalin’s office. See Appointments with Stalin. P. 548. Politburo decision P88/381, dated July 29, 1952. Document E6 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 In 1939, American Communist Isai Oggins, who had been arrested by the NKVD, was sentenced to 8-year term in labor camps. He was “liquidated” (poisoned) with Grigorii Mairanovsky’s involvement, on July 5, 1947 (this date was released by the FSB in a letter to Ms. Susanne Berger and myself, dated 2009). Five days later, Molotov met with the American Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith. Unfortunately, the U.S. State Department did not publish Smith’s report on this conversation (see Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947. Eastern Europe; The Soviet Union. 1947). On the Oggins case, see Birstein. The Perversion of Knowledge. Pp. 132-38. There is a hint regarding the Oggins case in Serov’s memoir: “Stalin and Molotov liquidated a number of people, including an American, who knew the American Communists who worked with us in the 1930s” (p. 541). This is one more questionable detail in the memoir.
 See, for instance, Nikita Petrov. “Viktor Abakumov: ‘People should be afraid of me…’” Novaya gazeta. Pravda GULAGa [The New Newspaper. The GULAG’s Truth]. No. 76. July 11, 2012 (in Russian), http://www.novayagazeta.ru/apps/gulag/53478.html.
 Arne S. Lundberg (1911-2008) was a journalist from 1929 to 1944, then State Secretary at the Ministry of Communications (1947-51), after that Cabinet Secretary in the Foreign Ministry (1951-56), and finally, CEO of LKAB (1957-76). He has held a series of chairmanships of companies and business organizations. Since 1962, he was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and in 1984, he became honorary doctor of technology in the Luleå University of Technology. See http://www.ediffah.org/search/present.cgi?id=ediffah:kb:827383:1263815790&termlist=korresponden. Beginning from the 1950s, there was always an official in the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry responsible for the case. In the 1990s-early 2000s, this was Ambassador Hans Magnusson, head of the Swedish part of the Swedish-Russian Working Group (1991-1999).
 Rear-Admiral K. K. Rodionov (1901-1981) was not a professional civilian diplomat, he was a Navy and intelligence officer and a military diplomat. From 1936 to 1943, he was Soviet Military Attaché in Turkey and Greece, and from 1943 to 1945, he was deputy head, then acting head of the Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet General Navy Staff. From 1945 to 1947, Rodionov was Soviet Ambassador to Greece, then from May 1947 to 1949 (?), he headed the Disinformation Service within the Committee of Information (KI) and was 1st Deputy Head of the KI. From February 1950 to December 1956, he was Ambassador to Stockholm. After this, from December 1956 to January 1958, he headed the Scandinavian Department of MID. See his biography in: M. A. Alekseev, A. I. Kolpakidi, and V. Ya. Kochik. Encyclopedia of Military Intelligence, 1918-1945. Moscow: Kuchkovo pole, 2012. Pp. 659-60 (in Russian); “Rodionov Konstantin Konstantinovich” (in Russian), http://www.knowbysight.info/RRR/04499.asp.
 Molotov’s style of work is described, for instance, in the memoir by Vladimir Yerofeev, Molotov’s long-time assistant. See Vladimir Yerofeev. Diplomat. Moscow: Zebra E, 2005. Pp. 111-25 (in Russian).
 Presidium decisions P2/XLIX (March 1, 1956), P8/47 (March 28, 1956), and P13/49 (May 13, 1956); documents B8, E15 and E24 in the UD Wallenberg database. The future oral statement by Soviet Ambassador in Hungary Yurii Andropov about Wallenberg’s driver Vilmos Langfelder, drafted by Serov, was approved by the Presidium (P120/XIV) on October 25, 1957. Document E35 in ibid.
 Pp. 12-13 in Helen Carlbäck and Karl Molin, “Introduction,” in Peaceful Coexistence? Soviet Union and Sweden in the Khrushchev Era, edited by Helen Carlbäck, Alexey Komarov, and Karl Molin (Moscow: Ves’ Mir, 2010). Pp. 11-22.
 V. A. Zorin (1902-1986) was Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister from 1947-55 and from 1956-65. From 1949 to 1952, he also headed the KI under the MID, the time when Andrei Vyshinsky was Minister.
 All this activity was prompted, directly and indirectly, by the release of a number of POWs who testified to Swedish authorities about Raoul Wallenberg’s presence in Moscow prisons in 1945-47. The testimony of Hermann Grosheim-Krisko, who in 1944-45 was an employee of the Swedish Legation in Budapest, was especially important.
 Document D35 in the UD Wallenberg database. The copy has Mikhail Gribanov’s signature; evidently, the 5th MID European Department prepared the request.
 Document D35 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 See the previously cited UD Document D31. S. D. Ignatiev (1904-1983) was State Security (MGB) Minister from August 1951 to March 1953.
 See the Gromyko Memorandum in the Document E29 in the UD Wallenberg database. The final draft of the Memorandum was presented at the Presidium (Politburo) meeting on February 5, 1957 by Nikolai Bulganin, at the time Chairman of the Council of Ministers and a Presidium member. In 1945, Bulganin, then deputy Defense Commissar (i.e., Stalin’s deputy), sent an order to the commandership of the 3rd Ukrainian Front to bring the detained Wallenberg from Budapest to Moscow. In 1955, he twice, on March 5 and November 15, met with Rolf Sohlman, Swedish Ambassador.
 Report by Ivan Tugarinov, head of the MID’s KI, to Andrei Gromyko, First Deputy Foreign Affairs Ministry, dated December 30, 1956. Document D52 in the UD Wallenberg database. From 1948 to 1958, I. I. Tugarinov (1905-1966) was deputy head of the KI, and then, from 1958-1960, he headed the Foreign Political Information Directorate of MID (1958-1960).
 Report “On Activity of the Russian-Swedish Working Group to Identify Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate (1991-2000) (Moscow, Russia)” (in Russian), http://archive.mid.ru/Ns-reuro.nsf/arh/432569D80022027E432569D20034404E?OpenDocument.
 Presidium decision P9/32, dated April 3, 1956. Document E21 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 Russian translation of 19 witnesses’ testimonies with Molotov’s cover letter. Copies of the translation were sent to the following Presidium members: Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Khrushchev, Aleksei Kirichenko (First Party Secretary of the Ukraine), Malenkov, Mikoyan, Molotov, Mikhail Pervukhin (Bulganin’s First Deputy), Maksim Saburov (Bulganin’s deputy), Mikhail Suslov (CC Secretary responsible for ideology), as well as to Serov (KGB) and Nikolai Dudorov (MVD Minister). Document D43 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 Vladimir Semenov (Deputy Foreign Minister) and Serov’s first draft of the future Gromyko Memorandum, signed by Shepilov, sent out to the Presidium members on October 23, 1956. Documents D49 and E25 in the UD Wallenberg database. In 1941-42, Vladimir Semenov (1911-1992) headed the 3rd NKID European Department; from 1942 to 1945, he was Counselor at the Soviet Legation in Stockholm. From 1945 to 1953, he was in Germany. In 1953, Semenov headed the 3rd MID European Department and was a MID Collegium member, and in this capacity participated in the Wallenberg case. Then he was Soviet Ambassador to East Germany. From July 1954 to March 1955, headed the 3rd (German) MID Department, and from March 1954 to 1978, he was Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. In this capacity he was involved in the Wallenberg case again and was in contact with Serov.
 Presidium decision P72/14, dated February 5, 1957. Nikolai Bulganin, Shepilov, Gromyko, and Serov were mentioned responsible for the Gromyko Memorandum. Document E29 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 Marshal Kliment Voroshilov (1888-1969) was Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council from March 1953 to May 1960.
 See Tage Erlander. 1955-1960. Stockholm: Tide, 1976. Pp. 296-97. Cited on p. 14 in: Helen Carlback-Isotalo. “Glasnost and the opening up of Soviet archives. Time to conclude the Wallenberg case.” Scandinavian Journal of History. Vol. 14 (1992), no. 3: 175-203. H. L. Mehr (1910–1979) was mayor of Stockholm from 1958–66 and 1970–71, and governor of Stockholm County from 1971–77.
 Hjalmar Branting shared the Nobel Prize with the Norwegian Christian Lous Lange. Branting was very close to Knut Agathon Wallenberg, half-brother of Raoul’s grandfather, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1914-17, and a member of the Upper house of the Swedish Parliament Riksdag from 1907-19. Contemporaries considered Knut Wallenberg to be “the strongest and ablest man in the Cabinet” of the time. See Frank Dilnot. “Sweden’s Relation to the War.” The Outlook. Vol. 115. April 11, 1917. Pp. 649-650.
 Ilya Ehrenburg. People, Years, Life. Vol. 6, Chapter 21. Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1990 (in Russian); http://www.imwerden.info/belousenko/books/Erenburg/erenburg_memoirs_6.htm. At the congress, Ehernburg was elected Vice President of the World Peace Council. The activity of this organization was under the control of the International Department of the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party which also provided funding.
 Ulf Zander. Förintelsens röda nejlika – Raoul Wallenberg som historikulturell symbol. Forum for levande historia (Stockholm), 2012. P. 92. I am grateful to Ms. Susanne Berger for providing me with this reference.
 Ilya Ehrenburg. People, Years, Life. Vol. 7, Chapter 3. Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1990 (in Russian); http://www.imwerden.info/belousenko/books/Erenburg/erenburg_memoirs_7.htm.
 From the Soviet side, at that meeting there were also Aleksandr Volkov (1910-1990), Chairman of Moscow City Council and Chairman of the Council of Union of the USSR Supreme Council), and the Latvian writer Vilis Lacis (1904-1966), Chairman of the Council of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Council (USSR Supreme Council consisted of two chambers). Apparently, Gromyko was also present. Later the delegation met with Dmitrii Shepilov, Chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Council of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Council. Soon, from June 1956 to February 1957, Shepilov was Soviet Foreign Minister and was involved in the preparation of the Gromyko Memorandum. After Moscow, the Swedish delegation visited a number of Soviet cities: Stalingrad, Kiev (Ukraine), Stalino (currently Donetsk), Baku (Azerbaijan), Tbilisi (Georgia), Sochi, Yalta (Crimea), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), and Leningrad; the whole visit lasted for 15 days.
 Document E8 in the UD Wallenberg database.
 A. I. Kokurin and N. V. Petrov. Lubyanka: Organs of the VCheKa-OGPU-NKVD-NKGB-MGB-MVD-KGB, 1917-1991. Reference Book. Moscow: Materik, 2003. P.150 (in Russian); a biography of F. P. Kharitonov (1907-1991) in: Petrov. Those Who Governed Security Services. P. 886.