Service “A” of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR Against Foreign Centers of the OUN


The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine has already published some materials on the operational surveillance by the KGB of the USSR over Head of the OUN(b) Provid (Leadership- Transl.) and President of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Peoples Yaroslav Stetsko. New documents from the archives of the Intelligence about the prerequisites and details of the special operation of Service “A” (conducting “active measures”) of the First Main Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) of the KGB of the USSR to bring him to death now make it possible to look behind the scenes of especially secret units of the Soviet special services and see how moscow tried to split the Ukrainian national liberation movement, as well as to understand why the kremlin, even in the 1980s, was so afraid of OUN leaders and ideologues and in every possible way tried to discredit or liquidate them.

The “active measures” began with a coded telegram (CT) of a resident of the KGB of the USSR in Bonn, dated November 29, 1985. It, using the practice of angry condemnation of the so-called Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism, refers to the activation of its leaders in the international arena and their promotion of a new strategy of struggle against the Soviet communist regime. The strategy and the principled consistent position of the leaders of Ukrainian emigration is worth being analyzed in more detail, and so is moscow’s reaction. But then, the reaction, methods of activity and rhetoric of the kremlin leadership were have not changed over the years.

The coded telegram points out that activists of the Foreign Units of the OUN with new energy are launching an “inciting hostile campaign against the USSR, its foreign and national policy”, falsifying the history of the USSR's foreign policy and, on the basis of “pseudo-analysis of historical events of the pre-war, war, and current periods from defamatory, sharply anti-Soviet positions, seek to inspire the Western public and leaders of Western European states to distrust the peaceful initiatives of the USSR, its peace-loving foreign policy”, argue that hopes for a change in the “aggressive policy of the USSR with the new leadership are unrealistic and that the only way out is “a victory over the Soviet Union by armed means”.

A significant place in the coded telegram is given to the “new psychostrategy”' of Foreign Units of OUN, that is, their vision of threats to the democratic world from the USSR and ways to overcome them. Among other things, the document stresses the following:

- “in its military-political strategy, the West should proceed from the fact that the USSR is the “Russian Empire, which is a multinational violent great-power country created through terror, deception, armed violence”;

- “psychostrategy”, as conceived by the OUN Foreign Units, provides for making a demand for the implementation of UN resolutions of 1960–1972 on the decolonization of all empires, the “Russian Empire” included, as well as the implementation of the US Congress Resolution (No. 86-90) of 1959 on enslaved nations, which calls on the US government to support the liberation struggle for independence and democratic rights of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkestan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and other “peoples enslaved by Soviet-Russian imperialism”;

- the leaders advocate that the West develop a universal strategy against the “historical Russian imperial-communist policy aimed at conquering the world”, create a special “department of psychostrategies” at NATO or the Pentagon, which would include representatives of the “liberation movements of nations enslaved by Bolshevism”, and create a service that would organize insurgent or liberation wars on the model of Afghanistan or UPA, create an “Academy of Freedom” in contrast to the P. Lumumba University in Moscow in order to deeply study the problems of the liberation struggle of “enslaved nations”, their spirituality, culture, philosophical system, and to train relevant personnel”.

The coded telegram also notes that the leaders of the OUN Foreign Units seek to convince the West that the USSR's initiatives to reduce nuclear weapons are allegedly dictated by its inability to compete in the arms race due to the degradation of the country's economy, the low level of development of technology, electronics, microelectronics, etc. At this, they demand “to stop lending, supplying equipment, technology and thus “to force moscow to abandon further arming”.

At the end of the coded telegram, a KGB resident in Bonn concludes that, taking into account the determination of the OUN leaders, it can be assumed that they will not stop at developing a new psychostrategy but will put it into practice. “In this regard”, he states, “'I would consider it appropriate to recommend to the Ukrainian branch to take a set of active measures to compromise the OUN Foreign Units and other Ukrainian nationalist formations under OUN’s influence”.

At the order of the then Chief of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, Vladimir Kryuchkov, the coded telegram was sent from moscow to Kyiv for further implementation. Soon the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR developed proposals. On several pages, they detail measures to compromise the foreign centers of the OUN and “develop disinformation intended for passing over through appropriate channels” to the international community.

Among them is creation, through operational capabilities, of books and documentaries that would show OUN members from the negative side. It was supposed to translate such books into English and make English dub of the films. In particular, one of the paragraphs pointed out: “Using foreign sources “Lord”, “Izer”, “Herbert”, “Alex” to promote 30 copies of the English version of the documentary “Treason Is Their Craft”, created on the basis of materials of the KGB, ... and organize showing it to the public, as well as broadcasting by television channels in the United States, Canada and other countries”.

Another paragraph said as follows: “To send to national information centres, disinformation, which would contribute to the distraction of the enemy's extremist plans to our agent positions in order to reduce the activity of subversive work against the USSR and to deepen contradictions between the OUN Foreign Units and OUN-s”.

At the same time, the KGB planned to achieve not only deepening of a split between different currents of the OUN, but also in the religious environment, it tried to discredit the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC, UCC). In one of the points the task is set:

“To take measures to further deepen the conflict between the Vatican and the UCC, as well as to compromise in the eyes of the Roman curia the Bandera-led so-called “Ukrainian World Patriarchal Association”, for which purpose:

- to spread in the Vatican among the Uniates and Ukrainians of the Orthodox faith abroad, the anti-Ukrainian book “Unions in the History of Ecumenical Orthodoxy and Rus-Ukraine”, approved by the Center and the Republican office, and to inspire through foreign sources a discussion that is beneficial to us, aimed at disrupting the supposed joint (Uniates and Orthodox) celebration abroad of the 1000th anniversary of Christianity in Rus;

- to quickly fabricate and bring to Pope John Paul II correspondence between Uniate and Banderites’ leaders with insults and threats against him as revenge for “ignoring” the UCC's demands for the creation of a “Uniate Patriarchate” in exile.

Such falsification was the KGB’s fairly common practice. For example, among the developed proposals, several points are devoted to this. In one case, it was proposed to fabricate (on the original form for official documents of the American special services, obtained operationally) a “directive” instruction to intensify work with the leaders of the OUN Foreign Units, aimed at strengthening their anti-Soviet and beneficial for the USA and its allies, activities.

At this, they detailed how exactly to do this: “To imitate the “leakage” of this document using (without letting them know) Western journalists who had previously published on the pages of the bourgeois press (in third countries included) incriminating sensational documents of US special services”.

As part of a long-term action conventionally called “Arsenal”, the task was to bring to the headquarters of the League of Free Ukrainians in Toronto (Canada) and the local police misinformation about weapons and explosives owned by the leaders of this center, which they allegedly intended to use against their political opponents. Although in reality this was not true.

In another case, it was about conducting a large-scale operation to “additionally compromise and inflict a “moral trauma” on the leader of the OUN Foreign Units, Ya. Stetsko... by spreading the “obituary” about him.

This operation had been maturing in the depths of the KGB for a long time and by then had lasted for more than a month. Speaking terminologically, an active measure conducted by the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR jointly with Service “A” of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, to inflict moral trauma on the leader of the OUN Foreign Units Ya. Stetsko, was given the code name “Necro”. The bottom line was to spread a falsified obituary, and on the one hand, to cause a deterioration in the health of the leader of the Organization, which could lead to his death, on the other hand, to cause a split among the leadership and an unhealthy struggle for the post of the leader of the OUN. To this end, appropriate accents were put in the obituary.

In the document of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR of October 11, 1984, entitled “On an Active Measure Against the Leader of the OUN Foreign Units Ya. Stetsko”, it was noted that he had been seriously ill for a long time and in this regard, “rumors and speculations about possible candidates for the position of the Providnyk (“Leader” – Transl.) are being spread among the OUN functionaries”. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the KGB developed the following combination: “In order to inflict psychological trauma on him, further undermine his authority, aggravate the rivalry for the leadership of the “Provid” (“Leadership”- Transl.), it is proposed to produce on the form of the bulletin of the radio station “Svoboda” on behalf of its Ukrainian edition an “obituary” about his untimely death and send it from abroad to nationalist publications and individual OUN members”.

Offering to spread the “obituary” on behalf of the radio station “Svoboda” and realizing that sooner or later the fake would be revealed, the KGB was going to make the RS employees guilty of falsifying. It was hoped that this could be attributed to the fact that the leaders of the OUN Foreign Units allegedly repeatedly accused the presenters of using russisms in programs and demanded “to clean the editorial board from persons of Jewish nationality”. And the latter, as revenge, allegedly committed such a provocation.

According to archival documents, first foreign agents got (in other words – stole) a blank form of the radio station “Svoboda” and, obviously, more than one. On it, the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR printed the text of the obituary. It began with these words:

“Radio Svoboda broadcasting.

Dear listeners! The Provid of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists has informed with deep sadness the members of the OUN: the Ukrainian community in Ukraine and the free world; irreconcilable fighters for the freedom of the peoples of the world and democracy, united in the “Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Peoples”, “European Freedom Council”, “World Anti-Communist League”, as well as sincere friends of the Ukrainian resistance, that on Wednesday, October 24, 1984 in Munich, after a serious illness, having communed the Holy Mysteries, died a prominent member of the Ukrainian nation... Yaroslav Stetsko”.

In Moscow, on Lubyanka, the text was carefully proofread, edited and, eventually, it was decided to make certain corrections and additions. A letter from Service “A” of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR dated November 1, 1984, entitled “On the Measure Against Stetsko”, among other things, recommended the following:

“The text of the “obituary”, in our opinion, needs some revision so that it can be of interest to nationalist publications. In particular, it would be advisable:

- to mention that the goal set by Stetsko was never achieved;

- to make it clear that there are candidates for the post of the “Providnyk” behind the obituary (to express the hope that I. Dmytriv will complete Stetsko's cause;

- to hint that Stetsko kept the Ukrainian editorial office of the RS “under control”, directing its activities, for which the radio station, is, so to speak, grateful to him...;

- to make a statement about strengthening the Security Service in the times of Stetsko, enhancement of its cruelty, creating interaction and coordination with the special services of England, Germany, France, the USA and Canada, etc.”

The advice was taken into consideration. The final version of the obituary, in which the date of death was changed from October 24, 1984 to March 1, 1985, points out as follows: “He did not complete the goal of his life – liberation of Ukraine, but did everything in his power to ensure that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists under the leadership of His successor I. Dmytriv became able to complete that Historical Deed. To this end, the Deceased made exorbitant work to maintain the ideological purity of the ranks of the Organization, strengthening the Security Service and directing its useful links with relevant agencies of Great Britain, Germany, the USA, France, Canada and other countries...”

At the same time, in order to encrypt this event in front of the public and give it greater reliability, the KGB, along with the text of the obituary, prepared a number of other documents, also fabricated. Among them is condolences to Slava Stetsko, the wife of the OUN Providnyk, on behalf of the Ukrainian community in France, signed by the editor of the “Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Studies” Volodymyr Kubiyovych.

In order to sow enmity between different currents and parties of Ukrainian emigration, the KGB fabricated a denunciation of Bandera's supporters to the editorial office of the newspaper “National Tribune” in the United States that the obituary was allegedly written by the leaders of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic Party (URDP) as revenge for the spread in the past of a similar obituary concerning the head of the URDP Ivan Bahrianyi.

“Dear Sirs! – the text says. – Again, we witness harmful actions designed to deepen fratricidal enmity among the Ukrainian public in exile...

In such cases, we usually blame Moscow or its agents in our environment... Nevertheless, I ask you to take a closer look at exposing the latest provocation.

Take into consideration that 3-4 years ago, one of the magazines close to the circles of the URDP mentioned that in 1961 authentic dirty leaflets about the death of Mr. Bahryanyi were spread. The mention was made only to accuse the members of the OUN-revolutionaries, supporters of the Ukrainian Liberation Front of spreading a fake about Bahryanyi, and threatening them with retribution for that “intolerant” act.

I am sure that the spread of the information about the death of Mr. Ya. Stetsko is the implementation of a threat of retribution from the crazy members of the URDP”.

In another publication, the magazine “The Way of Victory”, through a foreign agent, a fabricated evidence was to be published that the “obituary” was distributed by employees of the radio station – persons of Jewish nationality. As noted in the KGB document, it was a protest of “a group of extremist-minded Banderites against the dominance of Jews from the so-called “new emigration” on radio station Svoboda with accusations that the “obituary” was spread by Jewish employees as revenge for criticizing and dismissing some of them from the radio station”.

In addition, they had to distribute a copy of a letter fabricated by the KGB in the handwriting of dissident M. Fleischman, who left the USSR. In a letter to his acquaintance, an employee of the Svoboda radio station, he allegedly expressed “a request to obtain and send to the United States ballot forms of this ideological center of the enemy, which will contribute to increased enmity, mutual suspicion and distrust among the employees of the radio station”.

According to KGB officers, the developed measures “will divert the attention of the OUN members and Zionists to mutual accusations and contribute to the effectiveness of the active measure against Ya. Stetsko”. Soon all these points of the plan were implemented. But the key to the operational plan was not this, but the direct infliction of such psychological trauma on the leader of the OUN that would lead to his death.

The fact that Yaroslav Stetsko was seriously ill was well known to the KGB. This was repeatedly reported by foreign agents. In Hitler's concentration camp, his health deteriorated. From July 1941 to September 1944, he was in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was imprisoned for refusing to respond to Hitler's ultimatum demand to revoke the Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian State. He suffered from rheumatism, inflammation of the joints, stomach disease. Then the doctors allegedly even predicted to him that he would live no more than six months. But he survived. Besides, after his release, on the way to the American occupation zone, he was seriously wounded.

At the time of the special operation “Necro” he was already 74 years old. His old diseases had worsened even more. As noted in one of the KGB certificates, the “Countrywoman” agent reported that Ya. Stetsko had lung cancer. “On the advice of doctors to agree to the operation, – the document says, – he responds with a categorical refusal, citing the famous saying “Everything is in the hands of God”. “Many times both the Germans and the Bolsheviks tried to destroy me, but God did not let them, saved me, he says to his relatives, trying to sound cheerful”. And then it is pointed out that despite the great willpower, he was still very negatively affected by the spread of the obituary about his death and the whole campaign in the press.

Among the archival documents there is a report “On Special Measures Against the Leader of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Peoples and the OUN Foreign Units Ya. Stetsko”, signed by the Chief of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR Stepan Mukha and addressed to the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Volodymyr Shcherbytskyi. On the first page, there is a hand-written remark: “The information was reported to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine by Mukha S. M. 9.07.86”, that is, four days after the death of Ya. Stetsko.

The report points out:

“In agreement with the KGB of the USSR, on April 15, 1986, an obituary was spread abroad through operational capabilities on behalf of the Ukrainian editorial board of the Svoboda radio station regarding Stetsko, which was also published by some Melnykites’ print media. According to the obtained operational data, the obituary caused Stetsko’s severe nervous shock and, according to his inner circle, in particular the church authorities Kowalskyi and Kornelyuk, this led to a serious illness.

In order to aggravate the controversy around the premature obituary in the nationalist environment, the State Security Committee of the Republic took additional measures to inform Stetsko’s environment, as well as a number of his opponents, in particular the ardent anti-Semite V. Moroz, that the obituary was made by a group of Jews working at the Svoboda radio station, with whom Banderites were constantly at enmity.

The information spread in Stetsko's environment exacerbated the psychological shock caused to him earlier and complicated his illness. According to operational data obtained at the end of June 1986, Stetsko's health deteriorated sharply and he is dying”.

On July 5, 1986, Yaroslav Stetsko died. The obituary was the last straw in a number of various measures and operations, which during his life, according to archival documents, the KGB conducted repeatedly. But the special operation “'Necro” became the largest in terms of the use of forces and means, forms and methods of special influence.

At the same time, it was the most disgusting from the point of view of civilized humanistic perception. After all, it was carried out against a seriously ill elderly person. The KGB knew about this. Despite this, they deliberately planned to take advantage of this condition to make it even more painful, to cause moral trauma, thereby causing deterioration of health and bringing to death. At this, blaming others and manipulating the situation to their advantage.

On the account of Service “A” of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, there were many such “active measures” against the leaders of the Ukrainian national liberation movement. The kremlin has always used this specific and extremely sharp toolkit at any opportunity. In order to recognize such operations in time, debunk them and counteract them, it is important to know how all this is planned, developed and implemented in practice.

(Based on the materials of the case-form on Yaroslav Stetsko: BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. – F. 1. – Case 13091 in 5 volumes).