July 1, at the age of 93, an outstanding Ukrainian intelligence officer Rudenko Hryhoriy Matviyovych left this life.
Hryhoriy Rudenko was born on February 7, 1925 in the town of Zinkiv, Poltava region. When the war began, Hryhoriy, his mother and younger brother were evacuated to Tuapse. There, he talked the Commander of the destroyer “Grozny” into taking him into the crew as a ship-boy. On board the destroyer he participated in convoying cargo ships with equipment and wounded defenders of Sevastopol. Later, the Commander of the destroyer, despite Hryhoriy’s being not happy with the decision, insisted on his entering the Sevastopol Naval College, which at that time was in Baku. In August 1942, a Marine Battalion was formed from the cadets of the College, and H. Rudenko joined it as a volunteer. He participated in battles in the Caucasus, in one of which he was badly wounded, and after the hospital, he was returned to the College to complete his studies. He received his diploma in Vladivostok, to which the College was relocated, then participated in the war against the militarist Japan and was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War 2nd class and some medals.
After the Second World War and the reduction of the Armed Forces, Hryhoriy Rudenko returned to Ukraine, where in summer of 1946 he was invited to serve in the State Security Service. He started at the Personnel Department of the MGB of the UkrSSR, simultaneously studying through correspondence at the Pedagogical Institute (Faculty of History), then from 1952 to 1955 he studied at the High School of the USSR MGB, where, in addition to specialist and legal knowledge, he deeply studied German. In the last year of studying, Hryhoriy was noticed by representatives of the special unit of Foreign Intelligence, who were selecting cadres for work abroad from illegal positions. Since then, a special period began in his life, involving getting new knowledge and skills in an extremely secretive sphere of Foreign Intelligence.
For some time H. Rudenko had to undergo on-the-job training in the German Democratic Republic. In Berlin, he lived under a different surname and under the guise of a German and was fulfilling the tasks, including in the West Berlin. But at that time he did not become an illegal agent. In 1958, Hryhoriy Matviyovych returned to Kyiv and was appointed an authorized operative in the First (Intelligence) Directorate of the KGB under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Since then, his professional career had been forever connected with Foreign Intelligence.
At the end of 1963, after special training he was sent abroad – to the Federal Republic of Germany. Officially he was Third Secretary of the Soviet Embassy and was engaged in consular affairs, but his main activity was intelligence. H. Rudenko, like his other colleagues from the residence agency, was establishing necessary operational contacts, meeting with sources of information, participating in conducting dead-drop exchanges and other activities.
After four years of work in Germany, H. Rudenko continued his service at the First Directorate of the KGB of the Ukrainian SSR. Later he was appointed Chief of the Intelligence Directorate at the Trans-Carpathian Regional Office of the KGB of the Ukr.SSR and for eight years conducted intelligence activities from the positions of an important strategic frontier region of the country. Besides, at that time he several times had to travel abroad – to Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia. Sometimes such business trips took several months, and once – almost a year.
In 1976, H. Rudenko returned to Kyiv and continued his work at the First Directorate of the KGB of the UkrSSR, while simultaneously studying at the Diplomatic Academy under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. After retirement from service and up to 2009 he worked in the Directorate for Rendering Services to Consular Corps (later reorganized into the Directorate- General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions in Ukraine) as First Deputy Head of the unit, Deputy Director General, and then as Advisor. He retired completely at the age of 84, having over 65 years of total length of service. He left a significant mark not only in the history of the Foreign Intelligence Service, but also as a diplomat. He had written a number of books, such as “Fundamentals of Diplomatic Protocol”, “Diplomatic Ukraine”, “Representation Offices of Foreign States in Ukraine”, “Fundamentals of Consular Relations”, “Brief Ukrainian Diplomatic Handbook”, a number of specialized studies and publications, which are widely used in professional training of both, future intelligence officers and national diplomats.
At the beginning of this year, with the assistance of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, Hryhoriy Matviyovych published his last book – “Foreign Intelligence: History and Facts”, in which he tried to systematize the history of Foreign Intelligence and tell about its bright representatives from ancient times to our days.
The leadership and personnel of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine express their condolences to H. Rudenko’s family and friends. Rudenko Hryhoriy Matviyovych will be remembered by the SZRU’s staff as a true patriot and real professional.