Stalin's Agent: The Life and Death of Alexander Orlov

Author(s): Boris Volodarsky

Biography & Memoir

This is the history of an unprecedented deception operation - the biggest KGB deception of all time. It has never been told in full until now. There are almost certainly people who would like it never to be told. It is the story of General Alexander Orlov. Stalin's most loyal and trusted henchman during the Spanish Civil War, Orlov was also the Soviet handler controlling Kim Philby, the British spy, defector, and member of the notorious 'Cambridge Five'. Escaping Stalin's purges, Orlov fled to America in the late 1930s and lived underground. He only dared reveal his identity to the world after Stalin's death, in his 1953 best-seller The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes, after which he became perhaps the best known of all Soviet defectors, much written about, highly praised, and commemorated by the US Congress on his death in 1973. But there is a twist in the Orlov story beyond the dreams of even the most ingenious spy novelist: 'General Alexander Orlov' never actually existed. The man known as 'Orlov' was in fact born Leiba Feldbin. And while he was a loyal servant of Stalin and the controller of Philby, he was never a General in the KGB, never truly defected to the West after his 'flight' from the USSR, and remained a loyal Soviet agent until his death. The 'Orlov' story as it has been accepted until now was largely the invention of the KGB - and one perpetuated long after the end of the Cold War. In this meticulous new biography, Boris Volodarsky, himself a former Soviet intelligence officer, now tells the true story behind 'Orlov' for the first time. An intriguing tale of Russian espionage and deception, stretching from the time of Lenin to the Putin era, it is a story that many people in the world's intelligence agencies would almost definitely prefer you not to know about.


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Boris Volodarsky was born in Russia in 1955. After receiving his university diploma, he was drafted into the Soviet army as a GRU Spetsnaz officer (military intelligence, special operations) and later trained as an undercover intelligence operator, at a time in the 1980s when Soviet intelligence services were on alert to watch for US preparations for a surprise nuclear attack against the USSR. He left the Soviet Union with the onset of glasnost and perestroika and now works as a consultant for international private risk analysis and risk management companies. A member of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) at Stanford University, Dr Volodarsky's articles and interviews are regularly published in the international media and he is the author of a number of other works on Soviet intelligence history, including most recently The KGB's Poison Factory: From Lenin to Litvinenko (2009).

Foreword by Paul Preston ; Preface by Tennent H. Bagley ; Introduction ; PART I : FELDBIN AKA NIKOLSKY AKA NIKOLAEV AKA GOLDIN AKA ORLOV AKA KOORNICK AKA BERG ; 1. Bobruisk - Moscow ; 2. Paris: August 1926 - December 1927 ; 3. Berlin: January 1928 - April 1931 ; Interlude One: First American Adventure: September - November 1932 ; 4. Vienna: April - July 1933 ; 5. Geneva-Paris, Operation EXPRESS: July 1933 - May 1934 ; 6. Enterprise 'O' ; 7. Vienna-Copenhagen-London: 19 June - 25 July 1934 ; Interlude Two: London: September - December 1934 ; 8. London: January - March 1935 ; 9. Copenhagen: Early 1935 ; 10. Mr. Resident: June - September 1935 ; 11. Home, Sweet Home: October 1935 - September 1936 ; PART II: IN SPAIN ; 12. The Backdrop: Spilling the Spanish Beans ; 13. Moscow-Madrid-Valencia: August 1936 - January 1937 ; 14. The Internationals ; 15. JUZIK will be called ARTUR ; 16. NKVD and their 'Neighbours' ; 17. The Secret History of Orlov's Crimes ; 18. The POUM Affair: Operation NIKOLAI ; 19. Murder in Lausanne ; 20. Nineteen Thirty Eight and Beyond ; PART III: THE ORLOV LEGACY ; Interlude Three: A Letter ; 21. Trotsky and Tito ; 22. True Lies ; 23. The Affair Called 'Agent Mark' ; 24. Secrets of PF 605.075 ; 25. KGB in the Law Quad ; 26. In and Out of the DST ; 27. Comrade Walter ; 28. Conclusion: Behind Closed Curtains ; APPENDICES ; I. Dr Arnold Deutsch ; II. Soviet Agents, Suspected Agents, Collaborators and Sympathisers ; III. Documents ; Notes ; Archives and Bibliography ; Index

General Fields

  • : 9780199656585
  • : Oxford University Press
  • : Oxford University Press
  • : December 2014
  • : 235mm X 162mm X 48mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 832
  • : Hardback
  • : Boris Volodarsky