Secretariat. Creation of the “Mill”, a fake border post in the Soviet Far East used from 1941 to 1949 to test the loyalty of individuals, who were then arrested and imprisoned; many were shot (9 pp). [R 4 October 1956, St 1061] Excerpt.
… it has been established that in 1941, with the permission of the NKVD in Moscow, the Khabarovsk Region NKVD set up near the border with Manchuria, a fake Soviet border crossing, a “Manchurian border police post”, and “a local Japanese military mission”, all in the area of the Kazakevichi village. NKVD officers referred to this in correspondence as “the Mill”. It was their idea to use the simulated Soviet border crossing, Japanese border and intelligence-gathering organisations to test Soviet citizens they suspected of being engaged in hostile activities.
… The ordeal at the so-called Mill began with a suggestion to the person suspected of espionage or other anti-Soviet activities that he carry out a mission for the NKVD across the border. After obtaining the agreement of the “suspect” there was a staged transfer of the individual onto Manchurian territory from the phoney Soviet border crossing followed by his capture by Japanese border authorities. The “arrested” person was then transferred to the premises of the Japanese military mission where he was interrogated by NKVD officers posing as officials of Japanese intelligence and Russian White Guard émigrés. The task of the interrogation was to make the “person being tested” confess to the “Japanese authorities” that he had links with Soviet intelligence. To this end exceptionally tough conditions were created, aimed at breaking the individual psychologically, using various threats and forms of physical pressure.
… At the end of the interrogations, which sometimes continued for days or weeks, the “arrested” person was recruited by representatives of “Japanese intelligence” and sent into Soviet territory to carry out a mission. This provocative game concluded with the arrest by the NKVD of the “person being tested”. He was then sentenced by the NKVD special board to a lengthy term of imprisonment or execution.
[From 1941 to 1949 (inclusive) 150 people were processed by this “Mill”. They were subsequently rehabilitated, for the most part posthumously. This entire undertaking was condemned during the Khrushchev period as an “anti-State” operation, but none of the officers involved suffered serious punishment]