4 October 1956**, St 1061

Secretariat. Creation of the “Mill”, a fake border post in the Far East used from 1941 to 1949 to test the loyalty of individuals, who were then arrested and imprisoned; many were shot (8 pp). [R 4 October 1956, St 1061]

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[page one of eight]

Top Secret

To be returned, after the meeting of the Secretariat,
to Sector II, General Department, CPSU Central Committee

Copy No. 2

Ref. No. St 1061
4 October 1956

For the meeting of the Central Committee Secretariat

Memorandum of the Party Oversight Committee and the Central Committee Department of Administrative Bodies, concerning Fedotov,
former head of the 2nd Directorate, NKVD


To the CPSU Central Committee

Information has reached the Party Oversight Committee at the CPSU Central Committee and the Central Committee Department of Administrative Bodies that provocative intelligence-operative methods, resulting in grave consequences, were practiced by the Khabarovsk Directorate of the NKVD-MGB from 1941 to 1949.

In the course of inspection it has been established that in 1941 the leadership of the NKVD of the USSR sanctioned the setting up of a fake Soviet border outpost known as the Manchurian Border Police Outpost, and District Japanese Military Mission, 50 km from the City of Khabarovsk, Khabarovsk Krai, in the vicinity of the village of Kazakovichi, near the Manchurian frontier, both places being referred to in classified correspondence as the Mill. The original idea of the NKVD imitation Soviet and Japanese border outpost and intelligence bodies was to check on Soviet citizens the NKVD suspected of conducting hostile activities .

In actuality, this project was brutally perverted and aimed against innocent Soviet citizens rather than true enemies of the Soviet state.

[Handwritten at the bottom: “The original document for warded to Comrade Khrushchev via Comrade… (illegible).” Signed (illegibly)]

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[page two]

Goglidze, former head of the Khabarovsk NKVD Directorate, and Fedotov, former head of the 2nd Directorate of the NKVD of the USSR who exercised direct control over the Mill, used it for antistate purposes, to fabricate incriminating evidence against Soviet people.

The vetting process at the said Mill would begin with a person suspected of conducting espionage or other anti-Soviet activities being offered to carry out an NKVD assignment abroad. After receiving the suspect’s consent, that person’s transfer to Manchurian territory would be simulated, starting at the fake Soviet border outpost, whereupon he would be apprehended by “Japanese” border guard troops and delivered to the “Japanese Military Mission.” There he would be interrogated by NKVD men posing as Japanese intelligence officers and Russian White Guard emigres. This interrogation was meant to force the suspect to admit to the “Japanese authorities” his involvement with the “Soviet intelligence service,” for which purpose each such interrogation was held in an exceptionally oppressive atmosphere, including threats, even third degree, to cause a moral breakdown.

A number of persons, upon finding themselves in an unusually difficult situation, believing they were in the hands of the enemy and exposed to instant death, told the NKVD men posing as Japanese about their contacts with the NKVD and their missions in Manchuria. Some of them, fearing death and intimidated by third degree, divulged certain information about the Soviet Union.

After the interrogation (that could last for several days, even weeks), the detainee would be re-recruited by “Japanese intelligence officers” and sent to the USSR with an espionage mission.. The finale of this provocateur game was the verification subject’s arrest by the NKVD and trial by the Special Council that would sentence him to a long term in prison/camp or capital punishment as a traitor to the Fatherland.

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[page three]

The following are several examples of how such provocative acts were committed against Soviet citizens at the Mill.

In January 1945, the UNKVD of the Khabarovsk Krai arrested A.M. Repin, member of the party, director, Zagotkontora, Sakhalintorg. The Special Council of the NKVD of the USSR sentenced him to 10 years in the camps as a traitor to the Fatherland. The indictment in the Repin case reads that he was sent on a special mission to Manchuria, but then turned traitor to his Fatherland, revealed to the Japanese his mission, the NKVD code word, and shared with the Japanese slanderous information about the Soviet Union, whereupon he was re-recruited and dispatched to the USSR on an espionage mission.

During the preliminary investigation in 1945, Repin testified that he had not been able to endure the torture that lasted for six days and told the “Japanese” about the mission assigned him by the NKVD.

Further investigation established that Repin had not been sent to Manchuria in December 1994, but that he had been sent to the Mill where Khabarovsk NKVD men forced him to testify to his “traitorous” activities.

Repin was acquitted by the Military Tribunal of the Far Eastern Military District on Nov. 2, 1955, and the Khabarovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU reinstated his party membership. The Repin case shows that he was neither a spy nor a traitor to his Fatherland, and that he was charged with high treason on the strength of evidence fabricated by NKVD officers.

In October 1942, the Khabarovsk NKVD Directorate arrested S.S. Bronikovsky, a construction engineer. They suspected he was a secret agent of the German and Japanese intelligence services, although there were no grounds for such suspicions.

Anyway, they decided to vet him. He was offered a trip abroad on an intelligence mission. He agreed and on September 1, 1942, he was sent across the “border.” Bronikovsky’s legend was that he had been arrested by the NKVD and thrown in jail in 1937, and that [after serving his term] he had decided to flee to Manchuria.

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[page four]

Once across the “border,” Bronikovsky was apprehended by the “Japanese Manchurian border police and spent almost a month in jail where he was interrogated as a defector. He showed courage during the interrogations and kept secret his recruitment by the NKVD and his espionage mission “abroad.” But then events took the programmed course. A “Japanese intelligence officer” recruited Bronikovsky and sent him “back to the USSR” with an espionage mission for the Japanese intelligence service.

Even though Bronikovsky reported his fiasco and re-recruitment to the NKVD as soon as he had crossed the “border,” even though while in the simulated antiSoviet environment, Bronikovsky was found to have no contacts with any intelligence service in the capitalist countries, the NKVD made the a priori wrong decision to arrest him. Formally he was charged with divulging certain information about Khabarovsk when interrogated by the “Japanese.”

Ever since preparing “incriminating evidence” that warranted Bronikovsky’s arrest and later, in the course of investigation into his case, UNKVD officers set course on blatantly falsifying documents. Thus, a memo in a separate envelope in the case file reads: “Photocopies of charts and testimonies by Bronikovsky were obtained by the KRO UNKVD of the Khabarovsk Krai via a ramified and reliable agent network. These materials must under no circumstances be used when interrogating Bronikovsky lest valuable humint assets be compromised.” The findings of his vetting at the Mill are in a separate report that reads as though Bronikovsky were indeed sent on a humint mission abroad.

The prosecutor [Soviet version of D.A.], misled by these documents, confirmed Bronikovsky’s indictment and assented to the transfer of the case to the Special Council of the NKVD of the USSR. On April 24, 1943, the Special Council sentenced Bronikovsky to death by shooting and he was executed on April 26.

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[page five]

On April 11, 1956, the Military Tribunal of the Far Eastern Military District dismissed the Bronikovsky case for lack of evidence. Relying on incriminating evidence fabricated at the Mill, the Special Council of the NKVD of the USSR also sentenced to death S.I. Shvaiko and P.V. Kurakin. Both are presently acquitted.

The following facts are blatant violations of socialist justice: On November 21, 1947, Yang Ling Pu, a Soviet national of Chinese parentage, a cook on the Mill’s staff, vented his outrage over what was going on by breaking table- and kitchenware of Japanese manufacture. Head of section Popov and Ju Tsing Ling, an NKVD informer, shot him lest he flee [to Manchuria]. Ju Tsing Ling killed two of the Mill’s service staff in November 1945.

A.I. Oriev, D.A. Antonov, and I.A. Slobodianiuk, workers of the Khabarovsk NKVD Directorate (all with a criminal record), posed as White Guard officers at the Mill. In 1941, the Military Tribunal of the NKVD troops of the Kharkov District sentenced Oriev to 8 years; Antonov, to 7, and Slobodianiuk, to 5 years in the camps. However, all of them were released in 1943, as requested by the Khabarovsk Regional NKVD Directorate and placed on the Mill’s payroll.

The role of the CO of the “District Japanese Military Mission” was played by the Japanese Tomita who had crossed the border near the Nerchinsk Works in Chita oblast where he was apprehended by Soviet border guard troops. In the course of investigation Tomita had testified to his involvement with the Japanese intelligence service, and that he had entered Soviet territory on an espionage mission assigned him by Department 2 of the Staff of the Kwantung Army. In May 1940, the Military Tribunal of the Moscow Military District sentenced him to death, but the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR resolved on Nov. 20, 1940, to commute the death sentence to 10 years in the camps. It was thus Tomita, a Japanese spy convicted by a Soviet court of law, was sent to the Mill to interrogate Soviet nationals.

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[page six]

It is an established fact that in 1941-49 the Mill had processed some [130] persons. The Military Tribunal of the Far Eastern Military District has of late verified 25 court cases involving persons who were processed by the Mill. All have been acquitted.

The Prosecutor’s Office is taking measures to vet the other cases where the defendants were found guilty on the strength of “evidence” provided by the Mill.

A small number of officers of the NKVD Center in Moscow and the NKVD Directorate of the Khabarovsk Krai knew about the Mill. Everything relating to this project was kept top secret. There are cases on record when people who could guess the true nature of the Mill were liquidated. Akimov, former head of the Khabarovsk Directorate, wrote in his report to Kobulov (Jan. 29, 1944) re V.I. Bochkov’s behavior at the Mill: “… if he (Bochkov) receives a term in the camps, he is sure to step up his provocateur activities there, making it even harder to keep the whole project secret.” Akimov asked to take this into consideration and make sure Bochkov is meted out capital punishment. Merkulov, head of Department 2, NKVD, and his second in command Raikhman arranged for the Bochkov case to be transferred from the court to the Special Council which sentenced Bochkov to death. He has been posthumously rehabilitated.

After studying the file on the Mill and court and prosecutor’s office records, it has been established that up to 20 NKVD people took part in the fabrication of criminal cases involving Soviet citizens. Some of them have been relieved of their KGB posts and retired. Only 4 persons have been brought to justice by the Khabarovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU.

Lieutenant General Fedotov was among the key architects of this dirty provocation. As head of Department 2 of the NKVD of the USSR, Fedotov personally supervised the

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[page seven]

Mill, reported to Beria and Merkulov, and used the Mill to carry out their assignment with regard to a number of Soviet citizens. All correspondence between the Khabarovsk NKVD Directorate and the [Moscow] Center was addressed to Fedotov, bypassing the office. Not a single mission involving the Mill could be carried out unless authorized by him. Fedotov personally insisted that the [then] hostile leadership of the NKVD of the USSR mete out capital punishment to a number of innocent Soviet citizens.

In view of the grave consequences of the Mill’s provocateur activities against Soviet citizens, we believe it expedient to:

  • Instruct the POC at the CC CPSU to resolve the matter of holding Lieutenant General Fedotov responsible, as a party member, for blatant violations of socialist justice, considering that he is one of the chief organizers of this provocateur project and that he is known to have committed such infringements in other cases;
  • [Item number crossed out, replaced with “(1)”] Instruct the POC at the CC CPSU to resolve the matter of holding [NKVD] officers responsible, as party members, for blatant violations of socialist justice …

[illegible handwritten correction] in 1941-44;

  • [Item number crossed out, replaced with “(2)”] Recommend that the Committee for State Security at the Council of Ministers of the USSR study the matter and consider the expediency of relieving KGB officers involved in the said project of their posts and dismissing them from the KGB.

(3) Instruct the Prosecutor’s Office of the USSR to step up the investigation into, and verification of, the cases involving persons convicted on the strength of evidence provided by the Mill.

We hereby request your consent.

Boitsov, Deputy Chairman,
Party Oversight Committee at the CPSU Central Committee

V. Zolotukhin, Deputy Head
of the Central Committee Department of Administrative Bodies,

26 September 1956

IN WITNESS WHEREOF [illegible signature]

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[page eight]

To the CPSU Central Committee

In the course of investigation into the breaches of Soviet justice on the part of the Khabarovsk NKVD Directorate, we have come across a document to the effect that the usage of the Mill in the NKVD’s intelligence-operative activities, its authorization and financing were sanctioned by Comrade Serov.

A letter signed by Colonel Chesnokov, deputy head of the UNKGB of the Khabarovsk Krai, dated April 6, 1941 , addressed to Fedotov, head of Department 2 of the NKGB, informs that the launch of the Mill is scheduled for June 1, 1941, and raises the matter of financing the construction and maintenance of the personnel of the Mill. There is a handwritten instruction by Raikhman, former deputy head of Department 2: “Comrade Guzovsky. Comrade Serov, Deputy People’s Commissar has been notified. He has sanctioned organization of the Mill and proposed to submit its budget. I expect to see this budget today. [Signed] Raikhman, 05.06.41.”

A total of more than a million rubles was paid from the central budget for the construction of the Mill and maintenance of its personnel in 1941-49.

Zolotukhin,
Deputy Head of the Central Committee
Department of Administrative Bodies

Tikunov,
Head of Sector, Department of Administrative Bodies

12 September 1956

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[Translator notes are bracketed]

Translation by George Sklyar, July 2010

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