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Boris Bazarov

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Title: Boris Bazarov  
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Subject: Espionage, David A. Salmon, WikiProject Russia/New article announcements/December 2005, Ignace Reiss, KGB
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Boris Bazarov

Boris Bazarov (1893 - 1939) was a Soviet secret police officer who served as the chief illegal rezident in New York City from 1935 until 1937.


Early years

Boris Bazarov was born Boris Iakovlevich Shpak in 1893 in Kovno gubernia, Lithuania, which was then part of the Russian Empire. In addition to Russian, he spoke German, Bulgarian, French and Serbo-Croatian.


Bazarov joined the Soviet secret police (OGPU) in 1921 and began working on espionage operations in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in 1924. From 1924 to 1927, he worked in the Soviet embassy in Vienna, simultaneously supervising Austrian, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian and Romanian agents. In 1927, Bazarov returned to Moscow and supervised the Balkan sector. In 1928, he moved to Berlin and ran the "illegal resident" operations which included France, while continuing to work on the Balkan line. In Paris, the rezidentura had eleven agents, in Bucharest six, Sofia two, Zagreb two, and one for Belgrad and Istanbul.

From Berlin, Bazarov pioneered the infiltration of covertly-established Soviet agents in the United Kingdom. In 1930, he supervised the penetration of the Foreign Office, by recruiting the code clerk Ernest Holloway Oldham.

In 1935, Bazarov took up the position of OGPU "illegal resident" in the United States, a position he held until 1937. His group included Iskhak Akhmerov, Norman Borodin, and Helen Lowry.

Death and legacy

Bazarov was suspected in the Great Purges and shot in 1939. He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1956.

Further reading

  • Hede Massing, This Deception (New York, NY: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1951).
  • Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—the Stalin Era. New York: Random House, 1999.
  • Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev, The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives. London: HarperCollins, 1998; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).
  • (Russian) Bazarov on the official site of the Russian Intelligence Service
  • "Gorsky's List", at The Alger Hiss Story.
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