Oleg Danilovich Kalugin (russian: Олег Данилович Калугин; born 6 September 1934) is a former KGB general
(stripped of his rank and awards by a Russian Court decision in 2002). He was during a time head of KGB political operations in the United States
and later a critic of the agency. After being convicted of spying for the West in absentia during a trial in Moscow, he remained in the US and was sworn in as a citizen on 4 August 2003.
Early life and career
Born 6 September 1934, in Leningrad
and son of an officer in the NKVD
, Kalugin attended Leningrad State University
and was recruited by the KGB, under the aegis
of the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence). After training, he was sent to the United States
, where he enrolled as a journalism
student at Columbia University
on a Fulbright scholarship
in 1958, along with Aleksandr Yakovlev
. He continued to pose as a journalist for a number of years, eventually serving as the Radio Moscow correspondent
at the United Nations
. In 1965, after five years in New York City
, he returned to Moscow
to serve under the cover of press officer
in the Soviet Foreign Ministry
Kalugin was then assigned to Washington, DC
, with the cover of deputy press officer for the Soviet embassy
. In reality, he was deputy resident
and acting chief of the Residency at the Soviet Embassy. Rising in the ranks, he became one of the KGB's top officers operating out of the Soviet embassy in Washington. That led to his being promoted to general in 1974, the youngest in its history.
He then returned to KGB headquarters to become head of the foreign counterintelligence
or K branch of the First Chief Directorate
. Meanwhile, he received high honors for the assassination of Bulgaria
n writer Georgi Markov
. It had been accomplished on a request from Todor Zhivkov
and then an order by the KGB chief, Yuri Andropov
Criticism of KGB
In 1980, Kalugin was demoted to deputy head of the Leningrad KGB as a result of an intrigue initiated by Vladimir Kryuchkov
, then a close confidant of Yuri Andropov
who had been privately criticized by Kalugin. Kalugin was accused of recruiting an agent 20 years prior, who the KGB believed probably incorrectly, was actually an American spy. That made Kalugin himself seem to be a security risk. He was suspected of working for the CIA
, but there was no supporting evidence. Vladimir Kryuchkov
, Chairman of the KGB and orchestrator of the 1991 coup plot
, alleged that in his time in counterintelligence, he failed to discover a single US agent, but his successor would allegedly find over a dozen. Former CIA mole Karl Koecher
made unsupported claims that for his eventual arrest, Kalugin was responsible.
The unsubstantiated accusations did not stop him from criticizing the agency's policies and methods. He complained that the KGB overlooked corruption in the highest circles of Soviet society while it terrorized common people. His unbridled public criticism led to reassignment to Security Officers posts first in the Academy of Sciences in 1987 and then at the Ministry of Electronics in 1988. His career at the KGB ended with his forced retirement
on 26 February 1990.
[''The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West'' by Oleg Kalugin and Fen Montaigne, p. 327-328. St Martins Pr, New York (1994), (retrieved 25 February 2006).]
As the Soviet Union
underwent changes under Mikhail Gorbachev
, Kalugin became more vocal and public in his criticism of the KGB by denouncing Soviet security forces as Stalinist
domestic political police
, but he never disputed the importance of espionage abroad. Finally, in 1990, Gorbachev signed a decree stripping Kalugin of his rank, decorations, and pension. In August 1991, Gorbachev returned his rank, decorations, and pension. Despite opposition from the KGB, he was elected in September 1990
to the Supreme Soviet
as a People's Deputy for the Krasnodar
Countering the Soviet coup attempt
Kalugin became a firm supporter of Boris Yeltsin
, the president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
. During the abortive Soviet coup attempt of 1991
, led by KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov
he led crowds to the Russian White House
, the center of anticoup efforts, and induced Yeltsin to address the crowds.
After the coup, he became an unpaid adviser to the new KGB chairman, Vadim Bakatin
. Ever vocal, Kalugin told the press that in the future, the KGB should have no political functions and no secret laboratories to manufacture poisons and secret weapons. While Bakatin succeeded in dismantling the old security apparatus, he did not have the time to reform it before he was fired in November 1991.
Exile to the United States
According to Kalugin, he has never betrayed any Soviet agents except those who were already known to Western intelligence. He called intelligence defector
s like Oleg Gordievsky
One of the allegations in his 1994 book, ''The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West'', stated that the death of Sean Bourke
, who had helped traitor George Blake
to escape prison, was caused by poisoning ordered by the KGB. Another allegation was that the KGB "virtually controlled the Russian Orthodox Church through the blackmail of its many gay priests", according to a review of the book.
(In a 2015 interview, he named the late head of the church, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow
, as a KGB collaborator.) A second edition of the book, published in 2009, provided some additional specifics about some of the cases that Kalugin had discussed only briefly in the first edition.
In 1995, Kalugin accepted a teaching position at The Catholic University of America
and has remained in the United States ever since.
Settling in Washington, D.C.
, he first wrote the ''First Directorate'' book about Cold War
espionage and a subsequent book ''Spymaster'' in 2008. He also collaborated with former CIA Director William Colby
to produce ''Spycraft: The Great Game
'', a CD-ROM
game released in 1996. He has appeared frequently in the media and given lecture
s at a number of universities.
In June 2001, Kalugin testified at the espionage trial of George Trofimoff
, a retired Colonel of the United States Army Reserve
who was charged with spying for the KGB in the 1970s and the 1980s. Upon being asked whether he knew the name of the U.S. military intelligence mole codenamed "Markiz," Kalugin responded "Yes. I did. His name was George Trofimoff." Kalugin testified that Metropolitan Bishop Iriney (Susemihl)
, the Russian Orthodox
hierarch of Austria
, had recruited Trofimoff into the service of the KGB. Kalugin further described having invited the Metropolitan to visit his dacha
in 1978. According to Kalugin, "He did good work, particularly in recruiting Markiz. I wanted to thank him for what he had done." Kalugin further described his own meeting with Trofimoff at a location in Austria. When asked his reasons for testifying, Kalugin explained that as a resident alien
, he was trying to obey American law
. Trofimoff was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment
On 4 August 2003, Kalugin became a naturalized citizen
of the United States.
Criticism of Putin
With the return to power of elements of the KGB, most notably Vladimir Putin
, Kalugin was again accused of treason
. In 2002, he was put on trial ''in absentia''
and found guilty of spying for the West.
He was sentenced to fifteen years in jail,
in a verdict he described as "Soviet justice, which is really triumphant today".
The US and Russia have no extradition
though it is unlikely the U.S. would extradite Kalugin for such charges anyway.
As of 2019, Kalugin was a professor for the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI CENTRE). He is a member of the advisory board for the International Spy Museum
He remains a critic of Putin, a former subordinate, whom he called a "war criminal
" over his conduct of the Second Chechen War
, and claimed that he would absolutely face an international tribunal some day and would be severely penalized for his crimes against the people of the North Caucasus
, just like former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
* ''The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West'' by Oleg Kalugin and Fen Montaigne. 1994. 374 pages. St Martins Pr.
* ''Spymaster: The Highest-ranking KGB Officer Ever to Break His Silence'' by Oleg Kalugin and Fen Montaigne. 1995. Blake Publishing Ltd.
* (Russian) ''Proshchai, Lubianka! (XX vek glazami ochevidtsev)'' by Oleg Kalugin. 1995. 347 pages. "Olimp"
* ''Window of opportunity: Russia's role in the coalition against terror.'' An article from: Harvard International Review. 22 September 2002. Vol. 24 Issue 3 Page 56(5).
at the International Spy Museum
Category:Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alumni
Category:People from Saint Petersburg
Category:American people of Russian descent
Category:Russian emigrants to the United States
Category:Russian political activists
Category:Soviet major generals
Category:Saint Petersburg State University alumni
Category:Soviet spies against the United States
Category:Catholic University of America faculty