For a GRU officer, there are countries in which he dreams of working. There are also countries in which he would rather not work. There are cities he dreams of, and cities he sees in nightmares.
The dream city for a GRU officer is Peking. Its infernal counterpart- Tokyo. This might appear strange, because for the top brass of the GRU quite the reverse is true: Tokyo is heaven, Peking hell. But the interests of a GRU officer are directly opposed to the interests of the top brass. The top brass desire high productivity, while the work force has rather different aims.
Imagine that you are lucky and are posted to China. What awaits you? A vast, splendid embassy behind high walls. Chit-chat with colleagues from other embassies, gossip about the state of health of the Chinese leaders and the Ambassador's wife. After five years your return home, obviously without having recruited any agents. But nobody will bawl you out for it, you will not have your epaulettes torn off, no one will call you lazy or a coward. Everyone understands that you have been in hell, where serious work is impossible....
And now imagine that you are an unlucky spy and the GRU post you to Tokyo. Both you and the GRU top brass know that there are no laws against spying there, that conditions for spying are ideal. So what awaits you? Exhausting stressful work, fifteen to seventeen hours a day, with no rest days and no feast days. No matter how many secrets you manage to acquire it will never be enough. No matter how many agents you recruit it will never be enough. Your paradise will be snowed under with cipher cables from Moscow addressed to the resident saying: 'You have seventy operational officers! Where's your productivity? What you managed to get yesterday we have already received from Hong Kong! From Berlin! From illegals! Where are the secrets!!!???' You may rest assured that this question is put by the GRU daily to the resident-who will in turn ask you the same question, pounding the table with his enormous fist. He will fight for the kind of productivity that can only be achieved through merciless competition. If your output is not up to scratch you will simply be sent home and your career broken.
Personally I have never been to Tokyo, but I have had to work in a country which was considered 'paradise' by the GRU top brass. Understandably, for us it was 'hell'. A weak police system in that country meant that the other residents continually used it as an intermediate base for their operations, and it was a busy crossing point for GRU illegals, too. All of them had to be taken care of and helped. Acting as a supply base for agent network operations is rather like serving in a signals unit during a war: as long as communication lines are maintained nobody remembers you, but should communications be interrupted the signaller is sent to a penal battalion forthwith, charged with the failure of the entire operation. The difference between us and the signals boys lay in the fact that no matter how well we maintained supplies, how successful our own work was, we also had to recruit agents. After all, we were living in 'paradise', where the police was weak and Soviet diplomats were never expelled.
I'd like to beg all who are responsible for the security of the West: be human. Do expel Soviet spies occasionally. By expelling one you enable others to reduce their frantic activity. A spy is a human being. He bears on his shoulders the immense pressure of the gigantic GRU establishment, and he has no excuse for any lapses. He needs one, so be human.
Who should be expelled first? The answer is obvious: the resident. The expulsion of the resident is equivalent to clearing the King off the chess- board: it spells checkmate to the 'residentura', no matter how aggressive and successful it is. Usually the local police know who he is. He is easy to identify. He has already served abroad for twelve to fifteen years, he has been very active and, judging by the signs, successful. Now here he is serving abroad again, in a senior diplomatic post, and hardly ever leaving the embassy, but sitting there motionless, like a spider. Clearly it is against him that all forces must be mobilised. This is not easy. He breaks no laws, does not speed up and down the motorways day and night, carries no stolen secrets in his car. But he is more dangerous than all his officers put together.
There is a deep-seated and erroneous belief that known residents should not be allowed into the country. Sometimes they aren't, sometimes they are simply not granted entry visas. This is a mistake. I will try to explain, using my own resident as an example. He was a man of unflinching will and powerful intellect, a true ace of spies: careful, perfidious, calculating and fearless. He was promoted to major-general at the age of thirty-six, and he had a brilliant career in front of him in the upper echelons of the GRU. But all he wanted was to be a resident, and as a result he remained a major-general. Without any doubt the Security Services in the West knew him well. Prior to one of his postings abroad the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked for a Belgian visa for him. It was refused. They asked for a French one - again refused. Then a West German one - refused again. Finally a small country with a soft, friendly government agreed to grant him entry. The GRU gave the resident his final briefing, which of course included the names and addresses of the members of the network run by the 'residentura'. As soon as he arrived in the country he started extending the network speedily and vigorously, until it was working successfully against the USA, against Belgium, against France, against all the countries which had refused him entry. In other words, barring a resident from a country does not mean rendering his network ineffective (see Appendix C).
Now imagine another set of circumstances. Supposing the first country approached, in this case Belgium, had issued the visa. The resident would be briefed, let into all the 'residentura' secrets, and would arrive in the country. However if, three to four months later, Belgium found some reason or other to expel him, the results of this would be threefold:
1. The resident will have had time to disrupt the existing system of work in the residency but not to build up a new system.
2. Having to leave the country suddenly, the resident will leave his army without a commanding officer. Time will be needed for the successor's visa application and more time to brief the new resident. In the interim the residency will remain inactive.
3. The experienced resident, on returning to Moscow, will be completely neutralised. For the following three to four years, visa applications cannot be sent for him either to France or West Germany or any other country that Belgium will have notified as an ally.
One experienced, authoritative, demanding and merciless resident serving in a neutral country with ten officers under his command can sometimes harm the West more than two hundred very active GRU officers working in the USA, Great Britain, West Germany or France. This is not only a matter of my opinion, it is also the opinion held by Moscow Centre, and it was the opinion held by my first resident, who taught me unforgettable lessons in concentration on target, persistence and mad risk. I am sincerely sorry that he has stayed the other side of the barricade....
How should one go about the business of expulsion? The short answer is: as noisily as possible. To expel a Soviet spy is of course a victory. But to expel him noisily means that you are making as much capital out of the victory as you can. The silent expulsion of a Soviet spy is an action directed against one man. The noisy expulsion is a slap in the face for the GRU, for the KGB; it is an action directed against all their spies, against thousands of unstable people prepared to listen to the proposals of the Soviet intelligence service. Here is another example encountered during my work.
I had a reasonably good relationship with a young man who agreed to 'lose' his passport. In return he agreed to 'find' some money. This was the first step towards the morass. Further well-tried steps were planned which would have pushed him deeper in each time; once in, he would never have been able to get out. However, on the day scheduled for a meeting, an insignificant local paper published an item stating that fifty per cent of the Soviet Embassy staff were spies. So at our meeting, instead of losing the money I had with me and finding his passport, I had to spend the time proving to him that the news item was a lie. And it really was a barefaced lie, as at that time not fifty but eighty per cent of the Embassy staff were spies. I managed to convince the young man. We remained good friends ... but nothing more. He did not take the crucial step. Should you, young man, be reading my book, my greetings to you. I am glad for your sake, in spite of the fact that at the time I felt my failure deeply. But what can a poor GRU spy do in a situation when the powerful free Western press publishes such items at the least suitable moment?
Finally the question arises as to how many Soviet spies should be expelled. The only answer is: all. What do you need them for? Why keep them in your country? They are professionals specially selected and trained to destroy your country. If you have the evidence to prove that they are spies - expel them. Sometimes the theory is put forward that it is better to unearth a spy and keep him under surveillance than to expel him, as then a new one will be sent in and we will not know whom to keep under surveillance. That is correct. But every expelled spy represents a nightmare to the new ones, who fear deeply being appointed as replacements. Secondly, intelligence experience is much more valuable than any amount of education, and one experienced spy is a hundred times more dangerous than a young, green one. The more inexperienced spies you have in your country the more mistakes will be made, the easier it will be to watch them.
But if we expel people, runs the argument, the Soviet Union will retaliate and expel our innocent diplomats from Moscow. That is so. But to that there is an antidote - you must expel large groups of diplomats simultaneously. Look at these statistics: Holland expelled one - the Soviet Union's reply : two. Turkey expelled one - the reply : two. But if you increase the number to five the Soviet reply will be five or fewer. Canada expelled thirteen - the reply : two. France expelled forty-seven - the reply: nil.
Great Britain simultaneously expelled 105 (the entire staff of the GRU and KGB residencies). There was no comeback. If you take similar action against Soviet spies I guarantee that your diplomats in Moscow will be safe. I guarantee that your diplomats will be greatly respected, and that the Soviet leadership will look for opportunities to improve its relations with you. The Soviet leadership understands and acknowledges strength. But only strength and nothing else. The Soviet Union can respect the sovereignty of any country, no matter how small it looks on the map. But the Soviet Union respects the sovereignty only of those nations who respect their own sovereignty and defend it.