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Suvorov, Viktor (Vladimir Rezun)   Aquarium. The Career and Defection of a Soviet Spy (1985)(1)

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awake. '262 by 
16.' And they shout: 'It's so simple - don't you remember? 
You've already done it; you did it this morning; it's so 
simple.' '4192,' I mumble sleepily, and the light goes out. 
In the space of a week they got to know practically 
everything there was to know about me. They established 
the extent of my knowledge in every field which interested 
them. Apart from that they assessed my capacity for 
work, my memory, my resourcefulness, my ability to 
orientate myself, my honesty, the presence or absence of a 
sense of humour, my stamina, my reaction to various 
situations, my ability to remember faces, names, numbers 
and titles, my ability to take independent decisions, and a 
lot more besides. 
'You suit us very well, young man,' a grey-haired man 
in civilian clothes told me, after I had endured a week of 
examinations and tests. 'But there is only one way out of 
our organization. That is through the chimney of the 
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crematorium. So think again. And so that you shall have 
something to think about, we'll show you a film . . .' 
I thought that his face would pursue me in nightmares 
throughout my life. But that was not the case. I never 
dreamt of him. But I often thought about him, and there 
was something about the affair that I couldn't understand. 
The official version said that a GRU colonel sold himself 
to the British and American intelligence services because 
he was fond of the opposite sex and that that was why he 
needed a lot of money. Let us suppose that was true. But 
if it was just a question of women why on earth did he 
not simply defect to the West? In America or Britain he 
would have had enough money and enough women to 
last him all his life. A man with the information he had 
would have been welcomed and treated at his true worth. 
He had plenty of opportunities to defect. But he didn't do 
it. He went on working in Moscow, where he had no 
opportunity to spend that sort of money. Which meant 
that it wasn't a matter of money or of women. So what 
was it then? 
If he had been nothing more than a womanizer he 
would have escaped and settled for women and money. 
But he didn't. He finished up in the crematorium, the man 
I had seen silently screaming. But why, for goodness sake? 
I twisted and turned on the hot pillow and just couldn't 
get to sleep. It was my first night without examinations. 
But was I being observed at night by closed-circuit 
television? Oh, to hell with it! I got out of bed and made a 
rude gesture to each corner of the room. If I was still being 
watched they wouldn't be taking me to the Central 
Committee of the Party tomorrow. Then I decided that it 
wasn't enough simply to make rude gestures, so I exposed 
to the camera, if there was one there, everything I had to 
show. We would see next day whether 
162 
they would throw me out or not. Having displayed what I 
could I got back contented into bed and went straight to 
sleep, firmly convinced that I would be shipped off to 
Siberia the next day to command a tank company. 
I slept in that bed like a babe. A really deep sleep. I 
knew that, if I were accepted into the Aquarium, it would 
be a big mistake on the part of the Soviet Intelligence. I 
knew that, if there remained only one exit and that 
through the chimney, my departure would not be an 
honourable one. I knew that I would not die in my bed. 
No, people like me do not die in their beds. It would 
really have been better for Soviet Intelligence if it had 
despatched me through the chimney right away! 
Once again I was being taken somewhere in a closed van 
with opaque windows. I couldn't see where I was going, 
and no one could see me. What was I off to? To the 
Central Committee or to Siberia? 
Outside I could hear the sounds of a big city, the 
scuffling of millions of feet, so I must be in the middle of 
the city. Maybe at the Lubyanka? There was always a 
stream of pedestrians like the Niagara Falls walking past 
the Lubyanka on Dzerzhinsky Square. For some reason it 
seemed to me that that must be where we were. But there 
was nothing strange in that, because the Central 
Committee was close by. Our van remained stationary 
for some time and then drove carefully into a yard of 
some kind. There was the clang of metal doors behind us, 
the door of the van opened and I got out. 
We were in a little narrow, dark courtyard, with ancient 
high walls on all four sides. Behind us were the gates, 
with KGB sergeants on duty. There were a few doors 
opening on to the courtyard with a KGB guard at some 
of them. There was no guard to be seen at the other 
doors. Above there were pigeons cooing on the cornice. 
163 
This way, please. Another grey-haired man produced 
some papers. The KGB sergeant saluted. This way. Grey-
hair knew the way and led me along endless corridors. 
Red carpets. Vaulted ceilings. Leather padded doors. Our 
documents were checked again. This way, please. A lift 
took us silently to the third floor. Another corridor. A big 
ante-room with an elderly woman at a desk. Wait a 
moment, please. We waited. Come in, please. Grey-hair 
gave me a gentle push from behind, closed the door after 
me and remained in the ante-room. 
The office had a high ceiling and windows well above 
eye-level. There was no view at all from the windows, 
only a blank wall and the pigeons on the cornice. There 
was an oak desk, at which sat a very thin man wearing 
gold-rimmed spectacles. He was wearing a brown suit 
without any distinguishing marks - no medals or orders. 
It was so easy in the Army. You looked at a man's 
epaulettes and you could say at once: comrade major or 
comrade colonel. But how could I break the ice here? I 
simply introduced myself: 
'Captain Suvorov.' 
'Hello, captain, how are you?' 
'I wish you health!' 
'We have studied you attentively and have decided to 
take you into the Aquarium, after suitable preparation, of 
course.' 
'Thank you.' 
'Today is the 23rd of August. Keep that date in mind, 
captain, throughout your life. That is the day on which 
you are being received into the nomenklatura1, and not 
just into the nomenklatura, but straight into a higher 
1 Nomenklatura - list of most important posts in the 
Soviet Union which can be occupied only by Party 
members with special experience and which carry 
numerous special privileges; the elite of Soviet 
society.(See: Nomenklatura by Prof. M. Voslensky, 
London 1984.) 
164 
level - the nomenklatura of the Central Committee. Apart 
from all the other exceptional privileges you will receive 
yet another one. From today you are no longer subject to 
control by the KGB. From today the KGB has no right to 
put questions to you, to demand answers to them or to 
undertake any action against you. If you make any 
mistake, report it to the person in charge of you and he 
will report to us. If you fail to report it we shall know 
about your mistake all the same. But in any case any 
enquiry into your behaviour will be carried out only by 
top officials of the GRU or by the Administrative 
Department of the Central Committee. You are obliged to 
report any contact with the KGB to your chief. The well-
being of the Central Committee depends on the way 
organizations and people who belong to the nomenklatura 
of the Central Committee are able to preserve their 
independence of all other organizations. The well-being 
of the Central Committee is also your own personal well-
being, captain. Take pride in the confidence which the 
Central Committee has in our military intelligence and in 
you personally. I wish you well.' I saluted smartly and 
left the room. 
A lake in the middle of a forest. Reeds around the shore. 
A birch wood above the banks. And behind a tall fence 
was our house in the country, our dacha. There was a 
tiny beach with some boats turned