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

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van drives past. A street-
cleaner, half-asleep, is sweeping the pavement. I am lying 
back on the soft seat of a car, with the houses of Moscow 
speeding past me. The side window is slightly open and 
an icy draught is blowing away the remains of my 
nightmares. I can feel that my face is unshaven and that 
my hair is stuck to my head. For some reason my face is 
wet. But I am all right. Somebody is driving me some-
where in a big black car. I turn to the driver. It is 
Elephant. He is my driver. 
'Comrade colonel, I didn't tell them anything.' 
'I know, Viktor.' 
'Where are we going?' 
'Did they let me go?' 
I remain silent for a long time. Then suddenly I feel 
scared. It seems to me that I told them everything when I 
'Comrade colonel, did I give anything away?' 
'Are you sure?' 
'Quite sure. I was right by you all the time, even as you 
were arrested.' 
'Where did I make a mistake?' 
'There was no mistake. You broke away from them and 
made for the hiding place with no one on your tail. 
But it was too good a place: the Moscow KGB knows it. 
You used a place which is used by real foreign spies. It's 
a very good place, and that's why it's under constant 
observation. They took you for a real spy, not knowing 
who you were. But we intervened at once. It was a 
genuine arrest, but the interrogation was just training.' 
'How's Genka?' 
'Genka's all right. They held him for a while, but he 
also gave nothing away. In this business you have to 
relax. It's no good being sorry for yourself or dreaming 
about revenge. If you get over that, then you can put up 
with anything. Get some sleep. I shall recommend you 
for real work.' 
'What about Genka?' 
'Genka too.' 
'Have you ever been to Mytishchi?' 
'So much the better.' Elephant suddenly became very 
serious. 'Listen: this is a serious training project. The target 
is the Mytishchi missile factory. The task is to find a suitable 
person and to recruit him. The first aim is to gain experience 
of a real recruitment. The second aim is to discover possible 
ways which an enemy intelligence service might use to 
recruit our people working in especially important plants. 
The limitations imposed on the exercise are as follows. The 
first concerns your time. For carrying out the recruitment 
you may use only your own time, your days off and hol-
idays. You will not be given any free time for doing the job. 
And the second concerns finance - you will use only your 
own money, as much of it as you like, even all of it, but 
not a kopek of government money will be allotted. Any 
'What does the KGB know about this?' 
'The KGB knows that, with the permission of the 
administrative department of the Central Committee we 
are continually carrying out such operations all over 
Moscow. If the KGB arrest you we will rescue you, but 
then we shan't send you abroad.' 
'What can I tell the person I recruit about myself and 
my organization?' 
'Anything you like, except the truth. You are not 
recruiting him on behalf of the Soviet State (any fool can 
do that) but on your own behalf and at your own 
'That means that if I recruit him he will be regarded as 
a real spy?' 
'Precisely. With the one difference that the information 
he hands over will not go abroad.' 
'But that doesn't make his guilt any less.' 
'Certainly not.' 
'So what will he get?' 
'Article 641 of the Criminal Code. Surely you know 
'I know, comrade colonel.' 
'Then I wish you success. And bear in mind that you 
are doing an important job for the Soviet state. You are 
not only training: you are helping our state to get rid of 
potential traitors. Your whole group will be given similar 
tasks, but with other targets. The whole academy does 
the same. Every year. I wish you success. And finally -
sign this paper to say you have been given the task. It's a 
very serious job.' 
According to the theory, the first thing you have to do in 
recruiting is to identify the set target. This wasn't difficult. 
Mytishchi is a small town with a huge factory in it, 
surrounded by barbed wire. At night the factory is bathed 
1 Article 64: Betrayal of the homeland. 
in a sea of blinding light. Guard dogs can be heard 
yapping inside the fences. There can be no mistake about 
it. But a factory has to have a name. If it says at the gates 
that it is a tractor factory that may mean that, apart from 
armaments, the factory produces something for tractors. 
But if the name at the gate tells you nothing, if it is 
something like 'Uralmash' or 'Lenin Forge' or 'Hammer 
and Sickle', then you can cast all doubt aside: it is an 
armaments factory pure and simple. 
The second rule of recruiting says that there is no need 
to clamber over the factory fence. People come out of a 
factory of their own accord. They go to libraries, to sports 
centres, to restaurants, to bars. Around a major factory 
there is bound to be an area where lots of workers live 
and where there are schools and nurseries for their 
children. There will be a medical centre, a tourist office, 
a park and so forth. You just have to find it all. 
The rules say that there's no need to recruit the factory 
manager or the chief engineer. It's easier to recruit their 
secretaries, who are by no means less well informed than 
their bosses. But unfortunately it is one of the conditions 
of our training in recruiting that we are forbidden to 
recruit women. Recruiting women, they say, is no training 
because it is too easy. It's all right when you are working 
abroad, but not when we are being trained. It's not really 
so bad. You can find a draughtsman or computer 
programmer, or someone in charge of secret documents 
or a copying machine. 
Every one of us was given a similar task and every one 
of us drew up his own plan, as if he were preparing for a 
major battle. Recruiting as part of training was no easier 
for us than the real thing. If you are arrested for such 
activity in any Western country there is only one conse-
quence - you are sent back to the Soviet Union. But if 
you make a mistake under training and are arrested by 
the KGB the consequences are much more serious - you 
will never be allowed to travel abroad. When you are 
working abroad all your time is your own and there is no 
limit to what you can spend, whereas under training you 
have examinations to worry about - in strategy, in tactics, 
in the armed forces of the United States, in two foreign 
languages. You have to make the best of it. If you want 
to get on you have to pass your exams and do your 
My first move was to draw in my mind a circle, about a 
kilometre across, round the vast factory site. Within that 
area I decided not to show myself under any pretext. I 
knew that every centimetre in that area was under 
observation by the KGB and that there was no point in 
my going there. 
One evening I was outside the zone waiting for the end 
of the day shift. A stream of people came rushing along 
the pavements. There was much noise, clatter and laugh-
ter. A maelstrom of people. 
There was a great crowd at the bus stop, snow under-
foot and freezing fog around the street lamps. People 
crowded noisily into the bars. But that did not interest me 
for the time being: that was the easy way and I would 
resort to chance meetings only if other ways did not turn 
up. What I needed now was a library, and I had no 
difficulty in finding the usual factory library nearby. 
Anybody could go in and I soon found myself among the 
bookshelves. As I moved along them I tried to see who 
was interested in what subjects. I needed a contact. I 
noticed a ginger-haired fellow in glasses studying books 
of science fiction. I decided to speak to him.