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Sergei Tretyakov (intelligence officer)

Sergei Tretyakov (intelligence officer)

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Colonel Sergei Tretyakov (5 October 1956, Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, USSR – 13 June 2010, Sarasota County, Florida
Sarasota County, Florida
Sarasota County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. The U.S. Census Bureau 2008 estimate for the county was 372,057. Its county seat is Sarasota, Florida....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

) was a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n SVR (foreign intelligence)
Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)
The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service is Russia's primary external intelligence agency. The SVR is the successor of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB since December 1991...

 officer who defected to the United States in October 2000.

Biography


Tretyakov was a career KGB/SVR officer. Before being posted in New-York, he worked in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

Since 1995 he worked in New-York in the position of SVR deputy rezident (station chief) under the diplomatic
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

 cover of first secretary at Russia's mission at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. As was revealed later, Tretyakov was a double-agent passing secrets to Washington since approximately 1997.

In October 2000 Tretyakov disappeared with his wife, daughter and cat, telling the SVR in a statement: "My resignation will not harm the interests of the country." It was not until the end of January 2001 that his defection was first reported by the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, whereafter the news was broken in the Russian media, which reported that Russia's Foreign Ministry was insisting on having a consular meeting with him in order to make sure he was not forcefully kept by the US side. On 10 February 2001, it was revealed, with reference to "several American officials familiar with the case", that the defector "was in fact an officer in the S.V.R., Russia's foreign intelligence service, successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B." The timing of his decision was reportedly partly affected by the death of his mother in 1997, as she was the last close family member still living in Russia the state could threaten.

Upon defection, Tretyakov was debriefed by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

. He was given one of the largest U.S. financial packages ever for a foreign defector, over US$2 million, and resettled along with his family in an unknown location with a new name. His location has become known to Russian journalists soon. Alexey Veselovsky, a TV reporter, interviewed Sergey Tretyakov in his house in Florida before he died.

In 2007, Tretyakov and his family were granted the US citizenship.

In his interviews published in early 2008, Tretyakov maintained that had never had any sort of problems when in the KGB/SVR service, nor had he ever requested any money from the US government; everything he received upon his defection was provided by the US government on their own initiative. He also claimed then that the chief motivation for his defection had been his "growing disgust with and contempt for, what was happening in Russia"; he said: "I saw with my own eyes what kind of people were governing the country. I arrived at the irrevocable conclusion that to serve those people is immoral, I wanted nothing to do with them." A second motive he mentioned was to provide a better future for his daughter "in a country that has a future".

He was reported to have been close to Sergey Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov
Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov is the Foreign Minister of Russia. Prior to that, Lavrov was a Soviet diplomat and Russia's ambassador to the United Nations from 1994 to 2004. Lavrov speaks Russian, English, French and Sinhala....

, then Russia's UN mission head.

Book release


In January 2008 Tretyakov gave several interviews to publicize a book of his experiences, Comrade J.: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War, written by journalist Pete Earley
Pete Earley
-Career:A former Washington Post reporter, he is the author of books about the Aldrich Ames and John Walker espionage cases. His book Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town. won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Fact Crime Book in 1996. This...

. Earley first met Tretyakov through an FBI contact at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia
Tysons Corner, Virginia
Tysons Corner is an unincorporated census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Part of the Washington Metropolitan Area located in Northern Virginia, Tysons Corner lies between the community of McLean and the town of Vienna along the Capital Beltway . The population was...

; two FBI agents and two CIA were assigned to Tretyakov as an escort. The SVR responded to the book's release by calling it "self-publicity based on treachery." The book's release in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 was delayed by the publisher because of legal considerations, namely Tretyakov's accusation that former Progressive Conservative
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was a Canadian political party with a centre-right stance on economic issues and, after the 1970s, a centrist stance on social issues....

 MP Alex Kindy
Alex Kindy
Alex Kindy, M.D. is a former Canadian politician. Kindy was born in Warsaw, Poland.His first attempt at entering federal politics was in the 1962 federal election when he ran as an "Independent Liberal" in the Quebec riding of Maisonneuve—Rosemont...

 was recruited by an SVR officer at the Russian embassy in Ottawa and paid several times between 1992 and 1993. When promoting his book, Tretyakov said that Russian intelligence was just as active now as in Cold War times, adding that he hoped his book would act as a "wake-up call" to Americans.

Claims

  • Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

    's UN ambassador Eldar Kouliev was a "a deep-cover SVR intelligence officer."

  • United States Deputy Secretary of State
    United States Deputy Secretary of State
    The Deputy Secretary of State of the United States is the chief assistant to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State resigns or dies, the Deputy Secretary of State becomes Acting Secretary of State until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a replacement. The position was...

     Strobe Talbott
    Strobe Talbott
    Nelson Strobridge "Strobe" Talbott III is an American foreign policy analyst associated with Yale University and the Brookings Institution, a former journalist associated with Time magazine and diplomat who served as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001.-Early life:Born in Dayton, Ohio...

     was "an extremely valuable intelligence source" being manipulated by SVR agents to disclose useful information (though not a spy)

  • Canadian MP Alex Kindy
    Alex Kindy
    Alex Kindy, M.D. is a former Canadian politician. Kindy was born in Warsaw, Poland.His first attempt at entering federal politics was in the 1962 federal election when he ran as an "Independent Liberal" in the Quebec riding of Maisonneuve—Rosemont...

     was recruited as a Russian spy.

  • KGB
    KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

     chief Vladimir Kryuchkov
    Vladimir Kryuchkov
    Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov was a former Soviet politician and Communist Party member, having been in the organization from 1944 until he was dismissed in 1991...

     sent US$50 billion worth of funds of the Communist Party to an unknown location in the lead up to the collapse of the USSR.

  • Raúl Castro
    Raúl Castro
    Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

     was a long-term "special unofficial contact" for SVR.

  • "The KGB was responsible for creating the entire nuclear winter
    Nuclear winter
    Nuclear winter is a predicted climatic effect of nuclear war. It has been theorized that severely cold weather and reduced sunlight for a period of months or even years could be caused by detonating large numbers of nuclear weapons, especially over flammable targets such as cities, where large...

     story to stop the Pershing missiles." Tretyakov says that two fraudulent papers about global cooling were commissioned by the KGB, one alleged to be by physicist Kirill Kondratyev
    Kirill Y. Kondratyev (physicist)
    Kirill Y. Kondratyev was a Russian atmospheric physicist.Kondratyev was born about 300 km northwest of Moscow. He went to school in Leningrad and in 1938 entered the University of Leningrad to study physics, mathematics and chemistry. In 1941, he joined the Russian army and experienced the siege...

     about dust storms in the Karakum Desert
    Karakum Desert
    The Karakum Desert, also spelled Kara-Kum and Gara Gum is a desert in Central Asia. It occupies about 70 percent, or 350,000 km², of the area of Turkmenistan....

    , the other alleged to be by climatologist Georgii Golitsyn with mathematicians Nikita Moiseyev
    Nikita Moiseyev
    Nikita Nikolayevich Moiseyev was a prominent Russian mathematician, full member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR ....

     and Vladimir Alexandrov
    Vladimir Alexandrov
    Vladimir Valentinovich Alexandrov was a Russian physicist who created a mathematical model for the nuclear winter theory. He disappeared in 1985 while at a nuclear winter conference in Madrid and his ultimate fate remains unknown.-Research:...

     about dust storms after a nuclear war. Tretyakov says that the KGB distributed their findings to "their contacts in peace, anti-nuclear, disarmament, and environmental organisations in an effort to get these groups to publicize the propagandists' script." and "targeted" the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...

     journal, Ambio
    Ambio
    AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment is a multidisciplinary English language academic journal published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1972. It is published eight times a year....

    , which carried a key article on the topic, "The atmosphere after a nuclear war: Twilight at noon", in 1982.

  • Tretyakov says that from 1979 the KGB wanted to prevent the United States from deploying Pershing missiles in Western Europe and that, directed by Yuri Andropov
    Yuri Andropov
    Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

    , they used the Soviet Peace Committee
    Soviet Peace Committee
    Soviet Peace Committee was a state-sponsored organization responsible for coordinating peace movements active in the Soviet Union. Soviet Peace Committee was founded in 1949 and existed until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.-History and activities:The Soviet Peace Committee was founded in...

    , a government organization, to organize and finance demonstrations in Europe against US bases.

  • Two chiefs of Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

    's Federal Protection Service (FSO), Viktor Zolotov
    Viktor Zolotov
    Viktor Vasilyevich Zolotov is head of the Russia president's personal security service , appointed by Vladimir Putin.-Life and career:...

     and General Murov, discussed how to kill the former director of Yeltsin's administration Alexander Voloshin
    Alexander Voloshin
    Alexander Staliyevich Voloshin is a Russian politician who briefly was chairman of the Board of Directors of RAO UES, the former Russian state power utility, which was liquidated as part of the country's comprehensive power sector reforms on 1 July 2008.In 1997, he was appointed as an assistant...

    . They also made "a list of politicians and other influential Muscovites whom they would need to assassinate to give Putin unchecked power". However since the list was very long, Zolotov allegedly announced, "There are too many. It's too many to kill - even for us." An SVR officer who told about that story felt "uneasy" because FSO includes twenty thousand troops and controls the "black box
    Nuclear briefcase
    Nuclear briefcase is a specially outfitted briefcase used to authorize the use of nuclear weapons.-United States:The Nuclear Football is a black briefcase, the contents of which is to be...

    " that can be used in the event of nuclear war
    Nuclear warfare
    Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

    .

  • A claim about privately owned nuclear weapons. Tretiakov described a meeting with two Russian businessman representing a state-created Chetek corporation in 1991. They came up with a fantastic project of destroying large quantities of chemical wastes collected from Western countries at the island of Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya
    Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

     (a test place for Soviet nuclear weapons) using an underground nuclear blast. The project was rejected by Canadian representatives, but one of the businessmen told Tretiakov that he keeps his own nuclear bomb at his dacha
    Dacha
    Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence...

     outside Moscow
    Moscow
    Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

    . Tretiakov thought that man was insane, but the "businessmen" (Vladimir K. Dmitriev) replied: "Do not be so naive. With economic conditions the way they are in Russia today, anyone with enough money can buy a nuclear bomb. It's no big deal really".

  • Disinformation over the internet. He often sent SVR officers to branches of New York Public Library
    New York Public Library
    The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

     where they got access to the Internet without anyone knowing their identity. They placed propaganda
    Propaganda
    Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

     and disinformation
    Disinformation
    Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth...

     to various web sites and sent it in e-mails to US broadcasters. The articles or messages were not written by the intelligence officers, but were prepared in advance by Russian experts, often with references to bogus sources. The texts were mostly accurate but always contained a "kernel of disinformation". The purpose of these active measures
    Active measures
    Active Measures were a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services to influence the course of world events, "in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it". Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to special actions...

     was to support Russian foreign policy
    Foreign relations of Russia
    The foreign relations of Russia is the policy of the Russian government by which it guides the interactions with other nations, their citizens and foreign organizations and sets standards of interaction for Russian organizations, corporations and individual citizens towards them...

    , to create good image of Russia, to promote anti-American feelings
    Anti-Americanism
    The term Anti-Americanism, or Anti-American Sentiment, refers to broad opposition or hostility to the people, policies, culture or government of the United States...

     and "to cause dissension and unrest inside the US".

Death and allegations of foul play


Although Tretyakov died on June 13, 2010, his death was not announced until July 9, 2010. In July 2010, Tretyakov's wife cited cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest, is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively...

  as the probable cause of death and strongly denied the foul play speculations voiced in the media while calling his death quite unexpected. According to the Florida medical examiner's report, Tretyakov died after choking to death on a piece of meat; a cancerous tumor was also found in his colon.

Some Russian commentators construed Russia's prime minister
Prime Minister of Russia
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws....

 Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

's comments about the ultimate fate that is bound to befall "traitors" made on July 24, 2010, while talking to reporters about the members of the 'Illegals Program
Illegals Program
The Illegals Program, as it was called by the United States Department of Justice, was a network of Russian sleeper agents under non-official cover whose investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation culminated in the arrest of ten agents and a prisoner swap between Russia and the United...

', as a thinly veiled allusion to Tretyakov's death.

External links