Spies in skirts: female intelligence officers whose exploits are still classified
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/spies-in-skirts-female-intelligence-officers-whose-exploits-are-still-classified
In the history of domestic intelligence, there are many women whose exploits are classified even after many years. But their fates are no less interesting than the secrets they have obtained.
Actress Irina Alimova
Bibiiran Alimova — for simplicity, everyone called her Irina — was born in the Turkmen city of Mary in June 1918. At the age of 18, the girl was unexpectedly invited to the Turkmenfilm studio, and soon the film "Umbar" with Alimova in the main role was released on the screens. Fame came, she was recognized on the street. Then he studied acting in Leningrad. "In Leningrad, I met with famous Soviet artists: Tamara Makarova, Yanina Zhaimo, Zoya Fedorova, Lev Sverdlin, Pyotr Aleynikov, directors Heifitz, Zarkhi, Trauberg, Romm, Gerasimov. They praised me, said that I had good prospects, " Alimova later recalled.
The beginning of the war caught Irina at the Uzbekfilm studio. Alimova went to the front, to the military censorship unit. She already knew four languages and worked as a translator. On May 9, 1945, she met him in Vienna.
Bibiiran's further career was formed not in the cinema, but in the special services. In 1953, she was offered to go to Japan illegally. According to legend, she, the daughter of a rich Uighur, Mrs. Khatych, signed with her fiance Enver Sadyk in China, and from there they went to Japan via Hong Kong. Sadyk turned out to be a Soviet intelligence officer Shamil Khamzin. Looking ahead, let's say that the scouts with the call signs Bir and Khalef liked each other and, having created a married couple by order, they lived their whole lives.
Khalef and Bir moved to Tokyo, where they became partners in one of the export-import firms. They bought a two-story house and opened a store on the first floor. The firm and the store were a reliable cover for the couple. But at first, when the business was not debugged, one of Irina's talents came in handy — the ability to embroider. She decorated women's blouses, dresses, skirts with patterns, which were sold with a bang.
For 13 years of living in Tokyo, the couple transferred hundreds of ciphers to Moscow — Irina successfully coped with the work of a radio operator. So we learned, for example, about the launching of a new submarine. One of the major achievements of the scouts was the acquisition of photographs of US military bases, locations of the Japanese Self-Defense forces and their airfields. Everything was in their biography: a successfully won confrontation with the Japanese counterintelligence, to which the couple fell under the hood, avoiding surveillance, putting containers in hiding places and much more.
To get valuable information, Khalef and Bir led an active social life, attended receptions at embassies of Western countries. Irina made useful contacts and learned about the actions of US troops in South Korea at the American women's club, where the wives of diplomats and officers gathered for tea. The couple had a particularly close relationship with the Turkish ambassador. The Turkish military attache stayed in their house for a whole month. The Turks proved to be very useful, because at that time Ankara was actively supplying Japan with ships and other weapons.
Almost all Japanese newspapers and magazines were bypassed by a photo in which Irina Karimovna as Mrs. Khatycha Sadyk was photographed next to the wife of the Emperor of Japan at the opening of the ikebana exhibition. Looking at that picture of a young, elegant woman, no one could have thought that she was a KGB major. The next time the Japanese printed Irina's photo was already in the 90s, when it became known about her work in intelligence.
In 1967, having received the order of the Center, our scouts went ostensibly on vacation, but in fact to the Union.
Colonel Hamzin soon went on other business trips — Hong Kong, London, Salt Lake City. And Irina began to share her experience with young scouts. "I have played a very difficult role all my life, only without dubbing and prompters. It was impossible to make a mistake — there was a huge country behind us, which should not have suffered because of our failures, " she admitted. Bibiiran survived her husband by 20 years — she died in December 2011.
Sculptor Elena Kosova
When British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher received the sculptor Elena Kosova in London, she did not suspect that she was facing a Soviet intelligence officer. The Iron Lady was kind and thanked me for the bust with her image, which she placed on the desktop.
Elena, the daughter of a general, commander of the internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was the first Soviet woman to work at the UN. After school, she enrolled in two-year foreign language courses at the Higher School of the MGB, where she met her future husband, intelligence officer and journalist Nikolai Kosov. In 1949, Senior Lieutenant Kosova and her husband went on a business trip to the United States. Elena received the operational pseudonym Anna. Both were supposed to go as correspondents of TASS. But the staff was staffed, in order to make room for Elena, a black American woman with many children would have to be dismissed. Kosova refused and became an interpreter at the UN mission. Then she got a solid post at the UN headquarters.
According to legend, Elena was a specialist in the protection of women's rights, which helped a lot in her work. "My informants were usually women. The communication of two ladies, their "random" meetings in the cafeteria, the barber shop do not arouse suspicion in anyone. One handshake, a friendly hug — and I have the encryption. Thanks to this connection, the Center regularly received information concerning the position of NATO countries on global world problems. In New York, I was a liaison in Barkovsky's group — he was just dealing with the atomic bomb, " Kosova recalled about her work.
Once Elena had to rush on a resident's assignment to another state and save an illegal immigrant who was on the verge of failure. American counterintelligence was left with a nose. Most of the episodes of her work are still classified. But the fact that the letters of the legendary intelligence officers of the Cohen spouses and prison drawings of Rudolf Abel remain in the Kosovs ' family archive says a lot.
Few of the scouts manage to combine work with women's happiness, but Elena Kosova remained true to herself even here. "At the age of 30, I found out that I was expecting a child," Elena Alexandrovna recalled. — It changed everything. I decided to devote myself to him. My mother was sick, there was no one to help. Anyway, I wouldn't trust anyone with my son. I came and asked to let me go for three years. And I was offered to resign at the Center, and then, if I want, come back whenever it pleases." Officially, she never returned. On the next business trip, to Holland, Elena accompanied Nikolai exclusively as a wife. But at the same time, she was still engaged in operational work: she helped her husband, a resident of foreign intelligence. I "got to know" the wife of a foreigner better, or I could get the right married couple to talk at the reception.
And in Holland, the wife of a Bulgarian diplomat persuaded Elena to go with her to the Academy of Arts for a modeling class. After that, Kosova was immediately enrolled in the 2nd year. In 1975, in Budapest, when her husband was a KGB representative in Hungary, Elena again picked up clay. The success of her work was stunning.
Few people knew that Elena Kosova, a member of the unions of artists, was an "atomic" intelligence officer. Her works have been exhibited in museums in different countries. The daughter of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, American Patricia Thompson, burst into tears when she saw a bust of her father by Kosova. Elena also created sculptural portraits of Charles de Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ludwig van Beethoven.
"You write the most important thing-that I found my second vocation at the age of 50, when I picked up a piece of clay. Let this be an example to all women. It's never too late!" — Elena always told reporters. Kosova died in February 2014. She was 89 years old.