Triple Jeopardy (Gevork Vartanian)
Posted 06 January 2008 - 03:02 PM
18:03 | 04/ 01/ 2008
The attempt by Nazi Germany to assassinate the "Big Three" - Stalin,
Roosevelt and Churchill - was foiled thanks to Soviet intelligence
MOSCOW. (Nikolai Dolgopolov) - The British Big Ape Media TV company and
the Moscow TV Center are making a documentary series about
Russian-British relations over four centuries. The Lion and the Bear,
for release in 2008, will mix documentary history, travelogue and
personal accounts and will be presented by author, and Winston
Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys.
One of the best sections in the film is devoted to the Tehran meeting
of the three leaders in 1943, when Hitler's agents planned to destroy
the Big Three in one fell swoop. The attempt was foiled by Soviet
The "Long Jump" operation to assassinate the Big Three was masterminded
on Hitler's orders by Otto Scorzeny, an SS thug and daredevil saboteur.
The first tip-off about the planned attempt came from Soviet
intelligence agent Nikolai Kuznetsov, aka Wermacht Oberleutnant Paul
Siebert, from Nazi-occupied Ukraine. Kuznetsov, a famed Soviet spy, got
an SS man named Ulrich von Ortel to spill the secret over a bottle of
good brandy. Von Ortel not only told his "friend" Paul about the
operation, but invited him to accompany him on a trip to Tehran to buy
cheap Persian rugs.
"Light cavalry" had no mercy for the Germans
In the autumn of 1943, fate thrust 19-year-old Gevork Vartanian into
the center of the operation. Vartanian was an intelligence agent as
well as the son of a Soviet intelligence agent who worked in Iran under
the cover of a wealthy merchant. He received his first assignment and
the cover name Amir from the resident in 1940.
He formed a group of seven like-minded people. All were of about the
same age - Armenians, a Lezghin and an Assyrian - and they communicated
in Russian and Farsi. Their parents had been exiled or fled from the
USSR to escape Stalin's gulag. They were outcasts and refugees, but
they put their lives at risk for the sake of the Motherland that had
They were new to the intelligence profession and people from Soviet
intelligence had to teach them as they went along. The resident called
the group "light cavalry" because of their agility and speed. They
shadowed Germans and identified Iranian agents. Gevork Vartanian/Amir
today claims that the "light cavalry" had been instrumental in bringing
about the arrest of several hundred people who posed a great danger to
the USSR and Britain, who both had troops stationed in Iran as early as
the autumn of 1941.
On the eve of the Tehran Conference, the Soviet and British field
stations were working under tremendous strain. The "light cavalry"
received orders to prevent the assassination attempt at all costs.
These young men handled the job. I asked Gevork Vartanian whether it
was true that on the eve of the Tehran Conference the Soviet and
British intelligences moved ruthlessly to detain all the suspects.
"What did you expect?" Gevork Vartanian replied. "To let the Germans
take out the three leaders with one stroke? People were placed under
temporary arrest on the slightest suspicion.
If suspicions were not confirmed, they were released after the
conference. On one occasion we had to arrest an Iranian Nazi agent at a
wedding party. We got a tip that he was complicit in the assassination
plot. As it turned out, it was not the first terrorist attack he had
been a part of."
And no "Long Jumps"
During the filming at the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service press
office, Celia Sandys tried to find out from Gevork Vartanian how they
had managed to foil the plot. The slender man in a well-fitting dark
suit with the top Russian military decoration - the Golden Star of the
Hero - answered in good English and then, at Ms. Sandys's request,
repeated the answers in Russian.
"Six German radio operators had been dropped by parachute into the holy
Muslim city of Qum and made it to Tehran. That was the start of
Operation Long Jump. The Germans established communication with Berlin.
The `light cavalry' was given the mission to locate the intruders'
radio station in the huge city of Tehran. Day and night, 14 to 16 hours
a day we scoured the streets. Eventually we found the place where the
group was hiding.
"From then on the Germans were transmitting messages to Berlin that
were intercepted by the Soviet and British intelligence. But the Nazi
radio operators were nobody's fools. One of them managed to send a
coded message, `we are under surveillance.'
"The principals in Germany realized that the operation was getting off
to a disastrous start. The Nazis decided against sending the main group
led by Scorenzy to certain death. The Germans failed to make their Long
"Your grandfather," Vartanian went on, "was staying at the British
Embassy, where he was provided with security guards. But the U.S.
Embassy was on the city's outskirts and staying there was too risky. In
a departure from the rules of protocol, Roosevelt, after much urging,
stayed at the Soviet Embassy, where, of course, Stalin was also
Churchill's granddaughter was naturally curious to know what security
precautions had been taken to guard the Prime Minister.
"The street between the Soviet and British Embassies, which were
located close to each other, had been sealed off. They stretched a
six-meter tarpaulin sheet to make something like a passage guarded by
Soviet and British machine-gunners.
"All the participants in the Tehran Conference were able to go back and
"According to some information, the Nazis planned to get into the
British Embassy through a water supply channel and assassinate
Churchill on his birthday, November 30. But these plans were foiled.
"In those days I was also there, in Tehran. I was close enough to see
your grandfather, Stalin and Roosevelt. What struck me was their
confidence and calmness."
"You must have had a certain amount of luck," noted Ms. Sandys.
"Yes, of course," Vartanian agreed. "Luck is important for many
professions, and all the more so for that of an intelligence agent."
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not
necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
Source: Rossiiskaya Gazeta
Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:11 PM
Roosevelt and Churchill - was foiled thanks to Soviet intelligence
I have always said that russians are smart and intelligent, everyone always underestimates Russia!!!
Posted 06 January 2008 - 07:43 PM
Good point. But let's not forget Gevork Vartanian was Armenian.
Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:01 AM
The attempt by Nazi Germany to assassinate the "Big Three" - Stalin,
Roosevelt and Churchill - was foiled thanks to Soviet intelligence
I couldn't resist.
Is "soviet intelligence" similar to that best of oxymorons- "military intelligence"?
Posted 19 January 2008 - 02:41 PM
Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:09 PM
In addition, those who speak Russian, I will recommend a great movie about this plot. Tegeran 43 is a cool movie with Allen Delon and Natalia Belokhvostiva with partial appearance in the movie of famous Armenian illusionist Akop Akopian. Great movie. Check your local Russian-Armenian video store or the net.
Posted 17 February 2009 - 05:13 PM
Gevorg and Gohar Vardanyan, two young Armenians, were recruited to help foil the Adolph Hitler’s plot against the three world leaders when they met in Tehran in 1943; their names were revealed in declassified information in 2000, and the Russian couple came to Yerevan last week, ArmeniaNow reports. The “Long Jump” operation designed and elaborated by the German command was to have translated Hitler’s plan into action. Abwehr and SD were concerned only with one circumstance – the activities of the head of Soviet fixed-post spies in Iran Ivan Aghayants. Gevorg Vardanyan says he was 16 when on February 4, 1940 he voluntarily established direct contact with Tehran’s resident intelligence agents, Aghayants in particular. Still in August 1941, Aghayants was sent to Iran as a fixed-post spy to ensure strategic supplies. It was here that Aghayants crossed paths with a wide network of agents created by Germany that controlled German intelligence in the USSR. It was at that time that Hitler’s choice of the liquidator of the Troika fell on Otto Skorzeny. Aghayants had totally irreplaceable support – Vardanyan's group moving around Teheran on bicycles would trace six German wireless operators. The group traced the saboteurs and arrested them, according to Vardanyan. The bearings on the work of the radio stations were taken and their reports to Berlin were deciphered. As a result the German command would have to give up its designs to redeploy the main implementers of the ‘Long Jump’ operation to Tehran. The Vardanyans who were invited to Yerevan by the Development Fund of the Caucasus Democracy Institute, say that materials declassified six years ago are only the “tip of the iceberg”, writes ArmeniaNow.
Posted 17 February 2009 - 05:15 PM
Historic Hyes: Famous spy couple recall brush with world destiny
When, in 1943, Adolph Hitler schemed to assassinate Theodore Roosevelt, Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill while the three world leaders met in Tehran, two young Armenians were recruited to help foil the plot.
The names of Gevorg and Gohar Vardanyan were revealed in declassified information in 2000, and the Russian couple came to Yerevan last week, where they told their story.
“The German leader had all reasons to pin hopes on Iran,” Gevorg Vardanyan says. (Despite its neutrality officially declared on September 4, 1939, the head of this key Middle East state Reza-shah Pehlevi in fact sought military and political cooperation with Germany.) “Apart from other things, Iran ensured not only control over the region, including over the Soviet Transcaucasus and Central Asia, but also guaranteed access to the Indian Ocean; that was exactly what the Fuhrer wanted after Moscow’s surrender.”
By the fall of 1943, one of the means of achieving victory was, in his opinion, liquidation of Stalin; the Kursk battle had completely changed the course of World War II. The “Long Jump” operation designed and elaborated by the German command was to have translated this plan into action. And Wilhelm Canaris’s Abwehr and Walther Schellenberg’s political intelligence (SD) were concerned only with one circumstance – the activities of the head of Soviet fixed-post spies in Iran Ivan Aghayants.
“I was 16 when on February 4, 1940 I voluntarily established direct contact with Tehran’s resident intelligence agents,” Gevorg Vardanyan remembers today. “I went to the meeting with the fixed-post spy. I learned only later than Ivan Aghayants was a legendary Soviet intelligence agent. He was a strict man, but at the same time kind and warm. I worked till the end of the war under his leadership and it was him who made me a spy.”
The Vardanyans who were invited to Yerevan by the Development Fund of the Caucasus Democracy Institute, say that materials declassified six years ago are only the “tip of the iceberg”.
“If the half-a-century chronology of our activities is reflected on the face of a 24-hour clock, only the first two hours have so far been subjected to publication through publicist works or cinematography,” the Vardanyans told ArmeniaNow.
Hitler, indeed, counted on the “Iranian Card”: he was well aware that the course of the war could be broken, also by physically destroying the heads of the USSR, the United States and Great Britain. The Nazi leader realized well the scale of the paralysis that would destroy the “Russian backbone” after the elimination of Joseph Stalin. By the fall of 1943, he was a little less concerned about the fates of Roosevelt and Churchill. Nevertheless, he could not miss the opportunity to kill all three “whales” of alternative policies with one shot, especially that they’d chosen Tehran as a venue for their meeting on November 28.
Still in August 1941, Ivan Aghayants was sent to Iran as a fixed-post spy to ensure strategic supplies – armaments, ammunition, foodstuffs, medicines, raw materials and fuel to the Soviet Union; railway communications and unfreezing sea-ports of Iran objectively promoted the development of this plan. It was here that Aghayants crossed paths with a wide network of agents created by Germany that controlled German intelligence in the USSR. They were implementing spying, sabotage and undermining activities to disorganize the country’s southern borders and even periodically dispatched “visitors” to the Caucasus.
“It was his reports to the High Command Headquarters that conditioned the introduction of a Soviet shock group consisting of two armies in September 1941 to the northern provinces of Iran,” Gohar Vardanyan says. “A little later, British and American troops would cross the sea border of Iran from the south.”
“Tehran openly supported Germany,” Gevorg Vardanyan remembers. “In the initial period of the war more than 20,000 German soldiers and officers were stationed on Iranian soil. And nevertheless, it was the professionalism of the head of Soviet intelligence agents that reduced Hitler’s plans to nothing.”
Already in August 1943, Aghayants would thwart the implementation of the “Franz” operation devised at Schellenberg’s office – staging a spontaneous uprising of Iranian tribes along the “railway perimeter” of supply of American and British cargoes to the USSR. The twenty SS officers immediately working with tribe leaders and especially SD and Abwehr were greatly shocked when the leaders of the “controlled teips” who had accepted expensive gifts suddenly resold them at a profit and vanished into thin air. On the threshold of the Teheran conference it was Aghayants who gave headache to Canaris and Schellenberg most of all.
“Fate would provide German spies with a rare chance,” Gevorg Vardanyan remembers. “At the end of August 1943 the head of the Soviet agents in Iran named ‘commissar on repatriation Ivan Avalov’ would fly to Algiers. In reality, his meeting with the head of the National Committee of fighting France, Charles de Gaulle, was also to take place there. On the threshold of the Teheran talks Stalin needed information of this general: Could he become the leader of his nation, should he pin certain hopes on him and what was his vision of future Europe? It was at that time that Hitler’s choice of the liquidator of the Troika fell on Otto Skorzeny.”
Ivan Aghayants was well aware of the Fuhrer’s favorite spy’s capabilities. It was Skorzeny who had rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in September 1943 and brought him to Hitler; the operation on Duche’s abduction from guerrilla captivity cost the lives of 31 paratroopers and the loss of 12 gliders. However, the Soviet fixed-post spy had totally irreplaceable support – the so-called “light cavalry” of Gevorg Vardanyan – a group moving around Teheran on bicycles would trace six German wireless operators.
“We traced the saboteurs and arrested them,” Gevorg Vardanyan says. “It would become known from the diary of SS unterscharfuhrer Rokstrock that the saboteurs were getting to Tehran on camels for more than two weeks. Clad in Iranian traditional clothes and with dyed hair members of the group stayed in one of the secret flats where they were arrested. The bearings on the work of the radio stations were taken and their reports to Berlin were deciphered. As a result the German command would have to give up its designs to redeploy the main implementers of the ‘Long Jump’ operation to Tehran.”
Hitler would have another fit of hysteria – his “Iranian Card”, on which he pinned a concrete and great hope, proved out-trumped – through the help of two teenage Armenians.
Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:23 PM
Խորհրդային հետախուզության լեգենդ Գեւորգ Վարդանյանը ծնվել է 1924 թվականի փետրվարի 17-ին, Դոնի Ռոստովում: Նրա հայրը` Անդրեյ Վարդանյանը կապ է ունեցել խորհրդային արտաքին հետախուզության հետ եւ ուղարկվել է արտասահման առաջադրանք կատարելու: Հենց հոր ազդեցության տակ էլ Գեւորգը դարձել է հետախույզ:
Գեւորգ Վարդանյանը 1940 թվականին կարողացել է ուղղակի կապ հաստատել Թեհրանում ՆԳ ժողկոմի (НКВД) գործակալական ցանցի հետ: Ռեզիդենտներից մեկի հանձնարարությամբ, Գեւորգը գլխավորել է Թեհրանում ֆաշիստների գործակալական ցանցը բացահայտող հատուկ խումբը: Ընդամենը երկու տարում նրա խումբը կարողացել է բացահայտել 400 մարդու, որոնք այս կամ այն կերպ կապ են ունեցել գերմանական հետախուզության հետ:
1942 թվականին «Ամիրը» (սա Գ. Վարդանյանի կեղծանունն էր) ներդրվել է բրիտանական հետախուզության դպրոցում, որը հետախույզներ էր պատրաստում Միջին Ասիայում աշխատելու համար: Վարդանյանի տված տեղեկատվության շնորհիվ, ԽՍՀՄ ողջ տարածքում ներդրված օտարերկրյա գործակալները բացահայտվել ու վնասազերծվել են:
Հենց Վարդանյանի գլխավորած խումբն է կարողացել խափանել Թեհրանում «մեծ եռյակի» (Ուինսթոն Չերչիլ, Ֆրանքլին Ռուզվելթ եւ Իոսիֆ Ստալին) դեմ ուղղված մահափորձը, որը նախատեսել էր Հիտլերը 1943-ին: Այդ ժամանակ նա ընդամենը 19 տարեկան էր: Այդ իրադարձությունների հիման վրա նկարահանվել է հայտնի «Թեհրան-1943» ֆիլմը, որտեղ գլխավոր դերում հանդես գալիս Ալեն Դելոնը:
Ընդհանուր առմամբ, Վարդանյանը 46 տարի աշխատել է արտերկրում որպես հետախույզ: Նրա իրագործած գործողություններից շատերը մինչ օրս էլ գաղտնի են պահվում:
Գեւորգ Վարդանյանը ԽՍՀՄ հերոս է 1984 թվականից, սակայն այդ մասին տեղեկատվությունը ոչ մի տեղ չի հրապարակվել: Նրա անունը գաղտնազերծվել է 2000 թվականի դեկտեմբերի 20-ին, Ռուսաստանի արտաքին հետախուզության ծառայության 80-ամյակի օրը:
Նա ամուսնացած է եղել նույնպես հետախույզ Գոհար Վարդանյանի հետ:
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Posted 18 February 2018 - 12:05 PM
February 17 marks the birth anniversary of Gevork Vartanian, a renowned Soviet intelligence agent, who helped thwart a Nazi plot to kill Allied leaders during World War II.
Gevork Varta nian was born on 17 February 1924 in the south Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, into Armenian parents. In 1930, his family moved to Tehran.
Vartanian was the son of an Iranian-Armenian Soviet intelligence agent who operated in Tehran for over two decades under the guise of a successful merchant. The young Vartanian’s spy career started early, when in 1940, at the age of 16, he received his first assignment and the codename Amir, The Armenia Weekly reported.
His wife, Gohar, was also a spy recruited by Vartanian. She worked alongside him for three decades. His work in intelligence continued until the early 90s. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service revealed Vartanian’s identity only in 2000.
In the fall of 1943, at the age of 19, Vartanian prevented the Nazis from carrying out Operation Long Jump in Tehran. Approved by Hitler, and headed by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the plot aimed to assassinate Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill.
Soviet intelligence agent Nikolai Kuznetsov first uncovered the plan when he posed as an army officer from Nazi-occupied Ukraine, and extracted information from German SS Hans Ulrich von Ortel, known for his drinking.
Vartanian and his group of like-minded youth – all around his age – were known as the “light cavalry.” They were known to travel quick, and light, often on their bicycles. Aside from Vartanian, the group was comprised of five Armenians, an Assyrian, and a Lezghin. Their task was to conduct surveillance work on Germans and possible Iranian agents. They were responsible for the arrests of around 400 Nazi agents.
On the eve of the Tehran Conference, Vartanian’s team located a group of six German radio operators who had parachuted in near the city of Qum, 40 miles south of Tehran. The “Light Cavalry” followed the Germans to Tehran, where they were in contact with the local German spy network, and maintained contact with Berlin. Vartanian and his team continued to monitor their communications, and it was revealed that the Germans were planning on sending in another group of operatives to carry out the assassination plot. The members of the first group of German operatives were arrested. According to Vartanian, they then allowed one of the German radio operators to contact Berlin with news of the foiled plan. The Germans decided against sending the second group in, and called off the operation.
In 1955, Vartanian graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages in Yerevan. He was reportedly fluent in eight languages.
In 2003, Yuri Lvovich Kuznets published a book titled Tehran-43 or Operation Long Jump. The book drew from declassified documents and highlighted Vartanian’s part in the events. In 1981, the Soviet-French film “Tehran 43” was released, and featured French actor Alain Delon. However, much of Vartanian’s career remains a mystery, as most of his work remains classified.
Vartanian received the Gold Star medal of the “Hero of the Soviet Union” in 1984 for his intelligence work during World War II and the Cold War. He received three decorations after his 1943 success: the orders of the Great Patriotic War, the Battle Red Banner, and the Red Star. He was awarded the Order for Services to the Fatherland when he turned 80.
Gevork Vartanian died aged 87 on 10 January 2012.
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