Smit [Smith]

An OGPU foreign intelligence (INO] cover name which appeared in the notes on KGB foreign intelligence files taken in the mid-1990s by the former KGB officer and journalist Alexander Vassiliev. This cover name was identified in Vassiliev’s notebooks as belonging to “Chivin,” an “illegalresident of an “OGPU special operations group headed by Jacob Serebryansky,” who recruited Jacob Golos in 1930 and later “refused to return to the USSR.”

No trace of a “Smit”/”Chivin” has thus far been discovered. In fact, according to Russian publications, Jacob Golos was recruited by INO’s operative, Abram Ossipovich Einhorn (“Taras“), who was posted in the USA under the cover of a businessman from 1930 to 1934. Vassiliev sourced the story of Golos’s recruitment by a “Smit”/”Chivin” to an NKVD reference dated January 26, 1937. Likely, that was an ex post facto substitute for the name of the real recruiter, Einhornm to save Golos from charges of association with the “enemy of the people” – a common contemporary reference to victims of Stalinist purges. According to KGB veteran, Igor damaskin, that was a trick used at the time by some of the Center’s operatives to save valuable agents. 1

  1. Damaskin I. A. Stalin i razvedka. Moskva: “Veche”, 2004, s. 122; (Damaskin I.A., Stalin and Intelligence, Moscow: “Veche,” 2004, p. 122.)