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The KGB in India: A Recruitment Account



KGB officer Vadim Nikolaevich Sopryakov – “Comrade Maxim” – tells of a key recruitment he made in 1968 while serving under diplomatic cover in Delhi, India. Sopryakov, a retired captain first rank, began his service in the KGB Border Guards naval units, then transferring to the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence), and even serving in the elite Directorate S (Illegals) and spetsnaz. In his account of his time in India, Sopryakov sheds light on the practical psychology applied by an intelligence officer for recruiting potential agents, in this case “Mr. B.,” whom the KGB would code-name “Herman.”

On the next-to-last day of a 1967 coming to its end, the Soviet intelligence resident in Delhi received an assignment from the Center:

Pinpoint individual “B.” Collect characteristics on him. Determine the expediency and practical possibility of his development for recruitment. Report on results.

Within the message was also mention that the lead on Mr. B had been received from “Michele.” A longtime vetted agent of the KGB, Michele had met several times with the Indian during a business trip through a number of West European countries. Michele’s professional flair suggested to him that Soviet intelligence would definitely be interested in Mr. B. And not only because of his high position in India’s leadership circles, but most of all because of his widespread contacts with Americans, of whom he wasn’t fond in addition.

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