Pavel Fitin

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Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin (1907 Ozhogino, Kurgan Region, Soviet Union - 24 December 1971) was a Soviet intelligence officer.

Fitin graduated from a program in engineering studies at the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in 1932 after which he served in the Red Army, then became an editor for the State Publishing House of Agricultural Literature. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) selected him for a special course in foreign intelligence.

Fitin became deputy chief of the NKVD's foreign intelligence in 1938, then a year later at the age of thirty-one became chief. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service credits Fitin with rebuilding the depleted foreign intelligence department after Stalin's Great Terror. Fitin also is credited with providing ample warning of the German Invasion of 22 June 1941 that began the Great Patriotic War. Only the actual invasion saved Fitin from execution for providing the head of the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, with information General Secretary of the CPSU, Josef Stalin did not want to believe. Beria retained Fitin as chief of foreign intelligence until the war ended but demoted him.

In 1951 Beria discharged Fitin from the NKVD and denied his pension. Fitin was unable to find employment until Beria was executed in 1953.

Fitin attained the rank of lieutenant-general, and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Red Star, and the Red Banner of Tuva.

In 1942, Joseph Stalin appointed Pavel Sudoplatov to head the intelligence work on the [[[Manhattan Project]], and to coordinate the data gathered by Soviet agents in England, Canada, and the United States. Most cables sent via the New YorkMoscow connection were sent by KGB officer Leonid Kvasnikov, known as Anton, to Lieutenant General Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin, known as Viktor, who had been the head of the foreign intelligence section of the KGB at that time (NSA 2/9/44).



  • Foreign Intelligence Service bio in Russian
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999)
  • Vladimir Chikov, Stalin’s Atomic Spies: KGB File N. 13676 [Unpublished American Edition of Comment Staline a Volé la Bombe Atomique Aux Américains: Dossier KGB no 13676], trans and afterword by Gary Kern (1995)