Lieutenant General Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin ({{lang-ru|Павел Михайлович Фитин; 1907 Ozhogino, Tobolsk guberniya, Russian Empire – 24 December 1971, Moscow, Soviet Union) was a Soviet intelligence officer and was the director of Soviet intelligence during World War II, identified in the Venona cables under the code name "Viktor."[1]

Pavel Fitin
Birth namePavel Mikhailovich Fitin
Ozhogino, Russian Empire
Died24 December 1971
Soviet Union
AllegianceSoviet Union Soviet Union
Service/branchRed Army flag.svg Red Army
Years of service1932-1953
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldPeople's Commissariat for Internal Affairs
Battles/warsGreat Terror
Operation Barbarossa
German-Soviet War
AwardsOrder of the Red Banner
Order of the Red Star


Fitin graduated from a program in agricultural 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 course in foreign intelligence at SHON, the foreign intelligence training school located at Balashikha, near Moscow.[2]

NKVD Deputy HeadEdit

Fitin became deputy chief of the NKVD's foreign intelligence in 1938, then a year later at the age of thirty-one became chief, with the rank of Lieutenant General.[3] 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 German-Soviet War.[4] Only the actual invasion saved Fitin from execution for providing the head of the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, with information General Secretary of the CPSU, Joseph Stalin did not want to believe. Beria retained Fitin as chief of foreign intelligence until the war ended but demoted him.

Pavel Fitin thought it was important to build up a network of spies inside the Manhattan Project. However, at the beginning he was mainly reliant on Klaus Fuchs. Fitlin gave the project the codename "Enormoz". In November 1944 he reported: "Despite participation by a large number of scientific organization and workers on the problem of Enormoz in the U.S., mainly known to us by agent data, their cultivation develops poorly. Therefore, the major part of data on the U.S. comes from the station in England. On the basis of information from London station, Moscow Center more than once sent to the New York station a work orientation and sent a ready agent, too (Klaus Fuchs)."[5]

Another important source was John Cairncross. Pavel Fitin reported to Vsevolod Merkulov: "Valuable information on Enormoz is coming from the London station. The first materials on Enormoz were received in late 1941 from our source List (John Cairncross), containing valuable and absolutely secret documents both on the substance of the Enormoz problem and on measures by the British government to organize and develop work on the problem of atomic energy in our country. In connection with American and Canadian work on Enormoz, materials describing the state and progress of work in three countries - England, the U.S., and Canada - are all coming from the London station." [6]

Dishonored DischargeEdit

After Beria was executed in 1953, Fitin was discharged from the NKVD and denied his pension. Fitin was unable to find employment until 1959.


Fitin attained the rank of lieutenant-general, and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Red Star, the Red Banner of Tuva and Order of the Republic of the Tuvan People's Republic.


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 York – Moscow 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).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Venona 195 New York to Moscow 9 February 1944 Archived 18 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Hastings. Page 123.
  3. ^ Hastings. Page 123.
  4. ^ Hastings. Page 131.
  5. ^ Simkin, John (1 August 2014). "Pavel Fitin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  6. ^ Pavel Fitin report to Vsevolod Merkulov (August, 1945)


External linksEdit

  • [1] Pavel Fitin