Ex-Russian Counterspy Chief Reveals How Hitler Tried To Assassinate Stalin

Col. Gen. Aleksandr Bezverkhniy, a former Russian counterspy chief, has revealed how Hitler attempted to assassinate Stalin through an operation called “Zeppelin.” The operation involved Nazi Germany’s attempt to recruit Soviet citizens and use them against the USSR.

A family of Nazi spies on a mission to assassinate Joseph Stalin impersonated the very people tasked to identify them – agents of the military security service SMERSH, a veteran Russian counterintelligence officer has said in an interview.

SMERSH was a Soviet wartime organization, the name of which translates as “death to spies.” It was created in 1943, after the tide had turned against the Axis invaders, and the leadership of the USSR needed greater focus on collecting fresh intel for planning offensive operations and stopping would-be saboteurs.

Wednesday marked the 80th anniversary of the creation of SMERSH. Rossiyskaya Gazeta spoke on this occasion to Col. Gen. Aleksandr Bezverkhniy, a former Russian counterintelligence commander and enthusiast of the history of clandestine operations.

The plot to assassinate Stalin was hatched by Operation Zeppelin, Nazi Germany’s effort to recruit Soviet citizens and use them against the USSR. The would-be killers were a married couple, who posed as Pyotr Tavrin, the deputy commander of a SMERSH department in the Baltic, and his typist Lidia Shilova.

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