SVR calls the loss of the veteran historian a “personal tragedy.” The former KGB general was found dead in an apparent suicide.
Lev Sotskov, a former Russian intelligence officer, was discovered dead in his Moscow residence on Wednesday, according to authorities. According to police, preliminary evidence indicates that the 90-year-old retired major general killed himself using a weapon he had obtained as a present from Mongolian colleagues.
According to Russian media, which cited police sources, Sotskov’s wife found his body inside the bathroom of their residence in southwest Moscow on Wednesday about midday. He suffered a head wound from a bullet.
“According to initial information, the cause of death was suicide,” authorities told the media. A Tokarev TT-30 semi-automatic pistol was beside Sotskov, together with a note detailing where it originated from.
“The pistol is a relic of the battles on the Khalkhin-Gol River. I received it when I was an envoy to the Mongolian secret service, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Ulan-Bator, in 1989. – L. Sotskov,” it read.
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According to Kommersant, the veteran had a lot of major medical ailments and had frequently told his relatives that he was “tired of living.”
Sotskov, who was born in Leningrad in 1932, entered the KGB in 1959 and spent more than 40 years in Soviet and then Russian foreign and central intelligence. The Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) succeeded the KGB’s First Chief Directorate in 1991.
“Unfortunately, a major general and worthy veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service, has passed away,” said Sergey Ivanov, chief of the SVR press office, labeling Sotskov’s death a “personal tragedy” for the agency.
Sotskov devoted himself to history after retiring, digging through the SVR archives to publish multiple books about the intelligence service’s operations. In 2006, he was awarded a special SVR prize for his book ‘Operation Tarantula,’ which detailed Soviet intelligence operations targeting British politicians and spies between 1930 and 1945.
Sotskov also published documents demonstrating that Nazi Germany’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941 wasn’t quite as unforeseen as official history of the time claimed.