Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky by Gordievsky Oleg

Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky by Gordievsky Oleg

Author:Gordievsky, Oleg [Gordievsky, Oleg]
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Publisher: Endeavour Media
Published: 2015-04-13T16:00:00+00:00

Chapter Ten – Fresh Start

Back at the Centre in Moscow, I went in to see my department head, Viktor Grushko, an engaging character not at all typical of the KGB. As his name suggested, he was Ukrainian, and was short, rotund, with lively brown eyes and black hair. His colouring suggested the presence of some Balkan or Turkish blood, and he had a soft, smiling approach which accurately hinted at his strange combination of laziness and industry: although he liked to take things easy, he could work hard if he had to. Unlike Zaitsev, he realized at an early stage in his career that intelligent delegation was the way forward, and he did not try to do everything himself. Neither was he intimidating: his voice was soft, and free of any regional accent. Although he was not an intellectual, he had a good native wit which enabled him to hold his own in intelligent company. His first posting abroad, to Norway, had been as a clean diplomat.

As I came into his office, he was all smiles, and I could see that he was about to have the pleasure of offering me a magnificent promotion; but before he could do that I handed him a letter from Lyubimov, which explained my domestic problems. ‘Viktor Feodorovich,’ I warned him, ‘before you say a word, you’d better read this.’

As he read, the merriment drained from his eyes. ‘Yes,’ he said wearily, ‘I’m afraid this changes everything.’ Suddenly he saw that instead of a simple promotion he had a scandal on his hands. He sighed and added, Now I’m afraid you’ll have to stick to Partcom [a kind of second personnel department]. For the moment I’ll keep you in the department, and you can be a senior officer running important errands. I have plenty of work for you — don’t worry.’

He began to talk of other things. ‘What about Otto?’ he asked. ‘Did that meeting take place?’

‘Oh, yes,’ I said, and I started to describe my final contact in Denmark. But even as I was speaking, I saw a look of terrible boredom come over Grushko’s face: he simply did not want to bother with small-scale operations such as the one I was describing. He wanted nothing to do with the huge reports that people kept sending in from foreign stations: even though he was head of the department, he never read them, knowing that most of what they said was invented and that the contacts they described were utterly unimportant. What he wanted was news of real agents like Treholt but, of course, I had none to give. Failing that, he was eager for gossip about personal relationships in the stations: who was doing what, what feeling was like between the Ambassador and the Resident. After a while, he said, ‘All right, then. Off you go and enjoy your holiday but you’d better be prepared for unpleasant conversations.’

I had plenty of those. As always, mean-minded people were keen to exploit the discomfort of my impending divorce and inflate its negative aspects.


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