According to KGB archives, Pavel Sudoplatov directed the secretive Administration for Special Tasks. This department was responsible for kidnapping, assassination, sabotage, and guerrilla warfare during World War II, it also set up illegal networks in the United States and Western Europe, and, most crucially, carried out atomic espionage in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. Sudoplatov served the KGB for over fifty years, at one point controlling more than twenty thousand guerrillas, moles, and spies.
But his involvement with the most nefarious Soviet activities– and the rulers who ordered them– made Sudoplatov an unwanted witness, and he was arrested in 1953 after Beria’s fall. Despite torture and solitary confinement he refused to “confess”, disavowing any criminal actions. He spent fifteen years in prison, then struggled two decades more for rehabilitation.
“Special Tasks” is an astonishing memoir and a singular historical document of a man who knew and did too much for the Soviet empire.