MOSCOW (Agence France Presse) — One of the legendary Soviet agents of World War II, who infiltrated a British spy school and protected the “Big Three” in the Tehran conference, died at age 87 of cancer here on January 10, Russia’s intelligence service said Wednesday.
Gevork Vardanian, working under the codename Amir, in 1942 managed to attend an entire British training course for Russian-speaking spies in Tehran whom London then wanted to send all over the Soviet Union.
According to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) — the successor to the Soviet KGB — his work helped expose the British network, which existed despite London’s wartime alliance with Moscow.
But Vardanian’s greatest exploit was his role in ensuring security at the 1943 conference in Tehran between the Allied “Big Three” of Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President F.D. Roosevelt that started to draw up the map of postwar Europe.
Vardanian — only 19 at the time — led a group of young Soviet agents who exposed in its early stages a Nazi plot codenamed “Operation Long Jump” to assassinate the three Allied leaders at the conference.
“Everyone in foreign intelligence will remember Gevork Andreyevich for his overwhelming love for the motherland and his fidelity to his duty,” the spokesman of the SVR, Sergei Ivanov, said in a statement.