Iskhak Akhmerov

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Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov (1901 – 1975) was born in Troitsk, located in modern Chelyabinsk Oblast, was a Soviet spy of Tatar background who joined the Bolshevik Party in 1919. Akhmerov attended the Communist University of Toilers of the East and the Moscow State University, where he graduated from the School of International Relations in 1930. Akhmerov joined the OGPU/NKVD in 1930 and participated in the suppression of anti-Soviet movements in the USSR's Bukhara Republic between 1930 and 1931. Akhmerov spoke Turkish, English and French. His wife, an American who worked for Soviet intelligence, was Helen Lowry (Elza Akhmerova), the niece of the CPUSA General Secretary Earl Browder.

In 1932 Akhmerov transferred to the foreign intelligence of the NKVD and served as a covert intelligence officer under diplomatic cover in Turkey. He became a covert field officer serving in China in 1934. In 1935 he entered the United States with false identity papers and served until 1939. Akhmerov returned in 1942 and served as covert resident in the United States during World War II and operated under cover as a clothier. Akhnreov is known to have used the cover names William Grienke, Michael Green, Michael Adamec, and several others while in the United States. His code names in intercepted Venona decrypts of Soviet intelligence messages are MAYOR and ALBERT.[1][2]

Akhmerov worked closely with Joseph Katz. He had turned his surveillance operations over to Katz, and Katz had succeeded him as the superior of Elizabeth Bentley and her web of agents. On March 3, 1945, the director of the KGB, Lt. General Pavel Fitin instructed Akhmerov to learn what he could about American plans for the forthcoming San Francisco United Nations Charter Conference. Assigning top priority to the task, Fitin ordered an early report. Alger Hiss was responsible for planning the conference, and Akhmerov was tasked with carrying a breach of standard security precuations which ordinarily prevented an officer of the KGB from contacting an agent of the GRU.

He was And he was also Josef Stalin's personal representative to Harry Hopkins, who he considered an agent of "major significance" but "an unconscious rather than a conscious agent." [3][4]

In late 1945 or early 1946 Akhmerov returned to the Soviet Union and became deputy chief of the KGB's covert intelligence section (отдел нелегальной разведки). He attained the rank of colonel and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of the Badge of Honor, and the badge of Honored Chekist.[5]


  1. KGB file 43173 vol.2 (v) pp. 49-55
  2. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).
  3. ChristopherAndrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, New York: Harper Collins, 1990, p. 387.
  4. Armchair Diplomat, Back-Channel Ba'athist
  5. Biography (in Russian)