Inquiry from the Procurator of the USSR, Bochkov, to Dimitrov regarding Petko N. Petkov, and Dimitrov’s reply.
“13” October 1940[ii]
TO THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE COMINTERN
[In Response] to your No. 377 of 17. VII. 40.[iii]
Due to a need that has arisen in connection with the continuing verification of the case of PETKOV, Petko Nikolov (alias YANTAROV, Ognian), please provide the information that you have about PETKOV’s signals regarding the unmasking of individuals with counterrevolutionary moods.
In his declarations and testimony, Petkov states that, between 1934 and 37, he wrote multiple declarations exposing a number of individuals as enemies of the party, in particular:
In late 1934 or early 1935, [he] sent a statement to the Foreign Bureau of the CPB[ul] and to the International Control Commission, in which he outlined the anti-party actions of GENCHEV, Khristo.[iv]
In August 1937, [he] sent a statement to the Bulgarian section of the ECCI regarding the anti-party moods of the f[ormer] worker of the CC VKP(b) YURDAN-MARIN.[v] In an August 1937 statement sent to you, he informed [you] about the anti-Soviet, Trotskyist declarations of PAPANICHEV (ATANASOV), Boyan Ivanovich,[vi] who was his predecessor at work. In August 37, [he sent] to the Foreign Bureau of the CPB a statement exposing the anti-Soviet moods of certain individuals. If PETKOV had indeed sent such statements, please send copies of them.
In addition to this, please send a copy of PETKOV’s 1937 statement in which he condemns the factional policy of the for[mer] sectarian leadership (ISKROV-BOIKOV-ROSSEN etc.)[vii] and criticizes himself for failing to actively participate in exposing the promoters of this line.
PROCURATOR OF THE USSR
<<page break in the original>>
Sent on 21. I. 41 in package No. 11
TO THE PROCURATOR OF THE USSR
[In response] to No. 55373 of 13 November 1940, I inform you that, in his letter of 22 August to the CPB delegation in the ECCI, PETKOV, Petko Nikolov, wrote:
“’In order to clearly present my political essence, I consider it necessary, although to the detriment of secrecy, to convey to you the following regarding my activities, if I can call it such, to unmask counterrevolutionary, Trotskyist bandit-spies.
1) I exposed the Trotskyist spy, Boyan Ivanovich Papanchev (Atanasov), to NKVD organs. I exposed him in such a way that, through him, a large number of our other Bulgarian Trotskyists and spies were exposed. I had declared everything in my statement to the NKVD already on 20 May 1936, i.e. before the Kamenev and Zinoviev trial. He was a scoundrel who got in with our leaders, and did nasty things behind their backs.
2) Georgy,[viii] if I am not mistaken, was a carpenter from Plevna, a Trotskyist double-dealer, the same kind of a scoundrel. I exposed him already in late 1934 or early 1935. I sent [my] statement to c. Iskrov through Yankov.[ix] He was put on trial a long time ago, and it is known to c. Boian Bolgarinov.[x]
3) In my statement of 20 May 1936 about Papanchev, I pointed out evidence against Pyatnitsky, which helped guide the NKVD to the final unmasking of Pyatnitsky.
4) With my statement [sent] to the party collegium (com. Katchenko), I exposed the former SR Kenig, director of the party house.
I consider it unnecessary to write about those people whom I have already exposed, but I am not sure whether they have been arrested or are still being investigated by NKVD organs.
Comrades, by telling you some of what I have done to expose the Trotskyists-bandits-spies I am far from boasting before you, and I do not think that I did something heroic. I only fulfilled my duty to the party and workers. I feel very uncomfortable talking with you about it, but I was compelled to…
Ask the following comrades:
1) Andreev, the former deputy People’s Commissar of the NKVD in Kazakhstan, currently head of the VI NKVD Department in Moscow.
2) People’s Commissar of the Internal Affairs c. Ezhov.
3) Katchenko, member of the party collegium in Alma-Ata.”
Since PETKOV stated in his letter that he had exposed Papanchev and others directly to NKVD organs, the delegation considered it unnecessary to forward PETKOV’s statements anywhere.
In addition, the representative [to the ECCI] received PETKOV’s letter of 26 August 1937, in which he accused c. Yurdan Tutundzhiev[xi] of supposedly counterrevolutionary declarations, about which he learned from Papanchev (alias Atanasov) and from someone else, whom Petkov did not remember.
The Representative did not forward the statement about Yurdan Tutundzhiev anywhere because the contents of this statement are a stupid insinuation and slander by the already arrested Papanchev against c. Tutundzhiev. The CPB delegation in the ECCI knows c. Tutundzhiev well, and considers the statements which are attributed to Tutundzhiev by Papanchev to be impossible.
The delegation received two letters from PETKOV, on 28 January 1935 and on 11 June 1935, in which he accuses Khr. Genchev of “desertion (he had left Bulgaria supposedly without the party’s permission), careerism and moral degeneration.” These letters by PETKOV were sent to the International Control Commission.
PETKOV wrote about himself in a letter of 26 August 1937, a copy of which is enclosed.
ENCLOSURE: Copy of a letter from PETKOV of 26 August 1937.[xii] (for the addressee only)
p/p DIMITROV, G. M.
“21” January 1941.
RGASPI, f. 495, op. 73, d. 122, ll. 7-10.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] The document is typed on the letterhead of the Procurator of the USSR. Across the first page, Dimitrov wrote:
To c. Bogdanov, c. Belov. Prepare an answer. 19. 11. 40 G. D.
[ii] The letter was received in Dimitrov’s Secretariat on 16 November 1940.
[iii] On 11 July 1940, Dimitrov sent a letter to the Procurator of the USSR, M. Pankratov, in response to his 16 June 1940 request for information about Petkov. That letter contained a brief biography of Petkov, and a letter of reference from the CPBul delegation in the ECCI. It stressed that the delegation did not believe that Petkov could commit an “anti-Soviet or anti-party act.”
Mikhail Ivanovich Pankratov was the Procurator of the USSR in 1939-1940. On 7 August 1940, Viktor Mikhailovich Bychkov was named the Procurator of the USSR. Bochkov must have made a mistake when he referred to Dimitrov’s letter. Dimitrov’s letter to Pankratov (No. 377) was dated 11 July 1940 and sent on that day. Three copies were made, two of them are stored in the Dimitrov Secretariat’s file.
[iv] Khristo Volkov Genchev (1898-1943). A member of the CPBul from 1920, he emigrated to the USSR in 1923 and was admitted to the VKP. In 1923, he graduated from the ChON school. In 1924, he was charged by the IV Department of the Red Army’s General Headquarters to direct the transit of war materials for the CPBul from Sevastopol to Varna. In the fall of 1924, he was arrested in Bulgaria and sentenced to five years in prison. Following a decision of the CC CPBul, he emigrated to Czechoslovakia and then to Austria, where he worked in the underground between 1930 and 1934. In 1934, he went to the USSR and studied in the KUNMZ. In February 1938, he was arrested. On 26 May the OSO NKVD sentenced him to eight years in a corrective labor camp. He died in prison on 20 June 1943.
[v] Presumably Yurdan T. Tutundzhiev, who is discussed below.
[vi] Boyan Atanasov (alias Papanchev). A tailor, he joined the CPBul in 1919. Between 1919 and 1923, he visited the USSR several times as a courier for the ECCI’s OMS. He participated in creation of the CPBul's military detachments, and in providing them with arms. In June 1923, he emigrated to the USSR with the permission of the CC CPBul. He was transferred to the CPBul and worked in Odessa and Vladivostok for the OMS. On 8 July 1936, he was arrested. On 19 July 1937, the OSO NKVD sentenced him to five years in a corrective labor camp. He died on 4 December 1937 in the NKVD’s Northeastern camp (“Sevvostlag”).
[vii] The case of the so-called factionalist, left-sectarian group of Iskrov, Boikov, Rassen, B. Popov, B. Tanev and other Bulgarians-members of the VKP was falsified by the NKVD. In 1941, the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR convicted the former head of the 6th Department of the Main Board for the State Security of the NKVD, V. S. Bril, for falsifying of this case.
Petr Khristov Iskrov (1891-1938). A member of the BSDWP(T) from 1914, and a member of the CPBul from 1919. In 1919-1925, he was a member of the CC of the Komsomol, and between 1920 and 1922, was its Secretary. A member of the CC CPBul after 1923, he was also a member of its Foreign Bureau from 1925. After 1928, he was a member of the ICC. In 1931, he joined the VKP. Between 1931 and 1935, he was Chairman of the CPBul in the ECCI. After November 1936, he was the head of the Bulgarian section of the Foreign Workers Publishing House. On 16 August 1937, he was expelled from the VKP. He was later arrested and, on 10 January 1938, sentenced to be shot.
Valentin Rossen (Gosho Rossinsky; real name – Georgy Lambrev) (1900-1937). A member of the CPBul from 1919, he was Secretary of the Sofia Komsomol organization in 1919-1920. In 1922-1925, he was Secretary of the CC of the Bulgarian Komsomol. Between 1926 and 1935, he was a member of the EC KIM. After 1925, he lived in the USSR and joined the VKP. Between 1931 and 1933, he was a member of the Foreign Bureau of the CC CPBul in Germany. Between 1933 and 1935, he was head of the Bulgarian section in the MLSh and a deputy to the CPBul Representative in the ECCI. In 1935, he was head of the Cadres Department at the “Vostsibirelement” plant in Irkutsk. He was arrested and, on 24 October 1937, sentenced to be shot.
[viii] Probably, Georgy Tsanev.
[ix] Georgy Yankov (real name – Mirko Petkov) (1898-1942). A member of the BCDWP(T), and later of the CPBul, a worker. In 1923, he directed the insurrection in the Kostenets Bania region, and in 1924-1925, he participated in the guerrilla movement in Bulgaria. Sentenced to twelve years in prison, he escaped to Turkey. In December 1925, he emigrated to the USSR and, in 1926, joined the VKP. Between 1930 and 1937, he worked in the ECCI apparatus as a secretary in the Bulgarian delegation, and later in the OMS of the ECCI. In 1937, he participated in the Spanish Civil War as a member of International Brigades. Between 1937 and 1941, he worked as the deputy head of the board of the “Krasny Galantereischik” cooperative. Between 1939 and 1940, he studied in the Academy of Socialist Agriculture. In August 1941, he was sent to Bulgaria. On 24 April 1942, he was arrested by Bulgarian police and condemned by the Sofia military tribunal. He was shot on 26 June.
[x] Boian Petkov Bolgaranov (alias Segei Borisovich Kalchev) (1896-1972). A member of the Bulgarian Komsomol in 1919-1920, he joined the CPBul in 1920. In 1922-1923, he studied in the Military Academy in Moscow. He participated in the September 1923 uprising in Bulgaria and assisted in creation of the CPBul underground military organizations in preparation for new uprisings. Convicted by the Bulgarian court, he was imprisoned between 22 November 1924 and February 1933. Following a CC CPBul decision, he went to the USSR secretly in 1933, where he studied in the MLSh graduate school until 1935. In 1936, he was sent to Bulgaria and was member of the CC CPBul. After WWII, he held important positions in the CPBul and in the Bulgarian government.
[xi] Yurdan Todorov Tutundzhiev (real name – Iordan Ivanovich Ivanov). Born in 1891, he was a lawyer and economist. A member of the BSDWP (later CPBul) from 1908, he participated in the September 1923 insurrection in Bulgaria. Following the decision of the CPBul, he emigrated to the USSR in 1923, and joined the VKP in 1924. In 1925, the Varna regional court sentenced him in absentia to ten years in prison. Between 1925 and 1929, he taught in the KUNMZ. In 1927-1936, he worked in the Special Department of the CC VKP. Between 1936 and 1938, he was head of the Labor sector in the People’s Commissariat of Food Industry of the USSR. In 1938, he was arrested by the NKVD only to be released and rehabilitated one month later. After 1939, he was a pensioner with disability.
[xii] The original of this letter could not be found.