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Scientific and Technical Intelligence - History

About the scientific and technical intelligence of the era of medieval Russia and its role in strengthening the country's defense capacity, most researchers of the history of Russian intelligence are rarely remembered. And in vain, because without borrowing the latest technologies in the West, it would not be possible to overcome the backlog of Western European countries in the scientific and technical sphere in a relatively short time.

According to the historian Sergei Chertoprud, the author of the book "Scientific and Technical Intelligence from Lenin to Gorbachev", the first case of domestic state scientific and technical espionage is considered to be an episode that is dated 1555. The first Russian ambassador to England and the scout Osip Nepeya, returning from London, brought with him a group of specialists. This fact can be considered the first occasion of the official invitation of foreign specialists by the Russian Tsar. And the beginning of participation of diplomats in operations of scientific, technical and military-technical intelligence.

This allows asserting that Ivan the Terrible was the founder of the state "industrial espionage". Let's notice, that simultaneously this tsar is considered as the organizer of the first special service in the Russian state - oprichnina. This is described in detail in the first chapter of this book.

Although many call Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, nicknamed Tishaishim, with his Order of secret affairs or Emperor Nicholas I, formulated the first task of Russian scientific and technical intelligence. In 1556, in a letter addressed to the tsar in Novgorod by the Novgorod clerks, it was said that German captive masters should be sold not to Lithuania or to Germany, but to be sent to Moscow. A bonus was awarded to someone who reported a violation of this requirement. The perpetrators were ordered to be taken into custody and kept in prison until a special tsar's order was issued. Thus, an attempt was made to rationalize the use of prisoners, rather than simply getting them for ransom.

In 1567, a doctor, an apothecary, an engineer with an assistant, a goldsmith and several other specialists came from England to Moscow. This case can be considered one of the first episodes of attracting experts. Not everyone would venture to go to an unknown distant country. Another thing captive masters. They simply had no choice.

It would be a mistake to think that after the death of Peter I in Russia, interest in the achievements of foreign science and technology has diminished. Yes, indeed, the activities of scientific and technical intelligence in the second half of the XVIII century weakened, actually, as well as political, but all the same scouts continued to extract other people's secrets.

After the withdrawal of military contacts with Germany, the contacts of the USSR with other countries expanded considerably. Various procurement commissions with the right to purchase state-of-the-art military equipment and licenses for its production were sent there. The commission received such powers from I.V. Stalin. These commissions included representatives of the People's Commissariat of Defense, industry, specialized design bureaus dealing with defense subjects.

In the Great Patriotic War, scientific and technical intelligence (STS) entered upon, based on its extensive experience and impressive results of operational and information activities achieved before the persecution that hit it in 1937-1938.

By 1937, scientific and technical intelligence had an intelligence apparatus capable of extracting information that was at times extremely important for the economic development of the country and for strengthening its military might, knew how to objectively assess the operational situation, knew its long-term tasks, applied methods of working with "legal" and illegal positions. Information was received from the residencies on a wide range of problems of economic and defense significance: on the technologies of oil refining, in particular, for the production of aviation gasoline, synthetic rubber, lubricating oils, dyes, poisonous substances and means of bacteriological warfare, various types of modern weapons and communications equipment.

As a result of repressions, a significant part of the STP personnel was dispersed or destroyed and only in 1940 it was replenished with young scouts who had just graduated from the School of Special Purpose. They also had to take on a significant part of the burden of responsibility for the revival of scientific and technical intelligence and for the solution of the tasks assigned to it by the war.

There arose the prospect of using economic ties with the United States, Great Britain and Canada in the framework of the Lend-Lease agreement to obtain scientific and technical information useful for science and industry through Soviet specialists who participated in placing orders, accepting finished products, business and personal relations with employees of state institutions, at defense industry enterprises. Access to such facilities was necessary to perform scientific and technical reconnaissance of wartime tasks.

The order of the State Defense Committee of July 1941 defined the topic of obtaining technical information of a predominantly military nature. Residents in New York and London were invited to focus on obtaining classified information about various topics, including ongoing studies of the use of uranium as a new energy source, design and operation of uranium reactors; and - high-altitude and special aircraft, units and devices for them, aircraft engines with a capacity of more than 2000 hp. Few people believed in the probability of creating their own atomic bomb in the foreseeable future. On the eve of the war, the best scientific forces of the country were reoriented to address more pressing tasks.

Another outstanding achievement of scientific and technical intelligence during the Second World War was the coverage of radar problems, which expanded the combat capabilities of all combat arms. The creation of more advanced radar systems required new technologies.

The Second World War was the time of the birth of jet aircraft. On the agenda came the problem of overcoming the speed of sound. It required the creation of thin aerodynamic profiles, other methods for calculating the hull parts of aircraft for strength, structural materials capable of withstanding large dynamic and thermal loads. There was a problem of creating fundamentally new and efficient jet engines. The information received by the STR became the property of the domestic aviation industry, helped to transition to the production of advanced aircraft.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2018 06:03:24 ZULU