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When the Russian Civil War ended, the Bolsheviks assumed control over most of the former czarist empire. Their victory was assured by terror unleashed through the use of the dreaded Shield and Sword (the symbol of the secret police, well known in the West as the KGB). High intrigues, espionage, and research of the paranormal to be used for the aims of the dictatorship of the “proletariat” took place in Soviet Russia early on. We knew little of this until the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. Thereafter, some—but by no means all—of the files have been released.
The VECHEKA was the forerunner of the KGB. The sinister organization went through many names as its bloody history rolled on. In May of 1921, the VECHEKA formed a special department specializing in technological activities. Its official name was the Eighth Special Department.
Gleb Ivanovich Bokiy was born in Tiflis (today Tbilisi, Georgia) in 1897. He later became the head of the sinister Special Department of the OGPU (forerunner of the KGB) and was acquainted with many researchers of the anomalous phenomena. He was also an experienced Bolshevik revolutionary, born to a family of Russian nobles. His genealogy traces back to the days of Ivan the Terrible. Some sources indicate he was a Ukrainian. Bokiy was first arrested at the age of 14, when he battled the czar’s gendarmes. He was arrested 12 times before the fall of the Romanov empire. Yet Bokiy also had time to be a student. Czarist Russia did not liquidate its enemies, or those it assumed to be enemies, unlike the Bolshevik regime he helped usher in.
Bokiy became leader of the Petrograd (Saint Petersburg, later Leningrad) VECHEKA (later OGPU). Bokiy operated undercover in the German-occupied Byelorussia, and later commanded VECHEKA troops in Turkmenistan. There, according to an early KGB defector, Georgy Agabekov (murdered in 1937), Bokiy proved to be a sinister person, prone to drinking human blood and eating raw canine flesh to improve his appetite. Yet Bokiy was well organized and had tremendous influence in the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
Agabekov was not too flattering in his description of other OGPU leaders whom he knew well. According to him, most of them were sadists, drunks, adventurers, and murderers. The only exception was M. Trilliser, who later interfered with Bokiy’s plans to go to Tibet. Agabekov’s memoirs were published in the West in 1930 and later in Russia in 1996.
But there were conflicting descriptions of Gleb Bokiy. Some people have been kinder when describing this man. He suffered from tuberculosis and was a workaholic. His Special Department was responsible directly to the Central Committee of the Communist Party and was quite independent. This, too, later cost Bokiy his life.
Bokiy’s Special Department was responsible for safeguarding Soviet state secrets. His people checked offices of high officials, made sure the safes were impenetrable, and installed secret alarms. The detectives and technical experts in Bokiy’s department were quite experienced and seasoned. Besides assuring safeguards for the dictatorship of the proletariat, Bokiy’s people worked with ciphers and codes. Different secret ciphers were developed for Soviet diplomats, the secret police, and armed forces. His experts were able to break almost any code. Their other responsibility was eavesdropping on and bugging various communications. Bokiy’s people had such enormous successes in this area of their work that the huge country was becoming a society like the one described in 1984 by George Orwell. Stalin knew how to use this omnipresent secret police apparatus for his own means.
And, finally, the Special Department was in charge of the occult projects in the Republic.
There was a part of Gleb Bokiy’s life that the KGB did not find out until later years. Bokiy was very much interested in the paranormal and became a Freemason long before the Red Revolution. In 1909, Bokiy was recommended to a Martinist lodge (a secret order of the Society of Rosicrucians in Saint Petersburg). Even as a student of a geological institute, Bokiy attended occultist séances. Revolutionaries, staff officers, aristocrats, and con men observed mediums at work. Those who belonged to the lodge included Nicholas K. Roerich, a famous Russian painter, author, researcher, guest of the Dalai Lama, and philosopher ...
Read the rest of this article in the September 2002 issue of FATE
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