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Boris Vinogradov

Birthdate:
Death: circa 1938 (25-33) (executed)
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About Boris Vinogradov

http://spartacus-educational.com/Boris_Vinogradov.htm

Boris Vinogradov was born in Russia in 1909. He became a diplomat and was based in the Soviet embassy in Berlin. He was also a NKVD agent and in March 1934, he was ordered to recruit Martha Dodd, the daughter of William Edward Dodd, the United States ambassador in Germany. The message was sent to the Berlin station chief: "Let Boris Vinogradov know that we want to use him for the realization of an affair we are interested in.... According to our data, the mood of his acquaintance (Martha Dodd) is quite ripe for finally drawing her into our work. Therefore we ask Vinogradov to write her a warm friendly letter and to invite her to a meeting in Paris where... they will carry out necessary measures to draw Martha into our work."

The couple became lovers while in Paris. They also visited Moscow before retuning to Berlin. On 5th June, 1935, Vinogradov wrote to his spymaster: "Currently the case with the American (Martha Dodd) is proceeding in the following way. Now she is in Berlin, and I received a letter from her in which she writes that she still loves me and dreams of marrying me. It is possible to work with her only with help from our good relations."

In October 1935, Vinogradov was recalled to Moscow and another agent, Emir Bukhartsev, took over her case. He reported: "Martha argues that she is a convinced partisan of the Communist Party and the USSR. With the State Department's knowledge, Martha helps her father in his diplomatic work and is aware of all his ambassadorial affairs. The entire Dodd family hates National Socialists. Martha has interesting connections that she uses in getting information for her father. She has intimate relations with some of her acquaintances.... Martha claims that the main interest of her life is to assist secretly the revolutionary cause. She is prepared to use her position for work in this direction, provided that the possibility of failure and of discrediting her father can be eliminated. She claimed that a former official of the Soviet Embassy in Berlin - Boris Vinogradov - has had intimate relations with her."

In January 1936, Emir Bukhartsev reported on the progress he was making with Martha Dodd. "For the last 2-3 weeks, I met with Dodd several times. At the first meeting, she told me about Bullitt's (U.S. Ambassador to France William Bullitt) swinish behavior during his sojourn in Berlin. According to her, Bullitt severely scolded the USSR in the American Embassy, arguing that in the next few months the Japanese would capture Vladivostok and the Russians would do nothing against it.... All of this exasperated the American Ambassador Dodd, who reported the talks in a letter to Washington.... During previous meetings Martha Dodd frankly expressed her willingness to help the Soviet Embassy with her information. Now she is studying hard the theory of communism and Matters of Leninism by Stalin. Her teacher is Arvid Harnack to whom she goes often. According to her, she now has to hide her Communist convictions due to her father's official status."

Bukhartsev also revealed that Martha Dodd was having an affair with Loius Ferdinand, the Prince of Prussia. She claimed that this was for political reasons: "This year her father will retire, and then she will be able to conduct Communist activities more openly. However, this circumstance does not prevent her from maintaining rather intimate relations with Louis-Ferdinand, the Crown Prince's son. According to Dodd, this is a perfect disguise, because those who earlier treated her suspiciously because of her open relations with Vinogradov now consider her previous passion hearty rather than political."

Boris Vinogradov was now working in Bucharest and in October 1936 Martha Dodd wrote to him via the Soviet embassy: "Boris, this week it was a year since I saw you last. On the 8th I gave you a farewell kiss at the railway station, and since then we haven't seen one another. But I never, not for a minute, forgot you and everything you gave me in my life. This week, every night I thought about you - every night, and about that night we had such a stupid and mean quarrel - do you forgive me? I was scared and in a wild condition that night because I knew that I wouldn't see you for so long. I strongly wanted you to stay with me that night and forever, and I knew that I would never be able to have you. What have you been doing all this time? Have you been thinking about me and asking yourself how my personal life has gone? From various sources I know that soon you will go home. Will you go via Berlin? Write me and let me know your plans. I would like to see you once more. On December 8 I will be at home all night. Won't you call me, won't you talk to me from Bucharest - I want so much to hear your voice again - and on the 8th it will be the anniversary of our folly. We should blame our cowardice for this absence. Please, call me that night."

In her letter Dodd admitted that she had been having an affair with French diplomat Armand Berard. "You may have heard about me indirectly. I have lived and thought many things since I saw you last time. You must know about it. Armand is still here - but you must know that he means nothing to me now - as long as you are still alive - nobody can mean anything to me as long as you are alive."

Boris Vinogradov was then posted to Warsaw and asked her to travel to Poland. On 29th January, 1937, he wrote: "You can't imagine, honey, how often you were with me, how I have been constantly thinking about you, worrying about you and craving to see you, how I adjusted to the inevitable when I heard the first news and how I was glad to know the truth. I want to see you so much, honey. Couldn't I come before the end of the month? I would like to come on February 6, I think ... and to stay for about a week. It is extremely important for me to see you and I promise to do it as soon as possible. I would like to stay in a small hotel not far from you, and I want nobody to know I'm there because I don't want to be entertained. I only want to see you as much as possible incognito. Probably, we'll be able to leave from Warsaw to the countryside for one or two days. I will come alone. After all, my parents quite agree that I do what I want. I am 28 and very independent!"

In February 1937 Martha Dodd was told that Emir Bukhartsev had been recalled to Moscow and executed as "a Gestapo agent". Vinogradov became her main controller and in March, 1937, he was able to tell his Soviet intelligence supervisors that she was now working for Earl Browder, the leader of the American Communist Party, and an agent of the Soviet Union: "Today Martha Dodd left for Moscow. Since her father will retire sooner or later, she wants to work in her motherland. She established a connection with Browder who invited her to work for him. She also established a connection (through her brother) with The World Committee of Struggle for Peace in Geneva and became close friends with Comintern workers Otto Katz and Dolliway. An authoritative comrade in Moscow must talk to her and convince her to stay in Europe and work only for us."

On her arrival in Moscow on 14th March she sent a letter to the Soviet Government: "I, Martha Dodd, U.S. citizen, have known Boris Vinogradov for three years in Berlin and other places, and we have agreed to ask official permission to marry." She had a meeting with Abram Slutsky, the head of the Foreign Department (INO) of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD). Slutsky reported: "Some time ago, Martha Dodd, daughter of the American Ambassador in Germany, was recruited by us. We used her short-term trip to the USSR for detailed negotiations with her and established that she has very valuable possibilities and may be widely used by us."

Martha Dodd made a statement to Slutsky about her commitment to the Soviet Union: "It goes without saying that my services of any kind and at any time are proposed to the party for use at its discretion. Currently, I have access mainly to the personal, confidential correspondence of my father with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. President. My source of information on military and naval issues, as well as on aviation, is exclusively personal contact with our embassy's staff... I have established very close connections to journalists."

Dodd admitted that she was unable to get much important information from the Germany government: "I lost almost any connection with the Germans except perhaps for casual, high-society meetings which yield almost nothing. I still have a connection to the diplomatic corps but, on the whole, it doesn't yield great results. Germans, foreign diplomats, and our own personnel treat us suspiciously, unfriendly, and (as far as the Germans are concerned) insultingly. Is the information which I get from my father, who is hated in Germany and who occupies an isolated position among foreign diplomats and therefore has no access to any secret information, important enough for me to remain in Germany?"

In this document Dodd suggested that she would be more use working in the United States: "Couldn't I conduct more valuable work in America or in some European organization such as the International Conference for Peace. In America, I am suspected of nothing, except for the Germans, and I have countless valuable connections in all circles. In other words, is my potential work valuable enough to stay in Germany even for the remaining term of my father's sojourn there? I have done everything possible to make my father remain in Germany. I'm still going to do everything I can in this direction. However, I'm afraid he will retire this summer or fall. He was of great benefit to the Roosevelt administration, contributing an anti-Nazi view. In any case, this was with regard to (Secretary of State Cordell) Hull and Roosevelt. Most State Department officials work with the Nazis, for example, Dunn, chief of the European department; Phillips, currently in Rome; Bullitt; and others. My father tried to prevent trade agreements with Germany; he refused to cooperate with bankers, businessmen, etc."

Dodd offered to persuade her father to help the Soviet government: "He personally wants to leave. Shouldn't he arrange his resignation with a provocation once he decides the question of timing? Shouldn't he provoke the Germans to make them demand his recall or create a scandal, after which he could speak openly in America both orally and in the press.... To resign and to publish a protest? He could be convinced to do it if it had significance for the USSR. Roosevelt will be giving diplomatic posts to many capitalists who financed him. Having little experience with respect to European politics, Roosevelt will appoint... people or groups who will be dangerous now and in time of war. Nevertheless, my father has great influence on Hull and Roosevelt, who are inclined to be slightly anti-Fascist... Have you got anybody in mind who would be at least liberal and democratic in this post (Dodd's replacement in Germany)? ... If there is information concerning our candidates, it would be important to know whose candidacy to the post of U.S. Ambassador in Germany the USSR would like to promote. If this man has at least a slight chance, I will persuade my father to promote his candidacy."

A copy of this statement was sent to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD. On 29th March, 1937, he sent it to Joseph Stalin with the message: "The 7th department of the... NKVD recruited Martha Dodd, daughter of the American Ambassador in Berlin, who came in March 1937 to Moscow for business negotiations. She described in her report her social status, her father's status, and prospects of her further work for us. Forwarding a copy of the latter, I ask instructions about Martha Dodd's use."

For the rest of the year Martha Dodd provided information from the American embassy. A NKVD report stated: "Martha Dodd... checks Ambassador Dodd's reports to Roosevelt in the archive and communicates to us short summaries of the contents, whose numbers we gave to her. She continues providing us with materials from the American Embassy, trying mainly to get data about Germany, Japan, and Poland." Her controller reported giving her "200 American dollars, 10 rubles, and gifts bought for 500 rubles."

In a memo from Boris Vinogradov he pointed out that it was important for her to believe that she would eventually be allowed to marry him. He wrote that "her dream is to be my wife, at least virtually, and that I will come to work in America and she would help me." In a memo dated 12th November 1937 he mentioned that Louis Fischer had proposed to her. "The meeting with Martha went off well. She was in a good mood. On December 15, she leaves for New York where a meeting with her is fixed (with NKVD operatives in that city). She is still busy with our marriage plans and waits for the fulfillment of our promise despite her parents' warning that nothing would come of it. Not unknown to you, journalist Louis Fischer proposed to her. She did not accept since she hopes to marry me. But if we tell her that I will by no means and never marry her, she will accept Fischer's proposal. I think that she shouldn't be left in ignorance with regard to the real situation, for if we deceive her, she may become embittered and lose faith in us. Now she agrees to work for us even if it turns out that I won't marry her. I proposed giving money to her, but she turned me down."

Martha Dodd married Alfred Stern on 16th June, 1938. She wrote to Boris Vinogradov with the news: "You haven't had time yet to know that I really got married. On June 16, I married an American whom I love very much. I wanted to tell you a lot, but I will wait until our meeting. We are supposed to be in the USSR in late August or early September this year. I hope you'll be there or will let me know where I can meet you. You know, honey, that for me, you meant more in my life than anybody else. You also know that, if I am needed, I will be ready to come when called. Let me know your plan if you get another post. I look into the future and see you in Russia again. Your Martha." Dodd was unaware that Vinogradov had already been arrested and executed as a "traitor to the motherland".

By John Simkin (john@spartacus-educational.com) © September 1997 (updated August 2014).

Primary Sources

(1) Message from NKVD to the Berlin station chief (March 1934) Let Boris Vinogradov know that we want to use him for the realization of an affair we are interested in.... According to our data, the mood of his acquaintance (Martha Dodd) is quite ripe for finally drawing her into our work. Therefore we ask Vinogradov to write her a warm friendly letter and to invite her to a meeting in Paris where... they will carry out necessary measures to draw Martha into our work.

(2) NKVD report on Martha Dodd (1935) Martha argues that she is a convinced partisan of the Communist Party and the USSR. With the State Department's knowledge, Martha helps her father in his diplomatic work and is aware of all his [ambassadorial] affairs. The entire Dodd family hates National Socialists. Martha has interesting connections that she uses in getting information for her father. She has intimate relations with some of her acquaintances.... Martha claims that the main interest of her life is to assist secretly the revolutionary cause. She is prepared to use her position for work in this direction, provided that the possibility of failure and of discrediting her father can be eliminated. She claimed that a former official of the Soviet Embassy in Berlin - Boris Vinogradov - has had intimate relations with her.

(3) Martha Dodd, letter to Boris Vinogradov (October, 1936) Boris, this week it was a year since I saw you last. On the 8th I gave you a farewell kiss at the railway station, and since then we haven't seen one another. But I never, not for a minute, forgot you and everything you gave me in my life. This week, every night I thought about you - every night, and about that night we had such a stupid and mean quarrel - do you forgive me? I was scared and in a wild condition that night because I knew that I wouldn't see you for so long. I strongly wanted you to stay with me that night and forever, and I knew that I would never be able to have you. What have you been doing all this time? Have you been thinking about me and asking yourself how my personal life has gone?

From various sources I know that soon you will go home. Will you go via Berlin? Write me and let me know your plans. I would like to see you once more.

On December 8 I will be at home all night. Won't you call me, won't you talk to me from Bucharest - I want so much to hear your voice again - and on the 8th it will be the anniversary of our folly. We should blame our cowardice for this absence. Please, call me that night.

You may have heard about me indirectly. I have lived and thought many things since I saw you last time. You must know about it.

Armand is still here - but you must know that he means nothing to me now - as long as you are still alive - nobody can mean anything to me as long as you are alive.

(4) Emir Bukhartsev, report to Moscow (January, 1936) For the last 2-3 weeks, I met with Dodd several times. At the first meeting, she told me about Bullitt's (U.S. Ambassador to France William Bullitt) swinish behavior during his sojourn in Berlin. According to her, Bullitt severely scolded the USSR in the American Embassy, arguing that in the next few months the Japanese would capture Vladivostok and the Russians would do nothing against it.... All of this exasperated the American Ambassador Dodd, who reported the talks in a letter to Washington....

During previous meetings Martha Dodd frankly expressed her willingness to help the Soviet Embassy with her information. Now she is studying hard the theory of communism and "Matters of Leninism" by Stalin. Her teacher is Arvid Harnack to whom she goes often. According to her, she now has to hide her Communist convictions due to her father's official status. This year her father will retire, and then she will be able to conduct Communist activities more openly.

However, this circumstance does not prevent her from maintaining rather intimate relations with Louis-Ferdinand, the Crown Prince's son. According to Dodd, this is a perfect disguise, because those who earlier treated her suspiciously because of her open relations with Vinogradov now consider her previous passion "hearty" rather than "political."

(5) Boris Vinogradov, letter to Martha Dodd (29th January, 1937) Honey, I'm so glad to get news from you and to know that you are finally in Warsaw.... You can't imagine, honey, how often you were with me, how I have been constantly thinking about you, worrying about you and craving to see you, how I adjusted to the inevitable when I heard the first news and how I was glad to know the truth. I want to see you so much, honey. Couldn't I come before the end of the month? I would like to come on February 6, I think ... and to stay for about a week. It is extremely important for me to see you and I promise to do it as soon as possible. I would like to stay in a small hotel not far from you, and I want nobody to know I'm there because I don't want to be entertained. I only want to see you as much as possible incognito. Probably, we'll be able to leave from Warsaw to the countryside for one or two days. I will come alone. After all, my parents quite agree that I do what I want. I am 28 and very independent!

(6) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) Dissatisfied with Vinogradov's progress in preparing Dodd for agent work, the NKVD recalled the diplomat to Moscow shortly thereafter and assigned as Dodd's contact a Berlin correspondent for the newspaper Izvestia, Comrade Bukhartsev. At a diplomatic reception he introduced himself to Martha Dodd, who was given the code name "Liza." According to "Emir" (Bukhartsev's code name), she pledged to cooperate in passing along information. An internal NKVD memorandum in Moscow written during this period described Dodd's commitment to the cause.

(7) Boris Vinogradov, memo on Martha Dodd (12th November, 1937) The meeting with Martha went off well. She was in a good mood. On December 15, she leaves for New York where a meeting with her is fixed (with NKVD operatives in that city).

She is still busy with our marriage plans and waits for the fulfillment of our promise despite her parents' warning that nothing would come of it.

Not unknown to you, journalist Louis Fischer proposed to her. She did not accept since she hopes to marry me. But if we tell her that I will by no means and never marry her, she will accept Fischer's proposal.

I think that she shouldn't be left in ignorance with regard to the real situation, for if we deceive her, she may become embittered and lose faith in us. Now she agrees to work for us even if it turns out that I won't marry her. I proposed giving money to her, but she turned me down.

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Boris Vinogradov's Timeline

1909
1909
1938
1938
Age 29