The army of any state, before starting hostilities, conducts reconnaissance activities. These are elementary truths. Yan Berzin is the creator and head of the military intelligence of the Soviet Union.
Every literate person knows that soldiers are not born. However, the profession of defender of the Fatherland has to be mastered under circumstances that develop regardless of the desires of a person. Peter Kuzis did not think and did not expect that he would have to lead military operations in Europe. The boy was born on November 25, 1889 in the family of a farm laborer. Parents and five children lived in a remote farm in the Kurland province. Each member of the family from an early age was endowed with feasible responsibilities. The younger ones looked after the ducks, the older ones tended the cows. They lived, like everyone else in the area, by subsistence farming.
In the summertime, Peter grazed cows, worked in the hayfields. In winter, when he had free time, he attended elementary school. When revolutionary unrest began in the province in 1905, the teenager took an active part in them. The peals of bloody events in St. Petersburg have reached the coast of Riga. The impoverished peasants tried to overthrow the official authorities and establish their own self-government. The current regime harshly suppressed the beginnings of an uprising. In one of the military clashes, Peter was wounded and fell into the hands of law enforcement officers. Under the current laws, he was entitled to a death sentence. But for the youth of years, the execution was replaced by eight years of hard labor.
In 1909 he was released, but Peter could no longer return to slavery. He became a member of the Bolshevik Party and continued the struggle to free the working class from the exploiters. Two years later, he was arrested and sent to the notorious Alexandrovsky Central near Irkutsk. It was here that the future chief of military intelligence received his primary education in conspiracy. The escape was being prepared quickly and stealthily. The comrades corrected the fugitive's passport in the name of Yan Karlovich Berzin. Since that time, this surname has become a party pseudonym.
When the First World War began, Berzin was mobilized into the army. However, he did not shed blood for the interests of the exploiting class. Risking his life, the young revolutionary made his way to Petrograd and took up clandestine work. He distributed leaflets calling for the overthrow of the autocracy. Organized strikes and meetings. In October 1917, Berzin was elected to the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies of the Vyborg District. And a few months later he was transferred to the Extraordinary Commission under the leadership of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky.
During the Civil War, Jan Berzin took an active part in counterrevolutionary measures. Thanks to his initiative and resourcefulness, it was possible to suppress the revolt of the Left SRs in Yaroslavl in a short time. In 1920, by a collegial decision, Berzin was appointed deputy chief of the Intelligence Directorate at the headquarters of the Red Army. From this moment on, painstaking and purposeful work begins to create an agent network within the country and abroad. Activities of this kind do not tolerate rush and public events. Risking his life, Jan Karlovich traveled to Germany, Poland and England.
In order to timely supply important information to the General Staff of the Red Army, it was necessary to create several main directorates. Undercover intelligence solved the same problems. Military-technical and radio intelligence operated on a different plane. To prevent information from getting to outside structures, the encryption department functioned. Only a person with outstanding organizational skills can create, run and debug such a mechanism.
Business trip to Spain
It would not be superfluous to say that on the side of the probable enemy, specialists trained not almost worse than Soviet intelligence officers acted. Serious damage to Berzin's career was caused by a serious failure of the intelligence network that occurred in 1935. Then, in one of the European capitals, four residents of Soviet intelligence were arrested at once. Jan Karlovich took this blow hard. Organizational conclusions were immediate. He was demoted. Then Berzin asked to send him as a military adviser to Spain, where the civil war was flaring up.
Hiding his name under a pseudonym, Berzin energetically began to engage in military-economic affairs. Including the construction of defensive structures, the production of ammunition, the training of scouts and saboteurs and other problems. According to modern researchers, the Spanish Republic would not have lasted three months without the help of military advisers from the Soviet Union. However, the forces were unequal. At this stage, the Nazis took over. Berzin returned to his homeland and continued to pursue his direct duties.
Personal life plots
As an experienced intelligence officer, Jan Karlovich tried not to insert his personal life into the show. But this did not always work out. In the early 1920s, he married the sister of one of his employees. Husband and wife lived under the same roof for several years. They had a son. For some unknown reason, the spouse left the family, leaving the child in the care of the father.
Berzin, while in Spain, met a charming girl named Aurora, who was more than twenty years younger than him. The age difference did not stop the experienced scout. Jan Karlovich was the first to return to Moscow. A few months later, Aurora also came to see him. But by this time, Berzin was arrested, accused of organizing a conspiracy, convicted and shot. They didn't have to meet. The date of Berzin's death is July 29, 1938.