Soviet Spy G.A. Vartanyan – The man who saved the Big Three – Overlooked WWII Hero?


WWII’s Big Three – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Theodore Roosevelt and Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin – were almost ‘assassinated’ in the Tehran Conference in 1943. Almost because a man was able to learn about the plan and thwarted it.

That man was one of Russia’s greatest spies, G.A. Vartanyan.

Who Is G.A. Vartanyan?

Born Gevork Andreyevich Vartanyan, the well-known spy was born in Russia, the son of an Iranian factory owner with Armenian roots. His father was also reportedly a Moscow intelligence operative anf had enlisted him into the service at the tender age of 16 and was given the codename Amir.

Much of Vartanyan’s adult life was obscured presumably due to his being a Soviet spy. As a matter of fact, his name was not declassified until December 2000 and he was able to come out from the vagueness that surrounded him.

he was just 19 years old when he exposed Hitler’s plan to assassinate the Big Three Allies in the memorable Tehran Conference in 1943. In the said plot, codenamed Operation Long Jump, German dictator Adolf Hitler, commissioned SS Commander Otto Skorzeny, the same officer who freed Mussolini from captivity, to carry out the killing of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. However, Vartanyan, along with a group of fresh Soviet agents, disrupted the plans and ‘saved’ the lives of these leaders.

After his Tehran success, Vartanyan carried on espionage work for the KGB together with his wife, Goar who was also a spy, for three more decades before retiring.

Teary Thank You

In 2007, fresh from his coming out of the cold, Vartanyan was given the chance to meet Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, Celia Sandys, in Moscow. The two had a heartwarming meeting with Miss Sandys offering a teary thank you to the spy who once saved her grandfather’s life.

‘It is thanks to them that we live in peace today,’ he told her that time.

They shared a toast of troika in the name of the three leaders who at one time, owed their lives to him.

Overlooked Hero?

However, when Gevork died in January 2012 at the ripe age of 87 years old, one of the countries whose leaders he saved in the past forgot to give the honor that is due him.

According to author Robert Tilford, the spy had never received condolences nor any letter of appreciation from the American Ambassador as well as the US Embassy in Moscow. Mr. Tilford believes American authorities had made an immense mistake by not taking part in the ex-spy’s funeral when some dignitaries or an honor guard would have shown the country is showing gratitude to the man who helped preserve the life of one of America’s most celebrated presidents.

The author further noted that when he tried to call the embassy to point this out, the embassy official he talked to quipped:

“why should we have done that the man was a Russian spy?”

Gevork is a decorated spy in the Soviet Union and had once been the recipient of the Soviet’s highest military title, the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Was America amiss in not showing this man honor even in his death?

-Article based on Ground Report and Daily Mail


Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE