Who was Richard Sorge? Photo and biography of the Soviet intelligence officer
Who was Richard Sorge? The amazing fate of this man has become the plot for many adventure novels. There are still a lot of mysteries in it, despite the fact that over time the archives of the special services of different states are gradually opening up. But the name of this extraordinary person is widely known throughout the world, and especially in the territory of the post-Soviet space. How did the life of Richard Sorge? The feat and tragedy of the scout will be the subject of the article.
Childhood and youth
From the outset, the life of Richard promised to be unusual. He was born in Azerbaijan, where his father, German engineer Gustav Wilhelm Sorge, worked in the Nobel oil company. His mother, Nina Stepanovna Kobeleva, came from a family of railway workers. In 1898, when Richard was 3 years old, Sorge moved to Germany, where they lived the lives of wealthy bourgeois. Despite this, revolutionary moods were strong among his father’s relatives.His great-uncle was even the secretary of K. Marx. According to the recollections of Richard himself, he was a good student at school, but he was not an agreeable student, he always had his own opinion on the question being studied. In 1914, he voluntarily entered the German army and took an active part in the battles, including on the Russian-German front. For his exploits, the young man regularly rose in military ranks and ended up serving as a non-commissioned officer, and he was also awarded the Iron Cross of the II degree. Richard was repeatedly injured on the battlefield, indicating his courage and bravery. In 1917, he was seriously wounded by a fragment of a projectile, having hung on a barbed wire for three days, he was nevertheless taken to hospital. After treatment in January 1918, he was commissioned from military service.
The horrors of war made a genuine revolution in the spiritual self-consciousness of the young man. While being treated at the hospital, he became close with the German socialists, studied and accepted the Marxist doctrine. As early as November 1918, he participated in sailor riots in Kiel, was a member of the workers 'and sailors' council, was engaged in revolutionary work in Berlin and Hamburg, where he met the leader of the German Communists E. Telman.Along with political activities Sorge managed to get not only higher education, but also a degree. He specialized in the study of state and law. A little later, at Hamburg University, Richard Sorge, whose biography was the subject of our review, defended his thesis on economics. After the ban in 1924 of the Communist Party in Germany at the invitation of the Comintern leadership, he moved to Moscow, joined the ranks of the members of the CPSU (b), engaged in scientific and journalistic activities.
In 1929, Richard Sorge is sent on a business trip to England, where he meets with a high-ranking British intelligence officer, probably for information. Despite the fact that who Richard Sorge was, interested the English police, he managed to return safely to Moscow. From November of the same year, he was officially registered as an employee of the Red Army Intelligence Directorate. In 1930, he went to Shanghai, where he met with American and Japanese diplomats, journalists, and Bohemian representatives. Visiting France, Germany, USA, he gradually acquires the necessary connections in the higher diplomatic and scientific communities.In 1933, Richard Sorge, whose photo you see in the article, travels to Japan as a journalist for several reputable German publications. In fact, he becomes a resident of the Soviet intelligence under the pseudonym Ramsay.
Activities in Japan
Having arrived in Tokyo, Soviet intelligence officer Richard Sorge begins the creation of an agent network and gradually acquires assistants and sources of information. One of the most valuable ties was acquaintance with the military attache of the German embassy, Eien Ott. Well-versed in the political and economic situation in the east, being a brilliant analyst, Richard Sorge contributed a lot to promoting the latter along the career ladder, while also receiving valuable information from him. Journalists, representatives of the creative intelligentsia, who have access to the elite of Japanese society, also worked in the Ramsay group. The activities of the Japanese residency cost the Soviet Union very little money (up to 40 thousand dollars a year), because the members of the group lived on their legal income. Richard led the life of a playboy, as a result of which he exposed his life to danger, and often put the whole network under attack.There is a known case when having broken into a drunk on a motorcycle, he didn’t lose consciousness only by a miracle or an effort of will, which would be tantamount to failure, since he had secret documents in his pocket. Such a way of life, disregard for the rules of conspiracy, countless love affairs did not suit the leadership of Sorge in Moscow. At one time, the question of recalling Ramsay to the Union, where he would inevitably be subjected to repression, was even considered. His group was considered unreliable, perhaps even supplying misinformation. However, by coincidence, the network continued its work.
The role of Ramsay in World War II
It is difficult to overestimate the role of Richard Sorge and his team in World War II. These people really influenced the course of history. First, when in May-June 1941, regular warnings about the start of hostilities were sent to Moscow from Ramsay. They were even informed of the exact date of the start of the war, June 22. But the leadership of the Soviet Union did not listen to the intelligence information, resulting in huge losses in its first months. The second most important for the course of the war message of Richard Sorge convinced Stalin that Japan would not enter the war with the USSR.This made it possible to transfer 26 Siberian well-trained and equipped divisions to Moscow from the eastern borders, which allowed not only to defend the capital, but also to break the war and, ultimately, led to the great victory over fascism.
Since 1938, the Japanese special services managed to lock the radio of the Ramsay group. But for a long time they could neither find it nor decrypt messages. However, in October 1941, arrests of members of the intelligence network began, and on October 18, the police arrested Richard. During the searches, all members of the group found irrefutable evidence of their involvement in espionage activities (when neglect of conspiracy rules affected them). At the very first interrogations, the radio operator of the group issued ciphers, and the counterintelligence had the opportunity to decipher the intercepted radiograms. Despite the efforts of high-ranking friends Sorge, no one from the group was able to leave the court. On September 29, 1943, Richard Sorge and his closest associate Ozaki were given death sentences. On November 7, 1944, the sentence was carried out. The Soviet intelligence officer accepted the death with dignity, the last words he said were in Japanese: “Red Army”, “Comintern”, “Soviet Communist Party”.
Memory of the feat
Information about who was Richard Sorge, the activities of the Ramsay group was declassified only in the 60s of the last century. Then books were written about him, feature films and documentaries were made. Many streets in the post-Soviet space are still named after Richard Sorge. And now, despite the change of political courses and the replacement of universal values by surrogates of a consumer society, many people know who Richard Sorge was. For many, this extraordinary man continues to evoke deep sympathy, who gave his life for the ideals of goodness and justice.