The Lockhart Case (1918) - Part III
Comrade Kingisepp – Cheka
K. D. Kalamatiano, citizen of the USNA [United States of North America], Russian-Greek by origin, has specialized in the study Russia and the Russian language since university (Chicago, 1907). Has been in Russia since 1905 (with the exception of yearly trips to the US and the years 1906 and 1907, when he was in France). While in Russia, he was in the constant employ of the Case Co., at the main office in Odessa. K. D. was in charge of operations until 1915, and was the main representative in Russia. The company specializes in tractors (for ploughing and threshing), road-building equipment and automobiles. In connection with company's operations, K. D. traveled around Russia and was especially acquainted with the work of the zemstvos and landed property. At the beginning of 1915, it seemed that a fortuitous moment had arrived for the establishment of new American enterprises in Russia. Having this in mind, K. D. left his former employ and went to the US, where he remained until the spring of 1916. In the US, he was exclusively engaged in attracting American firms to future activities in Russia, and – in connection with others – organized the International Co. of Manufacturers and Factories in America, working as the director – manager of this firm (9 Armyanskiy Alley). Due to the lack of orders, monetary difficulties, and friction with the American government, the firm did not experience success. On 1 October 1917, K. D. left this firm and accepted the post as the Russian representative for the trading company Klavdii M. Gankivel in New York, a firm which supplied automobiles and lorries to a wide number of enterprises during the war (primarily to the All-Russian Land Union).
In connection with the new complications which arose during 1917-1918, further operations became almost impossible. K. D. was engaged in the liquidation of the business, preparations for future dealings, and serious investigations in connection with the new situation in Russia.
Activities during the past 6-8 months
As a result of the political situation, it had become clear that private commercial activity was almost impossible, and the USNA, through the aegis of its commercial attache at the consulate (Gentington [Huntington]), entertained the idea of exporting goods required by Russia while importing Russian goods exclusively through state enterprises. Negotiations were conducted with cooperatives, with the commissar of foreign trade and so on, on the basis of bartered trade. K. D. was well-acquainted with the commercial attache and was also interested in this activity, both in the interests of his firm as well as for his own personal future. It became clear that the US knew very little about the internal situation in Russia and therefore K. D. took it upon himself to organize, in the name of his firm, an Information Bureau, whose purpose was to provide an accurate picture of modern Russia, both economically and politically. The political situation was extremely important for any commercial activity, since it would be impossible to operate successfully if the political situation was unstable. An issue of primary interest was the question of how much economic use Germany was making of the Brest peace treaty and so on. The issues under consideration were roughly as follows:
1. Transport – how much destroyed, freight capacity of the railways, the condition of junction points, how much of the primary communications system with Germany is operating (through the occupied areas to the Ukraine and so on).
2. Trade – how much is operating normally, what goods are required most of all, what can a certain area provide in exchange. How much have the new laws affected trade, how much influence do requisitions have on trade, and so on.
3. Banking – how will nationalization proceed, how are the banks operating in general.
4. Agrarian question – how successful has been the distribution of land, what influence has it had on agriculture, the general mood of the agricultural population.
5. Political mood – how strong is the new government, is agitation noticeable among other parties and which ones.
6. Attitude of the population: 1) to America; 2) to Germany
7. Is export-import trade occurring with Germany. How many shares is Germany purchasing, how much land and so on.
Also, there were special questions depending upon the region, local questions, such as the Mal'tsevskiye factories and other factories in Bryansk, the textile industry in Kineshma and Vladimir, flax in Rzhev and Smolensk and so on.
Recently, the question arose concerning the transfer of forces from Germany to Russia along the railways as well as the issue of sending raw materials and products of the textiles industry from Russia to Germany.
The area under investigation was initially limited to the front line region – Rostov, Minsk, Voronezh, Kursk, Bryansk, Orsha, Smolensk, Dno and Novgorod. Later, a section [of the Bureau - skoblin] was organized in the Ukraine (Rostov, Khar'kov, Poltava, Kiev, Odessa and the Crimea). Persons were sent to the Ukraine to conducted a specialized study concerning the status of the Ukrainian government, relations with Germany and Austria, progress in the export of goods from the Ukraine to Germany, the situation in the Donets Basin, factories and so on. Also of interest was the situation regarding the German forces and – in particular – their attitude towards and relations with the local inhabitants. The same was done in Belorussia and the Baltic provinces.
In Russia, individuals headed out from Moscow, with the latter comprising the center of operations. They were to live in the occupied areas and communicate by courier with Moscow, as well as with Khar'kov – which also comprised a center of operations.
In view of the possible difficulties (departure of the consular representatives and ambassadors, arrest of allies, and so on), K. D. decided on August 1 to settle in the country as a Russian with a false Russian passport (i.e. not his own). Moreover, he considered collecting information particularly in the Ukraine and Belorussia. During this period there were 8 persons in the Ukraine with 3 couriers, 1 in Minsk, 1 in Riga and 4 in Russia (not counting 2 in Moscow).
The persons drawn into this affair were all personally recommended to K. D. by his business acquaintances and were hired under the guise of the Klavd. M. Gankivel' trading company. K. D., in particular, tried to find persons not biased politically so that they could respond to given questions with absolute accuracy, to the point.
Payment was meager and there was nothing to prevent those who had been hired from finding other work.
Persons drawn into the case
5. A.V. Fride carried out several assignments. Then, having received employment in Moscow, remained here. His responsibilities included reading through accounts, making reports, rewriting the same on a typewriter and sending them to K. D.
24. Zagryazhskiy was recently invited in order to serve as Fride's deputy, in the view of the possible departure of K. D. He has not taken up these duties at present. He has provided several accounts and summaries of stories concerning Russian prisoners-of-war, who have fled from Germany through the occupied areas.
11. Potyomkin (2 brothers) had initially carried out 1 or 2 assignments. The older brother (who is in Kursk) then fell ill, and his brother was take on and worked in the countryside.
10. Volynskiy – has left.
8. Ivanov – recently went to Minsk-Orsha. At the end of August, having received employment somewhere, refused further work. Received payment.
12. Golitsyn had employment in which he carried out assignments. Has not gone anywhere as of late and was supposed to be paid.
7. Ishevskiy – one assignment, but proved to be undesirable. Was paid.
19. Solyus was recently hired on. Carried out one or two assignments.
Nos. 1, 3, 16, 17, 18, 23, 28, 20 and 21 (Ukraine)
No. 9 – Riga
Nos. 2, 4, 6, 13, 14 and 19 left according to circumstances and were dismissed.
Nos. 22, 26 and 27 – couriers
M.A. Fride was not used at all. She carried out one assignment for Mr [Smith] in connection with the army Red Cross. She recently carried a letter to an appointed destination, but it not considered as employed.
Special issues in this regard:
I. When it became conclusively clear that A.[the identitiy of “A” is not indicated - skoblin] and the Allied consular officials in general would be departing, I had conversations with Mr. Pull whether I should remain behind or not. On his advice, I decided to stay, as I took into consideration my future connections with Russia in the light of the my lengthy activity in this regard. It was reported to me that the representatives of the British and French consulates would also be staying and I was invited to meet with them if need be. This is, indeed, what occurred at the American Consulate on August 25, which is where I first met with Mr. Reilly and Mr. Vertamon. It was decided that I would provide them with a daily summary (especially in regards the Ukraine), which would be passed on to the consulate. I exchanged addresses with them and we spoke about the situation. Our organization had no other contact with them or with their organization.
II. The trip to Samara. In July 1918, K.D.'s wife set out to Belebey, in Ufa province, where her relatives lived, due to the high cost of living in Moscow. K.D. was unable to find out any information about her after that and became very worried. He decided to head out before winter, in order to find out what had become of her. He asked various acquaintances to assist him with the necessary permits and passes. In connection with this, A.V. Fride arranged an errand for K.D. in Penza (which was carried out) and provided documentation averring the non-political nature of the trip (this was a deception, in which K.D. persuaded Fride). This documentation, however, had only been signed by Fride, while K.D. provided the second signature himself. Through acquaintances, K.D. also received a commission from a cooperative, according to which he was to make all sorts of inquiries in Penza.
K.D. set out for Belebey, in Ufa province, departing from Moscow of August 30 and returning on the 18th [of September] (19 in total, including 13 on the road). In Belebey, he found his wife and took care of personal affairs. Having been arrested in Syzran', he had to go to Samara in order to obtain a document from a consular official. Being interested, naturally, in the state of affairs, K. D. had a meeting with the French consul and brought back several letters of a purely personal nature on behalf of the consul and others.
K.D. was arrested upon his return to Moscow in the courtyard of the former American consulate.
All the above-mentioned testimony may be corroborated by witnesses.
III. V.N. Zhukovskiy and I were acquaintances from childhood in Switzerland. He is a close friend and had nothing to do with my activities. I lived with him for a short time after I had sold my apartment.
I consider myself guilty for remaining in Russia under someone else's passport.
I consider the activities of my organization to be completely harmless, as the organization pursued no military, political or anti-government goals. Those persons, who had been drawn into this activity, were specially instructed not to impart or propagate their own opinions, but to report the simple facts, as this activity could have great value for future relations with the USNA [United States of North America – skoblin].
There were no contacts with any organizations, Allied or Russian, with the exception indicated on page 3/1. Otherwise, K.D. always endeavoured to find out the perspective, plans and so on, of various parties, their orientation, strength and so on.
Repeating that which has been indicated earlier, it would appear, that in connection with the current situation, i.e., the lack of an American consulate and so on, K.D. and his organization:
1) acted unofficially, but 2) since K.D. was known as an American businessman, was well-acquainted with Russia and was undoubtedly unconnected with any party and generally interested in future relations with America, he could be of further use even now during potential negotiations and so on. It should be stressed that the US lack correct information and that it must rely exclusively upon information from others.
In any case, K.D. has stressed once more that the persons, employed by his organization, were in no wise guilty of any anti-government activities, since only he himself knew its actual purposes.
Some 100,000 was allocated for the activities [of the organization] and was located as follows: 50,000 roub. with A.V. Fride, 20,000 with A.A. Zagryazhskiy, with part of the remainder being sent to the Ukraine, while the rest was with K.D. The sums mentioned above were held by the indicated persons for safekeeping.
Signed K.D. Kalamatiano
15/X – 18.
It turned out that Kalamatiano, in creating his organization, had already taken measures to ensure the protection of its members against the retribution of the revolutionary proletariat in case of any failure. All of them were instructed to say that they were employed in an exclusively commer[cial] organization, [collecting information] of a political nature about Russia. Typical of those who were arrested, though, was not to admit to belonging to Kalamatiano's organization until Kalamatiano himself was arrested and - once the names of all of his collaborators had been decoded – they were forced to admit their attachment to this organization under the weight of evidence. All of them knew perfectly well, that their organization bore a criminal nature in regards the revolution, and they endeavoured to conceal everything until, under the weight of evidence, they began to relate the story imparted to them by their master.
As an example, I will cite several of the aforementioned affidavits.
Affidavit from Aleksandr Andreevich Zagryazhskiy
25 September 1918.
During the first few days of July of this year, according to the new style, A. Vl. Fride, who had related to me earlier that he was working for some sort of American firm, invited me to take part in the collection of political and economic information for the Americans. The understanding was that the America intended to enter into close economic relations with Russia upon the conclusion of the world war.
I stated that I did not have any influential or authoritative acquaintances in those areas of interest, that my circle of acquaintances was extremely limited and that I had neither the time nor the inclination to subject them to questioning for the sake of information. A.V. Fride responded by saying that any rumours being circulated would be valuable and that even foolish rumours sometimes possess a small portion of truth, while complete foolishness is always disclosed through comparison with others [other rumours - skoblin]. I requested time to consider.
Being neither a politician nor an economist, my line of reasoning was roughly as follows: we were not in a state of hostility with America – at least not open hostility at that time – and after the war, Russia would require vast material resources, which only America could provide, having entered the war later than other countries and being wealthier than them. Thus, I saw nothing either criminal or even improper in such information.
I agreed and in early July, new style, possibly July 7, I was introduced to Kalamatiano at Fride's apartment. During this encounter, I repeated my arguments that I would be a poor informant considering my lack of extensive knowledge and authority regarding economic issues. The same considerations, however, were repeated to me concerning the value of any news or information making its rounds. After meeting Kalamatiano at Fride's apartment, I saw him around 20 times in total. I was at his apartment twice, once at Kudrinskaya Sadovaya and another time when he lived not far from Fride (I do not remember the name of the street). I was at his apartment for only a very short time, having dropped by in order to go to Fride's.
There was nothing conspiratorial in these meetings: I would drop by during the daytime, and took no measures to conceal my visits. On some occasions, I would arrive at Fride's and find Kalamatiano there; on other times I would leave earlier than him and sometimes we would leave together. Several times he would see me off [text is ambiguous here – may be translated “he would accompany me to Fride's apartment”, “accompany me leaving Fride's apartment” or “would see me off” - skoblin] During these meetings, the conversations would consist of relating stories concerning the news and rumours and commenting on them. In a word, the conversations did not depart from being typical mundane conversations regarding current events. On some occasions, I would relate about the horrible conditions of confinement of our prisoners [this being Russian prisoners confined by Germany - skoblin], or about exceptional or curious events, such as the miraculous recovery of one of our soldiers the day following his arrival in Moscow. I would also relate about the desire of prisoners to make their way home quickly. But I declare, that I never inquired about the political mood of the prisoners and therefore could not report anything in this regard. The mood of the prisoners was unknown to me.
I should mention that neither Fride nor Kalamatiano discussed payment with me. In early August, new style, while in Fride's study and in the presence of Kalamatiano, Fride handed me 750 roub. for work. This occurred possibly on August 7. I took the money, but in my heart I did not feel like I had earned it. Perhaps, this is how things are done in business circles, I thought to myself, but I was used to a more basic understanding of work. I decided to bide my time, while keeping the sum of money for payment. Later, Fride, and it seems Kalamatiano as well, advised me to take on collaborators [informants - skoblin], to receive their reports and to compile summaries of them, in case Fride and Kalamatiano were absent. One time, I was presented with 5-10 thous. roub. (for safekeeping). I do not remember the actual amount. I categorically refused, for I have never liked and do not like to hold other people's money. The matter was dropped and the money was not given to me.
When Kalamatiano was leaving for Penza, he and Fride spoke to me again about the possibility of compiling summaries and dispatching them, in case Fride was absent, which Fride had brought up once before. To my relief, I never saw a single collaborator [informant] nor any reports, never compiled any summaries and never delivered any packages containing documents. I stated “to my relief”, because I see now that such actions would have complicated my current situation regarding this matter, whereas at the time I had perceived nothing improper in this activity. It was at approximately this time that I was 20 thous. roub. for safekeeping and for issuing payments to collaborators. The details concerning these payments were to be relayed to me by Fride. The collaborators were signified by numbers, as were their corresponding reports, according to which I was to know them. Perhaps, Fride was also supposed to relate to me their names, but this was not done.
After Kalamatiano's departure, I saw Fride once, as far as I can recall. In connection with the 20 thous. roub. that was entrusted to me, for which – I repeat – I had a dislike, as I do not like to hold other people's money, occurred the matter of Kalamatiano changing his name to Serpovskiy. This struck me as being conspiratorial, and thought arose of declining further participation in this activity. For three days, I attempted to do this. As far as I remember, these attempts were made on August 29, 30 and 31, new style (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).
On August 29, I went to Fride's and knocked on his window (the bell was not working) and received absolutely no answer. On August 30, Fride's elderly mother opened the door and told me that A. V. was not at home. After asking her where it would be possible to get milk (she suggested through her), I left. On August 31, while on my way to the Prisoners' Board on B. Nikitskaya [Bol'shaya Nikitskaya street – skoblin], in order to hand in termination notes [tetradei okonchonnikh], I ran right into Mlle. Fride near the square at the entrance to Trubnikovskiy Alley (with my short-sightedness, I would not have recognized her if we had not bumped into each other). After exchanging greetings, I told her that I had dropped by the apartment twice but had been unable to find A.V. at home, on one occasion (Thursday) not even receiving an answer. After telling her that I planned drop by today as well, she told me that A.V. Would not be home, but that she could pass on a message if needed. I responded by saying that I would come by another time myself. I suggested Tuesday evening, but he was arrested the night before. Now I have doubts whether this occurred on August 30, 31 and September 1, but I believe that the first dates – August 29, 30 and 31 – are more accurate.
I saw Mlle. Fride perhaps 5 or 6 times in total, no more – generally when she answered the door.
Kalamatiano explained his decision to change his name as arising from his desire to remain in Russia in order to continue his work of collecting economic information. In other words, he wished to continue in his endaevours, even though he – as an American – was required to leave Russia, as all the Americans were.
I not only intended to notify Fride of my refusal to accept further work, but also to hand back the 20 thous. roub. as well as the 750 roub., since I felt I had done no work since August 7, other than hang on to the 20 thous. for around a week or so. In conclusion, I may state further, that I made no new acquaintances in connection with my participation in this activity. I made no excursions, either in regards this employment or in addition to it (I do not consider the instances in which I dropped in on old acquaintances). And I continued to serve with an institution, which has no secrets, for this institution collects information regarding the condition of our imprisoned soldiers, about which all of Russia has been apprised for a long time from newspapers of the most varied outlook. The desire of the prisoners to make their way home quickly is quite natural and understandable, but this sort of information, however, has no price.
I did not know where Fride worked, nor do I know even now. I was never there. As indirect evidence that I had no dealings with collaborators [informants], I may mention the fact that the 20 thous. remained in the same one thousand note bills as when I received them. I may also suggest, that if my apartment had been put under observation, it would have been found out that no informants had approached me. Essentially, my participation in this matter remained at the level of preliminary conversations and did not depart from these limits, with the reservation that the purpose of this information – as I understood it – did not constitute anything improper or criminal against the people or the Soviet state.
Aleksandr Andreevich Zagryazhskiy
In one of my statements I was mistaken. I once presided over a political case in the spring of 1916, in Voronezh. A peasant was tried on the charge of apparently belonging to a peasant brotherhood in Nizhnedevitsk. He was acquitted. This trial constituted a small part of a large case, examined earlier in 1907-1909 under the chairmanship of the judge, Duble.
Affidavit from Aleksei Vasilievich Potyomkin
Having recently graduated from a secondary educational institution and with the harsh life and high cost of living of the present day, I, Aleksei Vasilievich Potyomkin, considered it my responsibility to find work in order to help provide for my mother and father as much as possible. Circumstances arose thus, that an old acquaintance of my parents, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride, living in the city of Moscow and having employment, the precise nature of which I did not know, offered me a position, saying that I would receive good pay. Naturally, while telling me stories about this work, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride also stated that there was nothing improper involved in it. At the same time, he gave me the address of a certain Ksenefont Dmitrievich Kalamatiano, with whom I would have to meet, and did, in fact, meet with twice, albeit briefly: once, at the office of William Hinns [William Camber-Higgs - skoblin], I believe, while the second more or less took place at Aleksandr Vladimiriovich's own apartment.
Upon arriving in Moscow on September 2, and proceeding to Mr. Fride's residence to take up my duties, I was arrested by a man who subsequently told me that he was an official from the Cheka and that he was arresting everyone who was arriving at the residence of the known counter-revolutionary, Fride.
On the evening of September 2, I was taken to the Cheka, where I was questioned several times. They asked me what sort of understanding I had of the work I was involved in. I stated that it was purely commercial and was far removed from politics, which I had never engaged in. If I were to be subsequently released, I would place myself far away from it, since in the present circumstances I have neither the right nor the ability to risk my life. I know that I was to provide information concerning the condition of trade and industry in Russia for an American industrial concern. As for payment, I sometimes received an advance from Aleksandr Vladimirovich Fride of approximately 600 roub. give or take.
I am always ready to provide testimony in more detail in the belief that I will not be sentenced.
28 September 1918.
In his initial testimony, Potyomkin denied either knowing Kalamtiano or having done any work for him. He claimed that he had come to Moscow on account of illness and had gone to Fride's in order to relay greetings from his parents.
It is necessary to present one more affidavit, that from Ishevskiy.
Affidavit from Ishevskiy
In the middle of April of this year, I, the undersigned, journalist Dmitrii Aleksandrovich Ishevskiy, learned through my acquaintances, the Nikifaraks [probably Nikiforuks - skoblin], that the representative of a certain American transport firm was looking for various agents for the collection of purely commercial information. Since I found myself in straitened material circumstances at that time on one hand, and generally enjoyed traveling on the other, I was glad to offer my services to this American. I requested an introduction and received it in the form of a calling card belonging to a Mr. Angin. With this card, I headed off to the indicated address (23 Sadovaya Kudrinskaya, apt. 23) and offered my services to Mr. K. D. Kalamatiano. He greeted me very amicably and was obviously very glad of the fact that I was a journalist, to wit, that their transportation firm needed information dealing exclusively with transportation issues, since (in his words) their firm “Nankvil' and Co.” intended to import some sort of goods into Russia. He requested that I drop in on their (now deceased) consul and personally inquire about the credit worthiness of this firm and its purely commercial activity. For payment, I was offered 600 roub. a month and a daily rate of 20 roub.
Incidentally, he led me to believe that the work would be on-going (no less than 2 or 3 months). I did not go to the consul, being satisfied with the look of the official American stamp placed on the authorization pass that was issued to me.
Roughly a week later, I departed for the town of Ryazan', intending to head to Voronezh. However, I did not make it there, deciding to take advantage of these 2 or 3 weeks and rest at my father's residence in Samara province. And so I did. Three weeks later I returned to Moscow and called on Kalamatiano. He suggested that I provide a written report about my trip and promised to bring me the format for the report that same evening. He did in fact bring me this format and then urgently parted ways, requesting that I drop by his apartment with the report.
Becoming acquainted with the format, I perceived that their firm was more akin to an espionage organization and I decided to write the report in the most general terms, using newspaper information as a guide. Three days later I handed him the report and learned the disconcerting news that I was being let go. The explanation given was that the firm was temporarily shutting down. I was very disheartened by this and was determined to obtain the money that was owed me on the strength of his promises. Thus, I sent him a letter demanding money for the 2 – 3 months work that had been promised. His reply is known. I then decided to make the entire story public and offered it to the editor of the newspaper “Mir”. The editor regarded my proposal sympathetically and this matter was to have been decided in the next few days.
In conclusion, I have the honour of pointing out especially the following circumstances of this case: upon returning from my “sham assignment”, that is, up until my acquaintance with the format for the my report, I did not know about the character and purposes of the work offered me by Kalamatiano. If I have given him an altogether insignificant report, it was only out of a desperate need for money.
25/IX – 18.
In addition to his testimony, Ishevskiy also provided the VChK information concerning the nature of Kalamatiano's organization described in the following letter.
Letter from Ishevskiy to Kalamatiano
2/VI – 18.
I believe the time has come to resolve the issues concerning our joint endeavour. And therefore, I would like to express myself in a straightforward fashion. The substance of my report, as you yourself are aware of, departed significantly from that which you initially indicated to me. This, of course, did not come as a surprise to me. From the very beginning, I concluded that the “firm” and “conditions of transport” were nothing other than a mask used to conceal political and military espionage. And it was in this vein that I began conducting observations during my assignment.
But what was my surprise when I returned to Moscow and discovered that my services were no longer required. Having obtained what you required, and paying a pittance, which a courier for one of the current ministries would have received, you now rest content... A man, who risked much in the hope of future prospects, experienced arrest, worked on composing a comprehensive detailed report on Russian life and all for 600 roubles....is then sent away. This, despite repeated assertions on your part that my work with you would continue and there there was some sort of “future”. No, other governments do not treat their secret agents in such a manner.
In full awareness of my moral right and documentary proof, I demand restitution. If my work with you has come to an end, then I wish (and this desire is fully legal, and I am prepared to support it by all means at my disposal) to obtain my recompense for three months. This amounts to 4500 roub. on the basis of 600 roub. basic pay [600 roubles per month – skoblin] and 30 roub. per day. It would certainly be excessive on my part to waste so many words on this, if I was not confident in the satisfaction – I repeat – of my modest and just demands. Without a doubt, you are aware of the fact that Russia, at the present time, is of interest not only to your own country, but also to that coalition that stands hostile to you... And this is something you should reflect upon.
And so, I will wait for you for three days between 4 and 6 in the evening or for your notice with instructions of a time and place where we can meet.
It need not be said, that upon the conclusion our financial transaction, I will immediately return all documents, drafts and other materials in my possession. With proper acknowledgment and my word of honour, it will be as if we never met.
With deepest full respect
PS. I hereby relay to you the following newspaper issues in which my articles are published: “Zarya Rossii” No. 33 from 30-17 May 1918 and current issue of the newspaper “Zhizn'”.
As is obvious from Ishevskiy's letter, he new perfectly well why Kalamatiano had recruited him. What is more, he knew that he caught Kalamatiano in a trap. He knew that he could threaten Kalamatiano and acquire money as a result. And like a born blackmailer, Ishevskiy indeed carried this out. He not only threatened Kalamatiano, he even offered his services to the editor of the bourgeois newspaper “Mir” which had German sympathies. Ishevskiy wrote in a letter to the editor that he had materials in his possession which related to military and political espionage in Russia.
Letter from Ishevskiy to the Editor of “Mir”
To the editor of the newspaper “Mir”
I have in my possession interesting documents, which relate to an area which is rarely touched upon in the press: foreign military and political espionage in Russia.
I have been lucky enough to come into very close contact with one such secretive operation being conducted by “Allied” diplomacy, specifically, the Anglo-Americans.
Being of a mind to offer your newspaper this sensational documentation, I humbly request that you notify me through the above mentioned address of a time and place where we could meet to discuss this matter.
In expectation of your response
With deepest respect
In his response to Ishevskiy's threats, Kalamatiano attempted to extricate himself by stating once again that his organization was not criminal and so on.
Letter from Kalamatiano to Ishevskiy
Moscow, 4 June 1918.
Your letter from the 2nd of this month has rather surprised me. Due to your youth, you still have an apparently romantic outlook and have envisaged some sort of secret mission in our simple desire to be apprised of the possibility of exporting goods from Russia.
Nevertheless, considering your youth, allow me to explain to you, that you were taken on for one month, have received payment, and agreed to part company and you may have no further demands.
Since you were recommended to me, I will not consider your letter as being a typical example of blackmail of a nature such that others would probably perceive and in response to which they would employ quite different measures.
K. D. K.
During this time, Ishevskiy had already received a response from the editor of “Mir”, having approached the paper for the purpose of acquiring a healthy reward for his services to this German sympathizing newspaper. As is readily apparent, Ishevskiy demanded much and haggled for a long time.
Letter from the Editor of “Mir” to Ishevskiy
Daily newspaper “Mir”
September 12, 1918.
Dear Dmitrii Aleksandrovich
I have been urgently summoned to a meeting with shareholders today and once again am unable to meet with you.
Iv. Mikh. has been delegated to meet and conclude terms with you. My opinion regarding your articles has not changed: they are interesting and lively, but do not contain material of either a secretive or sensational nature that would justify exceptional terms.
Moreover, as I already noted yesterday, the slant of your articles runs opposite to the nature of our paper, which supports Soviet policy in foreign relations.
Regarding the extraordinary documents about which you have spoken (Anglo-American espionage), I propose that we enter into special discussions regarding the presentation and inspection of the documents you have in your possession.
I believe, that the rate of 75 kop. per line, which you have worked out with Iv. Mikh., has fully satisfied your demands.
You will agree, that the editorial board is in no position to set forth any sort of special and extraordinary guarantees even for such valuable contributers as yourself.
It is another matter concerning documents having a political significance, the purchase of which may exceed any special rate.
It has not been determined how matters with the newspaper “Mir” concluded and what material Ishevskiy provided it. The fact remains, however, that Ishevskiy trod firmly along the path of blackmail, knowing that it was not a political and economic organization he had in his clutches, but an espionage one.