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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
August 27, 2010
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Publication Date: 
February 8, 1983
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PDF icon CIA-RDP90-00552R000605700108-6.pdf79.68 KB
Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000605700108-6 p:.G~~ ~..+~r ON WASHINGTON TINS 8 February 1983 Bulgarian ex-spy ties s By Kevin Scott Winter SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TOAES PARIS - The former No. 2 man in Bulgaria's state spy service said in an interview published here that he is certain hloscow was behind the attempt to kill Pope John Paul II in the spring of 1981. "I haven't the least doubt about the participation of the Bulgarians in this plot," said Stefan Svertlev, who in 1972 became second in command of the Komitet Darzhavna Sigurnost (KDS), Bulgaria's equivalent of the Soviet KGB. However, the operation wasn't decided by the Bulgarians alone, he added in the interview published in Le Figaro magazine. At that time, Tudor Zhivkov, leader of Bulgaria, had no particular reason to eliminate the pope. The Russians were. certainly behind it, Svertlev said. Svertlev defected to the West in the late 1970s after participating in an unsuccessful plot to overthrow the to ?e lot Bulgarian regime- one of six attempts espionage - are both completely by the military in the last 10 years, controlled by Soviet advisers... all the according to him. The former colonel secret services in the Eastern bloc are said he brought out with him a list of simply branches of the KGB, which we names of Bulgarian spies operating in call the center." "Based on my experience in the secret service, I am certain that the plot against Pope John Paul II came from an order from Leonid Brezhnev and was organized by Yuri Andropov, who was then head of the KGB." the West, and he said he had witnessed The ex-spy chief explained that John earlierjoint Soviet-Bulgarian operations Paul has awakened such enthusiasm similar to the attempt on the pope. around the world that he "became Asked if Bulgaria could have under- dangerous for Soviet strategic propa- taken the operation against the pope ganda...and a du-cat to Soviet imperialist alone, Svertlev, answered "absolutely policies:' not... the departments I and II - He said the pope's apparent position specializing in espionage and. counter- as spiritual leader of Poland's Solidarity movement couldn't be other than- disagreeable to the Russians and appear as a real danger. "Based on my experience in the secret service," he said. "I am certain that the plot against the life of John Paul 11 came from an order from Leonid Brezhnev and was organized by Yuri. Andropov, who was then head of the KGB. This isn't in any way the first time such a procedure was followed. There are several precedents, such as the case of the Ukrainian nationalist Stefan Bandera, who was murdered in Munich by a KGB agent." The use of Bulgaria as'in intermediary is a measure of security nor the Soviets, he said. "If something gor. s wrong, as in this case, Moscow can avoid an interna- tional scandal. All the condemnation would be directed against the Bulgarian participation, even though their sub- ordination to Soviet command is as clear as spring water to anyone who would go to the trouble of examining the secret services" Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000605700108-6