2014 | Volume 5 (2014) | 306-328
Article title

Iwan Iwanowicz Bielanin, wygnaniec rosyjski w Gdańsku. Przyczynek do „międzynarodówki szpiegowskiej” Wolnego Miasta lat 1920–1939

Title variants
Ivan Ivanovich Bielanin, a Russian Exile in Gdańsk. Contribution to the Story of the Free City’s “International Espionage” in the Period of 1920–1939
Languages of publication
After the Bolshevik Revolution, 1–2 million political refugees fled from Russia. Some of them (a few thousand) settled in the Free City of Gdańsk. Some people, especially ex‑military – attracted by the special status of the quasi‑state – entered in a kind of an “international espionage” community. They were mercenaries of various secret services. We can sketch the motifs and the ways taken by this interesting faction of refugees taking a perspective of one of them, Ivan Ivanovich Bielanin. He worked for the Polish, German and Soviet secret services, as well as for the “white” Russians. In fact, it was a drama of a rootless man who in other circumstances would probably have taken a better advantage of his inborn talents. Free City was an area conducive to business intelligence, because espionage was not penalized there. The agendas of German and Polish intelligence were particularly active in Gdańsk, as well as, to a lesser extent, the Soviet, French, Lithuanian and English. […] The Free City of Gdańsk in the the period of 1920–1939 there was a strong, staff‑wise, Polish military intelligence agency. It was was to inquire the north‑eastern territories of the Reich and to observe the area of Gdańsk. An officer of outstanding talents, Karol Dubicz‑Penther, was the head of the institution in the period of 1920–1926. We can describe Bielanin’s activities mainly on the basis of his reports. Bielanin was an officer in the tsarist army. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he briefly collaborated with the Communists. Then he fought in anti‑Communist Russian troops. In 1919–1923, he worked for the Polish military intelligence in Gdańsk. He traveled with missions to Berlin and Warsaw. He provided a lot of very valuable information about the German intelligence and Russian emigration environments. But he was not loyal and with time people lost confidence in him. His instability and nihilism can be considered as characteristic for the drama of Russian refugees. To raise funds to maintain themselves and gain the favours of the authorities, they became “mercenaries spies”. Finally, the German, Polish and Soviet services considered Bielanin a traitor.
Physical description
  • Instytut Historii i Politologii Akademii Pomorskiej w Słupsku, Krzysztofa Arciszewskiego 22, 76-218 Słupsk, Poland
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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