Documents: Mahmoud Abbas Former KGB, Syria

KGB document claims Mahmoud Abbas was an agent in Damascus

A KGB document that was revealed by Israel’s Channel 1 claims that in 1983, the Palestinian Authority President was an agent in Damascus. Senior level PA officials rejected the claims and accused Israel of attempting to damage the President’s image.

JerusalemOnline: According to a document that was released this evening (Wednesday) by Israel’s Channel 1, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was an undercover Soviet agent in Syria more than 30 years ago. The story was reported by Channel 1’s foreign news desk editor Oren Nahari.

According to the report, the details were revealed in documents that KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin brought with him to the West. Among the documents was a list from 1938 that included the names of Palestinian sources and agents in Damascus.

image descriptionPhoto Credit: The Mitrokhin Archives/Channel 2 News

In the list, it is clearly listed that Mahmoud Abbas, whose code name was Krotov (mole), was a KGB agent in Syria. Mitrokhin’s archives were made available to researchers recently and the list found its way to the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez.

It is unclear whether Abbas was an agent before or after 1983. In the document, the code name Krotov is listed as “Mahmoud Abbas, born in 1935 of Palestinian origin.”

The PA responded to the report by rejecting the claims. Senior level PA officials asserted that this was a joke and an Israeli attempt to damage Abbas’ name in light of the political deadlock.

Related reading: Mitrokhin’s KGB archive opens to public 

Mitrokhin Archive

The Mitrokhin Archive consists of summarized notes taken by Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to the United Kingdom after the fall of the Soviet Union. Primarily, this collection contains items from his “Chekist Anthology,” which covers activities of the secret Soviet organization Cheka in places such as Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and Egypt. For more context, please read the “Note on Sources” and biography of Mitrokhin below, all of which should be read before any other documents. See also Intelligence Operations in the Cold War and the Vassiliev Notebooks. (Image, Mitrokhin) No image found.


MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian authorities continue talks with the leadership of Israel and Palestine to organize a meeting of their presidents, but such meeting is not on the agenda yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.  

Earlier media reports suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were considering coming to Moscow for Russia-mediated talks in late September.  

“[This meeting] is not on the agenda at the moment,” Peskov told reporters.

“You know that the special presidential representative for the Middle East was in the region, he continues his work, he continues his contacts with the corresponding sides,” he added.

**** YNetNews: The report claims that information was taken from documents smuggled to the West by Vasili Mitrokhin who was a major and senior archivist for the KGB. Mitrokhin eventually became a defector against the Soviet regime and fled to the West in possession of many documents which he smuggled from Russia to London.

The Mitrokhin Archive was opened to public researchers just a few months ago. The relevant document reached researchers at the Truman Institute’s, Dr. Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, who previously worked for Israel’s Voice of Israel (Kol Yisrael).

Contained in the documents is, among other things, a list list of sources from 1983, aids and Palestinian agents of the KGB in Damascus. Listed among them is Mahmoud Abbas, born in 1935, under the codename of ‘Kortov’—mole—and marked as a KGB agent in Syria.

Mitrokhin’s documents reveal the identities of more than one thousand spies and collaborators who worked for the KGB. Indeed, investigators have emphasized that Mahmoud Abbas is listed not as a collaborator or someone who could be turned into a spy, but categorically as a KGB agent.

“The full archive of Mitrokhin was opened to researchers only last year and we ordered the entire file on the Middle East numbered 24. It was sent to us from Cambridge University and we read it point by point,” Remez said. “The source is extremely reliable when not all the details are known.”


According to the list, Abbas was an agent in 1983 but it is not yet known whether he also was before or after that year. A preliminary conclusion that has been drawn is that he was recruited to the KGB when he was a student in Moscow when he wrote a doctoral dissertation in which he grossly played down the crimes of the Holocaust.


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