. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet Spy: Oleksy Was 'Friend,' not Informant

A former Soviet spy in Poland admitted Tuesday to being friendly with Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy, but denied allegations that the Polish official was an informer for Moscow's intelligence services.


"Our families were friendly. I did not and I could not have any other kind of relations with him," said Vladimir Alganov, who served in Poland under diplomatic cover from 1981 to 1992.


Speaking to reporters at Interfax, Alganov declined to disclose his rank as an intelligence agent, but said he was employed as the first secretary of the Soviet and then Russian Embassy in Poland, formally in charge of ties between the two countries' Communist parties.


"We did not recruit Poles. This is an absolute truth,'' Alganov said. "In Warsaw, we engaged in intelligence activities against third countries, in particular Western nations."


Since the late 1950s, he noted, the Kremlin officially forbade recruitment of spies from the Warsaw Pact nations. "No one would have allowed me, even if I wished, to overstep the limits of friendship" with Oleksy, Alganov said.


The allegations against Oleksy surfaced in December as then-President Lech Walesa was to hand over power to Aleksander Kwasniewski, Oleksy's longtime party colleague.


Polish Interior Minister Andrzej Milczanowski, a Walesa loyalist who has since resigned, told parliament he had evidence that Oleksy has been an informer of a foreign intelligence service since the early 1980s.


Milczanowski never named the KGB or Russia, but officials in Moscow promptly rejected his and media allegations. The denials included statements from Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, a KGB successor, and the Foreign Ministry.


Oleksy has acknowledged frequent contacts with high-ranking Russians, but said the evidence against him was fabricated by Walesa supporters.


The case against Oleksy is under investigation, however, and the Polish military prosecutor reviewing the files said he saw no grounds to dismiss it.


Alganov said he last saw Oleksy during a vacation in Poland in the summer of 1994. A year later, while vacationing on Majorca, Alganov was approached by an old acquaintance, Marian Zacharski.


Zacharski, a veteran Polish operative and once part of an East-West spy swap, was named Poland's intelligence chief in 1994 but soon resigned after Walesa indicated his Cold War past could trouble Warsaw's relations with the West.


This time, according to Alganov, Zacharski was gathering information on top Polish politicians, notably such left-wingers as Kwasniewski and Oleksy.


"When I asked him why they were doing this, Zacharski answered directly that the Polish secret service [under Walesa's government] will not allow other political forces to come to power in the country," Alganov said.