Maj.  Victor Sheymov


Victor Sheymov worked for the ultra secret KGB communications center in charge of codes and ciphers. His job was to read every incoming and outgoing cipher cable from abroad.

He was promoted to major at age 32. 

By the time of his defection, Sheymov was responsible for coordinating all KGB encrypted communications overseas

Victor Sheymov, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter were smuggled out of Moscow on May 16, 1980, in an escape organized by the CIA. David Rolph, the CIA officer who succeeded in getting Sheymov out of the USSR later served as Moscow chief of station.

In the US Sheymow said he was convinced the KGB was involved in the 1981 attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II. 

Sheymov explained that  his belief that the KGB was involved in the attack on the Pope was based on a KGB cable he learned about during a 1979 trip to Poland. He said it came from then-KGB chief Yuri Andropov and told KGB officials in Warsaw to "find out how to get physically close to the pope."

In 1991 Sheymov sued the CIA, claiming that the agency has reneged on the deal and cut off their $27,000 annual stipend. He charged publicly that CIA officials never paid him much of the $1 million promised when he defected in 1980.

Sheymov reached a settlement with the CIA in 1999. He now runs a computer security company called Invicta Networks.


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