Accessibility links

Breaking News

Soviet Spy Who Helped Stop Attack On WWII Allied Leaders Dies

Goar Vartanian with her husband in Moscow in December 2010.
Goar Vartanian with her husband in Moscow in December 2010.

Goar Vartanian, a former Soviet spy who with her husband helped prevent a Nazi assassination of Allied leaders in Tehran during World War II, has died in Moscow at age 93.

A spokesman for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) told AFP on November 26 that Vartanian will be buried at Moscow's prestigious Troyekurovskoe Cemetery, possibly on November 29.

Vartanian and husband Gevork worked as secret agents on numerous missions abroad for the Soviet Union.

In 1943, the Vartanians helped thwart Operation Long Jump -- a plot by Nazi Germany to kill Soviet leader Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt during a 1943 summit in the Iranian capital.

After Hitler ordered the plot to kill the "Big Three," the Vartanians and their group reportedly tracked Nazi agents and exposed the plan before it could take place.

Goar Vartanian was born on January 25, 1926, in Gyumri, then known as Leninakan, in what was then Soviet Armenia and moved to Iran with her family in the early 1930s.

At age 16, she joined an anti-fascist group and eventually worked with Gevork to expose German agents.

The couple moved to the Soviet Union in 1951 and had a long career as secret agents.

Gevork was decorated with the Hero of the Soviet Union award. He died in 2012 at age 87.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.