Konstantin Kukin, the "Red Professor"

Konstantin Mikhailovich Kukin (1897−1979), Soviet party leader, diplomat, intelligence officer, head of the "legal" Station in London

The Revolution created opportunities for many talented people from modest

backgrounds to rise to the upper echelons of society. Millions of peasants and workers in the 1920s went to school, received an education, and were able to achieve their full potential in various spheres. Konstantin Kukin was one of them.

Born to a working-class family, Konstantin Kukin graduated from a technical school in 1916 After the Revolution he volunteered for the Red Army and fought on the frontlines of the Civil War. After the war, he continued to serve in the Red Army for several years in various command and political positions.

After demobilisation, Kukin committed himself to working for the party and

demonstrated outstanding organisational skills. In the late 1920s, the young man first became the secretary of the party organisation of the Moscow factory Krasny Bogatyr, and then a member of the Moscow City Communist Party Committee. At the same time, Kukin studied at the Institute of Red Professors, which trained the highest party staff members. He mastered the English language and, after graduating, was assigned in 1931 to work in the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and was immediately dispatched on a mission to London.

However, Kukin’s diplomatic service was only a cover for his real work as an intelligence officer. Konstantin Kukin joined the Foreign Department of the OGPU just a few months after arriving in the British capital.

The London Station in the 1930s was the leading outpost of Soviet intelligence in the West. It was an excellent school for gifted intelligence agents and a veritable talent factory. While working in the London Station, Kukin obtained invaluable professional experience, which he successfully applied in subsequent postings in Harbin, New York, Washington and elsewhere.

Kukin returned to London at the height of the Great Patriotic War. During this period, the London Station was undergoing a renaissance. Due to the efforts of Anatoly Gorsky, who rebuilt its operations, it was steadily getting closer to full capacity and collecting more information by the month. Konstantin Kukin started out assisting the Station chief. The information from the Cambridge Five, which was supervised by the "Red Professor", was given special attention considering its importance and value.

In 1947, following the restructuring of foreign intelligence, Konstantin Kukin was appointed to the dual posts of Chief Rezident and Ambassador of the USSR to Great Britain.

After completing his mission in 1949, Kukin returned to Moscow and, until his retirement in 1952 for health reasons, worked as the head of the Anglo-American department of the Foreign Intelligence Service.

For his successful service, Colonel Kukin was awarded the Order of Lenin, two

Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of the Patriotic War and the Order of the Red Star.