According to Ion Pacepa, a former Romanian General and head of Secret Service, Khrushchev authorized operation seat 12 that was designed to discredit Pope Pius XII by, among other things, characterizing him as a Nazi sympathizer.

According to the Wikipedia page, several historians feel Pacepa to be credible although the page notes that his claims have "not been corroborated".

  • @sds - it's in the subject
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


We will not know it for sure until the KGB archives are open (and that will never happen).

However, the Soviets were indiscriminately opportunistic in their ideological warfare (the motto being "We do not penny-pinch on ideology" - "На идеологии мы не экономим"), and it is hard to imagine that they would have passed an opportunity to discredit an adversary, especially since all the work was actually done by friends of "friends", not by actual operatives.

On the other hand, this claim

Pacepa also relates that in 1974 Yuri Andropov admitted that had Soviets known in 1963 what they knew in 1974 (newly released information that Hitler was hostile to and plotted against Pius XII) they would never have gone after him.

seems completely preposterous:

  1. The claim that Hitler wanted to kidnap the Pope is, at best, dubious.
  2. Even if such a plot did exist, that does not contradict the assertion that "the Vatican did not oppose the Nazi atrocities" and could have had no bearing on whether the KGB would have tried to discredit the Pope.

This casts a shadow of doubt on the Pacepa's reliability.

So, my guess is that

  1. The KGB did facilitate the spread of anti-Papal sentiment...
  2. ...but not necessarily the way Pacepa describes, i.e., they might not be the originators of the play, but they encouraged its spread once it was written.

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