Col. Valery Vladimirovich Kostikov, KGB (aka “Comrade Kostin”)

Brian D. Litman
Oct 26, 2017 · 5 min read

A Rare Biography

In March of 1992, and in the wake of a most curious set of circumstances (which I will address in future missives), I found myself in a business relationship with the ex-Soviet KGB.

I had made an agreement to represent the entirety of an association of KGB veterans known as FIVA: “The Foreign Intelligence Veterans Association”.

In that period, I became acquainted with some of the most formidable and legendary Cold Warriors in the 20th Century.

Given the proposed release of more documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I thought I would illuminate the background of one of them. He was a critical yet very opaque character in the lore of the JFK Assassination. His name was Valery Vladimirovich Kostikov (Colonel, KGB).

Or … as the dyslexic Lee Oswald knew him: “Comrade Kostin”.

I will write more about this bull of a man whom I had become connected to on both a professional and personal basis along with other high level KGB operatives whom I came to know.

But, for the immediate edification of those researchers and academics so interested in this timely moment — the below is a biography I prepared resulting from several meetings I had with Valera pursuant to my representation of him as an intelligence operative of not-small historical significance.

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Two weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald wrote the following in a letter to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C.:

“I am writing to inform you of recent events since my meetings with Comrade Kostin.”

The CIA later confirmed to the Warren Commission that the man to whom Oswald was refering was Valery Vladimirovich Kostikov.

Kostikov was the only KGB officer confirmed to have met with Oswald in the Warren Report.

At the time his official title was Vice Consul of the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. But this was just part of his responsibility at the Soviet enclave.

In fact, Kostikov was attached to the First Chief Directorate (FCD) of the KGB responsible for foreign intelligence. This Directorate included all the functions of the American CIA … and more.

Specifically, he was a Captain in the elite “13th Department”. This department was responsible for the planning and execution of paramilitary operations known as “special actions” — including assassination or “liquid affairs” and sabotage — against the United States and other Soviet adversaries in the event of hostilities.

Kostikov was a trained “neutralizer” and he was located in one of the most strategically important KGB stations in the World - Mexico City - on the doorstep of the United States (the “Main Adversary”).

Kostikov had two chance encounters with Lee Harvey Oswald on 27 and 28 September 1963 -solely in the course of his diplomatic duties.

The blowback from the confirmation of these encounters have engendered much wild speculation amongst the many theorists and investigators of the JFK murder. It also had a profound effect on the career of the masterspy.

For the greater part of his career in Soviet Intelligence, Kostikov was a KGB specialist on Latin America.

He participated in many high level diplomatic negotiations and worked closely with Soviet Premier Nikolai Podgorny in the 70's.

In 1950, Kostikov entered the First Moscow-State Teachers Institute of Foreign Languages. He graduated in 1955 as a translator, fluent In Spanish, English and French.

In 1957 he was coopted into Department 13 of the First Chief Directorate of KGB, working out of its Moscow headquarters on Lubyanka Square.

His first secret mission was to Spain in 1958, acting as an “interpreter” for delegates of the International Congress of Railways.

In 1959–1960 he went on his next foreign mission as a “staff member” of the exhibition, of Soviet achievements in Mexico and Cuba.

From 1961 to 1965 he went on extended assignment in Mexico. He was attached to the Mexico City KGB “Rezidentura” (equivalent of a CIA “Station”) as a principal in the Rezidentura’s “Line F” — responsible for — amongst other things — the organization of Soviet sabotage and intelligence groups called “diversionnye razvedyvatelnye gruppy” or DRGs.

But in between planning kidnappings, assassinations and sabotage of targets like dams, oil pipelines and military bases in the U.S., Kostikov actually conducted duties as a consular officer. It was during this posting in Mexico City that he had his two extraordinary encounters with Oswald on 27 and 28 September 1963 — almost 2 months before the assassination.

Oswald was looking for an immediate visa for return to the Soviet Union to where he had defected in 1959 and resided for over two years. His principal reason? He stated that he was tired of he and his wife, Marina, being harassed by the FBI. This, in the course of Oswald being a “defector-returnee” from the Soviet Union after having resided there for two and a half years.

Kostikov (joined by colleague Pavel Yatskov, a Rezidentura counter-intelligence operative) disarmed (Oswald had a defensive pistol) and calmed down the nearly-hysterical Oswald after informing him he would have to wait up to four months. After Oswald left the Rezidentura on Saturday, September 27th (yes, Yatskov returned him his pistol thinking maybe he really needed it) Kostikov thought he was done with this “strange gringo”.

Less than two months later he was horrified to learn that this thin, shaky-handed, nervous American had just been accused of assassinating the American president.

Major damage control ensued between the Rezidentura and Moscow Center. Kostikov achieved a level of very unwanted fame for an intelligence operative. He had been referenced in a letter to his embassy in Washington by the accused assassin of the president of the United States. In 1964 this was magnified by the inclusion of the letter (intercepted by FBI) in the official Warren Commission report on the assassination. Kostikov laid low in Mexico for several months after that.

The years 1965 to 1968 found Kostikov going on a number of “special missions” from Germany to Bulgaria. He also remained an advisor to the 13th Department (renamed in 1965 to Department V). He returned for another 3-year-tour ‘of duty in Mexico City from 1968 to 1971.

In 1971, he was forced to come “in from the Cold” and returned to Moscow due to the defection in London to the British of a member the 13th Department, Oleg Adolfovich Lyalin.

Kostikov was “compromised” and forced to “cool off” over a period of seven years.

By 1978, Moscow Center felt Kostikov had cooled sufficiently to be posted to one of the hotspots of the World — Beirut.

In 1982 Kostikov was nearly killed when Israeli mortars struck the Soviet Embassy in Beirut — destroying his office.

He returned to FCD’s Moscow Center / Yasenevo in 1983 as Chief of the Middle East Section.

In 1986, Kostikov was named Department V’s Deputy Chief of Personnel and Operations for Europe. During this time he executed classified missions throughout Europe, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, South Yemen, Mozambique and Afghanistan.

Kostikov retired with distinction from KGB in January 1992.

He died 10 years later in October of 2002.

……………………………………………………………………… END BIO

Valera died before his time, no doubt, due to his 2-pack-a-day Marlboro addiction and fondness for Stolichnaya.

Two vices which I observed directly during several dinners of pelmeni, vareniki and chicken Kiev cooked by Kostikov’s attentive wife Rosa at their cozy home in the Kuzminki district of Moscow. ###

Brian D. Litman

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