Viktor Suvorov

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Viktor Suvorov
Suworow Wiktor.jpg
Native name Виктор Суворов
Born Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun
(1947-04-20) April 20, 1947 (age 75)
Primorsky Krai, Soviet Union
Notable works Aquarium, Icebreaker

Viktor Suvorov (Russian: Ви́ктор Суво́ров, real name Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun, Russian: Влади́мир Богда́нович Резу́н, born April 20, 1947 in Barabash, Primorsky Krai) is a Russian writer, historian and a former Soviet military intelligence officer who defected to the United Kingdom. Suvorov made his name writing Icebreaker and several follow-up books on history of World War II.[1]


Viktor Rezun comes from a military family of mixed Ukrainian-Russian descent, having been either born or raised in Ukraine's Cherkasy where his father served. The family subsequently settled in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic after retirement. According to Rezun, he studied in a Suvorov Military School: the one based in Voronezh (from 1958–63) and later transferred to Kalinin (from 1963-1965).[1]

From 1965-1968 Rezun finished the Frunze Kiev Red Banner Higher Military Command School. In 1968 he served in the 145th Motorized Rifles Regiment of the Carpathian Military District in Ukraine, participating in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1970-1971 he served in the Volga Military District Headquarters, and later with the 808th Independent Army Reconnaissance Company (Spetsnaz).

After attending the Military Diplomatic Academy from 1971-1974, Rezun joined the Soviet mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva, working undercover for the Soviet military intelligence service (GRU) and achieving a rank of Captain.[1]

Defection and exile writing

On June 10, 1978 Rezun defected to the United Kingdom. He was smuggled out of Switzerland to England with his wife and two young children, where he worked as an intelligence analyst and lecturer.[1][2]

After perestroika, Viktor Suvorov's identity was revealed in the Soviet Union and confirmed by authorities. Since then, Suvorov continuously interacts with his readers and critics in Russia and Ukraine, including the instance of TV bridge discussion organized by one of Ukrainian TV channels. Suvorov is also an occasional columnist for the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency's web site[3] However, he states that he has never visited the countries of the former USSR, fearing a pending search warrant and Soviet court conviction in absentia.

Private life

At the time of his defection, Vladimir Rezun was married to Tatiana Korzh, the couple had a son, Aleksandr, and a daughter. The family was successfully smuggled to Britain together with Rezun.


Suvorov made his name writing books about the Soviet Army, military intelligence, and special forces, including The Liberators,[4] Aquarium,[5] Inside the Soviet Army,[6] Inside Soviet Military Intelligence[7] and Spetsnaz,[8] which were partly based on his personal experience. He also joined the team led by the British General Sir John Hackett in writing the book The Third World War: The Untold Story.[9] Published in 1982, this book was the sequel to the 1978 original The Third World War,[10] in which Hackett and his team had speculated about the possible course of a Soviet/NATO war in Germany.

Historical works about World War II

Suvorov has written ten books so far about the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet War in 1941 and the circumstances that led to it. The first such work was Icebreaker, followed by M Day, The Last Republic, Cleansing, Suicide, The Shadow of Victory, I Take it Back, The Last Republic II, The Chief Culprit, Defeat.

According to Suvorov, Stalin planned to use Nazi Germany as a proxy (the “Icebreaker”) against the West. For this reason Stalin provided significant material and political support to Adolf Hitler, while at the same time preparing the Red Army to “liberate” the whole of Europe from Nazi occupation. Suvorov argued that Hitler had lost World War II from the very moment he attacked Poland: not only was he going to war with the powerful Allies, but it was only a matter of time before the Soviet Union would seize the opportune moment to attack him from the rear. This left Hitler with no choice but to direct a preemptive strike at the Soviet Union, while Stalin's forces were redeploying from a defensive to an offensive posture in June 1941, providing Hitler with an important initial tactical advantage. But this was strategically hopeless because the Nazis now had to fight on two fronts, a mistake Hitler himself had identified as Germany's undoing in the previous war. At the end of the war, Stalin was able to achieve only some of his initial objectives by establishing Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea. According to Suvorov, this made Stalin the primary winner of World War II, even though Stalin was not satisfied by the outcome, as he intended to bring Soviet domination to the whole continent of Europe.

The works by Suvorov remain a matter of debate among historians. While most agree that Stalin made extensive preparations for an upcoming war and exploited the military conflict in Europe to his advantage, the assertions that Stalin planned to attack Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941, and that Operation Barbarossa was a preemptive strike by Hitler, are disputed.

Viktor Suvorov also wrote fiction books set in the pre-World War II era in the Soviet Union. The first one, Control, was followed by Choice, and the last and most recent title was Snake-eater. He has also written a film script based on these books.

See also


About the Cold War-era Soviet Union

About the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet War

About Soviet historical figures

  • Shadow of Victory (Тень победы), questions the image of Georgy Zhukov. The first book of trilogy with the same name.
  • I Take It Back (Беру Свои Слова Обратно), questions the image of Georgy Zhukov. The second book of "Shadow of Victory" trilogy.
  • Cleansing (Очищение). Why did Stalin behead his army?, Moscow, 2002, ISBN 5-17-009254-7


  • Tales of a Liberator (Рассказы освободителя), novel, this is The Liberators book in Russian language.
  • Control (Контроль), novel
  • Choice (Выбор), novel
  • Snake-eater (Змиеядеца), novel (Sofia, Fakel Express, 2010), ISBN 9789549772692


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Виктор Суворов, Биография. Internet Archive.
  2. Sir Dick Franks. Saboteur with the Special Operations Executive who went on to become Chief of MI6 during the Cold War – Obituary, published by Daily Telegraph on October 19, 2008
  3. Суворова наградили Золотой медалью Кафки : Новости УНИАН(Russian)
  4. The Liberators, 1981, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-10675-3
  5. Aquarium (Аквариум), 1985, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-11545-0
  6. Inside the Soviet Army, 1982, Macmillan Publishing Co.
  7. Inside Soviet Military Intelligence, 1984, ISBN 0-02-615510-9
  8. Spetsnaz. The Story Behind the Soviet SAS, 1987, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, ISBN 0-241-11961-8
  9. The Third World War: The Untold Story ISBN 0-283-98863-0
  10. The Third World War ISBN 0-425-04477-7