Putin and the fake conservative underground movement in Soviet Russia

The Bolsheviks ran not only Operation “Trust” during the Russian Civil War to lure White Russian officials into a trap, but there were multiple such schemes in the 1920s and 1930s in East Asia, including “Organizator”, “Shogun”, “Dreamers” and “Maki Mirage” against Japan. During the Cold War, as we know, Soviet intelligence infiltrated émigré circles and other anti-communist groups internationally. It’s also well documented how fake dissident networks in Ukraine and other countries were run as a trap to lure in commando troops sent by the West. The commandos were expecting to be welcomed by a capable resistance network, but simply arrested by Soviet intelligence. The gold they were carrying was confiscated and they were forced to radio to the West: “All is well, we are making good progress, please send more money.”

But wouldn’t the Soviet Russian leadership have tried to establish another domestic fake anti-communist underground movement inside of Russia? Not to lure in commandos, like in Ukraine. Not simply to catch possible traitors inside of Russia. But to convince the West there was an organized White Russian Christian-conservative underground, working in secret to destroy Communism? This kind of deception would have been ideal to drown out the warning voices of James Angleton at the CIA, defectors like Golitsyn and others. The Angletonian view was that Western conservative officials were far more infiltrated by Soviet intelligence than previously throught. The Russians would publicly abandon communism in the future and stage the fall of the USSR. And the Chinese-Russian split was fake. 

The perfect way of countering the Angletonian view would have been to create a fake White conservative underground movement inside Russia and connect it to powerful Western rightwing officials. By the time the USSR was officially over and Putin took power, Western officials would assume this White underground had played an integral part to destroy the USSR. And by far the ultimate ploy would have been to create the impression Putin himself had been part of that White underground and was always a Christian and a fan of the tsars.

This hypothetical Trust-style deception operation would have been relatively simple, straightforward and extremely powerful. It would explain why the German conservative party CDU, which had been very pro-American throughout the Cold War, turned towards Russia after 1991 and selected Angela Merkel as chancellor who had grown up in Communist East Germany. It would explain why the CDU agreed to the new pipeline projects increasing the dependence on Russian gas. It would explain why the American government stopped its opposition to these different pipelines and disregarded the warning of its intelligence services. It would explain why a sizeable number of US Republicans and former Generals like Michael Flynn love Putin so much and think he can help them defeat the left “globalist” world conspiracy. It would explain why Donald Trump and some of his people were cultivating ties with Putin. It would explain why influencers like Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones think Putin is the savior despite his past as a KGB officer.

There is one massive problem of this beautiful theory: KGB files, Soviet defectors and the expert books on Soviet intelligence tell us nothing about it. There was however a small piece of information that made me very curious.

Putin and the princess

In the popular book “Putin’s People” by Catherine Belton, there is an interesting little anecdote which was not explained any further and overlooked by everyone: A high placed source told a story about the Russian Princess Tatiana Hilarionowna Vasiltschikow, who had married into the German Von Metternich nobility and lived in a castle near Wiesbaden, the capitol of Hessen, near the US Army headquarters. She said how impressed she had been by a young KGB officer named Vladimir Putin, who had visited her at home. Putin even took part in some Christian ritual.

This was during the Cold War.

Tatiana was born in St. Petersburg, where Putin also came from and later became deputy mayor. She was the daughter of Prince Vasiltschikow and married Paul Prince von Metternich who died before the alleged Putin visit.

People interested in history of course know the famous statesman Klemens von Metternich, who helped rearrange the European power dynamic after the fall of Napoleon. He was very pro-Anglo and received the castle which, generations later, became the home of Paul Metternich and Princess Tatiana. 

The House of Metternich is related to the Houses of Hohenlohe, Saxe-Meiningen and Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg. The British Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were related to the royal houses of Saxe-Coburg, Leiningen and Hohenlohe.

Members of Tatiana’s Vasiltschikow family held various administrative and miliary positions, even directly at the court of the Tsars who belonged to the houses of Schleswig-Holstein and Hessen. Alexander Vasiltschikow was one of the favorites and lovers of the Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great. When Putin became head of Russia he regularly praised the tsars.

There are unconfirmed rumors that the Putins from the Tver region were the illegitimate descendants of a noble family. Illegitimate children sometimes received shortened family names. For example, the Russian writer Pnin was an illegitimate son of Field Marshal Repnin. There were many other occasions like this – Betskoj instead of Trubetskoj, Gribov instead of Griboyedov. One syllable was simply taken out. Records of the Tver region mention the name Putyatin – a clan of Russian princes. This clan gave rise to many outstanding military leaders in Russia, but also artists, politicians and priests. This is one of the oldest clans in Russian history. If President Putin is indeed a descendant of the Putyatin clan, it means that Vladimir Putin has a relationship with all the royal families of Europe. It may be that Putin simply pretended he had this ancestry. One way or the other, he was the ideal KGB man to approach Tatiana in her castle in Hessen. In her books she expresses her strong belief that there was a “White” Christian-conservative underground movement in Soviet Russia. Communism, she asserts, was not able to change the soul of the Russians or destroy Christianity. Many Russians remained Russian nationalists. We know that many “White” officers during the Civil War switched sides and joined the Reds. Tatiana insinuates many White families, who survived the following purges, built a secret underground.

Putin may have pretended towards Tatiana during his secret visit to be a member of this underground. She had many extremely powerful contacts to rightwing circles in Western Germany and Britain, émigrés circles and businessmen.  

A castle in Hesse

The family of the Russian princess Tatiana fled on British ships during the communist revolution. She and her Metternich husband moved into castle Johannisberg in Geisenheim in Hessen. The very heart of the Hessen Dynasty to which the Romanovs belonged. 

Fritz Geller-Grimm – CC BY-SA 2.5

In 1815 castle Johannisberg became the property of the Austrians. Many influential people wanted it and eventually it was given to the famous Austrian Foreign Minister Klemens von Metternich.

Klemens had become friends with the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, among others. The start of Metternich’s political career was possible due to the help of Eleonore von Liechtenstein from the ancient noble family of Oettingen. Christine Luise von Oettingen-Oettingen (1671–1747) had became Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel through marriage. Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was a forerunner of the Kingdom of Hanover, the Welf home and place of origin of the kings of Britain starting with George I. in 1714.

Johannisberg Castle was badly damaged in 1942 by an emergency drop of British bombs. The new owners, Paul Metternich and Princess Tatiana rebuilt it. She lived there until her death in 2006.

The book “Putin’s people” by Catherine Belton dos not tell us the year Putin visited Tatiana. But he was already with the KGB which helps us to narrow down the time window. She was born in 1914. Putin was born in 1952 and started his foreign posting as a KGB agent at the residentura in Dresden in 1985 at 33 years of age. The territory of the Soviet German republic had a border with Hessen so it would have been relatively easy to cross over and make the visit. Putin could simply get into his car, drive to the border in about two and a half hours and then use false papers. He was fluent in German, so any traffic stop by the West German was not a problem.

Image by WikiNight2, GFDL

There are many possible reasons for this visit. The KGB was interested in Hessen obviously. The US Army had its headquarters and a garrison in the Hessian capitol Wiesbaden. Tatiana knew many powerful people, like other aristocrats and businessmen, especially rightwing ones. Putin may have told her about his (alleged) aristocratic roots as part of another “Trust”-style deception operation. Maybe she was fooled by Putin and recruited for the fake White Russian underground movement. Maybe she was in on the scam. Her memoirs “Tatiana: Five Passports in a Shifting Europe“ are particularly interesting.

She explains that her uncle in Russia had been killed by a bomb and another relative was shot. It was decided to evacuate the family to Crimea, into a villa which the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna had provided. Maria was Empress from 1881 to 1894 as the wife of Emperor Alexander III.

Tatiana’s mother found her younger brother who was in hiding and got him Ukrainian papers. She went on to Petrograd and got arrested by the Cheka. Through some powerful interventions, she was let go. King George V of England had sent warships to Crimea to evacuate Maria Feodorovna, as well as Tatiana’s family and others. She writes about the “amazing fact” that Russia during WWII was still a Christian country despite the attempts of Stalin to destroy the Orthodox church:

“Stalin now declared the defence of Russia to be a patriotic war in the great tradition of 1812.”

Tatiana clearly states she hated the Nazi leadership, but not the German conservatives as a whole. She married a German aristocrat after all. She also says she hated Stalin and the Communists, but not the Russian conservatives that according to her still existed: Despite the Soviet purges and the fanatical ideology, many Russians never truly ceased to be nationalist conservatives. Communism couldn’t destroy the Russian soul or Christianity.

It is exactly this theme that we can find in other propagandistic writings by other authors from the last few decades. It seems like another operation like “Trust”. We know that the Russians in recent times insinuated or outright stated that communism had been forced onto Russia by outside forces. Not just the Germans who paid the Bolsheviks, hoping for a separate peace in WWI. But also Western banks and governments. Some say the “globalists” or “Elders of Zion”.

Tatiana does not say explicitly that a mighty conservative underground was formed or simply existed all along due to the inherent Russian-ness of the people.  Because that would make her sound too obvious and suspicious. But she does everything to insinuate the underground narrative.  

She clearly differentiates between the ugly and crazy Nazi leadership and the majority of German conservatives. If only, her readers were meant to think, there was a way to get the Russian conservative underground to damage the Communist rule in Russia and link up with the conservatives in Germany and elsewhere…

Imagine the young KGB agent Putin visiting her in her castle in Hessen (as mentioned by the author Catherine Belton) and telling her he himself has the aristocratic blood of the Putiyatin clan and was part of the Christian-conservative underground, working to unseat the communists.

When the USSR was over in 1991 and Putin became head of state in 1999, the international conservatives who theoretically believed in this Russian underground fairy tale must have been ecstatic.

Tatiana and Paul Metternich had watched the Nazi empire collapse and had to protect themselves from the investigators, because they had connections to the circles that tried to assassinate Hitler. Also the Red Army was approaching.

Thyra of Mecklenburg came to the rescue and brought Tatiana to safety in the castle Ludwigslust. The House of Mecklenburg was related to the British throne and the Romanovs. Finally Paul joined them at the castle and soon had his official release papers from the German army. On their further travels they were intercepted by American troops who informed them that the Soviets were only ten kilometers away and would treat all former German officers of the North Army (because of the siege of Leningrad) and all officers of the 6th army (because of Stalingrad) as criminals. The Leningrad siege had almost wiped out Putin’s entire family. Tatiana received a document allowing her to travel in safe occupation zones. They made their way into Bavaria and then reached Langenburg castle, welcomed by Prince  Hohenlohe, Paul’s former commander, and the princess’ wife Margarita.

Gottfried zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg was son of  Princess Alexandra von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, who was the granddaughter of the British Queen Victoria and tsar Alexander II. of Russia. Margarita of Greece and Denmark came from the Houses of Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein and she was related to the Russian tsar Alexander II. Margarita’s brother was Prince Philip Mountbatten (Hessen), Duke of Edinburgh and future husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Gottfried and Margarita were both members of the Nazi party.

One of the next stops was in castle Wolfsgarten in Hessen, a summer retreat of the Grand Dukes which had been visited in 1903 by the last tsar Nicholas II. and was the childhood home of the last Empress of Russia and her sister, both allegedly murdered by the communists. The final destination was the ruin of castle Johannisberg.

Tatiana’s anti-Nazi stance didn’t stop her from serious business dealings with former high-powered Nazis. In collaboration with a winery from the Oetker Group, she created the popular sparkling wine, “Fürst von Metternich”. In 1974, she shared ownership of the castle and the winery with the Oetker Group. After her husband’s death in 1992, she sold the property completely to Oetker, but retained the right to live on the premises. The Oetker Family is among those German families who have profited most from their close relations to the Nazi-Regime, making pudding mixes and munitions for German troops. The Oetker family’s private bank also employed as a director Rudolf von Ribbentrop (1921–2019), the son of Joachim von Ribbentrop. Rudolf August Oetker was also member of the Waffen-SS and in the Staumühle internment camp he was beaten so badly by the guards because of his SS tattoo, that he needed a cane to walk for years. His clan became billionaires. In 1960s, Oetker funded “Stille Hilfe”, a covert relief organization for the SS veterans, fugitives, and convicted war criminals. His partner in that group was Helene Princess von Isenburg (1900–1974) from Sothern Hessen. Her family is over a 1000 years old and connected to the Houses of Hannover, Schleswig-Holstein and Lippe.

The ”Stille Hilfe” aided the escape of hunted Nazi fugitives, particularly to South America. Thus Adolf Eichmann, Johann von Leers, Walter Rauff and Josef Mengele could escape to Argentina. The organization helped many other former Nazis to protect themselves against accusations of war crimes. It was tied to extreme revisionist circles. The KGB certainly had a very strong motive to infiltrate the “Stille Hilfe” (maybe even through Princess Tatiana), and some German rightwingers may have agreed to a limited working relationship with the KGB to get help in obtaining lesser sentences for previous war crimes. Everyone knows that many former Nazis became important in post-war Germany. 

In a 1992 book “Was wird aus Russland? (What will become of Russia?”) Tatiana speaks about an invitation to come to St. Petersburg and meet with major Sobtchak who was close to Putin. She claims that 12.000 churches had been reopened in the country. Other signs of a “rebirth” everywhere. People rejecting the previous decades of soviet rule completely. She complains that German money was flowing to Gorbatchev, whom she considers an old communist. She draws the comparison with German money that had once supported the Bosheviks and granting Lenin passage. She quotes a minister’s warning that the Russian people will not forgive another German financing of Bolshevism.

This is an important and overt point, repeated by many other Russian and international supporters of the later Putin regime: Communism had been imported into Russia by foreign powers. It was finally destroyed for good.

She glorifies the “brave” and “most active” of the “reformers”: Jelzin and Sobtchak. The latter was close to Putin and the former later handed the power to Putin. Next comes a dramatic description of the (weak and most likely staged) coup attempt by the communists to reclaim control.

On page 105 we find another important reference to the supposed Christian-conservative White underground during the USSR: The later generations of Soviets had already turned against communism, she asserts, while the upper nomenklatura had not realized this. Again, Tatiana does not claim explicitly that this underground was highly organized, and she certainly does not explicitly credit this underground for the downfall of the Soviet system. She is just planting the seeds in the minds of her readers, hoping they will come to this conclusion. 

On page 112 she complains about the Western intellectuals for the naïve support for communism during the USSR. She calls Ukraine a “fictitious state”, artificially created by Stalin to get more votes at the United Nations.  A drunk Chrushtchev had added Crimea and Donbas to Ukraine. Even the name Ukraine simply means border-area, she says. Kiev to her is the mother of all Russian cities. These are the words of Oleg the Prophet about Kiev: ”Let it be the mother of all Russian cities.“

Tatiana continues:

“Today an autonomy of the region justified, as long as no power hostile to Russia is being created artificially there.”

These are the same talking points we heard from Putin before and after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. There is far more common ground between these two people.

Putin, the White

Various texts of Putin can be found on the Kremlin website, where he is playing the role of emperor, continuing where the pre-USSR-rulers of Russia left off:

The Russian state incorporated the city of Kiev and the lands on the left bank of the Dnieper River, including Poltava region, Chernigov region, and Zaporozhye. Their inhabitants were reunited with the main part of the Russian Orthodox people. These territories were referred to as ”Malorossia“ (Little Russia).

The name ”Ukraine“ was used more often in the meaning of the Old Russian word ”okraina“ (periphery), which is found in written sources from the 12th century, referring to various border territories. And the word ”Ukrainian“, judging by archival documents, originally referred to frontier guards who protected the external borders.

Therefore, modern Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era. We know and remember well that it was shaped – for a significant part – on the lands of historical Russia.

If you consider yourself are a Christian-conservative Russian patriot, Putin argues, then you must ignore the will of almost all of the people who live on the territory called “Ukraine”. You must also accept the fact that Moscow’s rule is dictatorial in the tradition of the tsars and earlier rulers. The will to live in a free democratic republic does not give people legitimacy to form a new state, according to Putin. This line of reasoning was repeated by Putin in his 2024 interview with Tucker Carlson. Either Carlson didn’t realize that according to this logic, the United States must dissolve and pledge alliance to King Charles of England, or Carlson deliberately ignored to point out this comparison. The US rebels became independent of King George III. and the British Empire. Putin is like King George, and Selenskyj is a bit like George Washington.

The leaders of modern Ukraine and their external ”patrons“ prefer to overlook these facts. They do not miss a chance, however, both inside the country and abroad, to condemn ”the crimes of the Soviet regime,“ listing among them events with which neither the CPSU, nor the USSR, let alone modern Russia, have anything to do. At the same time, the Bolsheviks’ efforts to detach from Russia its historical territories are not considered a crime.

The common tragedy of collectivization and famine of the early 1930s was portrayed as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Putin wants his cake, eat it too and everyone else’s cake. The Holodomor was just a tragedy, not a genocide leveled at the Ukrainians. How dare anybody mention the Holodomor and Soviet rule as reasons why Ukrainians today don’t want to be Russians ruled by Moscow.

Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila – son of the Princess of Tver – led his troops to join with Mamai. These are all pages of our shared history, reflecting its complex and multi-dimensional nature.

It so happened that Moscow became the center of reunification, continuing the tradition of ancient Russian statehood. Moscow princes – the descendants of Prince Alexander Nevsky – cast off the foreign yoke and began gathering the Russian lands.

Notice how Putin is contradicting himself fundamentally: He uses the “us versus them” theme; the glorious blessed Russians against the foreigners. Nevsky fought Germans and Swedes, blond devils coming from the West. But Putin also regularly glorifies the tsars after Ivan the Terrible, which became increasingly German, specifically the Houses of Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein. So, which is it? Were the Romanovs chosen by God to rule Mother Russia or were they foreign Aryan devils?

If those pesky foreigners hadn’t been tsars, maybe European countries would not have trusted Russia in the 1800s. The actual Slavic Russian aristocrats were incredibly incompetent and avoided a modernization. They wanted to rule like in medieval or ancient times for all eternity, with peasant serfs working the fields, while the aristocrats indulged in privilege and luxury. The Crimean War showed everybody that imperial Russia was a miserable failure, unable to compete with the Europeans. Even the liberation of the peasants soon after was not a real transformation.    

The decay of the Whites

The Putyatin family, which may or may not have included ancestors of Putin, branched from the dukes of the autonomous principality of Drutsk sometime in mid-15th century. Here is a photo of Rasputin with prince M. Putyatin:

Yevfimiy Putyatin (1803 – 1883) was an admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy. His diplomatic mission to Japan resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Shimoda in 1855, for which he was made a count.

Prince Sergei Putjatin was the second husband of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the younger (1890–1958), a granddaughter of tsar Alexander II of Russia. She was a paternal first cousin of Nicholas II (Russia’s last Tsar).

In 1914, almost 2 million Russians belonged to the nobility, out of a population of roughly 138 million. That is about one and a half percent. Only a fraction of these aristocrats owned significant assets. The nobles were initially granted estates out of State lands in return for their service to the Tsar. By the 18th century, these estates had become private property. Peter the Great finalized the status of the nobility, while abolishing the boyar title. Like everything else in Russia, the system of nobility was rather chaotic, inefficient and in need of modernizations.

Tsar Peter and also Catherine the Great tried very hard to westernize the high nobility and create more connections with Europe. A few decades before the French and American revolutions, some enlightenment ideas were discussed. Britain had the most modern Western system and throughout the 1700s the British Empire became a success story, steadily surpassing its arch-enemy France.

The daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth, became an unmarried and childless Empress and chose her nephew, Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, as an heir. Tsar Peter III. could barely speak Russian and was born into the Western European house Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp. His rule was short as his wife took over, Catherine the Great. She came from the Houses of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp and Anhalt-Zerbst. Catherine had many lovers and gave them large estates and large numbers of peasant serfs. All in all she gifted almost 400.000 serfs to buy support from the Slavic Russian aristocracy while she herself was German through and through, born in the Kingdom of Prussia. Even Putin avoids speaking of the elephant in the room when he glorifies the older Slavic aristocrats as well as the German tsars. Throwing in the historic memory of Alexander Nevsky saving Russia from evil German and Swedish devils for good measure, the paradox is complete.

In the following generations, the throne became German for good, even though that took a serious effort, fending off domestic conspiracies and even meddling by the French and the Prussians who wanted to establish their own princesses in Russia. 

Catherine the Great wrote the long-winded “Instruction” of 1767 for the Russian nobility, drawing largely from and even plagiarizing ideas from the west, especially those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The point she emphasized first and foremost was that Russia was a truly European state, not an Asian one.

The privileges of the nobility were finally re-structured and legally codified in 1785 in the Charter to the Gentry. But the whole system was still not balanced right, because some counts were wealthier and more powerful than princes, some aristocrats were not properly rewarded or squandered their assets. Roughly 80% of the Russian landlords owned less than a 100 serfs.

The poor performance of the Crimean War made perfectly clear that the Russian medieval system did not work anymore. The Europeans had a functioning organization, economies, industries, and logistics. Russian soldiers had to make their own way to the front and somehow feed themselves, mostly dying from diseases due to spoiled food and water. The nobility was then too weak to oppose the Emancipation reform of 1861, effectively ending the serf system that was indistinguishable from Ancient Rome. 

In 1858, three million serfs were held by 1,400 landlords, while 2 million were held by 79,000 landlords. By that time, Britain as a half-monarchy was a highly successful global empire and during the last three decades of the 1800s the United states of America as a full republic organized the biggest possible industrialization drive, creating monstrous trusts for steel, oil and other products.   

The Russian nobility became even weaker in the following years, despite keeping nearly all the meadows and forests and having their debts paid by the state, while the ex-serfs paid way over the market price for the shrunken plots they kept.

The vast majority of wealthy and high-ranking nobles left Russia as „White émigrés“ or fell victim to the Russian Civil War or the terror of the Bolsheviks. Countless nobles died in the civil war after the October Revolution – in the White Army units there were entire regiments that consisted exclusively of noble officers.

Many nobles who remained in the Soviet Union later fell victim to the “purges” under Stalin. However, a significant number of the (mostly untitled) small nobility, who had inconspicuous names, had previously served as civil servants and mostly owned little land, came to terms with the circumstances. Some of them even took part in building the new state – such as Lenin himself, Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin as well as intelligence chief Felix Dzerzhinsky and his successor Vyacheslav Menzhinsky, both of whom came from Polish noble families; also Stalin’s secret service chief Vsevolod Merkulov, Marshals Mikhail Tukhachevsky and Konstantin Rokossovsky. Occasionally, members of prominent aristocratic families also adapted to the circumstances, either becoming Bolsheviks themselves, like the diplomat Leonid Leonidovich Obolensky (1873−1930), father of the actor Leonid Obolensky, or supporting the new system, like the writer Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy or the actor Mikheil Gelovani. Some married into the proletariat and the next, Soviet-influenced generation was accepted into the Soviet academic elite, such as Georgy Golitsyn, Vladimir Vladimirovich Golitsyn or Andrey Gagarin.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia is said to have ennobled the former head of the Russian domestic secret service Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolai Patrushev, who is considered one of Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants (and one of his possible successor candidates). Patrushev himself described the FSB employees in an interview as “our new nobility” because of their sense of dedicated service.

Putin’s special attribute

When a young Putin joined the KGB, the number of attractive foreign postings was very small. Most agents had to do primitive domestic work, from shadowing foreigners to chasing powerless dissidents, and didn’t earn much. We know that Putin’s childhood dream had been to become an agent and infiltrate Western Germany. He didn’t have the face to blend in with the Germans though, his charm was severely lacking and he was dogged by rumors he was gay. He joined the service in 1975 and trained in his hometown of Leningrad.

Multiple reports have suggested Putin was sent by the KGB to New Zealand. From 1985 to 1990, he served in Dresden, East Germany, using a cover identity as a translator. If he indeed made the secret visit to Princess Tatiana in her Hessen castle, the well-connected woman who wrote about a supposed Christian-conservative White underground movement in Soviet Russia, this visit probably happened between 1985 to 1990, but maybe even earlier. If he had some aristocratic ancestors, preferably of the Putyatin family, or if he could at least convincingly pretend to have them, he would have been an ideal agent to talk to Tatiana and give her a fake story about an underground. Tatiana must know that the meaningful Whites had been destroyed or had fled. What was left of smaller aristocratic families that never owned more than 100 peasant serfs, was further decimated by Stalin’s purges. An ancestor of Putin from the Putyatin family may have been an illegitimate child and thus had his last name shortened by a syllable.

Putin’s grandfather Spiridon Ivanovich Putin (1879 – 1965) became Vladimir Lenin’s chef and cooked occasionally for Joseph Stalin. This position was highly sensitive due to the inherent danger of deliberate poisonings. Spiridon most likely served in the employ of the NKVD, the secret police predecessor of the KGB. Spiridon was the son of Ivan Petrovich Putin (1845–1918).

Chris Monday, associate professor of Russian History, is convinced that Putin benefited from a familial connection to a prominent member of the Soviet elite, Mikhail Eliseevich Putin (1894–1969), who was later intentionally “forgotten” to cover tracks.

Mikhail Putin turned out to be skilled propagandist for the collectivization and the factories.

In 1931, he was awarded the Soviets’ highest honor, the Order of Lenin. Graduating from the School of Trade Unions in 1933, he managed a Leningrad construction trust. Moving into an elite apartment, dubbed “fairy tale,” next to the Kirov Theater, Mikhail married a beautiful young woman, 16 years his junior.

Spiridon Putin was set up in Moscow at the Gorki Palace to cook for Party bosses, including Stalin. Vladimir Putin Sr. and his wife Maria left Tver for Leningrad and lived with Mikhail.

Mikhail, old Leningraders whisper, wrote the required recommendation letter for [Vladimir] Putin to enter the KGB.

If some distant ancestor of Putin had been the illegitimate child of the Putyatin clan, it would be meaningless in an of itself. Vladimir and the previous generations of the Putins were members of a privileged class of communist administrators and intelligence agents. This is certainly not a clan which was preserving the Christian-conservative soul of Russia, working in a secret underground movement to destroy communism from within. The KGB could have easily falsified some records and found some relics, so that Vladimir could pose as an underground member when he visited Princess Tatiana in her castle in Hessen.  

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