Alexander Principalov

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Person.png Alexander Principalov  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
BornАлександр Кириллович Принципалов
Died9 April 1997 (Age 47)
Moscow, Russia
Cause of death
"heart attack"
KGB officer who might have sold the entire archive of East German agents in Western Europe to the CIA after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Died a few years later of mysterious heart attack sitting in his car.

Employment.png Spook Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
1997 - 1992

Alexander Kirillovich Principalov was a Soviet intelligence officer of the KGB and is considered one of those responsible for the sale of the Rosewood files, the entire archive of East German agents in Western Europe, to the CIA after the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc in 1989-1992.[1]

Diplomatic cover

Since 1977, Principalov had been working under diplomatic cover at the Soviet embassy in Oslo. In the early 1980s, he was briefly detained there on suspicion of espionage and expelled from Norway. Therefore, from 1985, the KGB assigned him as a liaison officer to the Stasi Central Intelligence Directorate under the then local head in East Berlin Ivan Kuzmin.

Rosewood Files

In December 1989, as KGB station manager based in Berlin-Karlshorst, he was commissioned to bring the East German foreign intelligence service (HVA) mobilization file (a compilation of about 350,000 records of all clear and code names of the agents of the HVA) handed over by the Stasi through Lieutenant Colonel Rainer Wiegand‎‎ to Moscow in order to be able to keep them there in the supposedly safe country of friends.

Principalov is suspected of having copied them on microfilm together with KGB Colonel Alexander Shubenko and then sold them to the CIA in 1992 during the dissolution turmoil of the KGB.[1][2][Other sources say 1989] The courier was the CIA agent Charles Atwood, working under cover of being a military historian, who had been adjutant to General Lucius D. Clay at the time of the Berlin Airlift.

Unexplained death

On April 9, 1997, Principalov died of a mysterious heart attack sitting in his car right on his doorstep. The exact circumstances of his death have never been clarified[1], especially since Shubenko also died in 1995 during a car trip under unexplained circumstances, and so did Rainer Wiegand‎‎ in Spain in 1997.

The assassins might have been Russian intelligence operatives punishing treason, or possibly Western deep state groups covering their tracks, since the files also contained VIPaedophile blackmail operations.[3]


Event Participated in

Operation RosewoodOne of the greatest coups of Cold War espionage: the CIA secreting away in 1989 of the complete original files from East Germany's foreign spy operations, including the true identities of its thousands of agents, most in West Germany and other NATO countries.
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