Rudolph Ivanovich	 Abel			Photo Gallery
The Hollow Nickle Case  (continued)

Defection of a Russian Spy

The key to this mystery proved to be a 36-year-old Lieutenant Colonel of the Soviet State Security Service (KGB). Early in May, 1957, he telephoned the United States Embassy in Paris and subsequently arrived at the Embassy to be interviewed. To an Embassy official, the Russian espionage agent explained, "I'm an officer in the Soviet intelligence service. For the past five years, I have been operating in the United States. Now I need your help."

This spy, Reino Hayhanen, stated that he had just been ordered to return to Moscow. After five years in the United States, he dreaded the thought of going back to his communist-ruled homeland. He wanted to defect -- to desert the Soviet camp.

Hayhanen was born near Leningrad on May 14, 1920. His parents were peasants. Despite his modest background, Hayhanen was an honor student and, in 1939, obtained the equivalent of a certificate to teach high school.

In September, 1939, Hayhanen was appointed to the primary school faculty in the Village of Lipitzi. Two months later, however, he was conscripted by the Communists' secret police, the NKVD. Since he had studied the Finnish language and was very proficient in its use, Hayhanen was assigned as an interpreter to an NKVD group and sent to the combat zone to translate captured documents and interrogate prisoners during the Finnish-Soviet war.

With the end of this war in 1940, Hayhanen was assigned to check the loyalty and reliability of Soviet workers in Finland and to develop informants and sources of information in their midst. His primary objective was to identify anti-Soviet elements among the intelligentsia.

Hayhanen became a respected expert in Finnish intelligence matters and in May, 1943, was accepted into membership in the Soviet Communist Party. Following World War II, he rose to the rank of senior operative authorized representative of the Segozerski district section of the NKGB and, with headquarters in the Village of Padani, set about the task of identifying dissident elements among the local citizens.

In the summer of 1948, Hayhanen was called to Moscow by the KGB. The Soviet intelligence service had a new assignment for Hayhanen -- one which would require him to sever relations with his family, to study the English language, and to receive special training in photographing documents, as well as to encode and decode messages.

While his KGB training continued, Hayhanen worked as a mechanic in the City of Valga, Estonia. Then, in the summer of 1949, he entered Finland as Eugene Nicolai Maki, an American-born laborer.

Background of the Real Maki

The real Eugene Nicolai Maki was born in Enaville, Idaho, on May 30, 1919. His mother also was American born, but his father had immigrated to the United States from Finland in 1905. In the mid-1920s, Eugene Maki's parents became deeply impressed by glowing reports of conditions in "the new" Russia. They sold their belongings and left their Idaho farm for New York to book passage on a ship to Europe.

After leaving the United States, the Maki family settled in Estonia. From the outset, it was obvious that they had found no "Utopia" on the border of the Soviet Union. Letters which they wrote to their former neighbors showed that Mr. and Mrs. Maki were very unhappy and sorely missed America.

As the years passed, memories of the Maki family gradually began to fade, and all but possibly two or three old time residents of Enaville, Idaho, forgot that there has ever been a Maki family in that area. In Moscow, however, plans were being made for a "new" Eugene Maki, one thoroughly grounded in Soviet intelligence techniques, to enter the scene.

Hayhanen Becomes Maki

From July, 1949, to October, 1952, Hayhanen resided in Finland and established his identity as the American-born Eugene Maki. During this period, he was most cautious to avoid suspicion or attracting attention to himself -- his Soviet superiors wanting him to become established as an ordinary, hard-working citizen. This false "build up," of course, was merely part of Hayhanen's preparation for a new espionage assignment.

While in Finland, Hayhanen met and married Hanna Kurikka. She was to join him in the United States on February 20, 1953 -- four months after his arrival here. Even his wife knew him only as Eugene Maki, so carefully did he cover his previous life.

On July 3, 1951, Hayhanen -- then living in Turku, Finland -- visited the United States Legation in Helsinki. He displayed a birth certificate from the State of Idaho which showed that he was born in Enaville on May 30, 1919, and, in the presence of a Vice Consul, he executed an affidavit in which he explained that his family had left the United States in 1928:

"I accompanied my mother to Estonia when I
was eight years of age and resided with her
until her death in 1941. I left Estonia for
Finland in June, 1943, and have resided here for
the reason that I have no funds with
which to pay my transportation to the
United States."

One year later -- July 28, 1952 -- a passport was issued to Hayhanen as Eugene Maki at Helsinki. Using this passport, he sailed October 16, 1952, from Southhampton, England, aboard the Queen Mary and arrived at New York City on October 21, 1952.

Several weeks before he departed for America, Hayhanen was recalled to Moscow and introduced to a Soviet agent, "Mikhail," who was to serve as his espionage superior in this country. In order to establish contact with "Mikhail" in the United States, Hayhanen was instructed that after arriving in New York he should go to the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Near the tavern, he was told, he would find a signpost marked "Horse Carts"

"You will let Mikhail know of your arrival by placing a red thumb tack in this signpost," a Soviet official told him. "If you suspect that you are under surveillance, place a white thumb tack on the board."

Hayhanen Returns to the United States

The information which Hayhanen furnished to U.S. officials in Paris, France, in May, 1957, was immediately checked. There could be no question of its accuracy. Accordingly, passage was secured for Hayhanen on an airliner, and he was permitted to return to the United States.

Following his arrival in New York on May 10, 1957, Hayhanen was given a thorough physical examination, suitable quarters were found for him, and arrangements were made for him to be interviewed by FBI Agents.

From the fall of 1952 until early in 1954, he said, "Mikhail" served as his espionage superior in New York. They met only when necessary -- the meeting place being the Prospect Park subway station. To exchange messages and intelligence data, they used "dead drops" -- inconspicuous hiding places -- in the New York area. One of these "dead drops" was an iron picket fence at the end of 7th Avenue near Macombs bridge. Another was the base of a lamp post in Fort Tryon Park.

In one of the "dead drops" mentioned by Hayhanen -- a hole in a set of cement steps in Prospect Park -- FBI Agents found a hollowed-out bolt. The bolt was about two inches long and one-fourth inch in diameter. It contained the following typewritten message:

"Nobody came to meeting either 8 or
I was advised he should. Why? Should he be
inside or outside? Is time wrong? Place
seems right. Please check."

The bolt was found on May 15, 1957. It had been placed in the "dead drop" about two years previously, but, by a trick of fate, a repair crew had filled the hole in the stairs with cement, entombing the bolt and the message it contained.

Questioned about the hollow bolt, Hayhanen said that "trick" containers such as this were often used by the espionage apparatus which he served. Among the items he had been supplied by the Soviets were hollow pens, pencils, screws, batteries, and coins -- in some instances magnetized so they would adhere to metal object.

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