Soviet spy Goar Vartanyan, who passed away on Monday at age 93, served the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War, which is the name Russians use to describe World War II.
Vartanyan was involved in what Russians refer to as Operation Long-Jump, an alleged Nazi plot to murder the leaders of the "Big Three" allied countries – Russia's premier Joseph Stalin, the UK's prime minister Winston Churchill and US president Franklin D. Roosevelt – when they met in Tehran in 1943.
While it is accepted in Russia as a real Nazi operational plan which was thwarted by the NKVD – the Soviet Union's Interior Ministry at the time – Western intelligence services doubt it.
As the Russians view it, Vartanyan and her husband led the Soviet effort to ensure the meeting of the three world leaders be as safe as possible. Under their command, Nazi efforts to establish a command center in Tehran – from which to await a team of secret agents – were uncovered and foiled.
The Nazi mission was allegedly led by Otto Skorzeny, who denied after the war ended that it had ever existed.
Spy work being what it is, it is difficult to know for sure where reality ends and myth making, on all sides, begins.
Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service [SVR] called Vartanyan and her late husband Gevork "Heroes of the Soviet Union."
Stalin and Hitler originally collaborated in the invasion and division of Poland, the event which officially ignited the Second World War. Only when Nazi Germany turned on the USSR in an attempt to reach Moscow did Stalin join the US and the UK against the Nazi leader.