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STASI German/Russian Lexicon of Intelligence Terms

The Mitrokhin Archive reveals the STASI usage of number stations

Major Vasili Mitrokhin (1922- 2004) was a senior KGB archivist. He began his carrier in the Soviet secret service from 1948. He started as overseas undercover operative, but later was moved to archives of the KGB’s First Chief Directorate. It was responsible for foreign operations and intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and technical intelligence.

As archivist he gained access to many secret and sensitive documents. He became disillusioned with the Soviet system by listening western radio broadcasts and reading the documents about the Soviet repressions and atrocities. He managed to make copies and detailed notes of the documents from the archive, while he supervised the archive move from Lubyanka building to the new KGB headquarters at Yasenevo. In 1985 he retired.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union he traveled to Riga, Latvia and tried to make contact with the US embassy. He was however, turned down by the Americans who did not trust the authenticity of his documents. The UK embassy was more helpful and Mitrokhin gained appointment with the British Secret Service the MI6 and the 25,000 pages of files hidden in his house, covering operations from as far back as the 1930s. The content of these notes and documents have been described in various books, but now his archive has been made digital in the Churchill Archives Center.

Among the published documents one document caught our attention. STASI German/Russian lexicon of intelligence terms. This compact German-Russian dictionary came to light in 1967. The dictionary is anonymous: it has no indication of title, authorship, publisher, place and date of publication – there are no indications at all. On reading through it, it is clear that it contains Cheka terminology, and was compiled after 1954. STASI was the secret police of the German Democratic Republic a Soviet satellite state. KGB worked closely with the STASI who is known for using various number stations including the famous G03 Gong and Chimes station. What this lexicon reveals is the various operative terms for codes, ciphers, one time pads, cipher machine, frequency list and covert radio messages. The various detailed terms under chapter “Secret communications” clearly show the extensive usage of the coded radio messages, by the STASI and KGB during the Cold War. Below is the translation of the radio and code related terms.

The original document can be viewed here:
Abrollen des Alphabets – rolling the alphabet
alternierende Route – spiral path
analytische Methode – the analytic methode

Bacons Vermehrungs-verfahren – Baconian method
Bigramm – bigram crypt
Bigrammtapfel – a table of bigrams
bilateral – bilateral
binumeral – binumeral
Blender – empty message
Blindfunk – one-way communication
Buchstabengruppe – group of an alphabetical code
Buchstabenschlüssel – alphabetic key

Chiffre – a cipher
Chiffrealphabet – encryption alphabet
Chiffreeinheit bei Substitusion – substitutional cipher unit
Chiffretext – encrypted text
Chiffreur – criptologist
Chiffrieralphabet – encryption alphabet
Chiffriermaschine – cipher machine
Chiffriertafel – encryption alphabet
chiffrieren – to encrypt
Chiffrierung – encryption
Chiffrierkomponente – cipher unit
Chiffrierverbindung – encrypted communication
Chiffrierverfahren – a method of encryption
Chiffrierverkehr – encrypted correspondence
Code – code
Codebuch – code book
Codegruppe – code group
Codetafel – code table
Codeverfahren – a method of coding
codieren – to code
Codierteil – coded part
Codierer – encoder

Dechiffreur – decryptor
Dechiffrieralphabet – decryption alphabet
Dechiffrierung – decryprtion
Dechiffriertafel – decryption key
Decodierer – decoder
Decodierteil – decoded part
Decodierung – decoding
Dekrypteur – decryptor
Dekryptierung – decryption
Doppelwürfel-verfahren – double permutation cipher

Einbuchcode – alphabetic code
einfache Spaltentransposition – simple column permutation
einfaches Würfelverfahren – simple permutation
Einzelfrequenztafel – item’s frequency table

Feld – cell or area
Frequenzkurve – frequency curve
Frequenztafel – frequency table
Funkanlage – radio system
funken – to transmit
Funker – radio operator
Funkfeuer – radio beacon
Funkmaat – corporal radio operator
Funkmeister – radio engineer, repairman
Funkmeßabteilung – radiolocation battalion
Funkschaltung – radio circuit
Funkschlüssel – radio cipher
Funkschlüsselmaschine – transmitting cipher machine
Funkspruch – radiogram
– Kopf – radiogram header
Funkstille – radio silence
Funkverkehr – radio communication

Geheimtext – encrypted text
Geheimschreibung – encrypted message
Generatrise – generating function
Gesprächstabelle – communication chart
Gitterverfahren – grille cipher

horizontale Route – horizontal path

Internationales Telegraphenalphabet Nr.2 – International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2, ITA2

Kenngruppe – charactertistic group
Klareinheit – open cipher key
Klarkomponente – open cipher unit
Klartext – open text
kombiniertes Verfahren – combined method
Kryptoanalyse – cryptoanalysis
Kryptoanalytiker – cryptoanalyst
Kryptograph – cryptograph machine, cryptographist
Kryptographie – cryptography
Kryptogramm – cryptogram
Kryptologie – cryptology

Lochstreifen – punched tape
Lochstreifen – puncher

Mischalphabet – mixed alphabet
monoalphabetische einfache Substitution – simple monoalphabetic substitution
monoalphabetisches Verfahren – monoalphabetic method
monoalphabetisches mehrfaches Verfahren – multiple monoalphabetic methods

Nachrichtendichte – number of transmissions
Nachrichtendurchgabe – line transmission
Nachriten- – radio transmission
vermittlung – with a mediation

periodisches Verfahren – method of periodic substitutions
Phrase – phrase (cipher unit)
Playfairverfahren – Playfair cipher
Probabilitätswortmethode – probable word method

Quadratkarte – square grid map
Quadratsignal – square position signal

Rasselsender – transmitter key
Raster – grill
Route – way, path

Scheibe – disk
Scheibenverfahren – encryption disk
Schlüssel- – key
– element – element to replace
– gruppe – key group
– quadrat – cipher table
– textverfahren – horizontal permutation
Skytale – scytale (decryption tool)
spiralförmige Route – spiral path
Spalte – column
-einheit – substitution unit
-tafel – substitutions table
verfahren – method of substitution
Symbol – character

Transkription – transcription
Trygramm – trigram cipher
Trygrammtafel – trigrams table

überschlusselter Codetext – re-encrypted text
UKW-Tornistergerät – VHF walkie-talkie
Umlauffunknamen – open callsign

Verfahren – method
verticale Route – vertical path

Wortfolge – word order
Wortverbindung – phrase

Zahlenschlüssel – numeric key
Zweibuchcode – non-alphabetic code

“STASI German/Russian Lexicon of Intelligence Terms Introduction,” April, 2004, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Vasiliy Mitrokhin.

Information about the document provided by Maris
Traslation from German and Russian made by Yuri Giderashko
Full PDF available here:


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