- SMERSH (James Bond)
SMERSH (in capitalised letters) is a
Soviet counterintelligenceagency featured in Ian Fleming's early James Bondnovels and films as agent 007's nemesis. СМЕРШ (SMERSH) is an acronym from two Russian words: "SMERt' SHpionam" (СМЕРть Шпионам, Směrt Špionam) meaning "Death to Spies". Though Fleming's version of SMERSH supposedly was modelled upon the real SMERSH organization, the novels portray SMERSH as a massive Soviet counterintelligence organisation which aims its operatives abroad in subversion of the West, with the additional goal of killing Western spies, particularly James Bond of SIS. SMERSH's headquarters are in Leningrad, Soviet Union.
The novel "Casino Royale" breaks SMERSH down into five departments or отделы (оtdyels):
*"Department I:" In charge of counterintelligence among Soviet organizations at home and abroad.
*"Department II:" Operations, including executions.
*"Department III:" Administration and finance.
*"Department IV:" Investigations and legal work. Personnel.
*"Department V:" Prosecutions — the section which passes final judgment on all victims.
Within the world of James Bond, SMERSH is a Soviet counterintelligence agency that is a recurring threat to him and the British Secret Service. SMERSH made its first and perhaps longest-lasting impact on Bond in "Casino Royale" when their agent sent to kill
Le Chiffrecarved the initial Russian letter for SMERSH into the back of Bond's left hand; despite skin grafts, a faint scar remains. Since then, Bond has sought revenge several times, beginning in the second novel, "Live and Let Die", where in Bond is almost uninterested in disrupting Mr. Big's financing of Soviet operations until learning that Big is a SMERSH agent. SMERSH retaliates in " From Russia with Love", issuing a death warrant for immediate execution of James Bond ("To be killed with ignominy"). Not only is his assassination arranged, but SMERSH goes to great lengths to ensure his death will be scandalously embarrassing throughout the entire intelligence community. Later, Bond again squares off against SMERSH in "Goldfinger" after learning that Auric Goldfingeris the agency's treasurer.
After "Goldfinger", SMERSH is mentioned only fleetingly, usually in reference to having been disbanded or made inoperant. In the continuation novels (and novelisations), however, SMERSH returns as an organisation essentially renamed and reorganised within Soviet intelligence. They are first mentioned again in "The Spy Who Loved Me" film novelisation, although replaced by
KGBin the film. In John Gardner's series of Bond novels, SMERSH is renamed Department V (the letter) in "Icebreaker". They return in a larger role in " No Deals, Mr. Bond", renamed Department Eight, Directorate S, a KGB sub-section.
In the film series, Bond's archenemy became
SPECTRE, first appearing and explained in Fleming's novel "Thunderball" (1961). Film-wise, SPECTREis first mentioned in the first film, "Dr. No" (1962), wherein the Doctor explains to Bond that it is the acronym for the "SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion", the four great cornerstones of power. Film versions of novels where SMERSH appears substituted either SPECTRE or independent villains in order to avoid fomenting hatred of the Soviets, and so contributing to unstable relations with the USSR.
Although twice referred to, SMERSH never appears in the official film series; first, in "From Russia with Love" (1963), Bond initially thinks he is fighting SMERSH, only to learn that the villains are from SPECTRE, including villainess Rosa Klebb, the former head of SMERSH who has secretly defected to SPECTRE.
Tatiana Romanova, the Bond girl heroine, says she knows Klebb as SMERSH's head of operations, and obeys her orders, presuming them from SMERSH. Second, " The Living Daylights" ( 1987) features a faked SMERSH re-activation. Throughout, it is referred to with its less-known full name "Smert Shpionam", rather than the better-known acronym; General Pushkin, then head of KGB, says it has been inoperant since twenty years before.
*"Casino Royale" —
*"Live and Let Die" —
From Russia with Love" — Ian Fleming
James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me" (novelisation) — Christopher Wood
*"Icebreaker" — John Gardner
No Deals, Mr. Bond" — John Gardner
*"Devil May Care" —
*"From Russia with Love"
The Living Daylights" (faked reactivation)
Notable villains in the Bond novels who were SMERSH agents include:
Le Chiffre: Le Chiffre is the villain in "Casino Royale". He is paymaster of the "Syndicat des Ouvriers d'Alsace", a SMERSH-controlled trade union.
*"Adolph Gettler": A SMERSH agent who shadowed Bond and Vesper while they are on French holiday in "Casino Royale". He was identifiable by his eyepatch,screwed in like a monocle. His real name is unknown, but he posed as a Swiss wristwatch salesman named Adolph Gettler.
Auric Goldfinger: The villain in "Goldfinger". He is SMERSH's treasurer, yet also a jeweller, metallurgist, and smuggler. In the film, though an international Communist, he has no apparent SMERSH affiliation.
Rosa Klebb: Head of Otdyel II, the SMERSH torture and death department in the novel " From Russia with Love". She hires Corporal Tatiana Romanova as lure for James Bond in Istanbul, where he would be killed and disgraced before the intelligence community. Ultimately, she fails and René Mathiscaptures her. In the film, Klebb ( Lotte Lenya), defected from SMERSH to SPECTRE. She is shot in the back by Romanova, who is in love with Bond.
*Donovan "Red" Grant: In the novel, he is Chief executioner of SMERSH; originally a British soldier during
World War II, he defected to the USSR. In the film "From Russia with Love", working under Rosa Klebb makes him a SPECTRE agent.
General Grubozaboyshikov: He was selected head of SMERSH after Lavrenty Beria's death, in the "From Russia with Love" novel. He is one of many SMERSH personnel conspiring to kill and disgrace James Bond.
Colonel Tov Kronsteen: He is planning department head for SMERSH in the "From Russia with Love" novel; (his name, Tov, is Jewish). He was a Chessexpert and the champion of Moscowfor two years running. During the championship game for his third year, SMERSH summoned him to plan Bond's killing and discrediting. In the film, Kronsteen ( Vladek Sheybal), works for SPECTRE, and is tasked with planning Bond's killing and disgrace for killing Dr. Julius No. Ultimately, he fails and is murdered at Ernst Stavro Blofeld's behest.
*Colonel Niktin: Heads the Soviet Secret Service (MGB,
KGBpost-1953) in "From Russia with Love". Later in the " James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me" film novelisation he is promoted to Colonel-General and is head of SMERSH; he is not in the film, and is replaced by General Gogol who is head of KGB.
*Lieutenant-General Slavin: Slavin was the head of the intelligence department for the General Staff of the Army (
GRU). He was one of many SMERSH personnel who conspired to kill and disgrace James Bond.
*Lieutenant-General Vozdvishensky: Is head of RUMID, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intelligence department. He is one of many SMERSH personnel who conspire against James Bond.
*Sergei Borzov: Sergei was a member of Otdyel II, the operations and executions branch of SMERSH in the film novelisation of "The Spy Who Loved Me", but was never mentioned as a member in the actual film. Borzov was the romantic love interest of agent XXX before being killed by James Bond in the opening teaser.
Anya Amasova: Anya, aka agent XXX, was a member of Otdyel IV in the film novelisation of "The Spy Who Loved Me", " James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me".
*Kolya Mosolov: Mosolov is a KGB agent who is a member of the Icebreaker team in the novel "Icebreaker". He is discovered to have planned the entire Icebreaker team in coordination with von Glöda. The two have a deal in which Mosolov would betray his country and sell arms to von Glöda in exchange for the capture of secret agent 007. Mosolov being not only an agent of the KGB, but also an agent working within "Department V" (formerly SMERSH). Mosolov believes that von Glöda will not succeed and is merely going along with the deal for the time being in order to capture Bond for the Soviets.
*General Konstantin Nikolaevich Chernov: Codenamed "Blackfriar", Chernov (also known as Koyla Chernov) is the Chief Investigating Officer of Department Eight, Directorate S (formerly SMERSH). He appears in John Gardner's "
No Deals, Mr. Bond" as the villain who is systematically targeting former members of a secret operation in East Germany.
A joking reference to SMERSH also appears in the spoof film, "Casino Royale" in which anyone who uttered the name was quieted by someone else saying "SHHHHHHHH!" thereby making the acronym sound like "SMERSHHHHHHHHH..."
List of James Bond villains
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