During construction on the Kremlin in 1928, a myriad of catacombs underneath Red Square were discovered. Among these catacombs was the lost library of Ivan the Terrible, which held many occult tomes of arcane knowledge, including a Greek translation of the Necronomicon. Stalin moved to cover up these finds, and put in charge of the operation Deputy Commander Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda of the OGPU (United State Political Administration, latest incarnation of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police). On Stalin's orders, Yagoda oversaw experiments to translate and exploit the Greek Necronomicon (as described in "Secrets of the Kremlin", in Glozel Est Authentique! by TOME). While these experiments ended in tragedy in 1931, Stalin had developed a serious interest in the occult and instructed Yagoda, later chief of the NKVD, to set up a secret unit for the investigation of the supernatural.
The GRU became aware of Stalin's occult research through the work of Major Gregor Studnikov, a veteran GRU officer that had confronted inhuman cannibals during the Great Famine and had destroyed an Evenki cult worshipping "Kotura, Lord of the Winds" in 1927. Along with a few other GRU officers concerned with Stalin's interest in the occult, Studnikov formed Spetsialni Viedotstvo-8, a "non-existent" unit that would investigate the NKVD occult research bureau and determine whether or not Stalin's research constituted a threat to Russian security. Despite numerous setbacks, GRU SV-8 would succeed to keeping watch over Stalin and the NKVD without compromising their secrecy throughout the war, and, when the time came, would deal the lethal blow to the secret occult research program.
Until 1937, GRU SV-8 identified the personnel, locations, and content of the NKVD occult research program, but took no action as the research had till then failed to produce results. They also discovered and destroyed a number of occult conspiracies within Russia. Then in 1937, Stalin purged the Red Army and virtually all the officers of GRU SV-8 were executed, not for their activities with the unit but because of their affiliation with the GRU. Only six of the forty-nine members of GRU SV-8 survived the purges, and none above the rank of Colonel. Studnikov was among the dead.
While the survivors of GRU SV-8 picked up the pieces and slowly began to put the unit back together, the NKVD was itself purged in the late 1930s. As control over the NKVD and the occult research bureau passed from Yagoda to Nikolai Yezhov to Latvia Beria, GRU SV-8 lost surveillance over the program when Beria moved it out of Moscow. It was also around this time, that GRU SV-8 learned of the occult research of Nazi Germany through the agents of the Red Orchestra. GRU SV-8 was reactivated in March 1940, although only the six surviving members of the original unit understood their true purpose, as the staff, now numbering over one hundred, believed that GRU SV-8 was a research section studying ancient sources to rediscover effective methods of espionage.
Once war broke out, GRU SV-8 occupied itself with producing propaganda (similar to the "official" mission of Delta Green in the OSS), while their agents successfully penetrated the Ahnenerbe and learned of Sonderkommando H. As GRU SV-8 was just discovering the extent of the Nazi occult research program, the Red Orchestra was decimated by German counterintelligence in June 1941.
As GRU SV-8 struggled to regain its footing, news came from Leningrad of inhuman cannibals preying on the dead of the besieged city. Investigation by GRU SV-8 revealed the same kind of "necrophagists" Studnikov had discovered during the Great Famine. GRU SV-8 destroyed the infestation, and continued to watch for similar incidents throughout wartorn Russia.
Besides the reemergence of the ghoul threat, GRU SV-8 also uncovered the presence of SMERSH agents under orders to round up all necrophagist "specimens" for "special handling". GRU SV-8 soon discovered that these SMERSH agents were working for a secret NKVD organization composed of "dead men": operatives without name nor records whose identity had been expunged during Stalin's purges. These dead men made up the re-formed NKVD occult research bureau, either as scientific staff or as SMERSH assassins. Based on their "scorched earth" policy towards the occult, GRU SV-8 sought out and destroyed every necrophagist they could find in attempt to deny these "specimens" to SMERSH and ending the threat posed by further research into such abominations.
In late 1943, GRU SV-8 again picked up the trailed of the Nazi occult research program. The former head of the French section for the Red Orchestra, Leopold Trepper, had escaped the Nazis through the machinations of the French Resistance. While with the Resistance, Trepper had come across a Red Army lieutenant, Pavel Dzhurtchenko, who had been captured on the Eastern Front, sent to a concentration camp, and then sent with a group of Jews, Gypsies, and other POWs to a series of caves along the Normandy coast. There, Dzhurtchenko witnessed German SS officers conduct occult rituals that involved throwing carved tablets into the sea. Once night fell, inhuman creatures described by Dzhurtchenko as "fish-men" came out of the sea and moved towards the group of prisoners. It was then that a group of commandoes attacked, killing several Germans and the "fish-men". Along with a few other survivors, Dzhurtchenko fled the cave and fell in with a group of French partisans fighting on the beach. He was taken to a local village, where he was interrogated by an English-speaking man who smoked American cigarettes.
GRU SV-8 was suspicious of Trepper's report, but they did contact the "Lucy" ring of the Red Orchestra operating in Switzerland to gather more intelligence on Nazi occult activity. They learned the name of the Nazi organization, the Karotechia, just as reports began to come in of new horrors released on the Eastern Front. These horrors included the assassinations of several Red Army commanders through occult and "hypergeometrical" means, the attack on a Sturmovik squadron by "bat-winged monsters", and the use of resuscitated casualties.
The Karotechia began to deploy the resuscitated casualties (or poyavlyatsva to the Russians) in January 1945. GRU SV-8 was able to learn the location of the Czech factory where the chemical used to create this monsters was manufactured, and with a combined force of Czech partisans and GRU SV-8 commandoes, they destroyed the installation. Nevertheless, enough of the chemical remained in stock that ten percent of Soviet dead during the Battle of Berlin were believed to have been caused by the poyavlyatsva.
Following Stalin's order to SMERSH to recover the poyavlyatsva regardless of the cost to Soviet soldiers, GRU SV-8 initiated a plan for secret assassinations of SMERSH "dead men". As SMERSH and Delta Green fought it out over the remains of the Karotechia in Vienna during Operation SUMMER BREEZE, GRU SV-8 destroyed as much Karotechia research and killed as many Karotechia researchers as possible. Using the Americans and their Operation SUMMER BREEZE as a cover, GRU SV-8 assassinated key SMERSH personnel in Vienna.
After the war, GRU SV-8 was in a very stable position. The commander of GRU SV-8 from 1943-1945 was General Sergei M. Shtemyenko, who went on to command all of GRU in 1946, and then rise to Chief of the General Staff in 1948. During this period, Shtemyenko continued to support GRU SV-8, and the organization found many new roles in the postwar era.
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