Did a Russian businessman come to India 550 years ago to spy? Putin, who got his opponents killed, was also an intelligence agent

Ananya Shroff
10 Min Read

New Delhi: Hearing about the splendor and spices of India, a Russian traveler set out on a journey to the countries of the East in the 15th century. His name was Afanasy Nikitin. This was the time when new countries were being discovered in the world and new colonies were being built in the name of trade. At that time, Babur, the grandfather of Mughal emperor Akbar, was struggling to conquer the Sultanate of Hindustan. Further south, Nikitin crossed several seas and reached India. The coastal area of ​​India where he anchored was the village of Chaul. From here, Nikitin's historic journey to India began. He wrote a diary about his journey, which is known as 'Journey Beyond Three Seas'. The three seas mentioned in the diary are the Caspian Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Black Sea, which Nikitin crossed. However, some historians say that Nikitin was a Russian intelligence agent who came to India on a mission. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on a visit to Russia. India-Russia friendship is not hidden from anyone. Let us know about a Russian traveler who came to India and Russia's intelligence mission.

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He went to India to sell the horse

In 1469, Russian traveller Afanasy Nikitin reached India with a horse and his diary. Nikitin was born in the city of Tver, considered to be the stronghold of Russian merchants, which was situated on the banks of the Volga River. This city was famous for its adventurous merchants who used to make dangerous journeys to Europe and Central Asia. Nikitin had heard that Arabs bring pepper and spices from India in exchange for horses. Since there is a shortage of good breed horses in India, they get a good price for them. Thinking this, he decided to come to India. There was a great demand for indigo in Russia and merchants used to earn a lot by bringing indigo from India.

We were robbed twice during the entire trip, we ate langar in Chaul

During his journey from the Volga River to the Caspian Sea, Nikitin was robbed twice. Despite being robbed and beaten, he did not give up. Nikitin kept moving forward. After this, he reached the Gulf of Hormuz via Persia i.e. Iran. From there he reached India via the Arabian Sea. Nikitin's boat dropped its first anchor in Diu near the Gulf of Khambhat. From here he reached the Chaul port located on the banks of the Kundalika River in Maharashtra. It is believed that Nikitin set his first foot on the soil of Hindustan in Chaul. Chaul used to be a big port city in the medieval period. This time was the year 1469.

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What Nikitin wrote in his diary, which became a document

Nikitin wrote in his diary- Most people in Hindustan remain naked. Women tie their hair in braids. During the rainy season, people used to work in the fields and eat Khichdi. Nikitin also saw diamond mines in Gulbarga, Raichur and Golconda.

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He sold his horse in Bidar and went to Vijayanagara

Nikitin reached Bidar, the capital of the Bahmani Sultanate, where he sold his Arabian horse brought from Persia at a good price. He then reached the Vijayanagara Empire, where he also made a religious pilgrimage to Srisailam. He described the idol of Ganesha as having an 'elephant head' and Hanuman as having a 'monkey face'. He also wrote about the 'Bhandara' organised at the temple. After staying in India for three years, he started his homeward journey from the port of Dabhol. However, Nikitin died in Smolensk, Russia in 1472 before reaching Tver.

Pardesi, a film based on a Russian traveller

Nikitin, Bollywood film on India-Russia friendship

Indian and Russian filmmakers made a film on Nikitin's life, 'Pardesi', which was released in Hindi and Russian in 1957. The film had a big star cast like Prithviraj Kapoor, Balraj Sahni, Nargis Dutt and Padmini and Russian actor Oleg Strizhen played the lead role of Nikitin. In 2002, a memorial pillar was erected in memory of Nikitin with the help of the Russian Consulate in Chaul.

Was Nikitin a Russian intelligence agent?

Historian Dr. Danpal Singh says that Nikitin's journey ended in India when there were large empires like Vijayanagara and Bahmani. However, according to Voice of Russia, Nikitin was no ordinary merchant, but a spy. Nikitin was tasked with gathering information about eastern countries on the instructions of Tsar ruler Ivan III. Dr. Danpal says that the question of him being a Russian agent arose because why did an ordinary merchant from the city of Tver go out with the Moscow ambassador? Secondly, when he was robbed twice, where did he get the money to travel to Persia, buy an expensive Arabian horse and then come to India? That is why many historians speculate that the sponsor of merchant Nikitin was the Moscow ambassador, who knew about Nikitin's secret mission.
Dr. Danpal Singh explains that one of the mysteries about Nikitin is how his memoirs reached Moscow? Did Ivan III know that Nikitin had important information related to India? Apart from this, no one knows about his personal information such as his family and what he was doing before the journey.

Russian agent weapons

The history of Russia's intelligence mission is stained with blood

The Russian Revolution took place in 1917. At that time, the leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, created an intelligence force called Cheka. Its job was to eliminate Lenin's opponents. The first head of Cheka was Felix Jezinsky. During his time, Cheka was called a killing machine. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin took over the power of Russia. At that time, Cheka was renamed NKVD and MGB. Stalin got his opponents killed. So much blood was shed that 139 members of the Communist Party and 81 generals and admirals who challenged Stalin's power were killed. Stalin got 7 lakh people killed with the help of these intelligence agents.

The KGB killed opponents in concentration camps

After Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev became the head of the country and the name of MGB was changed to KGB. He kept opponents in torture camps on a large scale. KGB killed its enemies in other countries as well as in its own country. KGB agents used to kill people by poisoning or shooting them. KGB also used beautiful female agents and honeytraps to kill enemies.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB was replaced by the FSB.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the nineties, the Russian Federal Security Service was formed in place of the KGB. In 1998, Vladimir Putin became the head of the Russian Federal Security Service. After spending 16 years in intelligence agencies, Putin decided to enter politics. After spending a few years as the head of the FSB, he became close to the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin. It was Yeltsin who made Putin the Deputy PM of Russia and then the acting PM. When Yeltsin resigned, Putin became the acting President of Russia and then was officially elected President for the first time in March 2000.

Putin KGB agent

Putin's rival punched to death

This year, there was a lot of controversy over the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. It is believed that Putin used the KGB to murder his opponent Navalny. A human rights activist claimed that Navalny must have been punched hard on the heart, which led to his sudden death. Before that, Navalny must have been weakened by keeping him in a very cold place. This is a very old technique used by the KGB. Earlier in November 2006, Putin was accused of poisoning former KGB agent and British citizen Alexander Litvinenko. Prigozhin, who was once close to Putin and founder of the Wagner Group, also died recently in a plane crash. Putin is also considered responsible for this.

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