Genrikh Samoilovich Lyushkov (1900 - 20th August 1945) was the far eastern commander of the Stalinist secret police the NKVD, and the Soviet Union's highest ranking defector, having fled to Imperial Japan in 1938 to avoid execution.
Secret police career
In November 1920, Lyushkov joined the Cheka, the Stalinist secret police organisation, which was known for its ruthlessness. After the Cheka was dissolved on 6th February 1922, Lyushkov joined its succeeding organisation the GPU, coming into the favour of Joseph Stalin after performing a spying mission in Germany, resulting in Lyushkov being promoted to commander of the NKVD in the Sea of Azov-Black Sea area and awarded the order of Lenin.
During the Moscow Trials, the show trials of political opponents, Lyushkov was responsible for interrogating Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, both of whom were later executed by Stalin's regime. He was later promoted to far eastern commander of the NKVD, and was placed in charge of eliminating Vsevolod Balitsky, Vasily Blyukher and A. I. Lapin in the mass murders which would later become known as the Great Purge. Lyushkov managed to find a pretext to order the arrest of Balitsky, who was executed, and Lapin, who committed suicide while on trial, but Blyukher remained free until he was arrested and killed following Lyushkov's defection. Following this, Lyushkov participated in the arrest and suppression of those deemed "enemies of the state" during the course of the Purge.
In 1938, Lyushkov received a summons to return to Moscow, but realized that this meant he was going to be executed as part of the Purge, as both Balitsky, who had occupied the far eastern post before him, and Balitsky's predecessor Terenty Deribas had been, and resolved to defect. However, Lyushkov's plan was discovered when his correspondence with his wife Inna was intercepted, and his entire family were arrested, Tortured and mostly killed in the gulags. Lyushkov managed to evade arrest, and defected over the border into Manchukuo. As a result, Blyukher and NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov were executed for failing to prevent Lyushkov's defection. Lyushkov subsequently conspired with the Japanese to have Stalin assassinated, but all attempts failed.
On 20th August 1945, Lyushkov was personally executed by his handler Yutaka Takeoka in order to prevent him from falling into Soviet hands and revealing state secrets after he refused to commit suicide.