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by Andrey Lubensky

The revolutionary era of the beginning of the last century gave rise to many names-legends, and one of the closest associates of the anarchist Nestor Makhno, Lev Zadov-Zinkovsky, occupies a special place in this galaxy.

Alexei Tolstoy in the trilogy "Walking through the agony" wrote that "the name of Levka Zadov was known in the south no less than the father Makhno himself." From the novel we learn that "Levka was an executioner, a man of such amazing cruelty that Makhno even tried to hack him to death more than once, but forgave him for his devotions."

Before the execution, Zadov told his cellmate (the Kiev historian Konstantin Shteppe, who was later released) that he, Lev, was accused of cruelty, as if not without reason, but by nature he was a kind and gentle person, and nothing so disgusted him like rudeness and violence.

Who is he, Lev Zadov? Born in 1893 in the Jewish agricultural colony Vesyolaya near Yuzovka (now Donetsk) in the family of the Yudel Girshevich Zadov (according to some sources - Zodov). Soon the family moved to Yuzovka.

As researcher Alexei Statsenko notes, "Lyovka was distinguished from his youth by his rebellious character."

After graduating from elementary school, he was baptized, and "this step placed him outside the family and outside the Jewish environment, but freed him from all the restrictions imposed by Russian laws on persons of the Jewish faith."

Further - odd jobs, then work as a hauler (the so-called loaders who loaded blast furnaces) at a metallurgical plant. Only people with enormous physical strength could withstand such work - Levka Zadov was just that.

Hard work for beggarly wages so, it is understandable that revolutionary sentiments were widespread among the workers. Lev Zadov became a member of an anarchist group and was sentenced to eight years of hard labor for participating in the raids. The February Revolution freed him.

In 1918 he fought as part of the Red Guard against the Germans and with the troops of Ataman Krasnov, then with a small detachment he went to the anarchist father Makhno. Batka's army was then growing rapidly, out of necessity an army counterintelligence service was created, where Zadov found his place.

"Chilling legends circulated among the Makhnovists about the sadistic methods used by Zadov and his henchmen to interrogate, but what was true and what was fiction today is almost impossible to distinguish," writes Alexei Statsenko, describing the details of Leva Zadov's counterintelligence service.

And he also participated in raids on Denikin's rear. Makhno first entered into alliances with the Reds, then dissolved. Counterintelligence in such periods fought the Bolshevik underground. Zadov himself more than once found himself in disgrace, was on the verge of death (once Makhno's wife, Galina Andreevna, saved him from being shot), then he was again approached. And more than once he saved the life of the legendary chieftain.

Battered in battles with whites, and with reds, and with "zhovto-blakitnye", the army of the Makhnovists suffered heavy losses and melted away. Ordinary villagers were tired of fighting and after the amnesty announced by the Bolsheviks they hurried to return to peaceful labor. In August 1921, Nestor Makhno with a small group of associates, among whom was Lev Zadov, went to Romania.

Subsequently (in June 1924) Zadov again crossed the Soviet border, was detained by the legendary Chekist Dmitry Medvedev and soon became a Chekist himself. What made him come back?

According to some reports, a small detachment was put together from the former Makhnovists by Romanian intelligence (ciguranza), hoping to use them for sabotage on the territory of the USSR. However, the saboteurs decided to surrender.

There is also an assumption that Lev Zadov was in fact an agent of the Cheka back in the "anarchist freeman" in Gulyaypole, introduced there with the task of looking after the chieftain Makhno (if so, he did it brilliantly).

Considering this version, the author of "Ukraine.ru" Oleg Izmailov notes that, "in those years there were so many unknown agents of the Cheka and the army counterintelligence of the Red Army, it was necessary to change their staff so often due to their poor professionalism that the survivors became famous."

There is another version, according to which Zadov allegedly went to the USSR for the treasures buried by the Makhnovists after expropriations and robberies. And it was the possession of information about the location of these treasures that saved his life (there is no firm confirmation of this version).

Be that as it may, Zadov was not then repressed, but, having changed his last name to "Zinkovsky" (previously it was his party pseudonym), he worked in the Odessa department of the OGPU-NKVD, exposing terrorist groups and throwing Soviet agents into Romania. For success in work he twice received an award weapon. However, after the failure of the entire Romanian spy network (Operation Violinists), he was accused of treason.

There was no evidence of betrayal, Lev Yarutsky writes in the book "Jews of the Azov Region", but after the investigator used "special methods", the former "Makhnovist executioner" recognized himself as a Romanian and English spy.

In 1938, Zadov-Zinkovsky was executed.

"he investigator himself was shot in 1939, after establishing that he was engaged in falsification of investigative cases. But by that time, Lev Nikolaevich Zinkovsky-Zadov had already been lying damp in the ground for a year," Yarutsky notes.
br/> Only riddles, legends and materials of the criminal case remained.

We add that in 1990 Lev Zinkovsky-Zadov was rehabilitated posthumously. An important role in this was played by his son, Colonel of the Soviet Army, participant of the Great Patriotic War, Vadim Lvovich Zinkovsky (1926-2013). He wrote and published a small edition of a book about his father - "The Truth About Zinkovsky-Zadov Lev Nikolaevich - Anarchist, Chekist."

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