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Report: Stalin was a secret police agent in czarist era

September 18, 1997 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) _ Soviet dictator Josef Stalin served as an agent in the czar’s secret police in the years leading up to the fall of the Russian monarchy, a Russian scholar said in a report published Thursday.

Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist from 1924 to his death in 1953, supplied ``important information″ to the czar’s secret police from 1906-10, according to professor Yuri Khechinov.

Such claims have been made before, but Khechinov has for the first time made public in Russia a copy of a letter pointing to Stalin’s role, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

A letter from the czar’s secret police, known as the Okhrana, said Stalin worked as an agent for four years. ``Stalin’s work is accurate, but occasional,″ said the letter.

The letter went on to say that after Stalin was elected to the central committee of the Bolshevik party in 1910, he ``completely ceased to cooperate with the Okhrana.″

Despite his alleged role with the secret police, Stalin was arrested and exiled on several occasions prior to the Russian Revolution.

The Bolsheviks, who came to power in 1917 shortly after Czar Nicholas II abdicated, formed the Communist Party that ruled the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.