Reino Hayhanen

Reino Hayhanen was an ethnic Finn who worked as a Soviet spy during the Cold-War era.

As with many other spies, Hayhanen had a “live double”—a man called Eugene Nicolai Maki.

How did Hayhanen take over the identity of someone else? In 1949, the real Maki surrenderd his birth certificate to Hayhanen. He had little choice in the matter:

In 1938 Maki had been arrested [by Soviet officials] on suspicion of espionage but had been released, given the codename DAVID and employed by the Interior Ministry to inform on the families of other Karelian victims of the [Stalinist] Terror. [The Soviet Republic of Karelia was Finnish-speaking, and Maki—who was born in America during 1919—had moved to Karelia with his Finnish-American father and his New York mother.]

In 1949 Maki surrendered his birth certificate to Hayhanen, who spent most of the next three years in Finland taking over Maki’s identity with the help of a Finnish Communist ... who had been recruited as a Soviet agent in 1939. (The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, by Christopher Andrew, at page 162.)

When he was sufficiently ready to report for duty in America, Hayhanen assumed a code name.  He would be known to other spies as “VIK” (or Vic.)

Sailing to America aboard the Queen Mary, he arrived in the States on the 20th of October, 1952. With him was Hannah, his Finnish wife.

While he was setting-up his new identity, Hayhanen received a microfilm message hidden in a most-unusual place—a hollowed-out American nickel featuring the head of Thomas Jefferson.

At some point, Hayhanen misplaced the nickel. In the summer of 1953, the coin was used to buy a newspaper from a Brooklyn boy. That nickel would come to play a role in the life of another person—someone whom Hayhanen knew as “Mark.”

By 1954, Hayhanen was sufficiently settled into New York life. He was ready to take-on real responsibilities on behalf of his Soviet superiors. He became an assistant to Willy Fisher / Emil Goldfus / Rudolf Abel whom Hayhanen knew only by the code name “Mark.”

Hayhanen, who spoke three languages, was not very fluent in English. One of his principal jobs, in assisting “Mark,” was to help his “boss” build a network of reliable people and to operate a radio set.

After he met “Mark,” Hayhanen learned where the man who was known to his neighbors as “Emil Goldfus” worked. It was rented space on the seventh floor of a building known as Ovington Studios.

Many artists had their studios at Ovington, and “Mark” / Goldfus was no exception. He was an artist, too.

The soft-spoken man with an accent mixed well with the other artists in the building. He seemed to be more of a listener than a talker.

Hayhanen’s life, meanwhile, was taking a downward slide. He and Hannah, among other things, were drinking lots of alcohol.

In 1956, police were called to their home where they discovered the couple was drunk. In addition, Hayhanen—whom the police knew as Eugene Maki—had a deep knife-wound in his leg.

His troubles far from over, Hayhanen was arrested for drunken driving that same year. Found guilty of the offense, he was sentenced to a suspended license.

By January of 1957, Hayhanen was due to get on a ship bound for France. His journey would ultimately take him to Moscow.

Worried about returning to Russia, Hayhanen delayed his trip. “Mark” / Emil Goldfus / Rudolf Abel, however, convinced Hayhanen he had to leave.

Booking passage on the French ship, La Liberté, Hayhanen headed for Moscow via France.

He didn’t reach his final destination.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 25, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

Media Credits

Image of Reino Hayhanen, circa 1957, by an unknown photographer.


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"Reino Hayhanen" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 25, 2015. Feb 20, 2020.
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