Mark Albats was born in 1920. His father Efraim had returned to Russia from Switzerland in 1915 to take part in the Russian Revolution.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, Mark Albats began to study at the Moscow Institute of Communication.
Immediately after the Nazi invasion of the USSR in late June 1941, Mark showed up at the recruitment office. Thanks to his athletic build, and the knowledge of encrypted communication methods that he had acquired at the Communication Institute, he was sent to a two-week course at the Intelligence School of the GRU (the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army) in July 1941. Since he looked like a native of the Caucasus, Mark was given the following cover story: He was an ethnic Georgian named Grigory Basilia, whose entire family of former rich industrialists had been shot by the Bolsheviks; he had been awaiting the coming of the Germans, to take up arms against the Soviet Union.
Mark Albats was then airdropped into occupied Ukrainian territory. After landing, he walked a distance of 600 km to the city of Nikolaev, where his partner Nikolai was waiting for him, and where a safe apartment had been rented. The two were tasked with sending dispatches to the Red Army, informing the high command of German troop movements in Ukraine. Mark's knowledge of Georgian was limited to the single word "no", and he was almost exposed once, when a real Georgian tried to speak to him in his native language. On other occasions, Ukrainian cab drivers identified him as a Jew. Fortunately, Mark was consistently able to avoid exposure.
On New Year's night of 1941-1942, as Mark and Nikolai were crossing the front line near the city of Krasnyi Luch, they came under fire, probably by Soviet troops. Nikolai was killed, while Mark was seriously wounded in the legs. By some miracle, he was able to crawl to a sanitary unit of the Red Army. Having been frostbitten, he began to suffer from gangrene. The surgeon insisted that his legs be amputated, but Albats resisted. In the end, he was able to keep his legs, with only the foot being permanently damaged. After a period of medical rehabilitation, Mark Albats returned to frontline duty, but his wounds reopened, and he was unable to take further part in combat.
In 1943, Albats returned to Moscow and resumed his interrupted studies at the Communication Institute. He later worked at the Aksel Berg Central Radiotechnical Research Institute.
After the end of the war, Mark Albats received the Order of Glory, 3rd class, in addition to medals.
Albats went on to work at the classified Marine Scientific Research Institute of Radioelectronics, where he developed radio systems for ballistic missiles fired from nuclear submarines.
Mark Albats died in Moscow in 1980.
His daughter, Yevgenia Albats, is a famous Russian analyst, writer, political journalist, and activist.