According to Soviet sources, Surkov had 702 confirmed kills during World War II, a total which would make him the most effective sniper of the European conflict. The top Soviet sniper is officially Ivan Sidorenko, who is credited with 500 confirmed kills, as postwar findings have shown that Surkov's figure very likely only served as propaganda.
During the war, "Frontovaya Illustratsiya" wrote: "Sniper Sergeant Mikhail Surkov shoots at the enemy confidently and accurately. - He does not wound - he hits the spot. After killing over 700 Fascists, he went on to the next hunt "