Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

2028, 01 Oct 17

Moscow Lionizes Cold War Spy

This fantastic story by the New York Times (yes, I said that) is worth the read.

MOSCOW — Bereft of friends in Western capitals since its 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia is celebrating the memory of the British K.G.B. spy Kim Philby, a stalwart supporter who stood by it through thick and thin – and spent the last 25 years of his life in Moscow, often drunk and miserable but still loyal.

Mr. Philby, a notorious double-agent who defected to Moscow in 1963 and died there in 1988, was recently honored with a portrait in a Russian state art gallery and is celebrated in a soon-to-be broadcast film on state television.

The adulation has now reached a new level with the opening of an exhibition in Moscow on the life and work of the best-known of the so-called Cambridge Five Soviet spies in Britain. It portrays Mr. Philby as an unwavering Russian patriot, and it includes the first public display of some of the more than 900 secret British documents he passed on to the K.G.B., the Soviet-era spy agency.

The burst of tributes to Mr. Philby reinforces an escalating campaign by the Kremlin to burnish the image of the K.G.B., the former employer of President Vladimir V. Putin and many of his senior officials, and to make loyalty to the state the bedrock of Russia’s resurgence as a great power.

First, it is relevant to refresh your memory about the Cambridge Five and how insidiously, creatively, and forcefully the Communists infiltrated the heart of a Western Democracy by exploiting its own cherished institutions and trusted people. Do you really think it isn’t happening anymore?

Second, it is notable how Putin’s Russia is heralding its former agents. Remember that Philby, after being caught betraying his country, fled to Russia where the government treated him well, by communist standards, for the remainder of his life. Do you think that might give comfort to their agents and collaborators in the field now?

Incidentally, if you have not read Philby’s autobiography, you should. It is a masterpiece of Cold War literature and a penetrating look into the mind of a brilliant and evil man.


2028, 01 October 2017


Pin It on Pinterest